How to use cannabis roots for skincare and more!
Andrea Meharg: Welcome back to another video from Reveal Cannabis. My name is Andrea Meharg I'm a Certified Cannabis Coach and Educator, and I'm here on YouTube because I'm really passionate about learning all I can about cannabis and then teaching you about it as well. If you like that kind of thing, make sure that you hit subscribe so that you're notified of all the upcoming videos.
I'm really excited about today's guest ever since I met her because she's doing such an interesting thing in the cannabis space that I haven't heard or seen anybody else doing. And it turns out that she's right in my own backyard here in Southwestern Ontario. So today we're gonna be talking about how can we use cannabis roots? What are they beneficial for? How might they help, especially with skin care and so much more all about the roots.
Who Is Jennifer Grant and empyri?
Andrea Meharg: I'm gonna start with Jennifer Grant's biography so that you can see why she is definitely the person that I need to interview about this particular topic. So Jennifer is the president and founder of empyri. Her passion for formulation and product development was set a blaze in 2019 when she incorporated the healing power of cannabis roots into her long into her long standing three step skincare system. Armed with scientific evidence on the activities and cannabis roots and seeds, a clean and conscious brand was born. Using her master's degree in biochemical engineering. See, I told you she was the one to interview about this. Jennifer is forging a path to maximize the utility of Canadian grown cannabis while developing a line of beauty, skincare and wellness products for all.
Jennifer is also the president of Dell Tech Laboratories, a regulatory compliance firm, helping clients navigate the complex regulations surrounding specialty chemical products in Canada. Jennifer is proud to have carried out all the scientific research for empyri including chemical, chemical, extractions of cannabis roots and all product formulation in Dell Tech chemical laboratory in London, Ontario, Canada. Go London. A serial founder Jennifer was also Canada's first winner of the hit CBC show, the Dragons Den. Gotta say one of my favorite shows) securing financing for, for her organic salad dressing company in 2006. A mother of three amazing sons and a community volunteer, Jennifer values, personal wellbeing, and sustainable living, connecting people to their health, their inner equanimity and the earth.
All right. Your background is amazing. And I do wanna talk about like what led you to be a cannabis roots skincare entrepreneur, but let's start out right from the top.
What Can We Use Cannabis Roots For? What are the benefits of cannabis roots?
Andrea Meharg: What can we use cannabis roots for? What are they beneficial for?
Jen Grant: So cannabis roots have been used in traditional Chinese medicine for over a thousand years, both topically and internally, primarily for women's health. Issues. Um, it turns out that cannabis roots are chalk full of an anti-inflammatory compound called friedelin. Uh, friedelin, um, can be found in a bunch of products. It can be found in cork. Uh, but it's in really high levels in cannabis roots, both marijuana and hemp roots. And friedelin works topically to reduce inflammation. So reduce redness, reduce soreness, reduce, clogged pores. Um, 80% of North American disease is due to some kind of inflammation. And a lot of our skin concerns, acne rosacea ,psoriasis that is due in part to inflammation as well. Um, if you compare cannabis roots to another popular root ginsing root. Uh, the active compounds in gin sing. Uh, they're called ginsenosides and they are at a level of about 2% in the ginsing root.
Um, I did chemical extractions on, uh, about, about 15 different strains of both hemp and marijuana. Looking at female hemp, male hemp, female marijuana. And, the friedelin is at about a 26% level in cannabis roots. So they're super high in this, uh, very anti-inflammatory compound. Um, so over the years, people have, uh, consumed cannabis root tea um, or turned it into more like a poultice to put, uh, topically.
