For many people, the mention of CBD oil either makes you roll your eyes or think of weed. The former may happen because of the amount of CBD products, particularly in the beauty realm, that are being heavily marketed right now. The latter could occur because, well, CBD is an active ingredient in marijuana.
But for Malaika Jones Kebede, she saw cannabidiol as a lifesaver. The mother of three was left in immense pain after an epidural needle pinched her spine as she prepared to deliver her youngest child. She sought out a different more holistic form of relief that she found in CBD.
“As you can imagine, that was ridiculously painful and the solution from a lot of the doctors I was speaking to were pharmaceutical drugs. I knew that I didn’t want to have to go that route if it wasn’t totally necessary. So I just started experimenting with holistic heath and holistic remedies. That was around the time with the Farm Bill and all these new things were happening around CBD,” she told us over the phone. “So I started experimenting with CBD and found that although all of it’s not created equal, the plant itself was a powerful tool for healing.”
The more and more she got into it, she introduced it to other people in her life, including sister Nia Jones Alugbin. They realized that they didn’t see women like themselves in any of the marketing or involved in the business of cannabidiol. As someone with a business background, Malaika saw an opportunity and with Nia, who worked in philanthropy, they created wellness brand Brown Girl Jane with women of color in mind.
“We are the center of so many people’s lives, Black women and brown women, and as a result of that, we end up shouldering a lot of responsibility, to be frank,” she said. We wanted to build what we were doing around the same ethos, which was inclusivity and authenticity and just an amazing product for people who really need it. We’re more stressed and more overburdened and just juggling so many things. I just felt there was an opportunity to create something great around that.”
Brown Girl Jane offers products that provide fast-acting relief for everything from finding a sense of calm, getting a good night’s rest, ridding yourself of pain and even providing some tender love and care to your yoni. But if you’re new to CBD and think you’re about to be somewhere high, that’s not the case. With Brown Girl Jane products though, you will find yourself feeling really good.
“I use CBD as a daily supplement. I take a tincture once in the morning and once at night. I feel like it totally balances me and provides me with clarity,” she said. “It’s not something like weed. When you think of marijuana, people think of the psychoactive element of marijuana. It has none of that. It feels like, to everyone it may be slightly different, but what it feels like is the absence of something. So the absence of stress, the absence of the anxiety, the ability to sort of clear your mind so you can rest and sleep better — those sorts of things. And so that’s how I use it. And then topically, it’s a powerful plant that can address just pain. I’ve used it before I’m putting on heels for a long night. I put it on my soles. I’ve used it on my back for sore muscles. That allows it to just target those spots. It’s a very relaxed feeling. There’s no high.”
There is no high because while Brown Girl Jane products harness the full power of the cannabis plant, their CBD is broad spectrum. The THC has been removed but the benefits to the endocannabinoid system are still huge.
“That’s important because a lot of our community and in communities of color are drug tested and work in fields where they can’t have any trace amounts or those sort of things,” she said. “So we do work hard to ensure that we don’t have any THC in our products. Its not addictive. It’s not intoxicating.”
So why give Malaika’s brand a shot out of so many available? One major reason is the quality. Every ingredient in the line she says is intentional, down to which essential carrier oils are put in the products. With that in mind, the product isn’t cheap, which is good when you’re talking about something that will go in (and on in the case of the popular butter) the body. Still, the price is fair. But most impressive reason to support is she and Nia’s desire to make a product like this accessible to and supportive of women like us.
“I think as this industry grows, we all have to be very mindful about who participates in it and who we as consumers support,” she said. “As part of our business model, we give a portion of proceeds every month to a non-profit that is aligned with our mission, which is bettering the wellness of women of color. Everything that we do is along those lines and is aligned with that overall goal of supporting an inclusive industry and diversity. We just try to make a product that in every facet is high quality, made responsibly and authentically and really reflects the needs of women of color and women like us.”
Brown Girl Jane has certainly succeeded.