Tengku Chanela Jamida performing JIWA ritual

Reclaiming the Hemp Plant to Empower the Muslim Community

  • Tengku Chanela Jamidah founded Halal Hemp to reclaim the healing powers of cannabis for her community. 
  • Halal Hemp is working with the American Halal Foundation to certify CBD as halal, supported by blockchain technology from Chroma Signet. 
  • Part of Halal Hemp’s mission is to educate people about and destigmatize cannabis in Muslim culture. 
  • Jamidah uses hemp for health and wellness and wants everyone else to be able to do the same.

7 minute read

Healer Tengku Chanela Jamidah Brings the Hemp Plant Back to Islam

Societal acceptance of cannabis has come a long way in the 21st century. But, let’s be honest, the hemp plant is still taboo for many people. For Muslims, the stigma of cannabis can still be especially strong. But that isn’t stopping Tengku Chanela Jamidah. She founded Halal Hemp to reclaim cannabis within Islamic culture. Through education and her own practice, she empowers Muslim and BIPOC communities to reap the healing benefits of hemp.

What initially prompted you to bring Halal Hemp to life?

It was my discovery of the fatwa by Shaykh Mustafa that cannabis can be permissable in Islam for medical purposes. Then, came the first halal CBD certification by a regulating body—The American Halal Foundation. Finally, I had a lightbulb moment. I realized how significant this knowledge would be to push the needle forward for Muslim communities. I want to help my people accept and adopt the hemp plant. And I knew they’d do that far more quickly once they knew it was, in fact, permissible in Islam for healing. I also hold a unique position to deliver this beautiful plant to the people of color who have been terribly impacted by its prohibition. I was raised in the East. But I’ve been at the intersection of the West through pop culture. My personal mission is to bring medicine to the people who need it the most: children, the elderly, the sick, and the suffering. We all deserve to benefit from hemp without feeling guilty about it because we think it goes against our faith.

describe Halal Hemp in 3 EMOJIS

The 3 emojis that describe Halal Hemp, the company changing the way the Muslim community views the hemp plant, are moon, plant, and heart.

Tell us about the 5 pillars of Halal Hemp’s mission

The 5 pillars of our mission are: Education, Policy, Community and Collaboration, Sustainability, and Economic Decolonization. Bringing hemp to Islamic communities is no easy feat. So we take a holistic approach. There are so many facets of this industry. We always start with education to destigmatize the plant. Education lays the foundation of our mission. Then, the rest will follow suit.

What’s the history of the hemp plant within Muslim culture? And what was your first experience with the plant?

There’s a manuscript from 18th-century Malaysia called the “Kitab Tib”. It’s a medical pharmacopeia that lists Indian hemp as a method for treating headaches. The text is influenced by the Hanafi school of thought. It states that, when no other alternative is available, medical cannabis is permissible for Muslims. In fact, cannabis is also intertwined with Sufism. Sufis used hashish to reach a higher consciousness and to be closer to god. I was quite young when I initially experimented with the hemp plant. But I never became much of a consumer until I returned to the United States several years ago. That was after significant advancements in technology that produced new forms of cannabis. That made it far easier to identify how the hemp plant can be useful to you and the ailments you seek to treat.

What are the biggest challenges that the hemp plant faces in contemporary Muslim culture?

The biggest challenges for the hemp plant is Islam is a lack of understanding and miseducation. Those things lead to fear. Because it’s illegal in our culture, policy needs to change for us to erase the impact of these inhumane laws. In Malaysia, possession of over 200 grams of cannabis can lead to capital punishment. Because cannabis is still classified as a schedule 1 drug, many other Muslim countries have these absurd laws, too. The hemp plant has a negligible amount of the THC that causes intoxication. But they still lump it into the same category as high-THC cannabis.

You’re also a certified sound healing therapist. What’s one thing we could all do to improve our daily lives with sound?