Jen's lifelong battle with acne led her to incorporate cannabis roots into her formulations
Jen Grant: The skin issues that I dealt with, you know, way back to being a teenager primarily was, uh, acne. Um, I had really, really bad acne as a teenager. Um, a really formative moment for me, or I'll never forget when I was about 14 years old. um, I, I was kind of shy. I had a lot of acne. Um, I like this guy, you know how the story goes. He went away for holidays for three weeks. And when he came back, I'd had quite a flare up. And the first thing he said to me was, what did you do to your face? And that has stuck with me because it was like, it's a pretty formative moment to know people really that that's the first thing they see is your face. So I struggled for years and years with, uh, skin issues. Um, and then, you know, most recently, uh, for me with acne, I had adult acne, every, every one of my three babies I had, I got lots of acne. Um, but I got quite sick about 10 years ago. Um, I had a undiagnosed appendicitis, uh, that burst and I went into septic shock. and one of the really bizarre side effects of going into toxic shock was that I got, I developed obscene amounts of cystic acne from literally the top of my skull down to the bottom of my chest. And I tried and tried for a year to find something, to help treat this acne. and it was a, girlfriend of mine that said you should try this natural skincare system. there's a woman downtown. She makes it herself, give it a try. And it was the first thing in years and years of searching for a skincare system for this cystic acne that really worked for me. and it turns out there were a couple of compounds in there that were, were effective. And one of them was this vitamin C. So when I look at the Genesis of empyri i, I loved this skincare system. it just so happened that I was going away for a year to live on a boat with my three kids. Uh, and couldn't bring this skincare system with me because these tiny little amples of vitamin C had to be kept in the freezer.
What's In empyri skincare products, and why?
Jen Grant: So I, reformulated this skincare line to be something that I could bring with me. and that is how in empyri started was the vitamin C in that skincare line is, now the vitamin C toner for empyri. And what makes it so special is that you add the vitamin C yourself every two weeks. But the really special ingredients, friedelin which is anti-inflammatory compound found in surprisingly in cannabis roots and also something called linoleic acid. So linoleic acid when, when we get acne or, uh, inflammation of the skin, redness dryness, if our skin is deficient in linoleic acid, our, sebum gets really thick and sticky and it clogs our pores and it causes acne. It causes inflammation. Hemp seed oil is really high in linoleic acid. It's like 85% linoleic acid. So when you combine the friedelin from the cannabis roots with the linoleic acid, from the hemp seed oil, and then you introduce this really active vitamin C. That for me was the holy Trinity of, of clear and bright skin, you know? And the, the nice, the nice side effect was, yes, it cleared up my acne, but it also, uh, reduced my fine lines. It gave me some nice bright skin and, uh, at 52, my skin has, you know, really never looked better.
Andrea Meharg: That's amazing. What an origin story from really suffering with acne to then having it come back with. a vengeance in your adulthood to finding something and that works, but maybe not something that's super practical to just, oh, well, I'm just gonna design a system that works and is practical. How did you think to incorporate friedelin or cannabis roots? Like where did that come from?
Why Did Jennifer Decide to Put Cannabis Roots into her Skincare?
Jen Grant: So that was, that was the last piece of the puzzle for me as I was. So this, this skincare system, this three step skincare system, I've been, uh, I, I launched it as a business, uh, almost 10 years ago. Um, I have been making it for friends and family ever since and when my other business Dell Tech got into the cannabis industry, I started learning more and more about this plant. You know, I have been using it, medicinally myself for insomnia for years. Um, and, uh, it was one of my contacts in the industry who I, we were, I was working with through Dell Tech that said, you know, you gotta look at the root there's, something about the root. And, um, when I started looking into cannabis roots and I learned they were used in traditional Chinese medicine, I, I thought, okay, there's, there's something here. And that's when I kind of threw my engineering hat on and started looking at the active ingredients in there. You know, I knew there had to be something in there that was, uh, positively impacting skin and inflammation and it, it was this compound free. And so I, I found friedelin you know, in the literature and I'm like, I thought, okay, I've gotta find it practically in these roots. And so started testing roots out and was amazed to find that that Canadian hemp and marijuana roots I was testing were even higher in friedelin than what was found in literature.
How Can Home Growers Use Cannabis Roots?
