Joie Meffert was working in the art and fashion industry in New York City when her partner had the opportunity to move to Colorado to help open one of the first medical dispensaries in the state. With an eye for design, and previous training in dance that lent her an appreciation for wellness and helping people move and feel better, Joie was inspired to dive into the cannabis industry herself. In 2010 she co-founded Apothecanna, a cannabis topicals company that specializes in creating all-natural skincare products and spreading the wisdom of traditional plant-based medicine.
Here, we chat with Joie all about her career path, we get back to basics about what exactly a topical is, and she gives us a peek into the upcoming trends in the cannabis industry that she’s excited about.
To start, could you briefly walk us through your pre-Apothecanna career path?
My adolescence was devoted to my classical ballet training, which I had a deep love for, but those of you who know that world also know that it is a difficult path—one which you must be utterly committed to in spirit and body. You’re an athlete and an artist. I have immense respect for all of the dancers who have chosen to make their careers of the craft.
After dance, I had quite a few lives in New York. I pursued a path in art that initially landed me a position with the auction house Christie’s, followed by a position at a contemporary gallery on 24th Street. Art and fashion are wholly intertwined in a city like New York, and I eventually landed coveted positions working for the Bureau Betak, Diane von Furstenberg, and Christian Louboutin.
My time at Bureau Betak, though short, was pivotal. Alex de Betak was the so-called “ringmaster” of the fashion industry and built the most stunning and enrapturing sets for fashion shows from Paris to Milan to New York. I’m still so inspired by his team’s ability to create truly sensorial experiences.
When James decided to go west, it was one of those moments where the adventure beckoned. I had NO IDEA WHAT I WAS GETTING INTO.
When did you first develop an interest in botanicals and plant medicine?
I was first attracted to plants by way of aesthetics. Bureau Betak built these massive sets filled with flowers for Dior, Rodarte, and others. I was also inspired by the emerging florists around that time (Emily Thompson, Saipua, Brrch, and Amy Merrick) who were setting the tone in design for wildly sculptural and theatrical creations. Form, color, and scent all led eventually to my interest in how the plants functioned naturally.
What drew you to the cannabis industry?
Though I’d happened upon the cannabis industry by accident, in hindsight, it was kismet. Apothecanna has informed who I am today as much as I have informed the direction of the brand.
Now, tell us about Apothecanna. When did you launch and what was your inspiration behind it?
Apothecanna was founded in 2009, and we launched our first products in 2010. James’ work with Horst Rechelbacher, the founder of Aveda, on intelligent nutrients was hugely inspirational. It was via Horst that James found a passion for plant medicine, which he then instilled in me.
To get back to basics, what exactly are topicals and cannabis 2.0 products?
Topicals are cannabis-infused lotions, oils, sprays, etc., that are applied to the surface of the body. Cannabis 2.0 products are edible and ingestible.
What are your favourite Apothecanna products?
Hands down the Extra Strength Spray. I use it on my neck, lower back, knees, bruises, bug bites…you name it! Just spray it where it hurts, and you feel immediate relief.
What does cannabis add to a skincare product?
Cannabis contains powerful compounds called cannabinoids. Many of these compounds are anti-inflammatory, and we all know that inflammation is truly the root cause of so many issues in the body and on the skin. Whether inflammation originates in the gut because of our diet, is caused by free radicals like pollution in the air, created by an intense activity or even by the wear and tear of aging…
Additionally, the oil extracted from cannabis is rich with Essential Fatty Acids (EFAs) like omega-3s and omega-6s, which form the building blocks of healthy skin. Adding EFA-packed products to your skincare routine can supplement and enhance the results you get from the other ingredients for visibly better skin.
Not all oils are created equal and the plant that they’re extracted from matters. Our botanicals are painstakingly sourced, and we source our cannabis from the largest vertically integrated farm in Canada, 48North. Their sun-grown, organic cannabis is of the highest quality, and combined with our formulations and expertise, we have a supremely efficacious product.
How can cannabis benefit people’s wellbeing?
I believe cannabis plays a crucial role in helping people find balance in their body and spirit. When you’re off-balance, you may be experiencing anxiety, physical pain, stress. Cannabis, in all its forms, assists (with amazing results) in the self-regulating processes of the body that allow us to find resilience and stability.
What are some new cannabis trends we should look out for in the coming year?
I’m always curious about the alphabet-soup of compounds that we’re constantly playing with like CBG or CBN. You’ll see a really interesting and widely utilized trend towards cannabis and recovery within the world of sport and physical therapy.
What’s next for you and Apothecanna?
The last 10 years have been very product focused. As we launch the company into the next decade, we’re focusing on and developing programs that allow us to apply the products to practice. I’m really excited about how our products interact with the connective tissue in the body and how we can help maximize our product’s effectiveness via LMT, PT, and other regenerative therapies. We’re excited to continue expanding into new markets and collaborating with partners like 48North that share our commitment to innovation, sustainability, and all-natural ingredients to better serve the Canadian customer.
*Photos courtesy of: Angela Lewis