These cannabis-friendly founders are changing the categories of food, drink, beauty, and wellness.

By Caroline Biggs
October 30, 2020
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Credit: Mike Krautter

If you aren't already hip to the benefits of cannabidiol, now's the time to discover it. More commonly known as CBD, cannabidiol is a non-psychoactive chemical compound extracted from cannabis or marijuana plants (and usually mixed with a carrier oil like coconut or hemp) that offers all the anxiety-reducing and pain relief benefits of marijuana, without the "high" from tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

It should come as no surprise that CBD is currently making major waves in the health and wellness communities. In fact, a slew of female-run CBD brands has launched in recent years, offering an assortment of products that allow users to reap the benefits of cannabis—sans the mind-altering side effects. Interested in supporting a woman-led CBD brand? Read ahead for ten female CEOs who are spearheading the CBD industry.

Martha Stewart

Leave it to Martha to launch a line of gourmet CBD products that are every bit as delicious as they are beneficial. In partnership with Canopy Growth, a leading hemp and CBD company, Martha recently released a line of wellness products including citrus and berry-infused gummies, soft gels, and oils, all of which combine gourmet flavors with the purest, safest CBD, derived from 100 percent U.S natural hemp.

Malaika Jones Kebede, Tai Beauchamp, and Nia Jones of BROWN GIRL Jane

When Malaika Jones Kebede, Tai Beauchamp, and Nia Jones launched BROWN GIRL Jane in January 2020, they did so with a mission to bring the benefits of CBD to the masses. "We wanted to help the badass women we love feel centered, whole, and beautiful," Kebede says. Their luxe line of products range from daily cannabidiol oils drops to CBD facial serums and body butter, all of which promote the value of plant-based wellness and beauty.

Kristi Palmer of Kiva Confections

If you're a fan of CBD-infused sweets, look no further than Kiva Confections. Founded in 2010 by Kristi Palmer, and her husband Scott, the Oakland, California-based brand offers an assortment of both cannabis and CBD treats, including CBD dark chocolate bars, almond bites, mints, and gummies. "Kiva Confections' mission is to change how the world views and uses cannabis for the better, and to support the health and happiness of its users," says Palmer.

Dorian Morris of Undefined Beauty

After years of working in the beauty industry, Dorian Morris launched Undefined Beauty in 2018 on a mission to "democratize beauty" by bringing affordable CBD-based products to the masses. Her line of vegan-friendly beauty cosmetics includes everything from a CBD-infused face serum with 16 different botanicals to smoothing lip balms with CBD, all of which contain no parabens, fragrances, phthalates, or silicones and are sustainably packaged and cruelty-free.

Cat Major of Blissful Stoner Body Essentials

Why buy traditional bath, beauty, and pain relief products when you can have CBD-infused ones instead? Cat Major launched Blissful Stoner Body Essentials to provide premium and affordable CBD bath and body products, including bath soaks, body oils, and pain relief rubs that relieve stress and anxiety the all-natural way. "Our goal is to inform others, specifically communities of color, who have little to no knowledge about the benefits of CBD in regards to stress, anxiety, and pain relief, and how it can provide overall mental health support," she says.

Barbara Goodstein of B GREAT

When Barbara Goodstein launched B GREAT in 2019, the New York City-based founder and CEO was on a mission to educate people about the therapeutic benefits of CBD. Today, the brand's bestsellers include drinkable CBD shots for both relaxation and focus, as well as antioxidant creams. "My goal at B GREAT is to provide consumers with superior quality hemp-based products that they can use with confidence," she explains.

Dana Mitchell of Batch Apothecary

When Dana Mitchell, a former nurse, launched Batch Apothecary in December 2019, her goal was to provide relief to sufferers of chronic pain. "A friend of mine who had suffered great discomfort from a lung infection finally found relief from CBD after not having success with traditional remedies prescribed by doctors," she explains. Thanks to her beautifully packaged line of CBD tinctures, body butters and oils, it's safe to say nurse-turned-CEO has succeeded.

Jessica Mulligan of Winged CBD

As a sufferer of chronic anxiety, Jessica Mulligan was inspired to start Winged in 2019 to help other women cope with the condition. "I dove deep into the research and learned how women experience anxiety disorders at twice the rate of men, often because of our different hormonal responses," she explains. Today, the brand offers a slew of savvy female-formulated CBD products, including CBD oils, gummies, and soft gels. "We believe that when a woman feels good, and isn't bogged down by stress or anxiety, that she is unstoppable."

Hilary McCain of Sweet Reason

If you weren't aware of the option of a CBD-infused beverage, then here is your chance to learn more about it and its benefits. In 2018, Hilary McCain launched her line of calming CBD sparkling water, Sweet Reason, to make drinking CBD on-the-go a breeze. "I think that anxiety is one of the biggest health problems of our generation, and people need more tools to help them stay calm, focused, and centered throughout their day," she says.

Ashley Lewis and Meredith Schroeder of Fleur Marché

For a more comprehensive selection of CBD goods, head over to Fleur Marché. Ashley Lewis and Meredith Schroeder launched the online CBD marketplace in January 2019, inspired by companies like Sephora, Peach & Lilly, and Glow Recipe. "We felt there was an opportunity to expand the narrative around what cannabis is and what it can do by creating an elevated, chic, and accessible place for women to learn about and buy the best-of-the-best CBD products on the market," Lewis says.

Coral and Tarah Hines of Buena Botanicals

When sisters Coral and Tarah "Rah" Hines first launched Buena Botanicals in 2019, their mother was their first customer. "She has high blood pressure, arthritis, and several other medical health conditions that often make it hard for her to enjoy her day to day," Coral explains. "After giving her some of our products and seeing the amount of relief it gave her, we knew that CBD had the potential to help others in our communities.” Today, the Atlanta-based pair take a two-prong approach to their business. "We create CBD products for people struggling with conditions like depression, chronic pain, and anxiety, while educating people, especially Black people, about the benefits of CBD."

Amanda Jones and Jennifer Chapin of Kikoko

Amanda Jones and Jennifer Chapin launched Kikoko in 2015 after losing a friend to cancer. "She said there was a great need for a trustworthy, women-centric, lower-dose line of cannabis products," Jones says. And while the brand currently only offers low-dose cannabis products, including teas, tinctures, and mints, they’ll be releasing a CBD-only line at the end of the year. "We're happy to be jumping into the CBD-only ring, however we remain big believers in the importance of the 'whole plant' effect, and the enhanced health benefits when CBD teams up with even small amounts of THC," Chapin says.

Carolyn Gray of Noirebud

When Carolyn Gray first discovered the benefits of CBD while working in the fitness industry, she says she didn't quite connect with any of the brands available at the time. "There were so many black and brown people incarcerated for their affiliation to marijuana, but none of the brands selling in high-end stores were run by black and brown people." In 2019, she launched Noirebud, her line of natural, CBD-based beauty and wellness products, such as oral drops, herbal teas, hard candies, and body salve, and hasn't looked back since. "I wanted to create a varied offering that was luxe yet affordable to pay homage to those who have been oppressed by the system."

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