In the latest episode of Civilized’s new podcast 'Cannabis & Main,' host Ricardo Baca spoke with Natasha Raey - an advisor for Evio Beauty Group and the head of public relations for the sale of cannabis. RIcardo and Natasha discussed the health benefits of cannabis-infused cosmetics, how the makeup industry is poised to make a mint from marijuana legalization and the importance of developing cannabis products to make periods less painful.
Transcript, Cannabis & Main: Cannabis & Cosmetics
Ricardo Baca: Hello, hello and welcome to 'Cannabis & Main,' a Civilized podcast where we extract one sliver, one tiny little slice from today's cannabis scape and go deep. I'm your host Ricardo Baca. Founder of Grasslands and a cannabist, and it is great to be with you today. Of course, you can learn more about this show alongside the marijuana news and cannabis lifestyle coverage you crave from Civilized, found on the world wide web at civilized.life. This week we are going to shine a light on cannabis and cosmetics with a guest who has her hands all over the Canadian cannabis industry including the creation of a marijuana infused cosmetics and skincare line.
The conversation about cannabis and cosmetics is an important one because it's mostly a conversation about cannabis-infused topicals, which are a fast growing segment of the industry. That includes lotions, salves, and oils - all infused with marijuana.
[NBC Nightly News Report]: Although cannabis is still illegal under federal law, topicals are sold in states where marijuana is recreationally legal, and wherever medical marijuana is sold legally with a doctor's recommendation. Topical sales grew 100% since last year and nationwide, they're twice as popular with women as with men, and biggest among baby boomers.
Ricardo Baca: Before delving beyond these more traditional topicals, we start thinking about weed-infused facemasks, lipsticks, concealer and foundation. And while topicals are only beginning to catch on with the wider audience and attract top-level research supporting their effectiveness in treating pain, inflammation, muscle soreness and more, we have yet to see a major push beyond the lip balms and lotions for the cannabis cosmetics industry that is inevitably in our retail future.
So, as we're all thinking about a future that involves a cannabis-infused lipstick, let's dive right in. Producer Vince, let's do it. My guest today is Natasha Raey. She's an advisor to Evio Beauty Group and the head of public relations for sale of cannabis. Natasha, so great to finally meet you.
Natasha Raey: Thank you so much. I'm so excited to be here.
Ricardo Baca: Well, thanks for joining us on this latest episode of Cannabis & Main. When I realized that you were working with a cosmetics company that was entering the cannabis space and utilizing this plant, from the perspective of makeup, I was very curious. I wanted to hear all about it. This seems kind of new - kind of unique. And for us to say that from the regulated markets, we've seen everything from cannabis suppositories to cannabis-infused honey and olive oil in Colorado and California. But I've not seen any cannabis cosmetics outside of the traditional topicals that we know. So, tell me what this vertical of Evio ultimately looks like?
Natasha Raey: I think the goal is to start by building a brand, and show a brand that is a cannabis-infused beauty product. And by cannabis, I mean more hemp seed oil. So, we start with building a brand by using hemp seed oil and having a line of skincare products. So, you're looking at serums and cleansing cloths and moisturizers. And then from there we know that CBD has a ton of benefits for skin. Once that's fully legal, then we can start infusing these products with CBD which is shown to be good for redness and inflammation. I think cannabis and beauty products is going to be huge.
The cannabis industry is huge. We know that, but beauty brings in, I think like $450 billion a year, which is far more than cannabis. So, it just makes sense for the business of beauty to be the business of cannabis.
Ricardo Baca: It totally does. So, cosmetics is taking what the topicals market has already done, and I guess just tweaking it slightly.
Natasha Raey: One of the things that Evio has done is a ton of research. So, they've done surveys with Sephora customers. We know Sephora's one of the leading beauty brands in the world. They're able to say like, first, are customers interested in purchasing products with cannabis? What we found is that beauty customers are actually quite conservative. They might not be open or using cannabis, they're very different than the world we come from. Also, they might not care about whether or not cannabis is in their products or understand what the benefits are.
So, there's a huge education curve that needs to happen, and I think that by starting with building brands with these hemp seed oil products, then that is one way to bring beauty consumers onside. And then once the products have CBD in them, they already know what they are and what the benefits are. But there's definitely a lot of education that needs to happen with mainstream beauty consumers.
