As told to Tyler Calder
CBD is popping up everywhere lately – and if our DMs are any indication, you’ve got questions. This week, we sat down with Anna Duckworth and Kate Miller, the co-founders of Miss Grass to relay everything swirling around in your heads about CBD & cannabis products (plus, we got some inside scoop on how they built their growing business!).
Work + Life
We love a good origin story – how did you decide to start (and grow!) Miss Grass?
Miss Grass was a long-time in the making, but let’s just say we both identified a huge gap in the cannabis market, a lack of authentic representation of cannabis consumers in the zeitgeist, a gross misconception of what it means to consume cannabis consciously, and very little education both on the science of the plant and on the product offerings.
The two of us weren’t new to cannabis and even we found it tough to access trustworthy and relevant cannabis education. We could only imagine how a less experienced or brand-new cannabis consumer would feel. One of us came from entertainment (Kate) and the other from publishing (Anna). We met through social cannabis circles in LA — though we’d both worked in the space previously.
As luck would have it, we also both had designs to build a platform that would make cannabis accessible for women. In fact, Kate had been noodling on a concept for Miss Grass since 2008 when she bought the URL. When we met, we clicked and decided to band together and build this baby as a team — because two heads are better than one. When Miss Grass launched in January 2018, W Magazine called us “the goop of cannabis” right out of the gates, and today, Miss Grass is one of the leading cannabis brands for women.
Tell us a little bit about the personal journeys that led you to found Miss Grass?
KATE: Cannabis has played a memorable role in the majority of my life. It started in high school when my brother got kicked out of school for weed. That was the first time I remember feeling the stigma associated with this plant. He was made an example of in my town, where kids were abusing alcohol at parties and causing all sorts of trouble. But at the time, the worst thing I ever remember happening because of cannabis was a case of the munchies. I became an advocate back then, without even realizing it, because I fought for my brother to walk at his high school graduation.
Then when I moved out to LA for college, I started using cannabis more consciously — topically for my psoriasis, connecting with girlfriends over a joint, and as a catalyst for my entrepreneurial pursuits. Experiencing its many applications firsthand, I became a true believer in the power of this plant — and also saw the massive business opportunity. So my junior year in college, I worked at a dispensary. At the time, there was really nothing that spoke to me or my girlfriends, who were all avid consumers. Between existing brands, the portrayal in pop culture, and the stoner bro stereotype, nothing with cannabis was resonating with me. That’s really what planted the seed for Miss Grass and what inspired me to buy the URL way back in 2008.
ANNA: I stumbled into a career in cannabis. When I really think about it, it makes perfect sense that it happened that way, but I’d be lying to say I saw my path from the very beginning. I knew I wanted to parlay a career in publishing into a career in wellness, but I certainly didn’t know how I was going to go about doing that. So about five years ago, I began to plot my move from Toronto to the epicenter of all things wellness: LA. And that’s when I was introduced to the incredibly sophisticated California cannabis offering and the emerging cannabis industry.
I knew immediately it was the ultimate manifestation of my passions. I wound up taking a role as Head of Content at a brand called dosist, which was dubbed “the Apple of weed” and my timing was perfect. It was the beginning of this new cannabis frontier and dosist was leading the charge to shift the narrative around weed in this country. I immediately became bookish about cannabis — I ordered every cannabis book on Amazon! — and what I uncovered was so much more than I had initially fallen in love with.
I should point out that my relationship with cannabis before California was fickle at best: I’d had good experiences and bad — which is a familiar story for a lot of people — and the bad ones really haunted me. It was my celiac diagnosis which ultimately gave me the confidence to continue on my cannabis safari, to find a product that gave me a consistently good experience.
It was the affirmation I needed to go to journalism school and to focus all my energies on telling stories about our bodies.
Why is wellness a big part of your message?
Being healthy is a mindset. It’s the difference between doing things mindfully or doing things unthinkingly. In an always-on world, we’ve lost our ability to unplug, to be mindful and to connect — all of which are both things that cannabis encourages in a really meaningful way. At its core, cannabis is about self-discovery, so we’d be remiss not to position it firmly at the center of a bigger conversation about wellness.
Okay, tell us a little more about CBD. Why is it suddenly so popular?
CBD (cannabidiol) is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. It has a whole host of applications, but is especially well-known for its ability to interact with one of the body’s greatest network of receptors: the endocannabinoid system. It can help to ease everything from inflammation to pain to anxiety to sleep disorders.
Most people know CBD as the chiller sister to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), which is the compound responsible for the high. The recent surge in the popularity of CBD is in part because it offers a solution for people who want the benefits of cannabis without the high, and in part because research around the healing properties of CBD is on the rise as cannabis laws relax. Right now, CBD derived from hemp is federally legal. That means it can be purchased all over the country, and in the case of Miss Grass, can be purchased online and shipped to you no matter where you live.
