Couple challenges stigmas Black people face in the hemp industry with CBD Nomad

CBD Nomad is a small Black-owned business that harnesses the power of CBD through organic skincare. 

Najma Siyad co-founded CBD Nomad with her husband, Mohammed Jeylani, who’s a professional herbalist. The line includes charcoal clay, rose clay and turmeric clay masks infused with CBD. 

Siyad chatted with In The Know about the importance of people of color finding their place in the hemp industry — despite the obstacles and stigma.

“My husband is an herbalist and he is actually the one who developed the CBD clay masks and the turmeric masks that I would always use for my skin,” Siyad told In The Know. 

One day, Jeylani suggested they start mass producing and selling the products they had long been using and their company was born.

“Because of COVID-19, we couldn’t have a wedding,” she said. “So we took the savings we had and put it towards this business endeavor we’ve been dreaming of.”

CBD is short for cannabidiol, it’s the second most active ingredient in cannabis after THC, which is the element that gets you “high” or causes psychoactive effects. CBD, on the other hand, cannot get you high — instead, it’s commonly used for its calming properties.

The kind of CBD you purchase legally at stores is derived from hemp plants, which are in the same family as the marijuana plant. CBD is typically the major component of medical marijuana, as it has no psychoactive or addictive effects and isn’t linked to any health issues. 

“CBD offers a lot of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits, which can be very beneficial in treating skin concerns like inflammation, acne and dryness,” Siyad explained. 

CBD is also said to be effective in treating childhood epilepsy syndromes, chronic pain, arthritis, anxiety and sleep disorders. With it being mostly decriminalized (with varying restrictions and exceptions) in all 50 states, it’s no surprise there’s an upswing in CBD products on the market. 

But for a Black couple trying to make it in an industry selling CBD, when Black people have long been stigmatized and unequivocally arrested and jailed for cannabis use, it wasn’t always smooth sailing. 

“We come across so many roadblocks and I can understand why not a lot of marginalized communities are in this industry, even though it’s a billion-dollar industry and it’s increasing as we speak,” Siyad said. 

The co-founder expressed that it was “disheartening” to not see people who look like her making videos and sharing stories about CBD, the way the couple often does on TikTok

“I wanna see more Black and Brown folks in these spaces,” Siyad said. “I know just the negative stigma that comes from hemp and Black and Brown folks is something that a lot of our people are incarcerated for.”  

The CBD market is one of the fastest-growing industries in the world and is valued at $2.8 billion globally. In the U.S., only 4 percent of cannabis businesses are owned by Black people and Black people are still four times more likely to be arrested for possession than white people.

This context further shows how incredible it is that Siyad and Jeylani broke through. CBD is a land of growth and opportunity, but Black people are still largely underrepresented.

“But there’s also the positive side of it,” she added. “The health benefits and also the lucrative bonus that could really help our communities.” 

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