Topicals in Canada have been a hot topic in recent months, as regulatory guidelines have heavily restricted the legal marketplace and kept out products many consumers have already discovered and loved. This week JADEO features a budding cannabis female entrepreneur who is cautiously positioning her brand, Folia Essentials, to become a legal enterprise once creams and other body products become permissible in the cannabis space.

Meet Francophone Torontonian, Josée Duranleau, whose story begins when her 83 year old mother, Jacqueline, suffered a back injury. After trying every holistic treatment imaginable, nothing was helping Jacqueline relieve her pain. After months of watching her mother in agony, Josée remembered reading an article about a cannabis pain relief cream and thought it would be worth a try. They discovered that the cannabis pain relief cream provided Jacqueline almost immediate relief. With such success, the other ladies at Jacqueline’s senior’s residence wanted to try it too. It was a huge hit! This moved Josée to begin her research journey into the benefits of cannabis and inspired her to create her own product line to introduce others to the near-miraculous healing powers of cannabis.

As the clock slowly ticks for topical cannabis products to become legal, Josée is busy strengthening her expertise with a recently developed medicinal cannabis course through Fanshawe College and studying herbalism through an online course. Her goal is to partner with a company that holds a processing license and exudes the same values, shares the same goals, and wants to offer a chemical free, pesticide-free product.

Until the Folia product line can come to market, we were curious about the role that cannabis and her infused creams play in her everyday life and asked her to share with JADEO.

You came out to the world with Folia Essentials last summer at Lift + Co - very ahead of your time. Why?

I did it for brand awareness and to meet people in the industry. I was able to build an email list, and meet the public face to face as Folia. Now as I wait for regulations to change, I continue to share my news and knowledge with people interested in my products.

How do you stay connected as a solopreneur who technically can't startup yet?

I have been going to many networking events, other conferences, educational talks, I have met a lot of great people in the industry. Last year I was awarded a female founder scholarship by 48 North for the Leaf Forward cannabis start-up bootcamp. I’ve created a pitch deck and am in talks with several licensed producers to find the best fit for Folia.

Let’s talk about your topicals. What have you developed and why?

I use all of my products, except the beard oil! Everything started with the pain cream, then the more I studied and researched, the more I was just blown away. Every time I read something, it was another miraculous benefit I discovered. That’s why I developed the other products. The creation of each one came from a need I recognized for myself or others in my life. Aging skin, broken skin, dry skin, all those types of issues can be helped with cannabis. All of my products have higher THC than CBD because that’s what I’ve discovered so far to work.

Tell us about how they play into your beauty regime.

Basically, when I get up in the morning I have 500ml of water - right off the bat. Then I’ll have my breakfast and take my shower. My skin care routine begins by washing my face, then I use my eye serum around my eyes and also around the lips because I have lines there too. I apply the face cream and my body lotion.

At bedtime, it’s basically the morning regime again - but on my hands, I use my skin salve at night. Especially in winter, I get such dry skin around my nails. I use it to highly moisturize my hands.

How does cannabis play a role in other aspects of your self-care?

My self-care is really through diet, since I’ve had various autoimmune and health issues that I pretty much heal through diet and all natural medicines. Years ago I found that my joints, my hands, my hips were killing me and especially my lower back. I switched my office chair, my mattress, you name it! I began taking doctor prescribed CBD and removed grains and sugar from my diet. It’s worked wonders. I have a cannabis clinic that I go to at St.Clair and Yonge in Toronto. They take a pee sample, take my blood pressure, ask me how I’m doing. With the cannabis I use from my doctor’s prescription I have found tremendous relief of many symptoms.

What was your relationship to cannabis before using it medicinally?

I’m not a recreational user, so doing this now - it makes me laugh. I never thought I would be “that person” using cannabis, but after trying everything under the sun that’s natural, this is one of the only things that really works for me.

What other symptoms has it helped?

I suffer from insomnia and often have a difficult time shutting off my mind. I worry. I was doing meditation, which was helping but at night I found it very difficult to “shut the mind.”

Although I have CBD for daytime which helps with pain and anxiety, at night I would take a THC oil, but I found that I didn’t do well ingesting the medicine. It made me very tired the next day, but I also don’t think it was the right strain for me because it made me a little anxious. Instead, I use a vaporizer and take 2 puffs from an Indica, then sleep like a baby.

You say before CBD you were a huge worrier. How has the cannabis helped you maintain a positive mindset?

CBD I use for daytime. I’m currently using the yellow oil from Spectrum, containing 20% CBD and 1%THC. I’ve been using it for 2.5 years. I find when I use it, especially when I’m anxious or overwhelmed it really helps to calm me down. And, the sleep to me is a gift.

How do you determine the “right strain”?

The medical cannabis clinic I go to has been very helpful in recommending the right strains for my needs. When the THC oil they had suggested for sleep was not working, they helped me switch to an Indica dominant dried flower, which I also purchased from Spectrum, Bedica by Bedrocan. Unfortunately, the brand and strain are no longer available in Canada so I checked out the OCS site out of curiosity for the very first time to see what they had. I looked for the level of THC - some were very high. I looked at each strains’ terpene profile then researched them more online before making a choice. Royal High is the brand I purchased. The strain I chose is 12% THC, we’ll see how it goes! I recognized that I prefer a lower THC strain, anything above 14% turns my mind on, making it too active at bedtime.

What are you working on now?

I have just infused a new oil! I used Blue Dream, which has a higher THC content than CBD. I am going to get it tested to know more about the cannabinoids. I pay $250 to find out the profile.

Blue Dream Infused Cannabis Oil

I’m also beginning my cannabis course at Fanshawe College, so between that, networking at events, studying herbalism, giving educational talks, connecting with LPs and running my PR business, I keep very busy, believe me!

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