Ganja Gear

When I visited Qu?bec, Canada last year to cover the Qu?bec Cannabis Cup in Montreal, I learned about the history, power and courage of French culture in North America.
Lucie L?tourneau, a hemp activist, author and businesswoman based in Qu?bec, exemplifies the province’s spirit of independence and creativity.

In 1998, while working on an innovative MBA in biotechnology management, L?tourneau created Canolio, a company that creates and markets some of the sweetest hemp-based products available.

Using Canolio products, you can get out of bed in the morning, have a cup of delicious coffee flavored by hempseed, take a refreshing foamy bath in hemp bath oil scented with lavender and other herbal essences, scrub yourself with a hemp-orange soap bar, and finish by luxuriously moisturizing your skin in Canolio’s creamy hemp body milk.

At the end of your busy day, when it’s time for hands-on therapy, you can use Canolio’s hemp massage oil, flavored with ylang-ylang, nutmeg and other sexy plants, to rub your cares away. Canolio is also developing other hemp-based goodies, including a dog shampoo!

Making quality cosmetics is an art and a science, and there are only a few hemp companies that have created the right combinations of ingredients so that a therapy cream or massage oil feels and works better than a generic brand that contains artificial compounds and scents. Canolio products rock. You can tell as soon as you try them that L?tourneau knows how to make sensual, useful formulations.

“Our products are superior to other products because no perfume is added, there is no animal testing, and they are free of genetically modified components,” L?tourneau explains. “Hemp oil is the only plant-derived oil with an optimum ratio of nutrients and compounds perfect for human body absorption. It contains antioxidants, which reduce aging, help prevent cancer, and can even calm hyperactivity. It contains linoleic and gamma-linoleic acids that are essential to maintaining healthy skin and regulating cutaneous perspiration and sebaceous production. These essential fatty acids also help ensure correct skin hydration. We have extensively tested these products, and have found that they benefit even those who are suffering from extreme skin problems. Our products are made from hemp plants cultivated without pesticides and herbicides; the hemp plant helps restore the land it grows on.”

L?tourneau knows what she’s talking about: she says she’s the first woman to grow commercial hemp in Qu?bec, the first to have a Qu?bec-based hemp products company, the first to advertise hemp products on television, and the first to write a French-language North American book about hemp. The hemp-paper book is based on two years of research, was first published in May, 2001, and is titled Le Chanvre: ses vertus et ses proprietes medicinales. In English, the title means: Hemp, its virtues and medicinal properties.

“I wrote this book so people who read French will have accurate information about hemp, to present the facts on hemp oil, seed, and paper, and to enlighten people about hemp’s many uses and how using hemp benefits in an inexpensive book that costs less than most of the other ones about hemp,” L?tourneau reports. “This book is comprehensive. It deals with hemp history, law, medicinal uses, cultivation, recipes for hemp oil and seed, history, plus hemp organizations, associations and websites.”

L?tourneau acknowledges that being a hemp entrepreneur is a bit more challenging than she expected.

“People told me not to do this because the topic of hemp is confused with marijuana, and it’s controversial,” she said, “but the book has stimulated discussion on radio and television, and we have demonstrated that superior products can be made from hemp. My goal was to show people that hemp is worthwhile because it can help humans and the environment, and we have made our point.”

? Lucie L?tourneau: Canolio, 4320 C?te-Vertu, Ville St-Laurent, Qu?bec, Canada, H4S 1C7; tel 514-748-4367; email [email protected]; web