Upcycled Cannabis Root: Jennifer Grant has a new idea about clean beauty ingredients

By Deanna Utroske

- Last updated on GMT

Jennifer Grant, Founder of empyri (photo courtesy of the brand)
Jennifer Grant, Founder of empyri (photo courtesy of the brand)

Related tags Cannabis cannabis beauty Canada Entrepreneurship Indie beauty

This month, the biomedical engineer launched a clean skin care brand called empyri that leverages cannabis in a novel (if not entirely new) way in clean beauty product formulation.

Over the course of history, cannabis root has been used by herbalists, physicians, and practitioners of Traditional Chinese Medicine for concerns related to inflammation, circulation, and digestion.

Which is why Jennifer Grant, Founder and Owner of empyri, selected cannabis root as the hero ingredient for her new skin care brand: “they have been used therapeutically in traditional Chinese Medicine for over 1,000 years for a variety of inflammatory disease; used both topically and internally,” ​she tells Cosmetics Design.

What skin care actives are in cannabis?

She also shared research with this publication showing that cannabis contains Friedelin and Carvone, both of which are compounds known as triterpenoids and have been shown to have therapeutic benefits. (It’s also worth noting that there is no THC or CBD in cannabis root.)

“Friedelin in cannabis roots decreases inflammation and preliminary feedback on the line tells us that the products really work!” ​exclaims Grant. “In addition to the fresh vitamin C [toner] that brightens and smooths skin, the cannabis root extract reduces puffiness,” ​she says.

The current empyri product portfolio comprises a cannabis sativa oil cleanser, that cannabis sativa hydrating toner + vitamin C, and a cannabis sativa daily moisturizer, which can be used together as a 3-step routine on individually.

According to documents Grants shared with Cosmetics Design, the brand has plans to conduct further research on the active chemicals and prospective benefits of cannabis root.

And empyri has an advantage when it comes to ingredient sourcing: “cannabis roots are currently an overlooked waste stream in marijuana and hemp production,” ​as Grant tells Cosmetics Design.  

Beauty, wellness, and a line of cannabis-root beverages

Beyond the initial collection of skin care, empyri also has plans to launch a men’s product line as well as a line of cannabis-root teas and other beverages. But for now, those beverages are caught in what Grant calls ‘regulatory limbo’.

“We are in a bit of regulatory limbo with cannabis roots at the moment due to Health Canada’s focus on COVID related products, so empyri is unable to offer cannabis roots for consumption,” ​she tells Cosmetics Design. “empyri does have submissions into Health Canada for cannabis root Natural Health Products (NHP) and cannabis roots as food,” ​says Grant. “Once we get the all-clear from Health Canada, empyri will launch with three flavours of cannabis root tea. We have also developed a cannabis root beer and a cannabis root kombucha.”

As is the case for topically applied cannabis-root products, these beverages are not exactly new, just new to the contemporary marketplace. “Cannabis roots have traditionally been used in a decoction – boiling the roots for long periods of time in both water and oil,” ​explains Grant, who adds, “I started drinking cannabis root tea one year ago when I completed my deep dive on the benefits of cannabis roots. Cannabis roots have a mild and nutty taste when boiled and anti-inflammatory friedelin can be found in the tea.”

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