Meet the extremely talented, Siobhan McCarthy. According to her Facebook profile she's a "creator, producer, director, actor, clown & mum". We'd like to add "an all around lovely person who is educating us on the benefits of plant based medicines". Recently we were lucky enough to have a chat to ask what drives her, she does for fun, what's in store for her future, and more.
1. How did you get into this line of business?I come to cannabis as a patient. I created by own line of topicals to keep me moving when I was disabled in a car accident. I began working at Cannalife Botanicals in 2015 as a result of a family crisis. I had to put my film career on hold to earn a better wage so that I could best support my son. At Cannalife, I began working as their sales and marketing lady growing their company from local to national recognition. I spent a lot of time training dispensary staff on how our products work and how to best sell them. I then shifted to product and brand development in 2018. Formulating has always been my side passion, after filmmaking. I've worked in skin care for years - The Body Shop, Lush, etc and I’ve studied plant and aromatherapy since my University Days in the 90’s
In 2017 I was hired by Creating Brighter Days and Northern Vine Labs as their Sales and Marketing Managers. I enjoy branding and marketing new products. I love educating people about the plant, especially topicals, the safest modality.
2. Let's hear about your latest endeavor, Blyssful Alchemy
I created blyssful ALCHEMY as a direct reaction to legalization. For the first time, topicals were deemed illegal and my position at Cannalife was eliminated as a result. When I studied the Cannabis Act, it became apparent to me that I could no longer sell topicals, but I could teach all of my clients who depend upon them for their health and wellness, how to make them. Blyssful ALCHEMY was born out of necessity.
To bring people together to learn about plant medicines in a safe, compassionate and joyful space. People don’t commune anymore. As a result of social media being a constant in our lives over the past decade, as a society, we have changed. We don’t socialize they way we used to. In an effort to connect, we have become very disconnected as a society. At blyssful ALCHEMY we work with intimate groups of no more than 12 at a time. This enables us to have meaningful connections where we can share more intimately and feel safe. We can learn from others experiences with plant medicines and share our own in an effort to learn and are knowledge. I love how up until now, all of us makers went by code names and hid in the shadows. Now we can share and impart our knowledge more readily. We can share secrets and process so we call better our practices and enhance our products. I love when all the makers get together and share how they each make their products and how their processes differ- so many tips are shared.
3. What advice do you have for people just starting their CBD journey?
Talk to your doctor and your pharmacist. CBD can have negative interactions with prescriptions you may be taking. Ask your doctor and pharmacist when you should take it in accordance to your other prescriptions. If they say they don’t know, gently ask them to find out. I do this each and every time I get a prescription renewed. Yes the same prescription. Every single time. One day I hope the will have an answer. They never will, if I don’t ask the questions. Repeatedly.
To not be afraid of it. I feel like the tin man in the wizard of oz. A well oiled machine when lubricated with CBD, a squeaky heap of tin, when I’m not.
4. Have you ever been faced with people who don't agree with or accept your passions? If so, what have you done?
Yes. I lost a lot of my friends when they found out I worked at cannalife and that we made cannabis infused products. That was until they got sick, or a loved one did! Then I had the opportunity to be an educator and an ally! My son’s school's PTA and many of the mothers were not as warm and accepting of me, or my child as a result of my cannabis work. In the beginning, it was so bad that I didn’t tell anyone, what I did. The secrecy of our burgeoning industry strengthened relationships with those in the same predicament, yet had many negative impacts on relationships - both personal and professional by those who didn’t approve of the plant or my interaction with it. My mother disowned me when I began using cannabis for medical purposes, which was so detrimental to me as a young disabled woman trying to make my way. I didn’t understand it and no matter how many times she was told that my surgeon recommended it, she refused to accept it or me.
