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Exclusive: The Honest Co.’s co-founder partners with the Cannabis Feminist to take hemp mainstream


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Photo: Stocksy/Jesse Weinberg

If CBD is like Amy Schumer circa now—having a big moment and showing no signs of slowing down—then hemp is like her struggling comedian counterpart still getting heckled in a dive bar in the suburbs of Cleveland. In all of the hullabaloo around the former, the latter has been largely ignored.

A perhaps unlikely pair hopes to change this by launching a new educational platform, called Hempia, that will push the plant into the spotlight. Christopher Gavigan, co-founder of The Honest Company, and Jessica Assaf, founder of Cannabis Feminist and a long-time clean beauty activist, have teamed up to evangelize the benefits of this underrated (and perhaps, stigmatized) plant to mainstream audiences.

If this seems like a strange mission for the two of them to share, Gavigan and Assaf assure me that their respective backgrounds actually make a lot of sense here. “Jessica and I have really committed our careers to creating healthy and non-toxic lifestyles for people,” says Gagivan. And Hempia, Assaf adds, will allow them to take this shared passion in a new direction. “This is the opportunity for us to stop talking about what not to put on your bodies and instead elevate plant medicine that could help prevent some of the negative effects of the chemicals [we’re exposed to],” she says.

“This is the opportunity for us to stop talking about what not to put on your bodies and instead elevate plant medicine that could help prevent some of the negative effects of the chemicals [we’re exposed to].” —Jessica Assaf, the Cannabis Feminist

The ultimate goal, they tell me, is to make hemp more popular than cannabis. “Hemp has been overshadowed and unfairly coupled with cannabis when it actually has no psychoactivity,” Assaf tells me. “We want to completely remove it from the drug category and bring it into the wellness space in a really beautiful way.” In other words, they want to do for dusty hemp exactly what’s been done for shiny CBD.

And for good reason, too. Hemp, as they explain it, is essentially CBD+: “Hemp includes all these active, botanical compounds like phenols and terpenes and cannabinoids [of which CBD is one] that are shown to have this incredible impact on the body from a re-balancing and homeostasis perspective,” Gavigan explains. But without THC, it won’t get you high.

“Hempia is for the crowd that’s wanting to optimize and balance their bodies and get the most out of their life.” —Christopher Gavigan, The Honest Co. co-founder

Not enough people know this, he says, and it’s the lack of solid information about hemp that’s motivated him and Assaf to launch Hempia as an educational platform first. “We want to help transform people’s choices by providing the best information, the best data, and the best expertise,” says Gavigan. There are so many “snake oil” products on the hemp market due to a lack of regulation, he says, they’re hoping to educate consumers on what to look for in their purchases. “It starts with consumers having the tool kit to properly assess products,” says Assaf.

It may start there, but the platform is far from Hempia’s projected end game. Eventually, Assaf and Gavigan will make their own high-quality hemp-based products. For now, they’re staying mum on those details, but what they will say is that neither the products nor the platform will be geared towards the joint-passing Coachella stoners. “I think you’ve got a growing trend of people trying to assess and manage their own bodies who are willing to try new key ingredients if the information is presented to them in the right way,” says Gavigan. “[Hempia is for] the crowd that’s wanting to optimize and balance their bodies and get the most out of their life.”

A little lost on all of the CBD and cannabis talk? Check out the beginner’s guide to cannabis and learn *all the things* about CBD, too. 

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