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Cosmic Curative




Photo Credit: Drew Stevens

After graduating during the financial crisis of 2008, it became clear to Nicole Skibola that she no longer wanted to practice law. Instead she began working as a business consultant in New York City before deviating into sustainability and corporate social responsibility work. But before long, she discovered that this was just as unfulfilling as the prospect of spending hours in a dismal law firm. Soon she found herself, like thousands of fellow New Yorkers, self-medicating with cannabis to cope with the stresses of Midtown Manhattan. By 2012 her world was upended—she was diagnosed with cancer in the form of a rare uterine sarcoma. But that illness only transformed her into the person she is today.

Almost six years after recovering, Skibola has found greater peace. Her creative side, dormant for the better half of her adulthood, sprung to life shortly after her diagnosis and she is now the author of the upcoming book, Wakeful Night, an illustrated exploration of cancer-related loss she developed to lead readers through their own stages of identity, fear and metaphorical thinking. Through art—the book also features a series of Skibola’s abstract linocut prints and India ink paintings—and narrative storytelling, Wakeful Night, aims to support readers through their cancer experiences and inspire creativity. In addition to her newfound creative practice, Nicole is the co-founder of Cosmic View, a craft cannabis company specializing in handmade organic salves and tinctures that reflects her new perspective on life.

Skibola described her company to CULTURE. “[Cosmic View] really promotes this idea of body intuition,” Skibola said. “I think cannabis is an amazing way to develop that skill . . . getting to know your own body, taking control of your own health and figuring out what works for you. There’s a trend right now in the cannabis industry, which is making cannabis feel like a pharmaceutical drug, which is great for some people, but for us it’s really about helping consumers know themselves and listen to their bodies.”

Skibola doesn’t credit cannabis for curing her cancer, but she does acknowledge the science showing cannabinoids—like CBD—are effective in treating certain cancer cells, notably endometrial varieties. After undergoing surgical treatment, Skibola adopted an Ayurveda diet and began placing more focus on mindfulness and being present. Although cannabis wasn’t directly consumed during her cancer treatment, it has since allowed her to develop the skills necessary for deeper introspection and subsequent emotional healing. Her illness was also the primary inspiration behind the launch of Cosmic View.

“Cannabis was never really presented as an option to me while I was sick . . . it really became a big part of my life after I was sick because I needed to change my lifestyle,” Skibola said. “Living in New York is a stressful life, and I was drinking a lot of alcohol and sort of relying on that, and cannabis became a way for me to just relax and have a good time without having to worry about poisoning my body with alcohol.”

Her mother and co-founder, Dr. Christine Skibola, is a former University of California, Berkeley professor and cancer researcher. She was also a professor of epidemiology and an endowed chair of oncology in the Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama, Birmingham. At the cancer center Christine was inspired to craft herbal salves after witnessing their use on the burns of radiation patients. Her daughter’s diagnosis led her to delve into the literature of plant medicine more aggressively, where cannabis continually appeared as a promising tool.

“I don’t know where I would be without cannabis,” Skibola said. “I think that cannabis is an amazing tool to be able to come back into the present moment and sit with whatever you’re dealing with . . . that’s an amazing gift that cannabis has offered us.”

Photo Credit: Drew Stevens

As her mother began preparing to retire from academia, she became increasingly interested in crafting her own medicinal products and decided to add cannabis to her recipes. That decision led Nicole to relocate from Brooklyn, New York to California to join her mother in a cannabis collective. By January of this year, Cosmic View truly came into its own as a company.

“I don’t know where I would be without cannabis,” Skibola said. “I think that cannabis is an amazing tool to be able to come back into the present moment and sit with whatever you’re dealing with . . . that’s an amazing gift that cannabis has offered us.”

Skibola’s book, Wakeful Night, goes on sale Sept. 25 and can be pre-ordered from Barnes & Noble and Amazon. Because Cosmic View products contain both CBD and THC, they are only available for purchase and delivery from select dispensaries around the greater San Francisco Bay Area.