How Maya Elisabeth Became Whoopi Goldberg’s Business Partner

Maya Elisabeth has always been creative in the kitchen. Growing up in San Francisco’s East Bay Area, she fused her curiosities, both culinary and cannabis, to create OM Edibles. Ten years later, Elisabeth is the CEO of the company’s all-female collective, which sells 20 cannabis-infused products under the OM Edibles banner, including Epsom bath salts, hard candies and olive oil.

OM’s passionate following caught the eye of Whoopi Goldberg, who partnered with Elisabeth on Whoopi and Maya, a collection of bath soaks, tinctures, body balms, and ingestible cacaos marketed towards soothing menstrual discomfort, a niche pitched by Ms. Goldberg herself.

“She realized there just aren’t that many choices around for women,” Elisabeth says. “There’s Advil and Midol. What would it look like if men menstruated? There would be bodies and bodies of scientific evidence. Maybe there would even be paid period time off and free menstrual supplies in the bathroom.”

Goldberg and Elisabeth hit it off, leading them to launch Whoopi and Maya in 2016. Current cannabis laws mean Whoopi and Maya is only available in California and Colorado, though Elisabeth would love to expand to Canada, and will be crossing the border to speak at the O’CannaBiz Conference, being held in Toronto on June 7 – 9.

From her home in the East Bay, Elisabeth talked about experiments with edibles, her own self-care, and how she really feels about being in business with the one and only Whoopi Goldberg.

I loved cannabis from the first time I smoked it. I just fell in love. I’ve been working with cannabis for over 15 years and it’s my true passion. I love to make edibles, topicals. I am an in-the-kitchen person. I love to get medicated first. It really puts me in connection with the plant. I like to put on my favourite music, like instrumental, percussion, conscious lyrics, reggae, jazz…

I am self-taught. It’s all been trial and error. I’m still failing every day. I’ve burnt plenty of butter, I’ve let things sit for too long and gotten the wrong cannabinoid, I’ve poured things through a strainer and its gone right down the sink because I didn’t have a bowl underneath. I’ve had roommates come in and wash their hands in the sink and have had to throw a whole thing of olive oil out.

When we view cannabis as a superfood, by combining it with other superfoods and nutrients, we can create superior medicine [such as OM Edibles’ CBD Raw Sipping Cacao, which can be sprinkled on fruit or nuts or enjoyed as a chocolatey drink]. Before chocolate is cooked, it’s raw and it’s called cacao. The same cocktail of neurotransmitters that are released when you fall in love or have a 30-second embrace with your love is the same one that is released when you eat raw chocolate.

It was Whoopi’s idea in the beginning. She said, if this works for my family member who has super intense periods then I’ll know we’re on to something. Her family member tried it and it worked! We get stories every day from women telling us how they’ve never been able to get off painkillers for their cycles, they don’t know what to do, they’re so tired of it, and they don’t have any choices, and they are actually finding relief without having to take painkillers. It’s incredible.

Whoopi loves the rub. The rub is super popular. Men and women both enjoy that. It has white willow bark in it, which is the same compound that they originally made Aspirin out of. It’s a total analgesic. It’s really powerful for the nerve ending. It also has a very inviting smell. It’s very amber-y and woodsy.

Every day I take medicated baths, and every day I use the body oil from head to toe. It’s so good for your skin. It takes away wrinkles, it’s a preventative for environmental problems, it helps with bruising and pain, it takes away fine lines.

I’ve always looked up to Whoopi. She’s an amazing woman. I’m not really a star-struck individual but I really love her. My whole family is a fan. So it was an honour. She’s got such a big heart and she really cares about showing up in the right way and doing work that helps people.

All I could think about is what a trip life is. I never saw it coming. What has really been a heart-opener has been seeing how many women’s lives are changing. This is so much bigger than I thought and this is really making a difference. It’s like an honour, you know?

Maya Elisabeth is a keynote speaker at the O’CannaBiz Conference & Expo in Toronto on Saturday, June 9.