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Cannabis-Based Skincare by Apothecanna

Colorado marijuana enhances other all-natural ingredients

by David Graver in Style on 13 May 2014

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For almost a decade, James Kennedy worked within the all-natural products industry. As an industrial designer, Kennedy spent years at Aveda before working directly for the brand's founder Horst Rechelbacher. During the course of his tenure with the late Rechelbacher, Kennedy found himself drawn just as much to the product recipes and their environmental impact as he was to their packaging and branding. After witnessing people enter marijuana dispensaries in Colorado with legitimate conditions—all of whom praised the benefits of medicinal marijuana—Kennedy embarked on his own product development and experimentation before launching his own company. The result, Apothecanna, stands as the first skincare company in the United States to be licensed to use cannabis flower extracts in their products. Meant for topical use, his range of balms, creams and a salve employ cannabis oil and other equally acclaimed all-natural components for a product that's high quality, thoughtful and effective. And since this form of cannabis usage doesn't cause inebriating effects, there's no risk and it won't appear on standard drug tests.

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"CB1 receptors respond to THC—that's what gets you high. In this form, CB2 receptors are activated by the other cannabinoids." What this means is that Apothecanna products won't get you stoned—nor is that the brand's intention. Instead, these are modern topical ointments, invoking Eastern medicinal theories, but targeting a newly aware audience. The cannabis oil acts as a super-charger for the other all-natural ingredients it's been paired with—be that peppermint, arnica or any of the other botanicals Kennedy has delved into. He meticulously partners the oil with other upscale plant extracts and more, crafting something beyond the novelty of a marijuana cream. It's a flat-out good lotion with powerful effects. "This is past aromatherapy. It comes down to harmony and I try to bring that to this line," Kennedy explains. Additionally, the marijuana is all grown within Colorado at licensed facilities, and the origins of the other ingredients are equally transparent. When unified, the impact is potent.

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Each cream and balm is constructed around a function (pain relief, relaxation or energy) and each hempseed oil base is partnered with ingredients that share a similar goal. The original formula, Kennedy shares, was created at a public library while doing research on perfuming and adjusting proportionality for scent and grace notes. The sensory experience of the product contributes to the overall experience with its effects. Kennedy recognizes that "the cannabis curb appeal" plays a factor in people's interest, but calls attention to the fact that herbs and extracts have been used as healing components for centuries.

Kennedy's business has tripled in the last few months, and he has repeat clients who are devout. We tried a few of the products and found the lip balm to be very appealing and effective, and the pain cream delivered a full, warming experience.

Apothecanna products are available online with prices ranging from $10 to $50. While they can only be purchased in the state of Colorado, Kennedy has plans to roll out elsewhere as laws change.

Images courtesy of Apothecanna

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