What are some of the biggest misconceptions about CBD or the cannabis industry?
So many people associate cannabis, which includes CBD products, with a lazy, do-nothing, delinquent lifestyle. And that’s exactly why we built Miss Grass: to set the record straight on cannabis and the people who consume it. In order to understand why this perception of cannabis prevails, it’s important to take a look the history of the War on Drugs. This was a meticulously executed coup to incarcerate people of color in the US in the early 20th century and has continued to inform our drug policies.
By associating cannabis with dangerous and violent behavior, entire communities could be targeted. Reefer Madness was born from this logic and to this day, people of color are arrested at four times the rate of white people for cannabis-related offenses. So, next time you find yourself defaulting to a belief system that problematizes cannabis and its proponents, think again: Cannabis has existed for millennia as a catalyst for good and, by design, has never been authentically represented in the zeitgeist. Miss Grass is determined to shine a light on the positivity brought about by the plant.
What would you tell someone who has never tried these products before?
Start low, go slow. Take CBD daily because it doesn’t work as a one-off spot treatment. There’s no rush when it comes to exploring cannabis and there is also no one-size fits all prescription. If you’re brand-new here, start with CBD product like a turmeric-infused tincture, a vaporizer, a bath bomb, a face oil, or an infused lubricant. See how your body responds, and then incrementally increase the dose until the desired effect is achieved.
How do you suggest people go about figuring out which products are right for them?
First, identify the experience you’re trying to achieve. Are you in pain from an injury or over exertion or chronic condition? Are you having trouble sleeping? Are you feeling anxious or wound up? Are you looking for something to help you shift gears at the end of the day? Are you looking for new skincare products?
We could go on, but the point is there are a whole host of products for a whole host of applications. Your job is to identify what symptoms you’re hoping to address and choose a product and dosage that is designed to address specifically that. Then it’s all about testing, adjusting and patience. Miss Grass is a great resource for all your cannabis Qs.
What should people know before trying any of these?
Patience is a virtue. Remember, cannabis as medicine is not a new idea: It’s been used for millennia and has merely been under prohibition for the past 100 years.
What feedback do you hear the most from your community?
Miss Grass is helping some people come out of the cannabis closet and helping other people discover cannabis for the first time. Either way, people are relieved when they find Miss Grass because it’s an authentic representation of themselves and a safe place to explore something that’s been very intimidating historically .
Do you think women are well-served in the cannabis community?
We’re definitely seeing a massive uptick in brands that speak to women, but we have a long way to go. The important thing is to find brands that are also built by women because so many of the big brands out there that speaker to women, don’t have women in leadership.
How do you see cannabis and CBD fitting into self-care?
We define self-care broadly as an exercise in listening carefully to what your body needs. It’s about health, fitness, food, beauty, play and so much more. For some people, cannabis is an alternative to a glass of wine and for others, it’s a ticket to a good night sleep. Either way, it’s about giving your body what’s it’s asking for.
How do you personally incorporate it into your daily/weekly/monthly routines?
KATE: Cannabis plays a daily role in my life. For my psoriasis, I use it topically and I take a CBD tincture to combat the inflammation from within. I also like a tincture to level me out on stressful work days. My nighttime routine typically involves a joint. The evening is really my time to reset, reflect on the day, and let go of anything I’m still holding onto. I do a lot of my best creative brainstorms during this time.
ANNA: I consume cannabis daily. My entire skincare regimen has been CBD-based for a few months and it’s the first time my face feels like it’s getting enough to drink. I also take a nightly tincture for sleep. I use an oil on my vagina — yes, an eye cream for my vagina. And I usually either smoke a joint, a vape, or eat a low-dose edible before bed. There are so many products now that have really balanced ratios of CBD:THC, which basically means the high is negligible and that’s my secret to shifting gears after a stressful day.
What are some of your favorite CBD products and ways to use them?
BEBOE CBD Calming Vaporizer is a great way to take the edge off during the day or to relax you pre-bed. Quim Rock Happy Clam Oil is the eye cream for your vagina. We also love a Mineral Sleep Tincture made with CBD and CBN, the latter of which is a secret sedating ingredient you rarely see in products.
Other favorites of ours include: Ildi Pekar CBD Sleep Mask to speed up repair so you wake up looking better than yesterday, Khus+Khus CBD Face Serum (it’s hyper moisturizing and a must for winter skin), and Vertly Bath Salts, which are body-melting epsom salts that feel so good.
If you’re looking to take CBD daily, Plant People Be Calm Capsules offers an herbal recipe that works wonders to relax a worried mind too. Plus one of the founders is a chef, so we’re all ears.
What do your own self-care routines look like on a night in?
ANNA: Ditto. I’ve become such an introvert in the past few years, so my ideal night is just me, my dog, my partner, a hot bath (not with the dog), a CBD facemask, takeout, and a joint.
For more interviews with women we admire, go here.