Denise Tam Is Advocating For The Power Of Cannabis Through Her CBD Store In Hong Kong
In the What Matters To Me series, a Generation T honouree describes what they do, why they do it, and why it matters.
Not many people can introduce themselves as “a full-time witch”, but Denise Tam lays claim to that mystical title. Cast out any preconceptions of cauldrons and warts: Tam interprets witchcraft as having the duty to resist oppression while being in tune with nature and knowing how to harness the power of plants. One plant in particular has her attention: cannabis.
“It can provide for almost all of our needs,” Tam says. This belief led her and her business partner Terry Wu to create Heavens Please, a lifestyle brand in Hong Kong that sells CBD (cannabidiol) products. CBD is derived from the cannabis plant but, when extracted in isolation, contains no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol), the psychoactive compound found in marijuana, leaving CBD users feeling relaxed but not high.
I’ve been a strong believer in healing through nature since I was small. After trying CBD, I decided to bring it to Hong Kong in 2019, which at that time was going through some major events. I thought CBD could help people with their mental and physical health. We wish to lift the stigma around cannabis: it is a plant that has been misunderstood for years.
People in Hong Kong may not always be aware of their mental health, because [mental illness] is treated as a taboo within Chinese society. I realised I had depression and anxiety in 2016. My daily life was seriously affected: I was unable to go to work or meet people for months. I didn’t have family support either, which made things hard. That’s where cannabis came in: the powerful effects of CBD helped me be more conscious of myself. Sometimes you need substances to help with balance.
Apart from helping with work performance and anxiety, [CBD] gave me a break from chaos. Incorporating CBD into my daily use has improved my life because it brings me peace of mind; I slow down and consider my thoughts before acting impulsively. I use CBD with different formulations for different needs, such as enhancing work performance, lowering anxiety or boosting moods. It also alleviates muscle aches and prevents breakouts on my face. I currently swear by [US CBD product manufacturer] Khus+Khus’ products, which we stock at Heavens Please.
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The reaction to our launch was wonderful—Hongkongers are generally very open to trying new things. The world is opening up to the legalisation of cannabis and other psychoactive substances. To help, Heavens Please prioritises education through our social media and blog, and we host introductory workshops to reduce stigma.
I am optimistic about CBD’s integration into society: with widespread use of CBD-infused food, drinks and skincare, people are becoming more familiar with it. Hong Kong’s regulations around cannabinoids are looser than other places in Asia, but the government needs to change its stance: instead of advertising cannabis as a drug and demonising the plant, provide proper education and discussion, so people can choose what is beneficial to them.
See more honourees from the Wellness category of the Gen.T List 2020