Andrea Meharg: From somebody who does not have Dell Tech Laboratories at their disposal, is it possible for home growers to utilize their own roots from the cannabis that we're allowed to grow legally here in Canada? Thank goodness. And if so, how could one do that?
Jen Grant: So there's a couple of different ways. Uh, cannabis root tea is, is one of the easiest ways to consume friedelin and cannabis roots. I personally drink cannabis root tea. Um, from a chemical perspective, friedelin is it's a triterpenoid. Um, Which means, uh, it is actually soluble both in water and in oil, it's, it's a special compound. So, um, if you, if you steep it in warm water, the friedelin will be extracted. Or if you steep it in warm oil, the friedelin will also be extracted. And, um, I, for the last two years, I've been doing research with the University of Western Ontario on extraction of cannabis roots, and it turns out hemp seed oil is one of the best ways to extract friedelin from hemp or cannabis roots. Uh, so what I do, it's, it's a proprietary process, but I kind of make a bit of a slurry with, with finally ground roots. Super flipping and hard to do because cannabis roots are they're harder than wood. Like I have broken so many pieces of kitchen, household equipment and some industrial equipment trying to pulverize these roots. They're hard and they're also resonance, so they kind of gum up equipment. But anyway, um, So at home, you can, uh, just break up your roots and boil them in water to turn them into a tea. Um, I am soon, uh, launching a cannabis root mask and you just mix, you mix it with water, warm water, um, and you can put some oil, you make it yourself at home. Um, so you will, it comes in a power form and you can mix it with warm water and that will extract out, uh, the friedelin.
Andrea Meharg: And are there studies specifically on using friedelin on your skin and the benefits that we can get from that? Or is this something that's coming?
Jen Grant: I have not found a study of friedelin in particular on the skin. What I have found, um, is friedelin found in cork used internally on and mice to help combat inflammatory disease. And there are anti-inflammatory markers associated with that. Um, so it is, uh, an extrapolation to say, if it can, if it can, uh, be anti-inflammatory in the body, therefore it can be anti-inflammatory on the body. Similar to vitamin C. We know that it's good in the body and on the body. Um, but anecdotally, uh, our customers do, uh, notice, um, decreased puffiness on their skin after using our three step skincare ritual.
What Makes empyri Products Different? It's not just the cannabis roots!
Andrea Meharg: Okay. Tell me more about that. Tell me more about the results that you've seen by people using empyri's product. I have the moisturizer and I love it. This I love and adore and it makes my face feel a little bit tingly. Is that friedelin is that the vitamin C is that the linolenic acid what's going on?
Jen Grant: So there's, there's friedelin and linoleic acid in that. But I think the big component in our cream is the hyaluronic acid. It absorbs a thousand times its weight and water. So it just makes your skin, uh, rich, like moisturized and plump and it kind of plums out fine lines, you know, a as a, uh, skincare brand founder, I have struggled with the term anti-aging. I am 52. We all wanna look younger, you know, I, I, I don't think there's anything wrong with the wrinkles that are associated with having three kids and, you know, the stretch marks all over my stomach. I have lived a good life and you can see it on my face. I don't wanna look like I'm 20, but I do wanna look my best every day. Mm-hmm um, I've struggled with looking you know, like I've had something run over my face many times in my life. So it's important to me to show up looking my best. I learned early on that I, my skin needs three steps to fight acne. And I have not had a pimple in a while, but I've been using a three step skin care system for probably 10 years, a cleanser, a toner, and a moisturizer. I need that. Every day in order to, to maintain my, the, the way my, my skin looks, um, and the empyri three step it's. Um, but the first step is an oil cleanser. Uh, I found with my skin and with many, uh, people that are using the oil cleanser, using a foaming cleanser, what it does is it, it kind of, it takes off the top layer of protective oils of our skin. And what that does is it causes our skin to overproduce. Because our skin wants to maintain homeostasis. So if you're