Understanding the changing landscape of concentrates with James Slatic, CEO of Med-West. James talks about why not all vape pens are the same and how discreet infused products like their gums, sprays and sublingual tablets are changing the game. Learn more at Med-west.com In this interview we will reveal how the market for discreet cannabis products will look in the years ahead.
Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Each week I’ll take you behind the scenes to interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving legal marijuana industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. What are the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. That’s www.cannainsider.com/trends. Now here’s your program. Cannabis consumers are moving more and more away from flower and choosing concentrates. We’re going to find out why that is and learn about the most exciting innovations on the cannabis concentrate front with our guest today James Slatic, CEO of MedWest. Welcome James.
James: Thank you.
Matthew: James I want to dig into the extract market, but first can you tell me at a high level what MedWest does?
James: Sure, MedWest was one of the first CO2 extraction companies. We started back in 2009, and we provide a wide array of CO2 extracted cannabis medicines and soft gels, sublingual pills, oils and of course the most popular, well-know thing, the vape pen cartridge system.
Matthew: How did you get involved in extraction and concentrates? What’s your background?
James: Well I think like many in cannabis, by accident, you know. I’m a 30 year entrepreneur. I’ve been starting companies since I was 23, and we always try to find the niches. In entrepreneurial business we say in niches there are riches. And I stumbled upon the medical cannabis world back in 2008, and originally started as doing packaging. I started a company called www.popbottles.com, and we supplied, you know, compliant packaging to about 350 dispensaries around California. And just from networking through the industry I started, you know, going to the conferences, the business conferences and you know, met the OrganaLabs people in Colorado and started learning about the CO2 extracted medicines and really saw that as a thing for the future and for, you know, helping people with medical conditions and just kind of went from there and the rest is history, as they say.
Matthew: Now for listeners that are not that familiar with concentrates or maybe just have a slight understanding of what it is, how can you help orient them about what concentrates actually are and why the market is turning or pivoting so quickly to concentrates and it’s taking more market share from the flower?
James: Well that’s a very deep question. I think the simple explanation is concentrates are basically taking the flower and extracting down the essential elements, the active ingredients. A number of ways to do that, you know, we use CO2 because of the laws here in California against hydrocarbon extraction, but many other states use solvents such as hydrocarbon extraction like butane. And once you remove the active ingredients out of the flower then you can mold it into any number of delivery systems. And so, you know, everything from the famous, you know, pot brownie that everybody knew or heard of before, you know, medical cannabis, and then everything into sort of high tech stuff. I mean we have soft gel capsules with all kinds of varying amounts of CBD and so forth. And so concentrates are now just getting more scientific, and I think the consumers are learning that it provides a doseability or repeatability and you know, lack of stigma. You know, if you light up a joint or a pipe somewhere, everybody within a city block can smell it, versus a concentrate which, you know, looks medical, acts medical and both the people that use it in adult use consumption fashion as well as for medical conditions, it’s very doseable and repeatable.
Matthew: Now you talked a little bit about the categories your concentrates are in, but not everybody is familiar with the sublingual or sprays. Can you talk a little bit about what those are?
James: Sure. It’s just taking the essential ingredients and it’s (5.02 unclear) that you put it in. The sublingual is basically a pharmaceutical sugar base, and so sublingual just meaning that it’s designed to, you know, melt in your mouth. The best way is under your tongue, and it’s what’s called an oral mucosal where it goes in through the mucous membranes of the mouth, and it’s a great delivery method especially for my pain patients because it doesn’t matter what you had to eat or drink or when. It’s going to take effect the same way every time and last the same amount of time. And very similar to a spray, you know, these cannabis sprays that are coming on the market too, they’re also absorbed through the mucous membranes of the mouth. So it takes effect very very quickly, you know, less than 10 seconds and you know, usually very doseable.
Matthew: So you’re saying that it’s more consistent with the concentrates. You can dial in what you want to feel or a patient, what symptoms they want to treat a little easier than the flower?
James: Well definitely. You know, flower is going to, you know, it’s still always going to have a place in the market, but it tends to, as we all know that consume cannabis, you tend to get as high as you’re going to get right away. And then from that point on, you know, five minutes, ten minutes, twenty minutes, you know, you’re going to have that gradual decrease in the effect. So you’re going to need to redose or whatever. Plus when you burn cannabis you tend to get the supporting cannabinoids tend to become fugitive on those temperatures, meaning they escape and are not inhaled into the vapor stream. So that’s why people tend to get, you know, really high and maybe get some of the paranoid effect from these high dosages of THC that are in the highly bred strains now we see, you know, 24-25 percent THC. You tend to get a big hit of that when you burn the cannabis and all the other supporting cannabinoids have a place in the effect and those seem to get across the blood brain barrier better when they’re ingested or you used another method other than smoking.
Matthew: Now you mentioned the other cannabinoids. Let’s talk about CBD for a second, and you have a CBD gum. Can you just describe at a high level what CBD does for patients and a little bit about your gum?
