The Anatomy of a Dreaming Supplement
A lot has happened in the last 5 months.
But how did we go from business as usual to changing the face of the entire lucid dreaming supplements industry?
It’s a story that I think will interest you – and you might even learn a thing or two in the process.
When I was first taken on-board as Chief Lucidity Officer in 2016, one of the first things I was tasked with was taking a good look at our operations and giving things a bit of an overhaul.
Like most (ok, all) websites these days, we have a few affiliate partners.
That means when you buy a certain product via a link on our site – we sometimes earn a small commission – at no extra cost to you.
And our most popular affiliate product by far – at that time – was a certain lucid dreaming supplement.
It was sexy, it had sleek packaging and it sold like hot cakes.
And I understood why – they made it look and sound so appealing!
So when the company behind this product sent me a few free samples, I was super excited to try it out!
But in all honesty I tried the stuff at least three times. And?
The experience was so unmemorable, I can’t even remember what happened. I even tried emptying out 6 capsules at once into a glass of water to see if it was a dose related issue. Nada.
So, I decided to analyse the ingredients.
I mean, that would make sense – right? To understand what you are putting into your body and how it is affecting you.
What did I find when I looked on the back of the bottle?
A “proprietary blend”.
I’d never heard of this phrase before, so I did some research. Turns out a “proprietary blend” is a legal loophole in the supplements industry that allows manufacturers to hide the actual amount of individual ingredients in their product!
They only need to state the “overall” amount in the blend and not the individual components. So if a product has 6 ingredients and states 600mg Proprietary Blend, you don’t know which of the 6 is in which amount!
Of course, companies use this loophole to bulk up their products with cheap ingredients and include only tiny amounts of the most expensive ones.
So, suffice to say, I was feeling a bit let down at this point.
Our most popular product didn’t work for me. And not only that, but I didn’t even know what was in it!
And to rub salt into the wound, I felt as if the product was being touted as lucid dreaming in a bottle – without broad education on the importance of lucid dreaming techniques and practices!
Put simply, we were profiting from promoting a product that was (in my opinion) rubbish!
This actually started to keep me up at night.
It didn’t feel right continuing to promote a product like this. I felt like we were being dishonest and pulling the wool over the eyes of the very community we helped to build.
That’s not the way my Dad raised me! I value a firm handshake and I always brush my teeth!
But what was the alternative?
I’d already had a fair bit of experience with natural dream herbs – and I was fascinated by the different cultural and religious usages I knew had been going on for thousands of years.
I knew some of these herbal supplements actually worked (a far cry from the bodybuilding supplement industry).
But which one(s) should I recommend?
There was a virtual garden to choose from. Calea zacatechichi, silene capensis, mugwort, blue lotus, tagetes lucida. The list goes on (and on).
And in honesty, quality varied.
You never really knew what you were going to get with the dried herbs.
I’d tried some where you could tell there was something to it, but it just seemed weak. Probably because it wasn’t fresh and we don’t take the stuff according to the same methods the traditional societies did.
Plus, to get the most out of dreaming supplements, you needed to combine them.
Why should we let these companies take the upper hand? After all, we were the biggest lucid dreaming community on the net with 4,000 forum members, 30,000 email subscribers, 275,000 facebook fans and over 4 million visitors per year.
Why shouldn’t we stand up and let the community say for themselves what they wanted from a product?
So in August 2016 we made the decision to crowd fund our own lucid dreaming supplement!
And to avoid the mistakes of the past, we’d base it on these principals.
Transparency - we will never hide behind a "Proprietary Blend"
Full Dosage - our products will always be strong and include effective amounts of the active ingredients. We will never skimp on dose to reduce cost.
Education - we promote complete dreaming systems - supplements and education together, not in isolation.
And so started a very interesting journey!
The most important decision of all was the recipe (or formula, if you will).
We wanted something strong, that worked, but also something that wasn’t just about having lucid dreams.
We felt everyday people were simply missing out on clear, colourful and extremely vivid dreams in general. Of course, we wanted a product that could be used to invoke lucid dreams, when used with the right techniques.
But we also wanted to re-unite the customer with crystal clear and brightly coloured dreamscapes, if they couldn’t manage to devote the time to regularly practicing the art of lucid dreaming.
And so our product name and slogan was born:
We made the decision early on that we would base the product on one of the two leviathan AChE Inhibitors: galantamine (red spider lily extract) or huperzine-A (Chinese club moss extract).
But, we would back these potent agents up with other time-honoured, natural herbs with their own unique characters.
We initially proposed to use galantamine, but as the project progressed it became very clear that this was the wrong decision.
