8 Outstanding CBD Innovations from Women-Owned Brands
From infusion ovens and face oils, to bath bombs and gummies, these women-led companies have taken the CBD industry to new heights.
This month and every month of the year, women working across every step of the supply chain are busy keeping the CBD scene interesting, inviting and effective. Although there remains plenty of discrepancy between the number of male and female-founded businesses in cannabis and hemp, there are a number of influential companies owned and operated by women that are changing the landscape of the industry at large. These are trendsetters; trailblazers—people who brought fresh, smart ideas to a male-dominated space and executed them without dimming their feminine perspectives. Women who not only saw blank space for products yet to be made and problems yet to be solved, but who also held the door open for other entrepreneurs following in their footsteps.
Here are a few of our favorite innovations in CBD from the minds and manufacturing facilities of women, as well as the unique origin stories that brought them to life.
Ten years ago, Shanel Lindsay was just another young lawyer establishing herself at a Boston firm. A lawyer with a few plants in her spare bedroom she’d turn into edibles. Lindsay had enjoyed cannabis for years, first falling for the plant when dealing with a painful ovarian cyst. But when a brush with the law proved to her how little decriminalization did to lessen cannabis stigma, she threw herself into advocacy and started innovating a subtle, easy device for people to make their own edibles at home. Key detail: make edibles at home *without the weed smell.* Ardent officially launched in 2015 with the Nova, a compact canister-shaped machine built to infuse butter or oil with up to an ounce of flower or 5 ounces of kief. The Ardent FX debuted in 2020, offering a larger, more user-friendly 1-button infusion device (with a THC/CBD setting) that you can also use to cook your final product (banana bread, spaghetti sauce—even infuse topicals). Ardent—preserving your apartment lease, one odorless bake at a time.
When you think CBD bath bombs, one name immediately comes to mind: Kush Queen. Founder Olivia Alexander has worked in cannabis for years, starting with a medical dispensary gig back in 2006. However, despite all of the industry’s progress over the next ten years, Alexander still saw a lack of cannabis products that spoke to wellness regimens. She also noticed a persistent degree of skepticism when it came to topicals, as in whether they were any more effective than an edible; whether they did anything at all. She founded Kush Queen CBD in 2017 with the goal of welcoming in women who love cannabis and newbies curious about it with an accessible, effective CBD topical. As I’ve stated before, baths are truly meant to be enhanced with cannabinoids. Submerging muscles in salty water, allowing every inch of skin to soak in the CBD for the duration of the bath—it’s like the ultimate consumption method for the topical form. Many brands have since added a bath bomb offering, but consumers have been in love with Kush Queen’s dozens of scents and CBD concentrations for years now.
In 2011, Julia Wills received a DIY soap making kit as a gift from her husband, Alex Kummerow, and technically, she just never stopped making plant-based skincare. The couple went on to co-found Herbivore with a set of simple, potent skin oils, building on that original line in time with trends like AHA exfoliation, bakuchiol and yes—CBD. Now, there are a motherlode of CBD face oils out there. It’s affordable to produce, hard to mess up too badly, and consumers have maintained high demand for a moisturized glow. But Herbivore’s oil stands a head above most. That’s because it’s made with CBD extracted from hemp as well as hemp seed oil, which is richer with fatty acids. Factor in the ashwagandha and turmeric root, and this little emerald-hued oil lassoes all the effects of the most interesting natural ingredients right now.
Anyone else still thinking about lucid dreaming after binging Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes? Barbari’s co-founders Meryl Montgomery and Valarie Šakota were ahead of the curve in more ways than one with their herbal smoking blends and 50/50 herb-hemp spliffs, a couple of which contain flowers with very mild hallucinogenic properties. Airplane Mode spliffs are made with hemp, raspberry leaf, sage, rose, lavender and blue lotus—known for supporting lucid dreaming. They sell the herbal blends by the jar, which you can use to make tea or elevate a bath soak as well. Perhaps most notably, Montgomery and Šakota built a business structure that consistently gives a percentage of proceeds back to community organizations supporting the arts and social justice, long before there was a social media push to do so. Currently, they’re donating to The Family Preservation Project (FPP), which promotes individual and system level change in order to reduce the collateral consequences of parental incarceration on children, families, and the community.
This culinary CBD brand gives new meaning to the notion of an Asian-American company. When co-founder Felicity Chen came home from college, she found her father had begun beekeeping. So when she was trying to open her mom’s mind to the medicinal properties of cannabis, she added some to her honey. With that first jar, Potli was born. Chen was joined by friend and co-founder Christine Yi to formulate a CBD-infused apple cider vinegar, olive oil, and a special Dream Honey made with a little melatonin and a “tested hemp oil ratio of CBN and CBD.” They still harvest honey from Chen’s parents’ backyard and 50 hives throughout the East Bay. and many recent reviews still declare this to be the most effective CBD product that supports lasting, satisfying sleep out there.
When Shehzeen Mitha co-founded this Florida-based CBD company, the mother of twins was most interested in helping people feel confident when exploring CBD. Not just comfortable to learn more about cannabinoids, but self-assured when it comes to transparency and ingredients. She couldn’t deny the universal appeal of gummy edibles, but went the extra step to create three versions: true candy options like sour rainbow belts, a vegan line in more grown-up flavors like Dragon Fruit and Strawberry Champagne, and a sugar-free version that won’t spike your blood sugar every time you need to chill out. The brand sells a variety of hemp-derived products with clear labeling and dosage information, and serve as a potent reminder that not everyone seeking discreet, accessible products is uninterested in tasty, fun treats. Moms still like gummies!
We can all appreciate a shapely ceramic piece or an artful glass pipe. But you know what we all really need? A perfect one-hitter that never breaks and never clogs. When Sara Hussain visualized what that perfect, essential piece could look like while on tour with her band, Nihilitia, she hastily sketched the idea on a napkin. It wasn’t until a while later, following the tragic loss of her bandmate, that the urge to create something new spurred her to make her pipe dream a reality in early 2019. The BUDDY is an ultra durable one-hitter made out of shatterproof anodized aluminum in matte black, and each pipe comes with a thoughtful odor-proof carrying case, an ash cap to keep things tidy in your purse/bag, and a cleaning wand for maintenance. Truly the last one-hitter you’ll ever need, at a super affordable price point.
There may be dozens of brands catering towards the needs of women in the CBD game, but none do it with the same degree of bold, gold-detailed femininity as Her Highness. Co-founders Laura Eisman and Allison Krongard set out to “address women’s pain and pleasure points” with style, creating a range of CBD pre-rolls, vape pens, and accessories with more nuanced doses of cannabinoids and terpenes designed to meet women’s needs—including these brilliant transdermal patches sized for cushiony pain relief when wearing narrow high heels—all of it beautifully packaged with gold foil touches and red lipstick motifs. These were the kinds of products and aesthetics Eisman and Krongard yearned for while managing stress as mothers and CEOs. Eisman founded an early online fashion hub called Girlshop in 1998, and Krongard founded the kids’ wallpaper company WallCandy Arts. In 2019, the pair launched Her Highness, rolling out THC offerings in California and Nevada, and the brand’s regal destiny continues to unfold.