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  • By Kate McDermott
  • 2021-05-05 | May 05, 2021
  • comments : 1 comments
Austin’s CBD Sisters
a higher calling

It’s not uncommon for a major life event to lead people to their higher calling. But for Shayda Torabi, finding that calling was a bit more painful than she would have liked.

After being hit by a car in 2016, Shayda suffered from a fractured sacrum, pelvis, and nose. After 8 months of physical therapy and numerous steroid injections, she was still in considerable pain. Rather than committing to surgery and yet more recovery time, her mom suggested that she try CBD. No stranger to cannabis, Shayda was happy to give it a try. Within a few months, her pain had been drastically reduced, and she was a believer.

Shayda’s athlete sister Sydney soon began to partake as well, using CBD to soothe sore muscles and promote recovery. So in 2018, the sisters brought their passion for wellness and hemp together to found ReStart CBD in North Austin.

Setting Up Shop

Shayda and Sydney found very quickly that not all CBD is created equal. In an industry that’s experienced such explosive growth (expected to nearly triple by 2022), it’s inevitable that not all products will meet the same quality standards. In fact, a 2017 study showed that 70% of CBD products didn’t contain the amount of cannabidiol indicated on the label.

So it was important to the Torabis that they provide a premium, reliable product. ReStart CBD is organic, vegan, non-GMO, and American-grown. They use a difficult cold CO2 extraction method, preventing degradation of the oil or tainting it with chlorophyll from the plant. The sisters even provide lab test results on their website, so you can verify how much CBD you’re getting — and how much THC you’re not getting.

As for the shop itself, it looks more like a minimalist salon than your stereotypical cannabis shop. Clean white walls, glass cases, and fresh greenery send a clear message — this is a health product. ReStart focuses on healing, recovery, and overall wellness through consistent low dosage consumption. Although CBD sellers have to be very careful about their health claims, early evidence indicates that CBD can help with sleep, anxiety, pain relief, headaches, and even epilepsy.

The signature product line includes Replenish for wellness, Repair for chronic pain, and Relax for stress relief (yes please). These oils come in smart little bottles and are taken in drops under the tongue. They also have topicals like salves and roll-ons for pain management, as well as plenty of GRAV tasters and steamrollers if you prefer to smoke CBD flowers.

And since it’s Austin and we’re all obsessed with our dogs, there’s obviously a pet line as well.

Regulation and Education

Before Restart CBD, both Torabi sisters were big-time local bloggers, separate from their CBD business. Shayda has run food and lifestyle blog With Shayda since late-2016. And Sydney’s Spin Syddy health and wellness blog has been dropping fitness knowledge since mid-2015.

That experience has been invaluable in their new role as ambassadors of CBD — a highly misunderstood product.

The 2018 Farm Bill removed CBD with less than 0.3% THC from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of Schedule 1 controlled substances. So far, so good. But it had no bearing on the Federal Drug Administration. Under FDA rules, CBD is still technically not allowed in food, drinks, or supplements — although you wouldn’t know it with the number of CBD-infused seltzers, gummies, and chocolates currently on the market.

Updated CBD regulations are still pending, despite industry insiders clamoring for guidelines. And to date, the FDA has taken a “hands-off” approach, providing little information and less enforcement on the product. So the sisters have used their blogging skills to create an “education-first” brand.

Blog posts like “What are cannabinoids” and “CBD and Drug Testing” help to dispel the myths around a still-stigmatized substance. And their CBD 101 page is a wealth of information. It covers subjects like dosage, product considerations, CBD isolate, industry research, and too many other topics to list. They bring their messages offline as well, attending CBD expos, dinners, and speaking on panels to spread the good word.

When asked how they feel about building a business in a highly unregulated industry, Shayda said:

“Presently we've been doing our best to keep up with the legalities, but there's only so much caution you can have...When everyone is running to market, we don't want to be so cautious we hold ourselves back. But we also see a lot of bad products and misinformation hitting the market, and just try to do our best to get proper resources to the end consumer in a way that abides by the current legal landscape...The best thing we can do is educate consumers enough to make the best decisions for themselves. We say it's your body and you should know what's going in it.”

Some confusion still exists about who should use CBD. Is it medicinal? Recreational? The Torabis seem to put it in the same category as massage. People with chronic pain can use it as a tool to promote healing and reduce discomfort. And the rest of us can use it as a tool to ease stress, relieve mild aches, and promote relaxation.

But unlike a massage that costs $100 a pop, CBD is self-care we can afford. Treat yo’ self.

ReStart CBD is located at 2521 Rutland Dr #150A, Austin, TX 78758. If you’re not in Austin, don’t worry — they ship to all 50 states.

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