By Victoria Sockwell
According to a 2020 study by the Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics, the top tier of cannabis businesses was run almost exclusively by white men. Retailers, dispensaries, and pharmacies nationwide are expected to take nearly $45 billion in revenue by 2024 from all cannabinoid sales.
Despite the disparity, there are examples of Black women who are successfully sidestepping such challenges. Tiffany Joi, Hemp Healing Body Shop owner, a one-stop destination for all your CBD bath and body needs, doesn’t worry about the bleak statistics. Why bother when you are constantly breaking barriers while bridging the gap between cannabis and your community?
Pain is Optional
“It was really due to my mom. Back then, she had knee replacement surgery, and the surgery went well, but you know, afterward, I saw the pain and the sleepless nights. And although the doctor had given her that ibuprofen, it just wasn’t working.” After phone calls and sleepless nights, Tiffany’s mother had had enough. “So in the middle of the night, she will call me and say, Tiffany, I’m in so much pain, I can’t sleep.”
Doctors will typically prescribe nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAID. NSAID include drugs like aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, Nuprin), and Naproxen (Aleve, Anaprox, Naprosyn). All these NSAIDs have similar side effects, including a greater chance of a heart attack or stroke. There is also a possibility you could produce ulcers, bleeding, or even holes in your stomach when you take them for too long. With all these side effects, you have to wonder if there is a more holistic and natural way to combat pain.
Tiff admits that she at first turned to what she knew best at the time, THC. “One of my best friends actually has a THC edible business, and of course, I trusted her to make my mom some oatmeal cookies and fuse it with the THC. Honestly, it worked. I didn’t hear from her in the middle of the night.”
THC, though known for minimal and mild side effects (dry eyes and mouth, drowsiness, dizziness), nothing can curve the munchies. After a few months of daily THC consumption, her mother started to see results she wasn’t too happy about. “Even though the cookies were working, she didn’t want the weight gain. So she said, ‘you know you got to come up with a different solution.’ So my best friend and I ended up just randomly taking a trip out to Denver, Colorado.”
Cannabis in Colorado has been legal for medical use since 2000 and recreational use since late 2012 making it the prime location for learning more about the health properties of cannabis. People can use cannabis in so many ways that don’t have anything to do with getting you high. Tiffany comments, “that’s when I got educated about the cannabis industry, went around to different dispensaries, learned about the plant, how it was grown. Went to different farm sites, I mean the whole nine yards.”
Tiffany admits she had never heard about CBD until receiving proper education and resources from a dispensary agent. “I started collecting different pain relief products to bring back to my mom for her to try on her knee and see which one she liked the best or the most effective one.” Once there was a verdict, it was time to get in the kitchen.
Due to the legalities on cannabis in other states, the best resource for education was what she calls “YouTube University.” Studying the labels carefully, she was able to create her own CBD Pain Relief Salve. They tested on numerous friends and family who suffered from chronic pain. She reflects on how her family has become her most significant testimony. Once the word got out, people started to inquire about her “Miracle In A Jar. “My mom goes to church and tells all her church friends. So now my phone starts ringing, ‘get me some of that stuff!’”
Despite all the healing cannabis can do for our bodies, the cannabis community continues its fight towards plants over pills. The stigma around cannabis use has been around for decades in American society. While that decidedly doesn’t mean it is fact-based, it does very much suggest that it has negatively impacted many, many people, and unjustly so.
“Even as far as my parents go, that generation came up around a time when it was a whole war on drugs.” Movies like Reefer Madness installed assumptions and fears around cannabis, enabling a generation years of health benefits. “Older people still have that stigma from what was from back in the day when they were growing up, so what I’ve learned is education is key, especially, you know, in this industry.” The first thing is educating people on the plant and about the holistic properties of the plant. “You don’t have to get high off cannabis. I’ve seen growth in that way, especially with the older demographic.”
Hemp Healing Body clientele varies depending on the product, but Tiffany explains that her demographic is mainly elders, “They are the ones that are going through the back pain, the surgeries, and all that.” Her second largest demographic ranges from 30-40 years old who she recognizes could be buying her products for their parents. “If I can’t get to that older demographic because they’re not on social media, at least their children will be the ones or the advocate. They may say, ‘hey, mom or dad, try this product,’ and with the older demographic, they’re probably more prone to accept a cannabis or CBD product from somebody they know versus me; they don’t know me.”
Straight From The Healer’s Mouth
If you are someone you know is grappling with joining the canna-biz, Tiffany highly encourages it. “I will say yes, do it now because the CBD side of things is less regulated, so if you're trying to get into this industry, it depends on who you are and how you go about it.” Due to the loose regulations around CBD, it can be easier to get your front in the door while growing your business.
When it comes to the THC that lingers in some CBD products, as long as you keep your THC levels down to 0.3% in your products, you’re open for business. “The FDA still hasn't released their rules and regs recently. So we're still in an unregulated market, but we're gaining market share so that once that market is regulated, oh, I will already have my foot in the door, people will already know me my brand is already out there. So that's why I'm trying to make that traction now. So once the CBD industry blows up, like the THC industry, my foot is already in the door already. The business owner says there is more than enough space at the table for us all to eat, “I just a sliver, I don't need the whole pie.”
CBD is an effective muscular and chronic pain relaxer. CBD can also help alleviate stress, depression, and anxiety leaving its users to feel calm, cool, and collected. “I can’t imagine my life right now without it. Like I am hooked on my own product. Like I wake up before my system. I'm taking THC-free drops in the morning to help me stay focused, alert, and just move throughout the day. So like I am a fan of my own product. Honestly. No prescription meds, I might have an allergy to here and there but other than that, I am well.”
So, what new products can we expect from Hemp Body Healing? Look out for more of some OG favorites, hemp beauty products, and *fingers crossed* a t-shirt collaboration with the Silver Room!
Shop Hemp Heals Body Shop Now!