Firstly, governments have started taking a dim view of companies selling galantamine as a dietary supplement. Whilst it is technically legal to sell galantamine extracted from natural sources as a supplement in the US, the fact that a synthetic form of the chemical was approved as a prescription drug for the treatment of Alzheimer’s Disease in 2001 muddied the waters!
So when one of the most popular galantamine based lucid dreaming supplements was shut down earlier this year, we knew galantamine’s days were numbered and we had to look elsewhere!
I’d always felt that whilst galantamine was very powerful for inducing lucid dreams, it was a bit of a ‘rough ride’ so to speak.
The stomach cramps and muscle twitches were tolerable and relatively mild – but they were a bit annoying!
Plus, I always felt groggy and became extremely tried around mid-day on the day after having a galantamine dream.
Chinese club moss, to me, felt ‘fresher’, ‘cleaner’ and avoided these side effects.
But I was confused.
Why, when I was using raw Huperzine-A direct from the supplier, was it so successful? But when I used it in some pre-packed supplements, it seemed ineffective?
I mean, huperzine-A has a wealth of scientific data to support its efficiency as an AChE inhibitor and there are numerous published studies. Here are just 3:
Could it be a matter of dose?
When we started researching the clinically effective dosage for huperzine-A, things became clearer. All the studies suggest an optimal dose of 400mcg Huperzine-A. 200mcg still has a statistically significant effect, but the benefits seem to scale upwards with the amount taken.
So we started to do some more research.
We started looking at the total amount of Huperzine-A per bottle in the most popular lucid dreaming supplements on Amazon.
Total Estimated Elemental Huperzine-A per bottle (mcg):
Claridream PRO: 60 caps - 12,000mcg
Supplement A*: 60 caps - 7,500mcg
Supplement B*: 30 caps - 6,000mcg
Supplement C*: 60 caps - unknown (proprietary blend)
(*actual product names have been omitted)
And as part of this research, we started talking to the contacts we’d made in the industry.
We had a rather surprising conversation with one of the contract manufacturer reps we spoke to (who will remain anonymous). It went something like this:
“You’re dosing properly, which I like. A lot of companies are now under-dosing by stating mcg of Huperzine-A on the Supplement Facts panel and using 1% powder to fulfil this”
Let me explain.
Elemental Huperzine-A is actually so incredibly strong that the effective dose is in the microgram region (that's a millionth of a gram). Since such a dose would be virtually invisible to the naked eye, this introduces difficulties in supplying pure huperzine-A.
Therefore, Huperzine as a raw material is mostly sold in a 1% potency powder - which means it can be dosed in milligrams (thousandths of a gram) instead.
There are a few grey areas in supplement labelling regulations, so some companies are getting away with stating an mcg dose of Huperzine-A on the label and filling this only with a 1% powder. This would likely make any such products substantially weaker than the clinically effective dose.
The reason they do this is because Huperzine-A is so bloody expensive!
Look, I’m not in any way suggesting this practice is being undertaken in the lucid dreaming space, or that any of the products we’ve tried or promoted have engaged in this practice. I have no evidence to suggest this and I am sure they are all great products in their own way. To be honest, since none of these products state the potency of the extract used on the label – it’s hard to say how much raw elemental huperzine they contain.
All I know is when I tested 40mg of raw Chinese Club Moss Extract (1% elemental Huperzine-A) straight from the source, I was blown away!
It was many times more powerful than the supplements I’d tried before and it catapulted me straight into one of the longest and clearest lucid dreams I’ve had in years!
So, the decision on the main actor was made.
But what about the additional herbs to back it up?
After months of experimentation (you should see my dream journal) and ruling out velvet bean, withania somnifera, lemon balm, mugwort, alpha GPC and calea zachatechici – we decided on a blend of the following:
Chinese club moss – as the main AChE inhibitor
Valerian root – for its influence on bizarre and unusual dream content
Passion flower – for its calming and meditative influence and increase in dream vividity
Chamomile – for its soothing anti-anxiety and sleep inducing effects
Choline Bitartrate – to complement the Chinese club moss for maximum ACh levels.
But what about the dose?
Of course, we moaned about supplement companies skimping on dose at the beginning – but now we had to “walk the walk” as well as “talk the talk”.
It was crunch time.
Being presented with the sheer cost of raw materials makes you truly realise: the more you put in, the more it costs you.
How would we decide?
Like everything we do here at World of Lucid Dreaming, we based our actions on science.
We reverted to trawling scientific journals for every study ever published on our ingredients to determine the accepted effective clinical doses.
So you get a full clinically effective dose for Chinese club moss and chamomile and an approximate half-dose for valerian and passion flower.
We avoid too much valerian, as it makes you drowsy the next day.