Ricardo Baca: It makes sense. One thing we have seen in the regulated market is cannabis consumption in these kind of group spaces, these traditional, more conservative group spaces — like book clubs, like Bible study — cannabis is sneaking into these places. Especially when you have it legalized, something just happens-
Natasha Raey: There's a shift.
Ricardo Baca: Yeah, exactly. You guys are super normalized up here because Canada's no stranger to weed.
Natasha Raey: Right, but I come from a community back in BC that is a lot more conservative. I'm an evangelical Christian. I'm very socially conservative, so, I come from that side of the world as well, and I think with that group, you need to have a legal product before people are going to feel comfortable using it. But once it is legal, then ideally, they'll see that it has more benefits than drinking things like wine.
Ricardo Baca: There you go. I'm curious though, you come up from an evangelical background on the west coast of Canada, which is known to be considerably more liberal than much of the other part of the country.
Natasha Raey: Parts of it.
Ricardo Baca: What's your experience? Especially since we're talking about cosmetics, topicals, what's your experience with topicals and this more conservative demographic? Are they more open to that then flower, or is it still like cannabis is cannabis?
Natasha Raey: No, they're definitely more open to topicals versus flower. I even think of like my own parents. They're religious, but they're not Christian, but they're still fairly religious, or at least my mom is. They've come around with topicals and things. My mom's using salves for her hands when they ache, and my dad's using CBD oil for his restless leg syndrome. Things that, if I gave them a joint they would be like, "What is this?" But they're fine with topicals, and they've come around.
So, I think, maybe their next step would be a vape pen when my dad's feeling anxious, maybe he'd be willing to try one. But the topicals are their entry point. I think it's that way for a lot of older communities and a lot of more conservative communities as well.
Ricardo Baca: I think this is fascinating. So, give me an idea of the kinds of products that we can expect to see in this line eventually once this becomes, of course, federally legal?
Natasha Raey: I think things like serums. You'll put a serum on after you wash your face, and you apply it to the skin. They can have different properties, especially in terms of hydration, helping with redness inflammation. I think serums are going to be a huge product. Another one that I think would be pretty phenomenal is a mask. So, masks are huge right now.
Ricardo Baca: I was about say, they're insane. All those single packages...
Natasha Raey: Yeah, like the ones they put on you. I do a mask every two days.
Ricardo Baca: Oh, wow. Dedication.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, dedication for sure. Skincare is very important to me. But I think you're going to see masks with CBD. One of the things I always remember is the founder of Evio - she's also my best friend - her name is Brandi Leifso. She came up with this idea for doing cleansing cloths. So, the cloths that you can use when you're traveling to wipe off your makeup, but you use them to take off the mask. Because one of the issues with masks, especially mud masks, is it takes away from that relaxing experience because you're really scrubbing your face to take it off.
So, if you have this nice botanical scented cloth that has CBD in it as well, you can use that to take the mask off, and then apply an infused moisturizer, and you have this whole skincare regime. I think one of the things that Evio is looking at is having a line of products that all work together.
Ricardo Baca: Sure, a system.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, with any skincare you want to use the same brand or the same line of products because they all work together and they're meant to work together. Another thing that I think is going to come out - I'm not sure if Evio is going to be working on this - but I know other companies are looking at it, is color cosmetics. I'm still not sure if you're going to see the same benefits from a blush or a setting powder with CBD, but a lot of what we see with beauty is a marketing play too.
You'll see some setting powders that have SPF in them, but we know that it's probably not really putting a lot of sun protection on your face because it just sits on the face over the makeup. But I think what you're going to see is CBD probably, setting powders and blushes, and that might be more of a marketing ploy to get people to buy the product. But I think in our industry, anything is good to get the word out there.
Ricardo Baca: Let's talk specific benefits. Because, these are inevitably things that we're putting on our skin in the form of makeup and cosmetics and topicals. So, what are the specific benefits? Because of course, anti-inflammation is a big one, right?
Natasha Raey: Yeah. I think one of the first benefits that needs to be pointed out is that it's coming from cannabis which comes from the ground. So, we know that it's a natural product. It's not created in a factory. That's the first. As I mentioned, so it's good for anti-inflammation, anti-redness, anti-rosacea. So, all of these things because it calms the skin down. One thing I've heard about CBD is that you can put it on a burn and it really helps the burn to heal a lot faster.
