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North Bay mother and daughter, cancer researcher and survivor, hope to heal others with cannabis

True to Northern California’s ethos of supporting local organic farmers, a number of cannabis companies in the North Bay are producing medicinal products with the health and safety of their consumers – and the planet – in mind. Even among a growing crop of sustainability-minded cultivators, A Cosmic View sets a high standard.

The company, run by mother-daughter team Christine Skibola, PhD, and Nicole Skibola, launched in 2017 after years of making small batches of skin care products for personal use at a family property in Jenner. Christine is an acclaimed cancer researcher, focusing on the molecular epidemiology of lymphoma. Nicole is an endometrial cancer survivor who has incorporated cannabis use into her post-recovery health routine.

A Cosmic View manufactures and sells medicinal tinctures and topical products like CBD Herbal Salve for pain relief, Psori-Assist for skin damage from psoriasis, eczema and other autoimmune skin conditions, and Deep Down Athletic Formula for deep tissue pain relief.

Most of their ingredients – including olive oil manufactured by the Skibola family in Marin County, and honey from their own hives – are produced locally in Northern California.

“Our cannabis comes from a really small family farm in Trinity County,” says Nicole. “We collaborate with the grower and the extractor to develop an extract that is as unrefined as possible. We want something that retains all of these beneficial plant compounds in addition to the cannabinoids and terpenes. Part of our brand ethos is to go the extra mile to make sure that everything is organic and pure and sourced as local as possible, and responsibly.”

A Cosmic View makes medicinal cannabis for an array of treatments. Photo courtesy of Nicole Skibola.

Nicole says that her mother, Christine, conducts research on the non-cannabis herbal ingredients in A Cosmic View’s products. She consults peer reviews and medical journals to assess the biological actions of ingredients and their potential synergistic effects.

The Skibolas say they hope their products become a key element in customers’ healing regimens. It’s a personal matter for both women.

“My relationship with cannabis has really grown as a result of being a cancer survivor and wanting to lead a very healthful life,” says Nicole. “And there was just a study that came out a couple of months ago on endometrial cancer and CBD and initial studies [show] that CBD kills endometrial cancer cells and it is absolutely amazing.”

The February 2018 research study, conducted by Portuguese researchers in the biochemistry department at the University of Porto, suggests that CBD (cannabidiol) and THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) could not only inhibit the growth of tumors, but also kill cancer cells. The researchers also suggest that CBD could have potential as a treatment for endometrial cancer, even in cancers that have become non-responsive to common therapies.

“That’s really exciting and definitely has had an additional dimension to the role that cannabis plays in my life,” says Nicole. “As the science has come out, not only do I interact with cannabis recreationally but I also take it like it’s a vitamin. It’s part of me staying healthy.”

For Nicole, staying healthy includes aspects of physical health, creative expression and emotional well-being. Nicole says the cancer diagnosis and recovery inspired her to dramatically reimagine her life’s path. After law school and a career as a consultant, she shifted her focus to working as an artist and writer. As co-founder of A Cosmic View, Nicole says she hopes to make their products accessible to people who didn’t have a lifelong relationship with cannabis.

She has also written a book about her experience with cancer which is set for publication this fall. Nicole describes A Wakeful Night (Dottir Press) as “an interactive journal that supports people to develop their creative practice during times of cancer-related loss.” The book was first piloted with the University of Southern California Cancer Center last year.

“Something that my mom and I are both really passionate about is not only physical health and helping people navigate whatever health issues they’re dealing with, but also with being able to emotionally move through whatever life throws at you.”