Creating a Cannabis Edibles Company from Scratch with Julie Dooley

Julie Dooley

Interview with Julie Dooley, Founder of Julie’s Natural Edibles. Julie discusses the different ways to make cannabis infused edibles. Learn how different strains of edibles can affect your symptoms. We explore why Julie uses cannabis butter for her edibles.

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Key Takeaways:
[1:18] – Julie’s background
[2:38] – Julie discusses gluten sensitivity
[3:46] – What licenses are required to create edibles
[4:41] – Julie discusses how she cooks with cannabis
[6:37] – Julie talks about how they break down the cannabis plant
[9:23] – Julie explains why they use the butter
[10:42] – Julie discusses specific strains they use in their edibles
[13:49] – Julie explains how the butter is uniform in dosage
[15:31] – What does high metabolizers and low metabolizers mean
[17:22] – Do people get relief from autoimmune problems from edibles
[19:01] – What are flavonoids and terpenoids
[23:02] – Does having a full or empty stomach affect the effects of an edible
[25:37] – Julie discusses her appearance on the Pot Barons of Colorado
[26:51] – What’s next for Julie’s Natural Edibles
[27:23] – Julie’s Natural Edibles contact information

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday and Wednesday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www.cannainsider.com. That’s www.cannainsider.com. Are you looking for a fulfilling and lucrative career in the cannabis industry? Visit www.cannainsider.com/careers. That’s www.cannainsider.com/careers. Now here’s your program.

Cannabis infused edibles continue to take market share away from flower at an accelerating pace. One of the reasons for this is there are many entrepreneurs creating tasty and healthy infused edibles that entice and delight us. Today we’re going to talk with one of the entrepreneurs doing interesting things in the edible space. I am pleased to welcome the owner of Julie’s Natural Edibles, Julie Dooley, to CannaInsider. Welcome Julie.

Julie: Thank you Matt for having me.

Matthew: Julie to give us a sense of geography, can you tell us where you are today?

Julie: Yes I am located in Denver, Colorado inside a manufacturing facility.

Matthew: Okay, and what’s your background? How did you get started making edibles?

Julie: So kind of a long story made short, I started my journey with education in genetics. I became a parent. I ended up working in the finance industry for many years as a budget officer mainly for a university here in Colorado. And then I entered into the entrepreneurial space in 2009 to jump into the edible market. Continue on if that’s okay Matt.

Matthew: Sure, absolutely.

Julie: So I was diagnosed with celiac disease in 2001 which kind of changed the entire course of my life. I began to pay attention to food and the sources and what I put into my body. And during this journey I was introduced to cannabis which helped with the issues related to celiac disease and continues to be my top choice anytime I need relief.

Matthew: Now you mentioned celiac disease and obviously gluten is involved in aggravating celiac disease, but I feel like that… is it possible that it’s the GMO in wheat or modern wheat that’s causing these sensitivities? I mean I know this is maybe anecdotal, but it seems like a lot of people when I was young could eat gluten and now there’s a real sensitivity to it. Do you notice that as well?

Julie: Yes, well I’m not a nutritionist. I do pay attention. I am very familiar with foods and the sources and agriculture today. I definitely would agree that wheat grown today is entirely different than it was 100 years ago. And it’s been modified to such an extent that celiac such as myself I don’t recognize it as a food anymore. It’s literally an antibody that my body attacks. Therefore it’s becoming much more prevalent in today’s society with the American diet as it is consuming the agriculture, the GMOs that we’re not sure what they’re going to do in our body. It’s an increasing food related illness. I would definitely agree with that.

Matthew: And for listeners that want to learn more about modern wheat and the problems it’s causing a great book is Wheat Belly, if you get a chance to read that. Now many people don’t understand there’s different kinds of licenses in Colorado. You’re not a dispensary and you’re not a cultivator. What kind of licenses do you need to create edibles?

