“I wanted to launch a brand that would become a national brand and a household name like Kleenex.”
“The reason we decided to do a prestige line as well as our mass line is because we wanted to reach a different demographic,” says Okel. “We are the oldest topical company in the CBD space focusing just on topical products, and that experience with formulations really differentiates us from a lot of other brands. Being experts in the space allows us to do the crossover more than companies that create topical products as a secondary action.”
In 2004, long before CBD was mixed into cold brew, Trista Okel concocted a topical remedy out of the cannabinoid, jojoba, lavender, bergamot and various natural oils to help her mother Margaret cope with three forms of arthritis. Okel made the remedy with plants she cultivated and extracted herself, and her handy kitchen Crock-Pot. She chuckles, “It was very old school.”
Seven years ago, Okel’s Kleenex-sized aspirations seemed like a pipe dream. A year after its debut, she removed “Oil” from Empower Oil to ensure the brand was strategically prepared for a broad assortment, and it became Empower BodyCare. The brand quickly expanded to a second product, soaking salts, and pushed into the CBD-only arena to go mainstream. CBD wasn’t mainstream, though. Okel figures pushing into the CBD arena back then enabled Empower BodyCare to enter around five stores.
Empower BodyCare developed a premium collection for Nordstrom consisting of CBD Luxury Soaking Salts, CBD Luxury Body Oil and three iterations of CBD Luxury Body Cream: lemon verbena, lavender bergamot and peppermint juniper. The premium collection’s prices and CBD doses are above those in the mass line, and its packaging is distinct. For instance, the body oil is $68 for a 30-ml. bottle with 500 milligrams of CBD at Nordstrom while the topical oil for mass audiences is $54 for a 30-ml. bottle with 227 milligrams of CBD. The premium packaging has white and rose gold foil. The mass line is black and white. Empower BodyCare relies on USDA certified organic hemp for its CBD, and tests each batch for cannabinoid potency, metals, pesticides and microbes.
Old school, yes, but the topical treatment was highly beneficial. “It brought my mom’s pain level from an eight to a three,” says Okel, familiar with the power of cannabis from using it for her fibromyalgia. Soon, she doled out her formula to anyone she encountered dealing with pain. Okel recounts, “They were saying it was life-changing for them, and I heard from a number of people who stopped taking opioids or who no longer had to take ibuprofen every day.”
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Despite the many reported benefits of CBD, the federal government, states and cities have different laws regarding the purchase and consumption of CBD. Check your local laws and note that there is a distinction between CBD from Cannabis and CBD derived from Hemp. Cannabis is still a Schedule 1 drug and therefore federally illegal. All cannabis derived CBD products can only be sold out of licensed dispensaries. While Hemp is now legal to grow and extract in all 50 States, as long as it contains less than 0.3 percent THC and can be sold much more freely. Big box retailers like Neiman Marcus, Sephora and CVS are all carrying Hemp derived CBD products.
It is important to note that research into CBD and its effects is relatively new. While research and individual's anecdotal experiences all indicate that these benefits are real and the result of CBD use, there is still a lot to learn. Fortunately, as cannabis, and CDB specifically, become more accepted, we will only learn more about its effects.
Cannabidiol is 1 of over 100 naturally occurring phyto-cannabinoids found in the hemp and cannabis plant. CBD works synergistically with our bodies endocannabinoid System a biological system composed of “endogenous” or self-produced cannabinoids, receptors in the nervous system and throughout the body that “endo” or “phyto” cannabinoids bond with and the enzymes that help break down these cannabinoids.
Not surprisingly, the short-term benefits of CBD, can lead to long-term health benefits with consistent use. Since the endocannabinoid system is crucial for “homeo-stasis” or your body’s efforts to function optimally, it requires a steady diet of cannabinoids to properly carry out this role. Research on debilitating diseases such as arthritis shows a lot of promise for short-term and long-term benefit, suggesting that the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis can be inhibited by CBD use and may even interrupt the progression of the condition. This is significant for dancers, because arthritis, if left unchecked can be a career-ending condition for dancers.
Unlike tetrahydrocannabinol, also called THC, cannabidiol is non-psychoactive. Therefore, it does not get you “high”, or cause the euphoric or sedated feelings commonly associated with cannabis. This makes CBD ideal for use with physical activities such as dance and sports.
Cannabidiol can be used in a variety of methods. It can be applied topically as a cream to help with localized pain. Additionally, CBD can be ingested sub-lingually or under the tongue, inhaled with a vaporizer or mixed into food. All of these ingestion methods have different effects, so consider consulting a doctor to determine which is best for your needs. Learn more about the different CBD wellness products here .
Research backs up the anecdotal evidence that cannabidiol can significantly reduce inflammation associated with strenuous activity and the pain from injury. For dancers, this is a significant benefit. Extended practice and performance is incredibly hard on one's body. Traditionally, dancers have relied on Advil, Aleve and other drugs to manage the subsequent inflammation and pain, but serious side-effects can be the result of over-reliance on these drugs. CBD offers a natural method of recovery and pain management without the harsh side-effects.