We’re essentially made up of sound. Sound is a vibration, and your voice is powerful. Spoken words shift vibrational states. That includes affirmations as well as the way you speak to yourself and others. Every emotion has a vibration that correlates to it. Those can be measured in hertz just like sound. So speak kind words to yourself and to others. Additionally, listen to binaural beats—or even recordings of sound bowls—to bring about a calm meditative state that induces healing. I also like to compliment sound healing with cannabis. You can experience this through my JIWA rituals.

Topical or edible?

Topical for sure! 

Favorite products you’re currently using?

I love my Papa Barkley CBD body oil. It has amazing scents like eucalyptus and lavender. And it moisturizes, too. The oil works by soothing to lessen your aches and pains. I’m also obsessed with Muri Lelu Indica Face Oil for my dry, eczema-prone skin. It’s whole flower cannabis extract mixed with other essential oils.

How do you hope to change people’s relationships with the hemp plant?

I hope to change people’s thinking so that you’re no longer seen as a drug addict or a criminal if you use hemp products for healing. I also want to help people recognize that the hemp plant enhances your wellbeing. That’s not just medically but also as a sustainable product. It sequesters carbon and can be used in the replacement of gas and plastics. The hemp plant is intelligent. 

Tengku Chanela Jamidah's mission is to change the way the hemp plant is viewed in Muslim culture

Halal Hemp is partnering with Chroma Signet—how do you see blockchain technology working in the hemp industry?

We see halal certification as something that brings safety to the consumer through quality assurance. There are many counterfeit halal certificates out there. But, through the blockchain, we’re able to verify their authenticity. The consumer will feel more comfortable with the product being tracked from seed to sale. And they can be assured that the halal certification is produced by the American Halal Foundation. Additionally, Chroma is open source and user friendly. The service doesn’t end in the consumer’s hands. There are also customer reward programs and incentives that make interacting with Chroma fun and engaging. It’s more than just a QR code.

Can you explain the process of how hemp, or anything, becomes certified halal?

Typically the product must not be derived from pigs, like gelatin. It also can’t contain above a certain percentage of alcohol. For CBD, specifically, it must contain no more than 0.2% THC. It’s also important that the product isn’t contaminated. The American Halal Foundation appoints someone to audit each manufacturing facility. Once we’ve ensured that everything meets these standards, the factory earns a halal sticker for the product. It’s like how you see kosher or organic stamps on products. If you want your product to be certified halal, reach out to us and we’ll walk you through the process.

What’s your favorite way to incorporate the hemp plant into your day?

Tinctures! I love Onda’s Hemp CBD. It’s made with regenerative practices and is broad spectrum. I take one dropper full before I go to bed at night. I also love Bace’s Daily Capsules for maintaining wellness. And Papa Barkley’s CBN Gummies for when I need deep, restorative sleep. 

You split time between Las Vegas and LA. Before the pandemic, what were your favorite spots to go out in both cities?

For food in LA, I love Bavel. They serve amazing Middle Eastern food. It’s from the same people as Bestia. I also like Chifa in Eagle Rock. It’s from Humberto Leon of Kenzo and Opening Ceremony. So you can imagine how cool the interior is. I’m actually pretty chill. So I like rooftop and outdoor venues. Broken Shaker, Mama Shelter, Elephante in Santa Monica, and Bar Stella in Silver Lake are a few of my go-to spots. In Vegas, everyone tends to go to the strip. But I’m more of a downtown person. Fergusons is a great creative scene where you can discover local acts and more. You’ll also see Tony Hsieh’s art collection from Burning Man there and more.

How can we keep up with Halal Hemp? And what’s next for you?

I’m in the thick of my “seed” round and will be growing my team at Halal Hemp as well as organizing some international conferences this year. I’ll also be launching a B2B and B2C platform. It’s going to be a very exciting year for us. Follow us on Instagram @wearehalalhemp or my personal page @tcjamidah. Join us as we reclaim cannabis together!

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