Mary Jane’s Medicinals Are Applied Topically to Ease Pain and Promote Well-Being
TELLURIDE – Dahlia Mertens, the owner and creator of Telluride-based Mary Jane’s Medicinals, lives in a blue cottage surrounded by plants. It’s a fitting location for a woman whose successful business was born from and thrives off of a deep respect and affection for the natural healing power of the cannabis plant.
Mertens started Mary Jane’s Medicinals in 2010 after she became inspired during a summer working on a medicinal marijuana farm in Northern California.
Mertens’ belief that cannabis can be used to help ease pain and promote well-being is not unusual, especially in Colorado. But what makes Mary Jane’s Medicinals truly stand out is that Mertens’ products are meant to be applied topically, rather than inhaled or ingested.
“There was only one other company that used topicals when I started,” she says. “No one was even thinking about it, not even the dispensary workers.”
“One of the advantages to applying cannabis topically rather than ingesting it,” she explains, “is that users can experience the potent healing and relaxing power of cannabis without the accompanying psychoactive component, if they don’t want that aspect of it.”
“I’ve only had one person ever, out of thousands of customers, say that they got high from one of our products,” she adds.
Mertens has discovered myriad ways in which cannabis can provide natural alternatives to modern pharmaceuticals – better solutions, she believes, for chronic pain and conditions like arthritis and neuralgia, because they are healthier for the body and the planet.
“Cannabis is the most effective herb I’ve ever seen,” she says, citing its properties as a powerful anti-inflammatory, analgesic and circulatory aid.
Mertens started out as masseuse with a vision.
“I went into massage knowing it would lead somewhere else, I just didn’t know where,” she says.
Mertens had been living in Colorado, working in massage, when she took off for the summer to trim pot plants at a medicinal facility in Northern California.
That summer was the catalyst that sparked the creation of Mary Jane’s Medicinals, which now sells its small but all-encompassing line of products in over 200 stores and dispensaries throughout Colorado, including all of Telluride’s dispensaries.
“My first trip to Northern California was life-changing and spiritual,” she recalls. “I arrived at sunset and walked through a garden and there were these huge marijuana plants ready for harvest just glowing in the sunset. As I was blown away by the beauty of it, one of the plants caressed my face, and I felt the communication from them, the love.”
Merten’ transformative moment among the plants spurred her to learn as much as she could about cannabis and marijuana, and she returned to Colorado armed with knowledge, understanding and boundless hope about the cannabis plant and its potential for healing.
“The timing was perfect,” she explains, “I got back to Colorado just as medicinal marijuana was gaining momentum and making some headway. I started using cannabis oils in my massages, and I was amazed at how quickly people relaxed.”
“My ‘ganjassage,’” she adds with a laugh, “is a whole new level of relaxation.”
Moving beyond her success with cannabis-infused massages, Mertens began cooking salves and tinctures in her kitchen and trying them out on friends.
The feedback was astoundingly positive, and in 2010 Mary Jane’s Medicinals was officially born as a company.
“It wasn’t easy,” Mertens recalls. “I started with $1,500 in the bank and then all the regulations took effect and I had to raise $10,000 just to be in compliance. I almost gave up because it seemed impossible, but then my family stepped in and came up with half of that to invest in the business and I was able to scrape together the other half.”
Mertens explains that despite her initial difficulty getting her business off the ground, she does believes Colorado and its more friendly attitude toward the weed industry makes it infinitely more possible for a “normal” people to break into the business.
“In Arizona you need at least $150,000 to get a license in the first place,” she says. “Colorado is definitely the ideal place for my business.”
Although Mertens still has a lot of hoops to jump, and still has “occasional moments of fear,” because weed is still illegal on the federal level, she is happy she stayed in business.
“I used to dream of being an actress,” she says. “But this brings together even more of my loves. I can be creative with marketing and branding, and I get to help people using natural methods and materials.”
“I feel like I’m doing a good thing on so many levels,” she says with a smile. “And that’s the motivator, that’s what keeps me going.”
A True Success Story
“My first ‘wow’ moment came when a client who had chronic hip pain from childbirth used the salve and it was able to give her pain relief in way the painkillers she had been using could not.”
Since that moment, Mertens has had more wow moments than she ever thought possible.
“Maybe my best success story,” she says, “Is a woman who had a double mastectomy and four breast cancer surgeries. She had burn wounds that would not heal or close on her chest, and traditional medication and surgeries were failing. She was quite skeptical at first, but she tried my salve and her scars eventually decreased, the wounds healed substantially and she even saw reduction in some of the nerve damage she had experienced as a result of her ordeal. When she told me, we were both almost in tears.”
Mertens has also heard from many older patients with arthritis and neuralgia who have experienced relief from her products, which has enabled them to reduce the amount of pain medication, often with unpleasant side effects, that were taking just to function.
“There was a guy who came to us who had been burned and disfigured when fracking fluids were sprayed in his face,” she recalls. “His face was very scarred and nothing was working. He tried our salve, and his scars are all gone.”
On a much lighter note, Mertens claims “Mary Jane’s Medicinals” has also led to a marriage. “My Heavenly Hash Bath put two of my clients in such a relaxed mood that he proposed to her in the bathtub,” she says.
“They attribute the proposal directly to the hash bath.”
A Household Name
Mertens plans on expanding from her current manufacturing facility in Ilium Valley to include a grow operation, but “with the new , are a lot of hoops to jump through and we need to go through the whole licensing process first,” she says.
She does not have plans to open a retail location exclusively for Mary Jane’s Medicinals, as she believes the existing business structure of manufacturing and wholesaling is working well.
“In ten years,” she says, “I envision marijuana legal in all 50 states, and I want to be in all 50 states. I want our company to be a household name.”
Citing the salve as her favorite product, she continues, “in the future I hope everyone can have a jar of my salve in their medicine cabinet as a natural and healthy alternative to ibuprofen, acne medicine or burn salve.”
“It is the most versatile product we have,” she adds. “It truly does everything.”
For information and a list of products and retailers go to www.maryjanesmedicinals.com.