What started as home health remedies in Erica and Sam Kannall’s kitchen seven years ago have now become popular products on cannabis retail shelves across Washington State.
The family’s line of topical lotions, which they now call Bodhi Essentials, started out as a way to aid a family member’s skin ailment. Erica gathered the herbs herself.
“Our [skincare] topical was designed to help a family member who has eczema,” said Sam Kannall, co-owner of Bodhi High. “Through the process of creating it, we actually found a really powerful anti-inflammatory.”
He decided to create and sell these products commercially in Spokane, and launched a line of cannabis extracts, concentrates and vaping products in 2015.
Prior to that, he had sold marijuana for medical use but not in topical form.
Erica, a holistic dietitian, started looking at how the plant interacted with other herbs and oils in terms of effect, especially when applied to the skin.
“Most of the topical products on the market tend to feature cannabis as the main herbal ingredient,” she said. “Our products have a lot of herbs that not only work on their own, such as calendula, St. John’s Wort, arnica, or white willow, but also work synergistically with the cannabis.”
For example, she said someone might think they just have a painful bruise but maybe it’s the swelling that’s causing them more pain than the bruise itself.
“Having the blend of herbs really helps to address everything and deliver a more potent healing action than just the cannabis on its own,” she said.
Bodhi Essentials is one of the most potent topicals available to Washington consumers, not just due to the combination of ingredients.
High levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) and CBD (cannabidiol), two main natural components found in cannabis, also contribute to the products’ effectiveness. While THC can create psychoactive effects when smoked or eaten — the “high” familiar to many marijuana users — neither of these ingredients enter the bloodstream when applied in a topical form.
“Research has shown that THC and CBD attach to receptors under the skin to help relieve pain so you don’t get any of the mind-altering effects,” Erica said. “That makes them appealing to those purely looking at cannabis for its medicinal properties.”
Bodhi Essential products are sold in over 60 stores across Washington.
Cinder stores in Spokane have been carrying them since 2015.
Logan Devleming, inventory specialist at the Spokane Valley Cinder, said the store staff pretty much stopped looking at other options once they started carrying Bodhi products because they’re so effective and popular.
“They’re the most popular topical for all three of our locations, in part because people love the creamy cocoa butter/shea butter mix which absorbs so fast but mainly because they work so well,” he said.
Erica says her blend of oils in Bodhi Essentials is also somewhat unique; many topicals only use one base oil. She chose multiple essential oils for their healing properties, including coconut oil, which has anti-fungal and moisturizing properties; shea butter, which soothes irritated skin; and almond oil, which helps with scarring.
Now that the production level of the products has grown, collecting that many herbs herself isn’t possible, but she said Bodhi High still strives to source everything as clean and local as possible. Most of their ingredients come from Oregon.
In the future, Erica would like to develop a potent topical with only CBD in it, which could then be sold across state lines. (Cannabis products are currently restricted within state boundaries, but there are less restrictions for CBD or hemp-based items.)
She’d also like to create something with a thinner consistency that could be used more as an all-over body lotion.
Sam says he would really like to see the health and wellness side of the business grow, while keeping a focus on community.
“Starting in the next few months, we’ll be releasing four lines of capsules, formulated with a number of different herbs that help with various ailments, as well as tinctures and flower,” he said. “Whatever we do, our overall goal at Bodhi High is to help people, whether that’s creating good jobs and helping to empower them to live out their dreams or creating a product that helps them feel better.”
For more info or a list of retailers that carry Bodhi High products visit www.bodhihigh.com