Fourteen years ago, Trista Okel created the acronym EMPOWER (End Marijuana Prohibition Organize Women Enact Reform) while sitting in a DC jail. She was arrested for blocking an entrance to a public building during a protest with Americans for Safe Access. She was sitting down with others holding a banner that had thousands of names of doctors who had recommended the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes.
From there, she became the founder of Empower BodyCare and began working on a pain remedy in 2004 to help her mother manage her severe chronic pain. She spent 8 years researching and developing her product Empower Topical Relief Oil. The oil was released into medical dispensaries in Oregon and Washington.
After giving relief to thousands of Oregonians, Empower is considered Oregon’s #1 topical company. “Our products have the broadest range and highest combined cannabinoid content on the market, and at a better value than most of our competitors,” commented Okel. “According to BDS Analytics, our products are the best selling products on the market. I’m not as focused on being number one as I am focused on providing the highest quality and most effective products available.’
Empower focuses on social justice, ethical and sustainable sourcing. They look for partner companies who are dedicated to the same values: integrity, quality, and sustainability. They also do not condone, advocate or tolerate any type of discrimination.
All of Empower BodyCare’s products are non-toxic, hypoallergenic, anti-inflammatory, non-psychoactive, vegan, non GMO, and gluten free. This is a non-addictive approach to pain management. The products are not absorbed into the bloodstream and do not offer a “high.” The aromatherapy properties are designed to give an uplifting and relaxing mood.
Empower BodyCare offers two variety of product lines: White Label and Black Label. “Empower Black Label and White Label have the same formulations, but Black Label is made with cannabis-derived cannabinoids, with a focus on THCa, CBD, and THC, while White Label is made with 2014 Farm Bill Compliant Hemp-derived CBD,” said Okel. “Both lines of products work well-the formulations are synergistic combinations of carrier oils and essential oils, all of which have documented anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and skin healing properties. I like to think of the two lines as ‘regular strength’ White Label and ‘extra strength’ Black Label. If the White Label works for you, stick to that line-it’s legal to ship and legal in most states.”
The Black Label contains THC and is currently only available to Oregon residents. Though Okel is working on a partnership with a Washington producer to be able to offer the Black Label in Washington soon. “We recently signed a licensing agreement with a company in Washington state, so we will soon be empowering people there, too,” said Okel.
Topical Relief Oil: This oil is quickly absorbed into the skin with aromatherapeutic, anti-inflammatory, and pain relieving benefits.
Soaking Salts: “Our soaking salts have a therapeutic blend of pharmaceutical grade Epsom salts, Dead Sea Salts, and Pink Himalayan salts, which are comprised of minerals like magnesium sulfate, calcium chloride, bromide, potassium, sodium, zinc, and iodine, to name a few,” explained Okel. “All of these minerals are easily absorbed into the skin and known to provide relief from pain and inflammation while helping to balance moisture levels in the skin and help detoxify our bodies. Combined with a concentrated version of our Topical Relief Oil, the salts are a great way to recover after exercise, ease pain, and detox when you’re not feeling well.”
Topical Relief Lotion: This is a soothing, moisturizing lotion created with a blend of organic aloe, sunflower oil, shea butter, and jojoba oil. The lemon verbena scent enhances positive feelings. The lotion aids healing skin conditions, reduces nerve sensitivity to pain, and assists with skin regeneration.
4PLAY: This oil is a sensory enlivening, topical pleasure oil designed to entice and arouse. It also offers relief from cramps. This product contains activated THC and can show up on drugs tests if used on mucous membranes.
Empower BodyCare uses high-quality ingredients in their products. They use oils like jojoba oil which tends to mimic the skin’s own oils. This creates a non-toxic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, hypoallergenic product. The careful choice of carrier oils and a proprietary combination of cannabinoids work together to provide many benefits to the user. Patients using Empower BodyCare products have claimed relief from chronic pain. Some of their conditions include injuries, arthritis, fibromyalgia, headaches and Restless Leg Syndrome.
“There are so many products on the market, especially on the internet, that are made with inferior ingredients or don’t contain CBD at all,” said Okel. “A couple of years ago, there was an article published by Project CBD called Hemp Oil Hustlers that brought to light an unscrupulous element in the hemp-derived CBD market. Companies were releasing products that didn’t contain CBD at all or had CBD (probably from China) that had high levels of heavy metals in it. We only buy our ingredients from reputable companies that come with extensive CofAs (Certificate of Analysis), guaranteeing that their CBD doesn’t contain anything it shouldn’t and that it is what they say it is.”
“We go the extra mile to ensure the safety of our products to our customers,” she continued. “If companies don’t provide the CofA with purchase or when requested, you definitely don’t want to purchase CBD products from that company.”
CBJ: How important is it to use Farm Bill Compliant Hemp-derived CBD?
Okel: It is really important to me to follow the rules. I choose to spend more on Farm Bill Compliant Hemp-derived CBD so that we can a) ensure that the product contains zero THC, b) ensure that we are abiding by the 2014 Farm Bill and avoiding legal implications. It is vital, for a company to offer truly Farm Bill Compliant Hemp-derived CBD, that the state it is grown in has a Research Program associated with a state university or the Department of Agriculture and that the company have a MOU with the Department of Agriculture stating so. I only know of one state that is producing truly 2014 Farm Bill Compliant Hemp-Kentucky. And that is where we source our CBD from for our White Label products.
CBJ: Some of the products are designed to be portable, how well do they travel through security at an airport?
Okel: I can tell you that I have received a lot of feedback from customers who travel freely within the US with a topical product [White Label] in their bag. I wouldn’t travel internationally with a product containing any cannabinoids, regardless of origin, because crossing an international border with it could prove problematic. We never want someone to break the law, especially inadvertently. Every country has different laws on cannabis. It’s best to know the cannabinoid laws in the country you are traveling to before traveling.
CBJ: How important is your mission statement to the development of your products and pushing your company into the future?
Okel: At Empower, our mission is to provide high-quality, effective plant-based alternatives to pharmaceuticals to improve quality of life. This is the guiding principle for how we make decisions for our company and our products. We work to not only provide relief for individuals suffering from pain and skin trauma, but also to improve the health of the planet through responsible sourcing of materials.
CBJ: Where do you see your product line expanding to? Developing new concepts?
Okel: We hope to expand to other states with our Black Label line and to other countries with our Black Label and White Label lines. We also plan to launch new products to increase options in line with preference for mode of application. We follow new research and developments in the field closely and are always ready to adapt and expand our product lines. I am currently working on new products to add to both lines.
To order the White Label Hemp CBD line of Empower BodyCare visit www.empowerbodycare.com. Remember that this line can be shipped throughout the U.S. The Black Label is currently only available in Oregon.
OLCC stores can contact Empower BodyCare at firstname.lastname@example.org for Black Label products. Non-OLCC stores can order the White Label Hemp CBD line at email@example.com.