stripping the oil off, our skin starts to overproduce and our, we can get clogged for. So what an oil cleanser does is it works on the basis of like dissolves. Like, so if you're wearing, um, any makeup whatsoever or sunscreen, the oil cleanser will dissolve all of your makeup and sunscreen and you just wash it. But your skin is left, uh, moisturized and clean. So for me, first step is always an oil cleanser. The second step is our hydrating toner with vitamin C and this is the product that I developed because I wanted an active vitamin C uh, serum. You can spend a hundred dollars on a vial of vitamin C serum and in two to three weeks, the activity, because vitamin C oxidizes the activity of that serum goes way down. So the way that I formulated this system was it comes with little sachets of vitamin C that you add to your small vitamin C bottle. Every two weeks you add the hydrating toner to it, you mix it up and you can feel the activity when you're using it, cuz it really does tingle on your face. Um, and then once the vitamin C C starts to oxidize in two weeks, you're done. And you start again with a brand new, fresh system. Um, women really like this because vitamin C well known that vitamin C um, boosts collagen production. When you get over 30 years old, your collagen production starts to decrease and vitamin C will boost that. So that causes you to have, you know, fewer fine lines, it brightens up your skin and it just makes, makes you glow. Um, and then the third step, uh, is an oil based serum. Packed full of, um, cannabis roots of hemp seed oil. Again, the high linoleic acid causes your pores to shrink. Um, there's also a hydrolyzed hemp seed extract in that, which is clinically proven to enhance the look of skin and hair. If you're into using any oil in your hair. Um, and then there's other things like meadowfoam seed oil, which is transdermal. So it works to pull the active ingredients down to the, the lower levels of your sebum of your skin. Um, there's also olive oil derived, uh, squalene which is wonderful for moisturizing skin. So the three steps, um, they, they were formulated so that you don't be because I separated the oil from the water. You don't need, um, a preservative and you don't need, uh, an emulsifier. So it's a really, really clean system that works. Thanks to, uh, three very effective compounds found surprisingly in cannabis.
Can You Purchase empyri Products Worldwide? Are There THC or CBD in There?
Andrea Meharg: And let's talk about if somebody wanted to purchase this, they could purchase this globally because it's, it does not contain THC or cBD is, this is what I was so about for you is that you're able to use what most producers, the vast, huge, vast majority of producers throw away or burn or do something with. And you're able to use that and extract 24% friedelin like that's crazy, um, to make this product that is a cannabis derived product, but how does that work with legalities and shipping and all of that?
Jen Grant: I'm really glad you brought that up because that that's right there, there is zero THC and zero CBD in any of these products, they are cosmetic products. So Health Canada has the cannabis act that governs all of the cannabis products. And it also has, uh, a set of regulations for cosmetics and these products are cosmetics, so they can be sold in any drug store or any, any beauty store, um, and online they can be purchased from anywhere around the world from empyri.com because they are cosmetic product.
How to Make Your Own Friedelin-Infused Products At Home
Andrea Meharg: That's awesome. Um, to bring it back to people at home. If you're listening to this and you're thinking, oh my gosh, I wanna try this for myself. It's really interesting that I could take that cannabis route and extract it into a tea and drink it and hopefully get some systemic anti-inflammatory benefits. But also that I could extract that into an oil. If I'm already doing oil cleansing or oil, moist moisturizing to get the benefit of the friedelin as well. Am I reading that situation right?
[Jen Grant: Absolutely. So what I would do at home is I would, uh, get a super, if you, you know, I have a, a Levo machine that, that I can extract, um, cannabis flower, but you can also use that same machine or you can use a, slow cooker on the lowest setting. You can get your cannabis roots, get, break them up into pieces. The smallest pieces that you can do with garden shears or whatever,
Andrea Meharg: Or huge axes. Yes. Chainsaws and stuff, whatever you need. Yep.
