IGC Pharma unveiled its wellness brand, Holief, with a focus on targeting women experiencing premenstrual syndrome and menstrual cramps. The medical science community is barely scratching the surface of what hemp-derived cannabinoids can do for women, and that sociodemographic is poised to continue its unstoppable climb into the mainstream.
“We stand for quality and safety in our products, not just our gluten-free, but also non-GMO products, as they are lab-verified, and also have the certifications of paraben-free, and cruelty-free,” Women’s Wellness Specialist and IGC Pharma Marketing Manager Kenia Andrade told High Times. “So we actually prioritize quality and safety to ensure that our customers receive the best products out there.”
Not only does IGC Pharma develop advanced cannabinoid-based formulations for treating period cramps (dysmenorrhea) and premenstrual syndrome (PMS), but it also targets other conditions including Alzheimer’s disease and chronic pain for men and women. IGC currently has two investigational drug assets targeting Alzheimer’s disease, for instance.
Noticing the growing market of cannabinoid-based women’s wellness products, IGC developed the Holief line. “We rebranded last year, and then I took over the role of marketing manager,” Andrade said. “So I work very hard with science and operations to get the brand out and also to get the medical information on point.”
Holief provides lab reports on the products they sell, on a yearly basis. “Not because it is a restriction but because we are very transparent in what we use in our product,” Andrade said. “And we like that.”
Holief’s award-winning Holi-Wonder Muscle + Skin Relief Cream, for instance, combines lavender, aloe vera, coconut and Jojoba seed oil to effectively relieve persistent muscle stress while hydrating the skin. It contains hemp extract—with industry-leading levels of hemp—at 4000 mg.
“We have a very comprehensive product range,” Andrade said. “Holief offers wellness products addressing various aspects on women’s health and well being whether it’s managing menstrual symptoms, or dysmenorrhea, or promoting overall wellness. One of our main goals is to have products that support the stage of a woman’s life or a person’s life overall.”
Backed By Science
Holief’s formulations are backed by evidence, not just anecdotal reports.
“I’m a medical doctor, and also an epidemiologist,” said Juanita Arbelaez, Clinical Research Physician at IGC Pharma. “And I’m pursuing a master’s degree in Public Health right now. And I’m a medical researcher. So I’m part of the team of IGC Pharma.”
Arbelaez explained that hemp extract has shown to soothe and manage the emotional symptoms associated with PMS, as well as sleep regulation and mood-stabilizing effects. Evidence suggests hemp extract can have a calming effect on the central nervous system.
Holief provides topicals that use menthol, which is commonly combined with hemp-derived cannabinoids to really get into the skin.
“One of them I have at hand is the Holi-Cramp Plus Menstrual Relief Cream with Menthol, because it has 5% of menthol with its main formulation at the base of the cream,” Andrade said. “And what it gives you is a hot and cold sensation, that really is almost immediate. It is only for external use, but it’s usually recommended to be applicable in the lower part of the abdomen.” The Holi-Cramp Plus cream contains vitamin E, MCT oil, and olive oil, as well as 2,800 mg of hemp extract.
“For men, you can actually even though the name is Holi-Cramp, men can actually wear it because it is a hand cream that has menthol in it so it allows any part of your muscles, any part of your body that has contracted muscles to relax.”
Again, the formulations are backed by evidence. “Menthol is well known and studied,” Arbelaez said. “And it helps a lot with pain sensation … so that combination is much better than just CBD.”
Using the Broad Spectrum of Hemp
Some of the products use broad spectrum hemp extract while others use full spectrum. Broad spectrum typically means the CBD is enhanced with compounds such as cannabichromene (CBC), cannabinol (CBN), and terpenes such as myrcene, limonene, or pinene.
“Broad spectrum means that it has no THC that can create psychoactivity in your brain,” Arbelaez said. “[It] can pass through the blood-brain barrier, but it cannot produce psychoactivity. So you are not going to be high. While you’re going to have some other benefits, like pain relief, you are going to feel not as stressed or maybe relaxed, but you are not going to be paranoid, you are not going to feel high. That is what it means it doesn’t have any THC at all. That is the compound that makes you feel high or to have some psychological activity.”
Full-spectrum CBD products, on the other hand, may also contain up to 0.3% of THC, but in insignificant amounts that won’t get you high as well.
“The cannabinoids we have include CBD, CBG, and CBN,” Andrade said. “But we also use Ashwagandha, blueberries or Jojoba seed oil and lavender. Our range of products or our range of ingredients are mostly plants and fruits. That’s why our gummies have their natural flavor and natural colors. We do not depend entirely on hemp extract, but the fusion or the mix of hemp extracts with other ingredients.”
The Holief catalogue is divided in four categories: PMS, Sleep, Wellness, and Fitness. Our range of products go from creams to tinctures, to gummies to topicals, which can also help with issues like headaches. The Sore Head Roll-On, for instance, is meant to ease migraines and it has herbal extracts that help ease the nerves. It contains 500 mg of hemp, eucalyptus, lavender oil, peppermint, Spanish sage oil, ginger, sweet fennel, camphor, and Menthol.
IGC Pharma will be presenting at the 13th Annual LD Micro Invitational at the Luxe Sunset Boulevard Hotel, California June 6-8, 2023.
“Authenticity is the main pillar of what we have to build the community and to create safe spaces so that people can actually interact with their own issues,” Andrade said. “At the end of the day, we would like to be like a platform so that more people can be out on their own journey.”