I’d say that qualifies as reasonable dosing - based on sound logic and peer-reviewed scientific studies.
That's why Claridream PRO is priced at the upper end of the market, because our cost base is so incredibly high.
Remember what we said about the importance of transparency?
But what about safety?
Every supplement manufacturer has a duty to ensure that their supplement is expected to be safe.
So, are you ready to see even more research?
(yeah, you should see my bookmarks bar)
Feel free to check out, this, this, this, this and this. Which is merely a small proportion of our formal records.
Just one note: don’t take Claridream PRO if you are pregnant. Also, if you are on anti-depressants, stay away since Passionflower is an MAO inhibitor.
Also, around this time we started trailing the formula with a study group of 8 participants. One of whom, Dani, was kind enough to let me video her while she described her dreams a couple of hours after waking up!
So, at the end of May 2017 - and with the support of 335 backers from the WOLD community - we raised $17,765 to turn our plans into reality!
We couldn’t have been happier!
It was actually happening!
Turns out people were just as fed up as we were with the status quo of the industry and shared our passion to take things into our own hands!
So, after months of negotiating with and evaluating 17 potential contract manufacturers, we finally felt comfortable enough to select a partner who was GMP certified, FDA registered, BBB rated and who gave us a really good feeling about the way they did business.
Into production we went and after 6 weeks of waiting, our first batch was completed!
We also met with 6 different potential fulfilment partners who would store the product for us in a temperature controlled, FDA compliant facility with LOT tracking – and quickly ship orders for us as soon as they came in on our website.
We wanted a partner that not only shipped same day with tracking, but was cost effective enough that we could offer FREE shipping on US orders.
And – international delivery was a big priority for us too. We knew from our community that WOLD customers are all over the world. We wanted to be able to deliver to every country on the planet - with tracking.
In the end we partnered up with a great company that was a perfect match for us:
Same day dispatch for orders placed before 2pm, free US shipping and international tracking on deliveries to these countries.
Oh - and I should have mentioned returns. Every decent company has a 30-day refund policy and so we made sure we could quickly and easily process returns too.
So what were the results?
On 19th July 2017 we sent out over 700 bottles of Claridream PRO around the world to all our campaign backers and pre-order customers.
To be honest, I was as nervous as a turkey at Christmas!
What if it didn’t work?
What if (somehow) the finished product didn’t match up to the prototype we had tested with?
What if the manufacturer had accidently put in the wrong ingredients, or tried to dupe us?
I’m sure you’d feel the same!
I was wired – waiting for the first customer feedback to drop in!
So what happened?
I can sum up the situation by showing you the very first report that dropped into my inbox from the very first customer to report back on trying Claridream PRO:
- “I was traveling for work (which is a real life situation too frequently) in Boston and was getting ready to come home, but had some sort of errand I needed to run.
- I had to get a taxi, which the hotel helped me find. But the driver was this slightly rough around the edges guy who first made me nervous!
- Then I remembered, in the dream, that I had taken Claridream Pro!
- What ensued was a trip through the taxi driver’s group of fellow travellers and stoners (he offered me pot at one point in the dream - at which I point I said: no thanks, I’m actually on Claridream Pro for the first time and am trying it out!)
- Once he found out I was trying to lucid dream he then got serious about introducing me to all sorts of interesting people dabbling in psychic research, archaeology of old religions, etc, etc.
- I was having an amazing time - but had to go to the airport and ended up waking up!
- My dreams are usually pretty colorful, so didn't note a change in that, but -
- the level of textural detail - particularly in some old stone carvings documenting hidden links between religions in old, archaic scripts - was profound.“
Dream reports continue to drop into my inbox on a daily basis and the feedback so far is beyond my wildest dreams.
So, I hope you enjoyed the story so far.
But it doesn't have to end here.
You can be the next one to experience it.
Click here to get Claridream PRO now, with FREE US shipping.
P.S. Let me know what you think!
Chris Hammond, Founder - Claridream
I founded Claridream in 2016 to improve peoples lives by bringing the power of ancient oneirogens to more people around the world. Read more about what we've achieved already.
- A pilot study of Rhodiola rosea (Rhodax) for generalized anxiety disorder (GAD). https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18307390
- A prospective, randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled study of safety and efficacy of a high-concentration full-spectrum extract of ashwagandha root in reducing stress and anxiety in adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23439798
- Rhodiola rosea for physical and mental fatigue: a systematic review https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3541197/
- Panax ginseng (G115) improves aspects of working memory performance and subjective ratings of calmness in healthy young adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20737519
- Optimal serum selenium concentrations are associated with lower depressive symptoms and negative mood among young adults. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25378685