Karen Mary Confectionery makes CBD-infused marshmallows with 100mg each

Editor’s note: This is part of The Know’s series, Staff Favorites. Each week, we offer our opinions on the best that Colorado has to offer for dining, shopping, entertainment, outdoor activities and more. (We’ll also let you in on some hidden gems).

Count me among the many, many people who have experienced trouble sleeping since the pandemic.

Truth be told, I’ve always been a night owl. But in the last couple of years, I’ve developed a frustrating habit: I’ll lay down in bed – dead tired – and turn out the lights only to find my mental wheels spinning, keeping me awake for hours. All of a sudden, the clock will read 1 a.m. and I’ll begrudgingly limp to the medicine cabinet for 5 milligrams of melatonin.

Since a friend gifted me a bag of CBD marshmallows from Karen Mary Confectionery, however, I’ve found a new routine.

Each locally made marshmallow is infused with 100 milligrams of cannabidiol, or CBD, from Typhoon Farma hemp farm in Montrose. And while the company – like all CBD companies – cannot make medical claims about its products, I’ll tell you anecdotally that these little sweets have improved my ability to fall asleep to an almost astonishing effect.

Karen Mary Confectionery started nearly a decade ago, more than a thousand miles from Colorado’s Western Slope, when co-founder Karen Eakes was an athlete on the DC Rollergirls in Washington, D.C. As Eakes tells it, the roller derby team regularly hosted bake sales to raise money, and she and her husband, Ryan, made marshmallows – sans CBD – that proved popular among customers.

The confection business later took a several-year hiatus as the Eakes family, complete with two small children, moved between Austin, Texas, and the East Coast following job opportunities. In July 2020, they landed in Montrose after Ryan took a position as Typhoon Farma’s chief operating officer.

That’s also about the time the Eakes’ son began seeing an occupational therapist for a sensory processing disorder.

“In speaking with his therapist, she was like, ‘Given what you do, have you tried CBD with him?’ ” Karen said. “We thought about it, but he’s got sensory sensitivities. I can’t just give him something that tastes like CBD oil.”

So the Eakes revived their homemade marshmallows, this time loading the recipe with a white, CBD isolate powder extracted from the locally grown hemp by a Colorado-based lab. The isolate, as the term suggests, is refined to the point that it is just CBD – there’s no THC in these edibles – and lab testing results are included in each box for those interested in verifying the cannabinoid content.

Speaking of which, the dosage – 100 milligrams of CBD per ‘mallow – is certainly one of the most eye-catching factors about this product. According to the Eakes, the human body only absorbs a fraction of the CBD that a person ingests, so they opted to infuse the edibles with as much CBD as possible without compromising flavor.

And these sweets aren’t just to help you sleep, Karen is quick to note.

“The fun thing about marshmallows, they’re kind of a comfort food. When you’re using them you might put them in your hot chocolate or s’mores, and it’s a communal relaxation event,” she said.

Karen Mary Confectionery sells its products primarily online at karenmaryco.com, though Karen hopes to expand distribution into retail stores throughout the state soon. A box of 20 marshmallows costs about $40. Year-round flavors include classic vanilla and Nutella, and the company regularly releases seasonal flavors, such as mint, chai latte and lemon.

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