5. You host many educational workshops & DIY events. What are some upcoming events?
We have DIY topicals workshops all the time! I’m excited about a new infused coffee, sugar shower scrub that I made last week. I can’t wait to teach people how to make that~ just in time for swimsuit season? In May and June I’ll be teaching people how to make salves, muscle balms, anjointment for janky joints, massage oil, body oil, face oil, sensual pleasure oil, bath soaks, shower scrubs, how to infuse coconut and olive oils and how to make tinctures. We have Rox.c.Rolla with the support of the Stolbie Sisters teaching people how to roll joints, Laurie McCracken teaching us all about the various female orgasms. We have mocha catering teaching people how to make tropical infused jerk sauces, and chutneys. We have people teaching how to make their own gummies. I’ve partnered with Blue Verbena for another DIY infused soap workshop as well as an infused lotion. Dani of Moonroot mediation teaches guided meditations every Sunday morning and Liv of cannacentricyvr teaches yin yoga and a DIY tattoo healing salve. Katrice Balmer does new and full moon guided meditations. We have done DIY how to grow your own cannabis workshops. I hope to have a how to infuse your honey workshop before the end of June. Basically I am supporting other women, in their businesses by providing a space for them to run their classes and workshops.
6. What's next for Siobhan McCarthy?
Sadly, I was just given an eviction notice for my studio space. It is heart breaking, after so much hard work and 16 years in this great live/ work space, to have to move, is a bit overwhelming. So, I will now be taking my skill set on the road and into the homes, conferences, churches and community centres of anyone who wants me! I literally have a few different pot(s) and will travel! I’ll keep looking for another venue, but in the meantime, I’ll get really creative and lean on my grass roots environmental theatre roots and apply them accordingly.
I just shot a proof of concept of my DIY educational series, called blyssful ALCHEMY with an all female cast and crew. I will take it to market and see if I can get licensing with a broadcaster or digital channel. My first series went viral on YouTube garnering over 100,000 views in less than 24 hours. Maybe I can apply some of my secret sauce to help disseminate this new content to mass audiences with equal success? I can only try.
I was just nominated for a LEO Award for my film RED EYE which went to Cannes last spring. I’m excited to keep writing and making my slate a reality. I have a feature film in development with Superchannel to shoot in the Yukon. Like, blyssful ALCHEMY, one of the themes is cannabis. When my two careers collide, it's a perfect storm that I wish to embrace and capitalize on. I’ll keep chatting with LP’s about formulations and potential collaborations and I’ll keep writing my new series SONDER. I’ll get some new headshots done and get my demo reel updated with the new content I just shot, so I can get more acting work. I’m a UBCP member and its going to be a busy summer. I’m working on an article for the HER(b)life and am going to go to Ireland in June. As a citizen of Canada, the UK and Ireland, I look forward to bringing my expertise in Cannabis in Canada to other countries in the EU and beyond. In July and August I’ll spend a week in each month in nature with my love and our kids in the forest camping. I love the boler and the fun we have as a family. In September, I’ll attend TIFF as a filmmaker. Its an annual pilgrimage. In October, topicals are slated to become legal. I’m curious to see where I’ll land. I’m open and keen.
7. Tell us a fun / silly fact about yourself!
I'm a clown for the big kids. I'm in the talent bank with Cirque du Soliel.
8. Who are you admiring right now in the industry?
South of the Boarder, I admire and respect Joy Beckerman like no tomorrow - I met her at my first cannabis conference years ago and love everything about her and what she is doing. The change she fights to instill is awe inspiring. When I met her, she instantly made me feel like a sister and of value. I’ve learned so much about using hemp as a building material via her constant education and engagement. She is the most encouraging, inspiring woman, right up there with Cheryl Shuman. Cheryl is so graceful and wise, yet humble. She reminds me of Grace Kelly - extraordinary and exquisite. She has always been so very kind and her business savvy marvels me. Her tenacity is awe inspiring.
In Canada, I’m a big fan of and inspired by my friend Melinda Rombouts, the CEO of Eve & Co. She has moved mountains in a very short period of time. Her ability to execute is formidable. Her team is comprised of women, female-farmers. She began her journey in cannabis through flowers. I believe in her and I see how she cares for her community and the people she works with.
Locally, Andrea Dobbs of the Village Bloomery has been a wonderful mentor and friend to me since 2015. Her aesthetic, curious mind and ability to create community with joy is so utterly beautiful. Likewise, I love my dear friend Salimeh Tabrizi who produces the Cannabis and Hemp Conference for her passion and ability to curate and galvanize our community’s thought leaders who serve the plant medicines with grace and reverence.