Banking on beauty

The concept of “pink-washing” is an annoying reality for women, as manufacturers use feminine colors, imagery and language to sell products—and it’s not lost on the cannabis industry either

Foria’s Awaken arousal oil boasts sexual health.

Foria’s Awaken arousal oil boasts sexual health.

Photo courtesy of foria

The concept of “pink-washing”—marketing products to women using stereotypically feminine colors, imagery and language—is an annoying reality. Pastel-hued disposable razors and fruity pink energy drinks are but two examples of products that play into archaic notions of what it means to be a woman.

Legally speaking, the Federal Drug Administration prohibits cannabis-related companies and manufacturers from marketing products with any promises or claims of treatment, but that doesn’t mean the industry is immune to gendered targeting. Some efforts are less subtle than others. Case in point: the numerous pink or floral vape pens available to buy. Still, some products may offer legitimate benefits.

Here are six items, some clearly made with a woman shopper in mind, others more subtly so, all aimed at various concerns including dry skin, anxiety, sleeplessness and—seriously, yay—relief for PMS symptoms.

A modern boost

Foria Wellness Basics Tonic

Tonics always seem old-fashioned to me—something brewed in a 19th century apothecary with promises to cure whatever ails you (winter fever, consumption, scurvy). Foria Wellness’ Basics Tonic is decidedly more modern in its approach. The company’s line, which includes its Awaken arousal oil and CBD Suppositories (to treat menstrual cramps), is clearly crafted for women with its “elegant” vape pens and frank language about sexual health. The tonic, made with broad spectrum CBD hemp extract in MCT coconut oil, is promoted as a health aid for tension, mental clarity, a better mood and “overall wellness.” At $98 a bottle (for 60 servings), however, it’s pricey and the results seem minimal at best. Still, as with many such products, you may benefit from repeated use. A dose is 1 milliliter but it’s recommended to start with just half that. Flavorless and viscous, you can take it straight or add it to your morning coffee.

Skin deep

Josie Maran Skin Dope Argan + Hemp Oil

Over the last year or so, cosmetic companies have labored to capitalize on the cannabis trend as well as their customers’ vanity. Scan the beauty store aisles and find multiple oils, creams and serums that promise miracles. Josie Maran, long considered an industry standard in beauty oils, has two new cannabis-related products. While its Skin Dope Argan Oil + 100 milligram CBD, designed to treat red, dry and dull skin, isn’t yet available locally, you can try its counterpart, Skin Dope Argan + Hemp Oil. The facial/body oil features an organic cannabis sativa seed oil and is advertised as a treatment for dry skin, uneven texture and loss of skin firmness. While it would likely take months to notice any results for the latter claim, just one application did make my skin feel silky smooth. At $65 a bottle it’s expensive but hey, self-care is the best care.

Sleep tighter

Ritual NightTime

Once a women enters perimenopause, the ability to fall (and stay) asleep often becomes a nightly battle. Elite California’s Ritual NightTime drops $36) are honestly one of the best products I’ve tried—with or without cannabis ingredients. Formulated with a 4:1 ratio of CBD to THC and blended with botanical extracts including lavender and vanilla, these drops help me relax enough to fall asleep every time I use them. I’m pretty THC-sensitive (i.e, it doesn’t take much for me to get high) so I stick to the generous “medium” 0.5 mL dose.

Relief by the drop

CBD Mendo Tincture

This Willits-based company handcrafts various tinctures in small batches. Derived from whole cannabis flowers and formulated with grape alcohol, each dropper dose contains 10 mg of CBD and only a trace of THC. Available in several flavors, such as lemon and peppermint, the tinctures are supposed to help with anxiety, cramps, bloating and headaches. It’s recommended new users start out with just five drops—on the tongue, not under. (The grape alcohol really burns when placed under the tongue.) I tried a mini-dose one particularly PMS-y morning, but only experienced a twinge of relief. This may be a case of trial and error. Next time, I’ll use a full dropper. Not committed to a full-sized $50 vial? Pick up a five-dose vial for just $19.99.

Aromatherapy in a tin

Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Balm

The Colorado-based Charlotte’s Web line features various capsules, oils, creams and balms made with hemp extract and with what it describes as “beneficial cannabinoids” including CBD oil. Its Charlotte’s Web Hemp Infused Balm ($39.99 for a 1.5 ounce tin) is formulated with hemp extract, apricot kernel oil, shea butter, vitamin E, and sunflower seed oil and designed to moisturize and “calm” skin. Thick and buttery to the touch, it has a pleasantly fresh citrus scent that makes each application feel like a mini aromatherapy session.


ShiKai CBD Cream

Sometimes when I’m dealing with PMS, it feels like every part of my body just hurts. Enter ShiKai CBD Cream ($29.99), a thick, colorless and scent-free lotion with 250 mg of CBD. I slathered on this stuff one achy morning and, honest to God, felt almost instant relief. Based in Santa Rosa, the company touts its mission to harness “the power of nature to produce incredible results for skin, body and hair.” While this cream, made with avocado oil and Vitamin E, isn’t necessarily marketed to treat PMS symptoms, one application gave me deep tissue and muscle relief.