We still need a lot of research with CBD. An immense amount. I always feel a little guilty saying that because I'm like, I know there's a lot of research. We still say we need a lot of research.
Ricardo Baca: There's actually practically none compared to so many of the other substances that we're investing.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, and so with CBD, we know anecdotally that it helps so much with skin conditions. So, anything that you put on your face will just be good. It's like I was mentioning earlier, mineral makeup. Instead of like buying Mac products, we've all switched to mineral makeup, which we know is better for our skin because it's natural. So, it's the same thing with cannabis. It's natural and it also has all of these benefits from CBD.
Ricardo Baca: What are some of those other benefits? So, it's anti-inflammatory, it's natural and plant based. What else do we know about its topical application?
Natasha Raey: It's good for rosacea, it's good for redness, and it's good for calming the skin - that sort of thing.
Ricardo Baca: Okay. Natasha, in the words of Salt-N-Pepa, “let's talk about sex.”
Natasha Raey: Okay, let's do this.
Ricardo Baca: Because one area, of course, we're talking about topicals and then we're talking about this new space of cannabis-infused makeup, which I think we will see a lot more of.
Natasha Raey: Tons.
Ricardo Baca: I'm also fairly confident that I've heard of various CBD lines, especially since so much of it is unregulated in the States right now.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, there's a lot happening in the US, it's a ton.
Ricardo Baca: I know. And most outside of regulated markets, which is exciting and terrifying.
Natasha Raey: That's where I come from is outside of the regulated markets. So, for me it's—
Ricardo Baca: Yeah, you didn't have a choice.
Natasha Raey: No.
Ricardo Baca: But we have seen some of these products — whether we're calling them lubes, whether they are technically a lube or not — but we have seen a number of those going back to 2014, but I know that you have one is in development, or have you released it as well?
Natasha Raey: Actually, we've just released it. I have two girlfriends that I'm working with on this project. We all come from outside the regulated market, and we created this brand called Bast. Bast is an Egyptian goddess, a feline-like goddess, so, that's why we named the company after her. So, we created, it's essentially like a subscription box. The sex one is called My Pleasure, and it has a cannabis-infused lube, which we're getting rave reviews on. It's known to intensify orgasms, just makes the sex experience more pleasurable than it already is.
Then the box also comes with a sex toy, and hard candies and tease. So, just a whole collection of things for enhancing the sexual experience either by yourself or with your partner.
Ricardo Baca: Great. Where can people find out more about it?
Natasha Raey: Bastbox.ca. So, B-A-S-T-B-O-X.ca.
Ricardo Baca: I like the Egyptian goddess parts.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, and I love cats so the fact that it's a feline like goddess.
Ricardo Baca: Me too.
Natasha Raey: But we also have a box for periods. We have suppositories and the tummy creams, so, it helps PMS, cramping. We're coming out with a whole range of different boxes that people can purchase. They're great gifts and they're great gifts for yourself too.
Ricardo Baca: I have some friends who had an edibles company that's no longer with us, but they did capsules with multiple cannabinoids, terpenes and traditional herbs. They did have a PMS blend. Being a man, I'm very curious about it and I give it immediately to my wife. Sure enough she became a loyal customer. Cannabis is powerful when you're talking about dysmenorrhea, or painful cramps or even just getting through just a mildly obnoxious period.
Natasha Raey: No, it's so helpful. And again, it's more natural than a lot of the other things that we're putting into our body to help with cramps, like a lot of the pharma drugs. So, if you can use a suppository that's made of natural cannabis to help with your cramps, then that's far better. We have one of the best scientists, I think, in Canada who's helped us formulate all of these products. So, I 100 percent stand behind them.
I've been lucky, I don't have cramps or anything, but I know that women who do have used and tested our products, and it's helped them so much.
Ricardo Baca: It's insane how many women actually do have these painful cramps.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, I'm probably in the minority to say that, I barely have a period. I don't feel anything.
Ricardo Baca: I know, and if we're looking at the traditional wellness and medical market, and the amount of — I'm sure you're aware of this, this insane percentage, but the amount of products that are out there for men sexual pleasure and for men's comfort versus the amount of products that are out there specifically for women, especially as women have this unique phenomenon that is cramps and a period cycle that men don't have. It's criminal is what it is.