Julie: So I’m known as a manufacturer or infused products here in the State of Colorado. The Department of Revenue is the specific area where I get my license from at the state level, and it’s an annual license. We are also licensed by the city that you’re manufacturing in. In my case it’s the city of Denver, Colorado. So we have a separate license with them. That’s also annual, and within the city of Denver we’re monitored by the traditional health department, fire department, you know, public neighborhood area and zoning if you will and like any normal manufacturing food facility would be.

Matthew: Now there’s a lot of ways to cook with cannabis, can you describe at a high level how you do that with butter or oil or what your preferences are?

Julie: Absolutely. So essentially once we’ve infused our marijuana into clarified butter or coconut oil in my kitchen. We bake with it as we please. The difference between home baked edibles versus manufactured edibles is laboratory testing and scientific methods maintained throughout the baking process. Does that answer your question.

Matthew: Yes, well when you talk about clarified butter, you know, a lot of us may not be familiar with that, people listening. Now Ghee is typically associated with Indian food, but is it the same thing. How is it different and what is clarified butter exactly?

Julie: Good question. Clarified butter is essentially the milk solids have been removed from the butter oil. So the flavor is still intact, but now you’re dealing with a pure oil, and in our case we use it strictly for a longer shelf life purposes.

Matthew: Okay, now someone that has a lactose intolerance are they typically, is it easier for them to handle clarified butter than other kinds of butter?

Julie: So again I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, but for people with dairy intolerance I do know personally some that can handle clarified butter. That’s not why we chose to use it of course. It’s to extend the self life our natural products, but for people that do have dairy intolerance we also brew into a coconut oil just for that reason so we can offer somebody with a dairy intolerance still an edible that’s manufactured at a high level.

Matthew: Now for breaking down cannabis sugar leaf, flower or trim into oil, do you have a preference as far as BHO, CO2, alcohol? I know there’s a lot of different people saying things, different things out there. I’d like to hear what you think about that.

Julie: Yeah absolutely. So in our kitchen at Julie’s Natural Edibles we extract exclusively into clarified butter or coconut oil. We love this natural, old fashioned extraction. The attraction of cannabinoids to fat is very natural in nature and it pulls the cannabinoids off the plant in a slow warm process. So it’s easy, it’s safe. We don’t have the fire department worried about what we’re doing. As far as the other extractions, BHO, CO2 are similar in that they’re both a gas that’s used to extract on a cold level and it’s a lot faster and it produces a much more intensely potent oil. Not to say it’s bad, it’s just a different extraction which requires hardcore industrial machinery at this level. Alcohol is a truly cold extraction and really good for people who are using this as strictly a medicine. So I love the alcohol extraction, but that is again not something we do in the kitchen here.

Matthew: Now can you get the full cannabinoid profile from the plant when you’re going directly into butter or is there any limitations there?

Julie: So since current lab testing, this was an interesting question I thought Matt, because current lab testing doesn’t truly offer us all of the cannabinoid profile. To date, my laboratory that I use can test for nine cannabinoids only, and we do know that the butter when we do an extraction can show all nine. Now some of these we don’t want to show. We’re traditionally trying to avoid a cannabinoid called CBN. Now that makes you sleepy, and if we’re trying to do an uplifting product, we would avoid that cannabinoid all together. And we’ve learned through the years how to avoid it. So we strategically are extracting four specific cannabinoids that we can test for right now. In the future we’re going to be, every year we anticipate that the laboratories will be able to expand on this and we’ll get more and more information from these reports. Once we do then we’ll continue to go after certain cannabinoids.

Matthew: Now I want to kind of give listeners some context on the differences between, you know, BHO, CO2, alcohol extraction and what you’re doing with butter. Would you say what you’re doing with butter is kind of maybe a more natural and kind of a comfort food approach versus the others which seem to be more like hardcore industrial? Is that a fair description?

