Hussein Rakine was working in a warehouse several years ago that supplied smoking and vaping products to stores. He noticed “shady characters” trying to sell him on a product called cannabidiol, better known as CBD. Impressed by the purported benefits (pain relief, anxiety reduction, etc.), if not people peddling it him, Rakine decided to make his own, initially with one customer in mind.
“My mom was on something like 26, 27 pills at the time for arthritis and other ailments. She was constantly drugged up,” Rakine says. “I thought CBD was something that might help her. But I couldn’t find anything on the market that I was comfortable giving to my own mom.”
Rakine started making his own CBD tinctures with honey. “My mom is a big fan of honey,” he notes. Before long, he graduated to trying out gummies, and soon felt confident in the efficacy of his products and the potential hole he could fill in the CBD space with his own company.
JustCBD launched in 2017 and has since carved out a space in the CBD industry, which is expected to hit $55 billion by 2028.
In addition to selling more than 350 products online, including gummies, topical treatments, and even pet treats, JustCBD is carried in 14,000 stores worldwide.
Rakine’s hook? Focusing on CBD as a lifestyle brand. “People are approaching CBD from this medicinal, almost pharmaceutical route, and I don’t think that’s where CBD stands,” he says. “I think people take CBD to improve their lifestyle and not necessarily as a cure—let me wake up in the morning, take my daily CBD so I can feel better throughout my day. We looked at it like that from day one.”
Much like Rakine, who was seeking a solution for his mother, I was on the hunt for something to help my dad with his wrist pain—and, according to my dad, JustCBD’s products have helped him like no other topical treatments have.
My dad had carpal tunnel surgery in 2018. Between that and arthritis issues, his wrists and hands often wind up swollen, stiff, and throbbing. When I came across JustCBD’s products, I figured I’d send some to my dad, knowing he’d be slow to try them (if at all) due to the misconception that CBD gets people high. After convincing my dad—nay, my mom, who he lovingly refers to as “Inspector 12” for her shrewd eye toward everything—he tried the roll-on stick and relief cream and hasn’t looked back.
I’ve been sending him different products to try since then, the most recent being the Ultra Relief CBD Gel. And, according to his review by text message: “That stuff really works.”
I started using JustCBD around the same as my dad to try and fix my horrendous sleep habits. I’m in a perpetual losing game with my brain, which refuses to wind down properly at night. JustCBD’s regular gummies generally did the trick. But the company recently dropped a formulation with melatonin, and I’m a changed man.
Rakine says his team is able to think up new products and turn them around in three months max.
“We embrace the fact that we’re a small business,” he says of his 200-person outfit. “It’s fun to be able to go to a lab and say, ‘Hey, we need to make a sleeping product,’ and then let their creativity run. I think with some of the more big businesses, you don’t get that nimbleness. It really gives us a competitive advantage.”
What’s also putting JustCBD at a competitive advantage is a pending acquisition from publicly traded health and wellness company Jupiter Wellness. In April, Jupiter Wellness filed a letter of intent to acquire 51% of JustCBD for $30 million.
With the acquisition, Rakine is hoping to invest in marketing, as well as build a bigger manufacturing facility, “which would give us the capability to scale and grow as some of these big-box stores begin to call us and recognize what CBD is,” he says. “The Walmarts and Walgreens and Targets of the world, we need to be prepared for the influx we think is coming very soon.”
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