Natasha Raey: It is, and we see similar to Evio, we see Bast as also for female empowerment. Because I think, and this is something that I feel very strongly about is that women need to embrace our sexual power. I'm a huge advocate even for sex workers. I think sex work is real work.
Ricardo Baca: Absolutely.
Natasha Raey: Which maybe goes against what my Christian values tell me. But I'm a huge advocate for sex workers and for women really embracing their sexual power, and I think Bast is one way that we're also going to be working on the sex work advocacy side as well through our company.
Ricardo Baca: I have a friend who's from New Zealand and he's in the industry back in Colorado. I remember asking him, "How did your parents and your family and your friends back in New Zealand respond to you opening a cannabis business in Colorado?" He's like, "Oh, well, it's only the Americans that think this is interesting or out there a while because we legalized prostitution years ago. And there was a conservative faction at the time that said that this was going to tear apart the moral fabric of the country, and that this was going to be the downfall of our communities and bad for children." He's like, "You know what happened? Nothing." Just like, after Colorado legalized cannabis sales, what happened? Nothing.
Natasha Raey: I do get on my soapbox when I hear that because I'm like — not to get too Christian on you, but you all do remember that Jesus sat with the prostitutes.
Ricardo Baca: Mary Magdalene.
Natasha Raey: Yeah. So, don't forget that part of the Bible. It's a pretty important piece.
Ricardo Baca: And don't forget that part of 'Jesus Christ Superstar.' Because that's my Bible.
Natasha Raey: There you go.
Ricardo Baca: All right, Natasha, we're going to wrap up by asking you what your favorite topical product is. I want to go cannabis-infused topical. You're the beauty maven that we're having on the show this season. And so, I would love for you to open our eyes and maybe make a recommendation. Because whether it's something you make on your own, whether it's something you buy on the unregulated market up here —regardless, I'm sure that our listeners will be able to find a version of it at their local dispensary, or make it from their own local DIY cookbook. But what would that topical product to be that you love?
Natasha Raey: You know I'm going to say cannabis-infused lube. I'm a girl who loves orgasms, so the lube is my favorite.
Ricardo Baca: All right. So, why? Expand on that a little.
Natasha Raey: As I mentioned, cannabis-infused lube - because of the CBD and THC that's in it - enhances orgasms, and it makes just the experience whether it's by yourself or with your partner more pleasurable.
Ricardo Baca: It is. I will be real: I've talked about this a little bit before. I've tried a couple of these products, and they're fun.
Natasha Raey: Yeah, they are.
Ricardo Baca: I like the fact that they are playful. A lot of the brands in Colorado are like, yeah, this is fully edible. Its food grade, put it wherever you want, including in your mouth.
Natasha Raey: Right.
Ricardo Baca: I think it just opens doors for a lot of people, especially because we live in such a repressed culture where a majority of people around us - in Canada or US - are going to feel uncomfortable around a conversation like this.
Natasha Raey: I'm an Indian Christian. Trust me, I know about conservative culture very well.
Ricardo Baca: Cannabis-infused lube is the recommendation. I know you can find that in most adult use regulated marketplaces in health. Most of us are pretty vanilla. But that doesn't mean that you can't go and try something. So, I'm going to recommend it, I'm guessing Natasha is going to wholeheartedly recommend it.
Natasha Raey: I am.
Ricardo Baca: Natasha Raey, with Evio beauty group. Thank you so much for joining us on this episode of Cannabis & Main, and it's lovely up here in your homeland of Canada. Thank you for sharing it with us.
Natasha Raey: Thank you.
Cannabis & Main is a Civilized podcast. Our executive producers are Ricardo Baca and Derek Riedle. We are produced by Katie Labrie and Vince Chandler, along with Civilized F420 films and Grasslands. We are hosted by Ricardo Baca, and directed by Vince Chandler. Interact with Vince on Twitter @Vinny chant, Ricardo @brovs and civilized @civilized life. Our music is by Johann Gloucester. Thank you very much to Natasha Raey, an advisor at Evio beauty group for appearing on this episode of Cannabis & Main, Cannabis and Cosmetics.