Julie: Yeah absolutely. It’s a natural. It’s an easy process. You know it took me still about a year to hone and perfect, and I couldn’t have done it without the laboratory testing helping. So it was relatively easy for me to get involved in whereas I said yeah, you need industrial level rooms at this level. The city of Denver has gotten very strict about extraction process and something that’s flammable is going to catch the eye of the fire department of course and they’re concerned. And so they lay down a lot more restrictions for those type of extractions. And so that’s why now I actually believe in CO2 extraction. We love that extraction for one of our products that needs to have a higher potency. So we buy that from a professional who makes that here in Boulder, Colorado. We don’t even try and get in their alley. We just leave those extractors to specialize in what they do and then I become kind of the specialist in butter.

Matthew: Okay so you, you know, a lot of times when we buy edibles we don’t know what strain of cannabis it comes from. It might just say hybrid or a sativa or indica. It doesn’t go into a strain. Do you edibles go into specific strains?

Julie: Absolutely, and that the scientist in me Matt. I want to understand cannabis on a very deep level and that’s part of the mission of our company is to learn about it and then to educate about it. And to do that we have to stay true to the string that way we can kind of dissect that one particular strain, understand anecdotally how it acts in the body for a general consensus. It’s going to be different for everybody, but generally we can start to predict that a specific strain is going to behave a certain way. And to do that you have to stay true to the strain. Now because I’ve been in this business for five years and have been testing for five years Julie’s natural edibles is able to start to blend hybrid and creating our own hybrid if you will going after specific anecdotal results. So for instance I want low anxiety that also stimulates the appetite. So I might need to combine two strains to get that desired result and having not understood the strain by itself I wouldn’t be able to then eventually blend it or not. Some of them are perfect just as they stand, and we’re happy to provide that to the public then so that they can appreciate and start learn themselves. Oh Afghani it’s an indica. It makes me kind of relax, and then they see Afghani again and they know what to expect and they can reach for that.

Matthew: Okay and what’s your most popular strain/product right now?

Julie: Our most popular is what we have in stock.

Matthew: Okay.

Julie: Basically I have seven strains currently. One second, we’ve got an Afghani of course which I just mentioned which is an indica and tends to keep people relaxed. It’s an low anxiety. We have something called D.J. Short Flow. Anything with Flow in it is a low anxiety, but this is still and uplifting sativa. We have something called Kaboom which is another uplifting sativa and that can be uplifting and a very intense euphoria, and so understanding Kaboom I can kind of prepare you for this intense euphoria that traditionally accompanies a strain like that. There’s more strains in the kitchen. They’re all fabulous. Get to know them and love them and we’ll keep producing them.

Matthew: So when you create a big batch of butter how do you make sure that when you get it on granola or one of your products that it’s perfectly uniform? It’s one thing I’ve been wondering about because, you know, especially with something like granola that’s loose. It’s like how do I know this bite is uniform with this bit in terms of getting a dosage?

Julie: That’s a great question and as an educator in consuming edibles I really appreciate this question because we worked hard to get to homogeneity which is kind of what you’re referring to right now. And to make a homogenous product that is the same as the first granola that I produced as the last granola we use the lab. That’s essentially how we master the technique. We tried several different ways of mixing and preparing and then when we consistently got a good lab result from one piece… the first one out of the batch and the middle out of the batch and then the last one we’re getting consistent results, we stick with that method. So basically the critical part to that question is that we have to use and work in tandem with a laboratory. Their tests are everything to our products. And once we receive the results then we just use the data to create the recipe.

Matthew: Okay.

Julie: And then of course we do verify our math by resubmitting finished product. So we submit it for potency and then we’ll do homogeneity. We’re also testing for microbials, and that’s been really helpful to help us determine shelf life for these products.

Matthew: Now as a creator of edibles I’m sure you’re very familiar with people that are high metabolizers and low metabolizers. Can you talk a little bit about what that means in the context of edibles and how people should think about it?

Julie: So start low and go slow is how we tell everybody how to consume an edible. You don’t, if you’ve never had it, it’s an entirely different experience than smoking cannabis and it lasts longer. It’s much more effective as far as pain relief and anxiety relief or whatever kind of relief you’re trying to achieve. I’m sorry.

Matthew: Low metabolizer.