Jen Grant: So, so the process is power wash them first. So you pull your roots up power, wash them, set them out to dry for, you know, while you're drying your flower, hang your roots to dry, and they should be done at the same about the same point. Um, if they're not completely dry, you can dry them as you're. Then break them up into small pieces and put them on as low as you can. Cover them put them in the bottom of a, of a slow cooker, cover them with hemp seed oil and simmer them for a day. And you will have a very highly, very rich oil that you, you can strain them out. And then you can use that oil uh, you can use it as an oil cleanser. You can use it um, to boost, uh, cream. So one thing that I love to do with, with our serum, um, is that in the winter, especially, you know, my hands get dry and red and itchy and scaly, um, I'll take hand cream, our cannabis, uh, hyaluronic acid cream, and I'll throw a couple of extra pumps of the serum in there. So you can throw a few drops of. friedelin rich hemps seed oil in to any cream you use anywhere on your body. And it'll just give it a nice boost of, uh, active ingredients.
Andrea Meharg: I'm really excited to hear about that for the home use part of my, um, one of the things that I think is most miraculous about cannabis in my own home is that my son who suffered from really terrible eczema since he was a baby, like red bleeding lips and red bleeding hands. Um, when I started making just a very simple THC extraction in olive oil and I just like one day rubbed it on as eczema. And it was again, almost miraculous how quickly it worked for him. And so how cool would it be if I could make his regular eczema fighting olive oil extraction, but also throwing cannabis roots and maybe get even more healing power from it, especially if I'm doing it in hemp seed oil. I'm just always fascinated by how this plant brings us around full circle again, to it over and over again. Now that I am really excited to go make my own cannabis root extraction.
Big Changes Might Be Coming to the Canadian Cannabis Skincare Market
Andrea Meharg: What's coming up next for you, Jennifer Grant. What are you excited about in the cannabis space?
Jen Grant: I sit on a task force, uh, with Cosmetics Alliance Canada on cannabis regulations for personal care products. And Canada has been talking about introducing a new set of regulations for low risk products, like CBD topicals, um, that would take them outside of the, the Cannabis Act. Uh, they've been called, um, CHPs cannabis, health products, and, um, they, the, they are coming, they are around the corner, you know, we've been saying for. For four years that it's coming in the next two to five years. But I think that the, the, this set of regulations is on the way and the really exciting thing, uh, with that is that, um, manufacturers like me, um, can make, uh, a larger variety of low risk products. So I can start infusing my skincare products with CBD, which is incredibly anti-inflammatory. Um, and hopefully the big hope is that they can be found, um, not just at, at, uh, licensed stores, but they might be able to be, be in pharmacies. So if that happens, it'll really open up, um, a huge variety of topicals and maybe tinctures as well, um, available for the consumer. It'll just make it so much more accessible.
Andrea Meharg: It's so funny when I talk to American students at the Cannabis Coaching Institute and I tell them like, Hey, did you know, we can't even buy CBD topicals here because they're so dangerous.
Yeah. Um, I didn't know that was coming to Canada and that is extremely exciting. I'm taking a super nerd class right now. And one of my research projects is on using CBD for acne. And again, there's not great, you know, human studies on this yet. But just looking at the mechanism of action for how CBD can help with acne it's so promising to be able to put that into this already beautiful skincare product that you have and add in just like another player in the fight kind of thing, in order to help you all have beautiful, glowing skin like Jen!
That's really exciting to hear. Thank you so much for telling us about that.
Thank you so much, Jen, for coming on here and talking to us all about the great work that you're doing with empyri, and also how we can take that same knowledge that you put to work through your master's degree and you know, your lab and everything. And letting us hear about that all on YouTube I really appreciate it. If you love this style of interview, again, make sure you check out the playlists that I have linked down below. We're in interviewing a whole bunch of fascinating people in the cannabis space, so that I get to ask them all the questions that I wanna know about this kind of stuff. So make sure you do that and I will see you on the next video. Bye.