The Power of CBD: Q & A with Prima Co-Founder Jessica Assaf
Prima’s CBD Bath Gem has gained a cult-like following amongst celebrities. Gwyneth Paltrow has professed her love for the bath bomb, referring to it as “the shizzzzzzz”, and model Behati Prinsloo describes the CBD mineral soak as “almost better than sex”. So, we spoke with Prima’s co-founder, Jessica Assaf to learn more about her CBD infused supplement and skincare line. Jessica talks to us about the body’s endocannabinoid system and why CBD is so effective when it comes to improving energy, stress, sleep, and inflammation. We also discuss the CBD skin connection. Yes, the skin has its very own endocannabinoid system too!
What inspired you to create Prima?
We are all pioneers of the clean beauty and non-toxic lifestyle movement. Christopher is the best-selling author of Healthy Child Healthy World and co-founder of The Honest Company, where he and Laurel designed hundreds of safe, effective wellness products, and I started my career as a youth activist advocating for safer products. To us, cannabinoid science represents the next phase of wellness: functional botanical products with vast therapeutic potential. We saw CBD and cannabinoid science emerge as a new ingredient in the clean products industry as early as 2009, and we spent years watching the scientific research validate this compound and this plant. We came together to build a purpose-driven brand rooted in education, scientific integrity, and the highest quality products. Prima is an expression of our deepest values and our belief that hemp and CBD are catalysts for a global uprising—one that redefines well-being by elevating plant-based healing and empowering people to feel better in their bodies.
Can you explain what the endocannabinoid system is and how CBD interacts with it?
The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is considered the master regulatory system of the body. It helps us maintain homeostasis (aka balance) in our bodies by communicating with other biological systems and helping other body systems remain healthy. When we experience external or internal stressors, those disrupt the body’s function, and the ECS is activated to return it to stability.
The key factor for the ECS are cannabinoids, which promote balance and overall wellness by moderating the communication between the cells of our bodies. There are two types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids, which our body naturally creates and phytocannabinoids, which are derived from cannabis and hemp. Phytocannabinoids like CBD work naturally with the body’s endocannabinoid system and other natural body systems to help regulate a variety of processes like appetite, sleep, mood, and immunity. Endocannabinoids and their receptors are found throughout the body: in the brain, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells.
What are the benefits of supplementing with CBD?
There are two types of cannabinoids: endocannabinoids, which our body naturally creates and phytocannabinoids like CBD, which are derived from marijuana and hemp - hemp actually contains over 100 types of phytocannabinoids, including CBD. These phytocannabinoids work naturally with the body’s endocannabinoid system and other natural body systems to help regulate a variety of processes like stress response, appetite, sleep, mood, immunity and more.
What is the difference between full spectrum, broad spectrum, and isolate CBD? Which form do you use in your products?
There are different types of CBD extract: full spectrum, broad spectrum, and CBD isolate. Full spectrum is the fullest expression of cannabinoids, and it includes THC, the only known intoxicating cannabinoid. Broad spectrum includes a rich cannabinoid profile but contains no THC, and CBD isolate contains just CBD. We extract our CBD-rich broad spectrum hemp extract using proprietary supercritical CO2 method to avoid petrochemical solvents and extreme heat and to preserve the richness of the plant active compounds like terpenes, flavonoids, and phenols. We filter out all of the THC but maintain the integrity of the plant.
What is the difference between CBD derived from hemp vs CBD derived from cannabis?
The cannabis plant family includes many different plant species, including hemp and marijuana. Hemp plants usually contain high CBD levels and low THC levels, whereas marijuana plants contain high THC levels and low CBD levels. In terms of the CBD compound itself, it is the same compound whether you extract it from hemp or marijuana, but hemp is considered federally legal, so we extract our CBD from hemp.
How does CBD affect energy?
When our bodies are in distress, the ECS is in overdrive trying to promote homeostasis, or balance. Cannabinoids like CBD can help support healthy energy levels by relieving the body of stress and inflammation and returning us to balance.
What about stress?
Stress is the epidemic of today, with an estimated 75-90% of all doctor visits caused by stress of some kind. CBD helps promote our natural stress response, so when we supplement our endocannabinoids with phytocannabinoids like CBD, the body is able to do its job better and we can move through the stress we are facing.
What is the CBD connection to skin? How can supplementing with CBD benefit the skin?
The skin also has its own Endocannabinoid System, and cannabinoids in our products perfectly bind to cannabinoid receptors on the skin to promote balance. Most skin issues are caused by an imbalance of some kind, so cannabinoids like CBD help the skin maintain health.
What are the benefits of taking CBD internally vs applying it topically?
CBD is considered a novel anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, so whether you use CBD internally or externally you are benefitting. With a high enough level, CBD on the skin can also support muscles and joints and can help dissolve and melt away stress and discomfort. Internally, CBD supports better mood, sleep, stress response, metabolism, immunity and more, as the endocannabinoid system exists all throughout the body and supports many functions in the body.
Is there a time of day that’s best for taking CBD?
Everyone is different, and everyone responds differently to CBD. We created products for all throughout the day, so that they can easily integrate into anyone’s lifestyle. I start my day with The Daily and No Worries, and I also use our Skincare Power Trio in the morning and at night: Enlightenment Serum, The Afterglow, and Night Magic to lock it in. I take Sleep Tight in the evening to support sleep and in certain times of the month, such as my menstrual cycle or at exceptionally stressful moments, I take more The Daily and No Worries to support my physical and mental health.
For someone who has never tried CBD before, which product do you recommend they start with?
There are so many different products for different needs, so it’s important to identify your intention or goals for using CBD. If you want to start by supporting your endocannabinoid system, The Daily is our CBD vegan softgel designed to be effectively absorbed by the body, so it is a great place to start, and you take one every day like a typical supplement. If you want to experience the benefits of CBD on the skin, I’d try our facial skincare products or the Bath Gem, our bestselling Epsom salt and CBD bath soak. If you’re dealing with soreness or stiffness, try R+R Cream, as it contains a high level of CBD and other actives such as menthol, peppermint, tea tree and eucalyptus. If you’re trying to boost your mood or happiness, try No Worries. There’s something for everyone, and it’s so exciting to be alive during this time to see how cannabinoids like CBD can transform our health and happiness!