Julie: Yes. I’m so sorry. So the metabolism, and so everybody’s different. So starting low, going slow. Once you’re familiar with it, then you can start to gauge what your dose is going to be and that’s where it’s so important to continue to use products that are produced at a level we produce at Julie’s Natural Edibles and other manufacturers here in Colorado where we lab test and that way you can kind of get used to what is a 10mg serving and is that effective for you or are you going to need 12mg or are you going to need 25mg. And so it’s kind of backwards whereas like the pharmaceutical company kind of gives you a pill bottle and suggests a serving or a dose, we do the opposite, try a little bit. Try a little bit more if necessary. It’s kind of you have to gauge it yourself. So understanding your own metabolism is very important.

Matthew: Now autoimmune issues there’s a lot of, it seems like a lot of autoimmune issues right now and there’s more and more I hear about it every day; Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis and there is more. Is there any of your edibles that you’ve heard anecdotally that people are really getting relief from their autoimmune problems?

Julie: So it’s a good question, and I thought about that a lot because I myself am a celiac. I have an autoimmune disease, and do I gravitate towards a specific strain, and the answer is no. It really depends for me on my mood and what time of day I want to consume it at. And you know my state of mind is very important. That being said, there’s some days that the flare up is really extensive and you know very painful and you’re looking for the strongest relief, that’s when I would gear towards a CBD. Anything higher, the cannabinoid known as CBD which I’m sure people are starting to really hear that word. Basically it is a cannabinoid that’s been isolated on the plant and it is a large reason that people are starting to be familiar with cannabis in general because of its ability to help with anti-inflammatory. It’s great for anti-nausea. We know that it’s helping with the neurological disorders. And so I would say that to somebody who is new, who really is in a peak bad experience during their autoimmunity, you know, because it kind of ebb and flows with any autoimmune. You have good days and bad days. So a high CBD would be something that I would gravitate towards.

Matthew: Now what about flavonoids and terpenoids? Can you explain what these are and how we should think about them in the context of edibles?

Julie: Yeah another great question Matt. So this is, flavonoids and terpenoids are responsible for the flavors and for the color and for the odor that cannabis might have. Now somebody like myself, I’m a connoisseur, if you will, of cannabis now. I am very familiar with strains and what I’m looking for in flavors. When I detect a sweet smell for instance, that’s a flavonoid that’s responsible for keeping that… I know that it’s going to be a relaxing edible. The sweet smelling cannabis is usually a higher indica and we know that indica dominance can be much more relaxing.

So it’s something that we actually look for now. And the sweeter they are, we’re starting to learn that that can mean even something more, and I’m just so excited to continue on the study of flavonoids and terpenoids. Without a microscope you can look at the cannabis and you can see yellow hairs or purple hairs as people call them off of the bud, and that is a flavonioid or a terpenoid. And when you smell it it’s sweet or it’s citrus or its opi, that again is terpenetes [ph] responsible for that. We can taste it in the butter as well. That does transfer. Once we get into an edible that flavor is not as dominant, however it’s still responsible for the anecdotal property that we’re expecting from the edible itself. So it does matter. Like I said if I’m looking for a sweet, a relaxing edible, I’ll look for a sweet smelling cannabis.

Matthew: It’s funny how far it’s come. I mean since I was in college it seemed like the quality was just unbelievably low and now it seems like it’s something from outer space. It just incredible variety and quality.

Julie: There is some truly wonderful growers in this state for sure.

Matthew: Now I have a friend that just loves your granola, and she swears that it acts way faster than other edibles, not necessarily stronger, but faster. Have you heard that feedback before?

Julie: You know I have and here is what we know about that. And this is still new data, so bear with us as we continue to study this, but because our edible is paired with fat, the natural oil of butter or coconut oil and then it’s paired with something like an oat or even a cranberry, we know that when they’re absorbed in the body it’s a little bit faster than if it was paired with just sugar which will essentially kind of fly through your digestive system. Some of it gets absorbed, some won’t . But when you pair it with a fat it’s a lot longer, you know, your body gives it a lot more attention essentially and it gets relatively quickly absorbed in the blood.

