As recreational marijuana makes wave throughout California and the rest of the country, another aspect of the cannabis plant is making a huge splash because of its various benefits. Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, which contains no tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the substance that causes the high the plant is known for.
CBD may not be as well known, compared to THC, but more people are starting to take notice. One person who is a pioneer in using CBD’s benefits in skin care is Janet Schriever, a former toy designer and native Oregonian. Janet is now the founder of a budding beauty brand, Code of Harmony, a CBD skincare line and day spa in downtown Long Beach.
Janet began formulating her own products because she was at a loss for what she could use on her sensitive skin that was prone to rosacea, a skin condition that causes redness and often small red bumps on the face.
“I was having a really bad rosacea year. My skin had gotten very inflamed, and I could not get it to calm down,” Janet says. “The more I started researching the ingredients that were in the products I used, the more I thought there had to be a better answer because so many of traditional skincare ingredients are irritants and not great for you.”
The irritants Janet describes are chemicals, like fragrance, parabens, and petrochemicals, which are common ingredients listed on traditional skin care bottles. Most cosmetic products are laden with scientific, ambiguous words containing “propyl,” “ethyl,” or “butyl.” These are petrochemicals usually derived from petroleum, the stuff cars run on.
Janet wanted to stay away from ingredient lists that contain mostly chemicals. She wanted products that contained mostly active botanicals that were rejuvenating and replenishing. This is why Janet started formulating her own products five years ago.
Initially, she formulated a product line using active botanicals without the addition of CBD. Once she found CBD and tested it though, she saw the benefits from her products amplify and knew that she had found her magic ingredient.
“CBD in skin care helps brings your skin back into balance. It stabilizes your sebum production, if you’re too dry, it will moisturize, if you’re too oily, it will cut that down,” Janet says. “It’s also a high-powered antioxidant, so it’s going to help with aging concerns and protect against environmental stressors. But its main action is being a calming, soothing ingredient because it has a lot of anti-inflammatory properties.”
After promising feedback from her friends and family, Janet launched a website for people to shop her products. It never occurred to her the issues she’d face selling CBD products online.
“My payment processing was shut down five times in one year,” Janet says. “The Farm Bill passed in 2018, which basically took CBD off the schedule 1 drug list if it’s hemp derived and it comes from industrial hemp. Then you have no legal issues there, but clearly the banking system hasn’t caught up.”
The 2018 Farm Bill, which passed this last December, made it legal to use CBD derived from marijuana’s cousin, the hemp plant with strict limitations. For example, industrialized hemp, hemp grown for consumer products, cannot contain more than 0.3 percent THC or it will be considered marijuana and have zero protection under the new law.
Even though the 2018 Farm Bill is a huge leap forward since the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 (that was repealed in the late 1960s), which banned the possession of cannabis - including help completely, despite its historical use for thousands of years. In 1970, cannabis became a Schedule 1 drug, a class of “dangerous” drugs including heroin that remains to this day.
Although banking issues related to CBD still persist, one thing that hasn’t remained stagnant is the interest Janet has received from people. After the introduction of her website in 2017, Janet took her products to Indie Beauty Expo, a trade show that showcases hundreds of independent beauty brands and travels to places around the world, including Los Angeles, New York, and London.
“Because I wasn’t going to CBD tradeshows and I was going to Indie Beauty Expo, I was the weirdo in the group selling the weed products.” Janet says. “Then the following year there were a bunch of us. Now there’s really a bunch of us because it’s turned into a trend, and there’s a lot of people doing private labeling.”
Janet, however, continues to grow her following by sticking to a code that all the ingredients she uses are in harmony with one’s skin, the other ingredients in the formula, and the environment. Since first developing her skin care line five years ago, Janet has her products throughout smaller retailers and larger retailers, including several Neiman Marcus stores in major cities, such as Chicago, Boston, and Los Angeles. She also debuted Code of Harmony’s day spa on 4th Street in downtown Long Beach this past November.
“This year it’s really concentrating on the day spa. I want people to know that they can come in for clean beauty CBD facials,” Janet says. “I want to accustom people to understanding we’re not going to do the chemical peel on you but we will do a treatment where you’re getting a similar effect without the chemicals.”
And who doesn’t like the sound of lying on a mat made of crystals and magnets while a jet peel machine that uses medical grade saline water and oxygen exfoliates and pumps moisture into your skin? Now, beauty enthusiasts or skeptics with sensitive skin have a safe haven. People can feel the products and experience the benefits of CBD skincare first hand at Code of Harmony.