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Would Jacques approve? A Cousteau family brand links the sea to the weed

The Cousteau family’s first foray into cannabis began with an impromptu comment.

“Drinking a few glasses of wine, I joked, ‘Wouldn’t it be funny if the Cousteaus created a line of cannabis and we called it algae?’ Ashlan Cousteau recalled in a recent interview with Leafly. “We all had a little laugh. But then we couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Journalist, television host, author, educator and social entrepreneur, Ashlan began her career as an entertainment journalist before co-starring for three seasons on the Travel Channel. Treasure of the Pirates of the Caribbean. Her husband is Philippe Cousteau, host and executive producer of the multi-Emmy nominated series awesome planet, now in its sixth season. In the tradition of the Cousteau family, they both lend their talents to a wide variety of environmental associations.

Ashlan Cousteau: Inspired by her experience overcoming insomnia, she found a way to blend the power of the sea with earthly cannabinoids. (Photo courtesy of SeaWeed)

“I’m the third generation of a family dedicated to ocean and planet conservation,” Philippe told Leafly. “I’ve spent my whole life carrying on in the spirit of that legacy.”

Philippe is the grandson of the famous ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau (1910-1997), a French naval officer who became an author, filmmaker, ecologist, inventor and director/animator of The silent world—an ocean and marine life documentary that has inspired millions and won a Palme d’Or to 1956 Cannes Film Festival.

Hence the “seaweed” joke that gave rise to Naturals with seaweed.

Earth and sea

SeaWeed Naturals promotional materials describe it as “a one-of-a-kind lifestyle brand, creating products that provide customers with the established benefits of the cannabis plant, combined with the myriad powerful effects of sea plants.”

Specifically, the SeaWeed Naturals line of topicals, balms, tinctures, and gummies combine THC and CBD oils with seaweed and seaweed. The company’s origin story may involve a playful pun, but the pair say they hope to make a serious impact by providing a market for algae from restorative sources (“Maine aquaculture farms that sequester naturally carbon, deacidify the ocean, create habitats and provide sustainable jobs”) and ocean-friendly omega-3s (“derived from sustainably grown seaweed through a fermentation process similar to kombucha”).

According to the Cousteaus, 5% of the company’s profits will be donated to ocean conservation and education.

SeaWeed Naturals currently offers eight premium products at select California dispensaries and via delivery, with plans to roll out a CBD-hemp wellness line in 50 states in the near future.

An infused gum changed their lives

According to the Cousteaus, combining cannabis and marine plants was far from their first entrepreneurial idea.

“We thought about doing a line of t-shirts, but the fashion industry is a huge polluter. We thought about doing furniture, or wine, or cooking. We didn’t know what we wanted do, we just wanted to do something.

This Something became evident when Ashlan had a profound healing experience the first time she ate a “sleeping candy”. After the birth of the couple’s first child, she suffered from debilitating insomnia.

“I tried over-the-counter sleeping pills, I tried prescription drugs, and I never liked the way they made me feel,” she recalls. “I still remember that the next morning [after trying a THC gummy]. I had a great night’s sleep and woke up rested, not groggy or hungover. It was life changing and really opened my eyes to the power of this plant.

Philippe Cousteau, grandson of Jacques, created SeaWeed with Ashlan. (Photo courtesy of SeaWeed)

Add sea plants like kelp

Then comes the idea of ​​incorporating marine plants, already present in a wide range of cosmetic and wellness products, and offering their own health benefits.

“From the top of my head,” Ashlan said, “kelp is antibacterial, antifungal, anti-inflammatory, hydrates your skin, and inhibits collagen breakdown. Omega 3s help with depression and anxiety, help your organs and joints and support your immune system.

A curious story with “grass”

Jacques Cousteau, the famous family patriarch, lived to be 86 and left behind 120 television documentaries, more than 50 books and a thriving environmental protection society. But he is perhaps best known to a younger generation of cannabis users as the inspiration for Wes Anderson’s 2004 film. Aquatic Life with Steve Zissou.

In the aquatic life, Bill Murray plays a character clearly (although very loosely) based on Cousteau. One of the main differences between the character and his inspiration is that Steve Zissou likes to smoke weed throughout the movie.

In this 1986 photo, 76-year-old Jacques Cousteau stands in front of the refurbished Calypso research vessel in Miami, Florida. (AP Photo/Kathy Willens, file)

The real Jaques Cousteau, on the other hand, was adamantly opposed to cannabis. And we know it because he wrote it down.

In his preface to a 1976 anti-marijuana polemic titled Stay Off Weed: A Scientific Investigation of the Biological Effects of Marijuana by Dr. Gabriel G. Nahas, Cousteau compared the effects of cannabis to “nitrogen narcosis” experienced by deep-sea divers, and repeated discredited claims.

“The adverse biological effects associated with the habit of marijuana are most serious,” Cousteau wrote at the time. “If we’re concerned about external pollutants threatening our environment, we should also be concerned about internal pollutants, like marijuana products.”

Put that in your pipe

Both the book Do not walk on the grass and Cousteau’s preface are now forgotten relics of a bygone era. So forgotten, in fact, that Philippe Cousteau recounted leafy he had never heard of the book and had no idea that his famous grandfather was an activist against cannabis.

“We’re talking about 45 years ago when society’s outlook on drugs was very different,” Philippe said.

Obviously, it is not fair to hold a half-century-old polemic written by his grandfather against Philippe Cousteau. And who knows? If Jacques Cousteau had lived long enough to see the era of legalization and the widespread acceptance of medical cannabis, he might have filled his famous pipe with seaweed instead of tobacco.

Or more likely, tried a Natural seaweed gummies.

“I can’t speak for my grandfather now – and I have no idea how his thoughts on this have changed over time – but he’s someone who has definitely changed and broadened his outlook. over time,” Philippe said.

And that is a positive sign of the times.

David Bienenstock

Veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock is the author of “How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High” (2016 – Penguin/Random House), and the co-host and co-creator of the podcast “Great Moments in Weed History with Abdullah and Bean.” Follow him on Twitter @pot_handbook.

See articles by David Bienenstock

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