So that could be what you friend is experiencing, and we’re happy that she noticed that because that’s something that I was very… I had to, when I was creating the recipes for Julie’s Natural Edibles back in 2010, we knew that I couldn’t use sugar in the kitchen because that’s not the way I eat. We knew that we couldn’t use gluten because I’m a celiac and that wasn’t going to work. We did this without understanding truly that pairing with fat was naturally going to be a better product. And now that five years later that we know that in fact we may also understand a little bit why, we’re really proud of creating a product that’s good for you on many levels.

Matthew: Now how would eating a big, fatty or protein rich meal before consuming one of your edibles change the impact versus having let’s say an empty stomach?

Julie: Great question. So this is, again, to do with the fat. Assuming that the meal you ate was loaded with proteins and fats, your body is going to have that in its stomach and its early part of the digestive system, then the THC gets introduced. And the THC is going to bounce from fat to fat and then eventually into the blood stream. Once it hits the liver then all bets are off and we call that your second peak by the way. And that’s where we suggest people have planned their peak and they are where they’re supposed to be at that point. If you’ve eaten a meal, again, what happens in the liver is going to be much more intense. I’m still in the learning process of why so stay tuned. It’s kind of, we laugh, not that I’m a scientist like Einstein but something like that we just knew, you know, that gravity existed. We don’t know why. We know pairing THC with fat is really effective, but we’re still just learning why.

Matthew: Right. So it’s the exact opposite of alcohol, you know, you don’t want to be fall over drunk with a couple drinks, you have some food first. But with THC and cannabis, you know, having a fatty, protein rich meal can really turn up the volume on the effects.

Julie: Exactly, and that is a good point, if you don’t mind me throwing in here, that if you do find yourself that you ate, and I recommend eating before you consume an edible actually because on an empty stomach you can have kind of similar to the burps from omega pills. That can happen if you have an empty stomach. I’ve known people that have given us feedback, and we want to avoid that, but also then you have to eat less of the edible and that’s important because you know these edibles are expensive. And one dose, once you kind of figure out what your one dose is that’s with food, it’s really helpful information. But the point I wanted to bring up is that should you over indulge and you’ve eaten that mean, and you ate too much of your edible the best thing to do at this point is to just consume water, no fatty food. So you could eat candy. Sugar is actually it helps expel the THC from your system, and always be with a trusted friend.

Matthew: Good point. Now you were on the MSNBC show the Pot Barons of Colorado. What was that experience like?

Julie: That was a fun experience. We were, to put it mildly I guess, we were looking for an opportunity to educate the public. At this point we have a lot to offer in regards to edibles. And so we thought that this would be kind of a good platform for that. It turned out to be more of a learning experience about media. I now understand a lot more about interviewing process and media in general. So we’ll just kind of leave it at that.

Matthew: Yeah the editing process can be kind of harsh reality when you see what you thought happened and then the outcome I imagine.

Julie: Exactly, and it was time consuming so that… which was fine if they had passed on the educational message that we were so urgently trying to have them talk about, and then have it not mentioned was a real heart breaker here at my company.

Matthew: So what’s next, looking ahead, what’s next for Julie’s Natural Edibles?

Julie: So thank you for asking. We are planning to relaunch. My company was known as Julie & Kate Baked Goods since 2009, and my dear friend Kate left for Atlanta many years ago, and so we finally decided it was time to rebrand officially, and we’re looking forward to a big launch for April 20th which is now kind of like a national thing.

Matthew: And where can listeners find Julie’s Natural Edibles?

Julie: So we’re available anywhere in the state of Colorado at a dispensary, licenced dispensary, available on the medical market as well as the recreational market. So if you’re out of state and you’re 21 you’re welcome to come here. We do have the most inventory is available in the city of Denver and Boulder. Please feel free to look at our website. It has a current list of where we’re located.

Matthew: And what’s the URL of your website?

Julie: www.juliesnaturaledibles.com

Matthew: Well July thank you so much for coming on CannaInsider. We really appreciate it.

Julie: I appreciate the questions Matt, thank you.

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