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Martha Stewart commands a massive audience when she cooks, decorates, gardens and appears on television with Snoop Dogg. But the 77-year-old food and lifestyle guru has been tight-lipped about her personal use of cannabis.
That took on greater meaning after Canopy Growth Corp. (WEED.TO, CGC) announced in February that Stewart was taking an advisory role at the company to explore the wellness potential of non-psychoactive CBD for people and pets.
Speaking at the World Cannabis Congress in Saint John, N.B., on Tuesday, she revealed her new product line will span animal care, cosmetics and food products.
While Stewart’s work with Canopy Growth is the product of her close ties to noted weed aficionado Snoop, a pairing that spawned a cooking show hosted by the duo, she insists she does not share his love of smoking the chronic.
“I don’t smoke. I don't ingest smoke. Anyway, I try not to,” Stewart said in an interview with Yahoo Finance Canada. (She does, however, recall smoke from a certain rapper’s blunt travelling her way while they were seated next to one another during the four-hour taping of Justin Bieber’s televised roast.)
“I've used various (CBD) creams and patches to try to see if it makes any difference for an aching tendon,” Stewart said. “They seem to sometimes be really effective. It's not like medicine to me. It's more like an additive to a daily routine.”
CBD, or cannabidiol, has surged in popularity in recent years based on the perceived wellness benefits. These days, the cannabinoid compound commonly derived from hemp is being added to everything from bath bombs to coffee.
The United States legalized CBD derived from hemp in December. Unlike forms of cannabis with THC, CBD extract has no psychoactive effect and can reportedly be used to counteract elements of the high THC users experience.
Despite her gig at the world’s largest cannabis company, and the tongue-in-cheek pot humour on her VH1 show with Snoop, Stewart is reluctant to fully associate her brand with cannabis.
“We're not really working in the cannabis industry. We're working in the CBD industry,” she explained. “I think that people are paying attention and learning the difference between THC and CBD. They really want to figure it out.”
Canopy Growth co-CEO Bruce Linton said he and Stewart have selected a brand name for their new line of products, but that won’t be made public until later this year.
When it comes to infused food, Stewart said her Martha Stewart Living brand has as many as 35,000 original recipes to inspire edible products.
“Those can be adapted with cannabis or CBD or whatever we’re going to use,” she told attendees at the conference.
Cannabis edibles, vapes, topicals and drinks are set to be legalized for recreational sales in Canada in October. The government expects sales to begin in December. A recent study by Deloitte pegged the Canadian market for products in that category at $2.7 billion annually.
On the pets front, Stewart said one of her dogs is benefiting from CBD. She predicts it won’t be long until major pet food brands start rolling out infused products.
“I have been experimenting a little bit with one of my dogs. She seems to be responding nicely to a very modest dosage of drops of CBD. She’s a little nervous dog,” Stewart said.
Canopy has several clinical trials underway to explore potential health applications for cannabis compounds, including CBD, for both humans and animals.
‘A walking rolodex of connections’
While Stewart is decidedly less willing to endorse the psychoactive side of cannabis than Canopy’s other celebrity partners – Snoop and actor Seth Rogan – Linton is grateful to have the powerhouse businesswoman on his team.
“She is like a walking rolodex of connections,” he told Yahoo Finance Canada on the sidelines of the conference. “Her network is unbelievable. When we were talking about doing a cosmetic line, she was like, 'You should call this guy, this guy, this guy.’”
Linton hopes to see Canadian regulators adjust strict rules around celebrities and cannabis branding. He said the fact that his company’s Leafs By Snoop cannabis line had to rebrand to LBS to comply with the rules was a “kind of odd” situation.
Stewart said she has been shocked and pleased by the adoption of cannabis products, adding that her friends are showing up to visit her with “baggies of gummy bears” these days.