James: Yeah, the Cannabidiol gum is, you know made from a 99 percent, pure 99 plus percent pure CBD extract that we have derived from hemp. As far as I know the only one on the market. We have an exclusive thing to import that. The gum, you know, it’s a great delivery method because it puts it into your system and it’s really being effective for a lot of my diabetic patients with a blood sugar modulation effect. So you know, not being a scientist, you know, to go into all the, you know, medical conditions and what we’re seeing in the CBD research, I’m going to advise all the listeners to just, you know, Google it, CBD and cancer and post traumatic stress. Now we’re seeing some great indications with Alzheimer’s. But, you know, what we try to do with our CBD pills and we have a spray and now the CBD gum that you mentioned was just provide an inexpensive method to get CBD into your bloodstream.
It seems that, you know, my patients are just getting effect from… a good effect from having a modulated amount of CBD in their bloodstream all the time. So, you know, with three or four pieces of gum a day, 25mg a piece, and you can get 100mg in your bloodstream at different times during the day, and without the market and clinical research needed because of the, you know, government interference. It’s hard for me to point to multiple studies. I’d say most of our things are coming from our, you know, hundreds and thousands of patients just giving us their, you know, their personal anecdotal evidence.
Matthew: Right and I know there’s a lot of restrictions on what we can talk about because of the FDA and so forth, but CBD seems like it lends itself to treating certain symptoms more than others. I’ve heard everything from anxiety to autoimmune disorders. Is that kind of the universe of what you’re hearing as well?
James: Yeah it is. You know I’m very excited with this calming effect of CBD. Certainly, you know, it’s not, you know, putting people out or anything, but we are getting a lot of reports and I can give my personal attribute that, you know, a couple pieces of gum and you know, maybe it’s placebo effect, but I definitely do feel that it has a calming effect on the body. You know, as it effects neurotransmitters, it probably makes sense that it does that. So you know, at my age and with my family history I think I’m most excited with the, you know, research news that came out last week about the efficacy in fighting amyloid plaque, you know, which is a lot of the cause of Alzheimer’s.
Matthew: Yes, great point. You offer a cannabis oil syringe. How are patients using the syringe?
James: Multiple ways. Every way from just putting a dab on their finger and rubbing it on their gums to, you know, putting it in teas. And I have a number of cancer patients that, you know, put the cannabis oil because it has, you know, all the supporting cannabinoids and they put it in their, you know, their herbal tea at night or in the morning and just mix it in. And then of course your adult use people, you know, use it, you know, with their just smoking flower, as a bowl topper in the dabbing apparatus.
Matthew: Now are your products only available in California or in other states where medical marijuana is legal?
James: Well our, you know, because of the state laws, everyone knows the companies is you know, domiciled and owned directly in that state, produced in that state, but you know, these same medicines are produced in Washington and Colorado and Arizona and in Michigan.
Matthew: And when I walk into a dispensary I know you’ve got a bunch of different lines of products. What should we look for?
James: The name brand is our flagship and that is where, you know, the medical chocolate and the vape pen cartridges and the CBD/THC sprays and gum are all under the Bang label. So that is the best way, and I think more things are going to just migrate and that will just be our corporate brand. You know we may have one or two, you know, medical CBD pills or so forth that come out under one of the other labels, but most everything will be under the Bang family.
Matthew: Okay so I’m in a dispensary and I wanted to get a cartridge for my vape pen, what is the… let’s say, how much does it cost to get a refill on a cartridge for a vape pen? I’m just trying to give the audience an idea of the cost. I know it varies.
James: Well there’s two, you know, there’s two sizes; the half gram and the full gram. So they’re usually at retail for $30 for the half and $50 for the full.
Matthew: Okay, and the concentrate, extractions and concentrates are moving so fast. It’s really hard to keep up with them. Where do you see this going in the next 3 to 5 years? I mean it’s just unbelievable, the sublinguals and the syringes and everything, the gum. I mean it’s really… this has come about much faster than I even anticipated. Where do you see it going?
James: Well my prognostication skills aren’t that great. I would have bought, you know, Microsoft back in 1984 if I could have seen the future, but I think you’ll see more of a, you know, a trend like you’re seeing now. From the investor’s side, you know, places like ArcView that have shown us how many people want to invest in this space. There are getting to be some very sophisticated, well-funded and great researchers, scientists that are examining coming into the space at various speeds. So I think sort of like, you know, like the computer world. I think you’re just going to see an acceleration of the curve that’s started already, and there’s going to be more and more science behind more precision in dosing, more precision in blending the cannabinoids to get certain desired effects. We’re going to have more details on how CBD, CBN, CBG, THC and how these so called entourage effects work together and help certain conditions and everything from, you know, your mood on down. So I think that, you know, it’s just going to be more and better and, you know, like when the internet started and then holy crap who envisioned, you know, Facebook and everything else that’s come to pass. And I see the same thing because, you know, cannabis market is growing 67 percent a year, and upon adult use coming in California and Nevada, Maine and some other states in the next presidential election in 2016, you know, I just think that the curve is, you know, very much at the infancy.
Matthew: And as we close how can listeners learn more about MedWest and the Bang chocolate and the vape pen and all the different products you offer?
James: I think the best place to start is www.medwest.com, and you’ll see all that in there. We have a good variety of information on there for patients, dispensary owners and so forth, and that’s always a good place to start.
Matthew: Well James thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it. If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com/itunes. What are the five disruptive trends that will shape the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www.cannainsider.com/trends. That's www.cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www.cannainsider.com, email us firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.