SeaWeed Naturals’ products. All photos courtesy of SeaWeed Naturals.
Ashlan and Philippe Cousteau recently launched their company SeaWeed Naturals. The company aims to improve ocean conservation efforts through their eco-friendly brand.
SeaWeed Naturals combines cannabis with seaweed and algae to provide health benefits for its users and to support a sustainable blue economy (which refers to any enterprise that profits off of the ocean). The company offers psychoactive and non-psychoactive tinctures, edibles and topicals.
Seaweed, algae and cannabis have known health benefits. These ingredients are already used in skincare and supplements because of this. So, the Cousteaus thought, ‘why not combine them into one line of products that also helps to restore the ocean?’
Restoring the Ocean
The Cousteaus created SeaWeed Naturals as a new way to restore the ocean, not just sustain it.
“We didn’t want to have a sustainable brand, because we don’t want to sustain the ocean and the planet the way it is now. We want to restore it back to abundance,” said Ashlan.
Contrary to popular belief, the Amazon rainforest is not the world’s greatest carbon sink and oxygen producer. The ocean is, according to the Cousteaus.
Marine botanicals and organisms like phytoplankton, kelp, mangroves, seagrass, seaweed and algae all play a huge role in combating climate change, they told Emerald.
Seaweed farming encourages planting seaweed. This practice also replaces kelp forests that have been destroyed by human activity. This improves the overall health of our oceans, according to the Cousteaus.
“Seaweed can capture carbon which fights climate change. It provides nurseries for many marine animals,” Ashlan said.
Ashlan Cousteau holding seaweed.
By incorporating seaweed and algae into their products, they increase the demand for seaweed and algae production and support restorative enterprises.
SeaWeed Naturals Supporting Sustainable Enterprises
SeaWeed Naturals sources all of their seaweed from Atlantic Sea Farms in Maine. Atlantic Sea Farms is a women-run kelp farm that provides jobs for fishermen in communities affected by lobster migration into Canadian waters.
The company’s seaweed farms are protected marine areas. These areas help to restore coastal habitats, increase biodiversity and mitigate the effects of climate change.
“We are excited that we can actually offer something to consumers that can give them hope and can give them power to change the ocean in a positive way,” Ashlan said.
In addition, SeaWeed Naturals’ packaging is all made of recycled materials and is recyclable. Their products do not contain plastic. However, the child safety lock is plastic because it is required by law.
They are also currently working on a deal with Stone Road farms, a sungrown cannabis farm in Nevada City, California.
They plan to use Stone Road as their supplier because they are off-grid, use regenerative farming methods and are committed to biodynamic farming.
“Cutting out the Middle Fish”
The combination of marine botanicals and cannabis provides the health benefits of both at once.
“We are tapping into the power of the ocean in a restorative way and tapping into the therapeutic power of THC and CBD, and combining those two to create something unprecedented,” said Philippe.
Research proves that marine algae has positive effects on the skin. Specifically, it can help with things like rashes, aging, inflammation and pigmentation.
Seaweed also has similar benefits when used in skincare products. Both marine botanicals also promote collagen production — which strengthens and provides elasticity — while hydrating the skin, according to the company.
On top of that, seaweed and marine algae also offer benefits to users who consume it.
For example, seaweed contains amino acids, dietary fiber and vitamins A, B, C and E. Additionally, algae is a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 improves cardiovascular health., according to the Cleveland Clinic
Overall, SeaWeed Naturals sources their omega-3 more sustainably than traditional omega-3 supplements like fish oil.
Omega-3 supplements usually contain fish in powder or oil form, according to Philippe. By extracting omega-3 from algae instead, “we cut out the middle fish,” Phlippe said.
The Cousteaus have created a family legacy of marine conservation and innovation.
Philippe and Ashlan filming a Travel Channel show.
Philippe Cousteau is the grandson of Jacques Cousteau, the French filmmaker and marine conservationist.
Naturally, Philippe follows in his grandfather’s footsteps and advocates for marine conservation through books and films, and now SeaWeed Naturals. Philippe is also the founder of Earth Echo. Earth Echo is a non-profit that teaches kids to be good stewards of their planet. It is currently active in 146 countries. His wife Ashlan wrote Oceans for Dummies and is a political environmental activist.
Ashlan started using cannabis after struggling during the postpartum period following the birth of the couple’s first daughter.
“I just could not get a good night’s sleep, and I had tried all the prescription stuff that makes you all loopy and crazy. A friend suggested that I try a nighttime (cannabis) gummy that had melatonin in it. The next morning I woke up and I felt like my regular self. […] So that really opened my eyes to the power of edibles,” Ashlan said.
After realizing the healing and medicinal power of cannabis, the couple started SeaWeed Naturals a few years later in 2022.
The main goal of the company is to strengthen the blue economy and give back to non-profits involved in ocean conservation.
Additionally, 5% of all SeaWeed Naturals profits go towards Earth Echo and AltaSea’s Project Blue.
Project Blue serves underserved communities and high schoolers in central Los Angeles. They provide ocean-related education and blue economy workforce development.
“Something about being a SeaWeed Naturals customer is that you’re helping restore the ocean, you’re providing sustainable jobs to communities and you’re helping to educate a new generation of young people to be engaged in building a better world,” Philippe said.
Currently their products are only available online to California residents.
However, the Cousteaus have plans to expand SeaWeed Naturals outside of California, to other states and countries. In turn, the young company hopes to create more funding for the couple’s conservation efforts.
Through this expansion, they hope to inspire other businesses in all industries to become better stewards of the earth.
“Solving these problems is not just going to be through making documentaries or through education programs. All of those are very important, but we also need […] businesses and commerce to start thinking differently about how it operates, about how it functions to not be a net detractor from society, but be a net benefit,” Philippe said.