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In this episode Matthew Kind talks with Shanel Lindsay, CEO of ArdentCannabis.com Shanel and her team have developed an incredible new product called Nova.
Nova takes your existing cannabis sterilizes it and “activates” it so that more of the medicinal effects are available to your body immediately.
Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday 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(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com to get started. Now here’s your program.
Matthew: Creative entrepreneurs are unlocking more ways to use the cannabis plant for maximum benefit. One of those entrepreneurs is Shanel Lindsey of Ardent, who’s working to make cannabis more bio available. Welcome to CannaInsider Shanel.
Shanel: Hey Matt how are you? I’m very excited to be here.
Matthew: Great, great. Shanel can you give us a sense of geography where are you today?
Shanel: Well I’m actually finally back in Boston. We spent a couple weeks on the road in Vegas and DC and now we’re finally home.
Matthew: Tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in the cannabis industry?
Shanel: Well I am an attorney. I’m a Boston native. I actually spent a lot of time working with the court system. I was a business litigator for quite some time and also did some HR work for the state. Then I found that cannabis; the cannabis industry was just really calling me.
Matthew: Interesting. What aspect of the cannabis industry tickled your interest?
Shanel: Well I always understood cannabis to be a better, safer choice than alcohol when I was in college and used it recreationally but then about ten years ago I started using it as a medicine. I got an ovarian cyst and I needed to start using it topically and I started learning that there was just so much science behind that aspect of using cannabis as a medicine and so for ten years I plugged it out on my own.
Figured out how to decarboxylate and make edibles and topicals and then when medical cannabis finally came to Massachusetts in 2012 I got access to a laboratory. The laboratory that’s actually now our testing partner MCR Labs and I went in and I started testing my medicine and testing all of those different methods of decarboxylation and making and extracting that you can find; that a patient can find online and really realized that all of those methods were really poor honestly when it came to making good quality medicine and once we had figured out the best ways and method and timing and temperatures for decarb I set out to make the NOVA, our device to help patients and to help people overcome all of those issues that I ran into.
Matthew: I really want to go into what NOVA is and talk about all your doing but you mentioned decarboxylation there and I’m glad you kind of truncated that to decarb because that makes it a little easier to say for once and also it kind of simplifies the concept a little bit instead of making it this huge scientific term. What is decarboxylation and why are you spending so much time unlocking the secrets of it?
Shanel: So you hit the nail right on the head Matt. When people decarboxylation it’s intimidating, it’s hard to pronounce but really it is the basic essential function of using cannabis as a medicine and so to simplify it in the raw plant the THC and other cannabinoids they actually exist in this acidic form that’s not bio available to the body and when you think about THC it needs to be able to lock in with the cannabinoid receptors and so it can’t do that when it’s in this acid form. Decarboxylation is the chemical process needed to activate these cannabinoids so that they can be used in a way that any patient would expect that they would get a result from cannabis.
Matthew: Okay. So bio availability is that just taking something from ineffective to effective for personal use?
Shanel: Well when you’re thinking about our CB1 and CB2 receptors so these are the receptors for cannabinoids like THC. When you look at the acid form of THC that exists in the plant THCA it actually is too large to fit into the cannabinoid receptor. Think of it as a key with one extra prong on it that can’t fit in and so when it is decarboxylated that carboxyl group is actually released from that molecule and the THC can bind with those receptors.
Matthew: That is a great metaphor. It’s probably the best one I’ve ever heard. I can really visualize that okay, and so let’s talk about NOVA now and how you’re doing decarb.
Shanel: So the NOVA basically takes all of the science of decarboxylation that right time, that right atmosphere and that right temperature and those things we found that temperature and timing needs to be very, very, very precise and so patients right now they’re attempting to use an oven or Crockpot to get decarboxylation but the timing and temperatures there can never be precise and accurate enough to either fully decarb; so to get all of that THCA converted to bio available THC without burning off the THC and really destroying all of the active ingredients in the medicine. So what the NOVA does is it is a precision decarboxylator. It uses a perfect thermal blanket and sensors to achieve that decarboxylation process the correct way every single time to activate the THC in any strain.
Matthew: Most of the people listening are working out or on a commute or on an airplane or something like that when they’re listening to this show so could you describe the size and shape and what they can expect if they had the NOVA in front of them right now?
Shanel: So the NOVA is a patient device. It’s small. It is about the size of a thermos. So it sits on the tabletop. It’s easy for someone to take it on the go or travel with it and it’s very discrete. It sits amongst other kitchen appliances but small and portable and the size is important here too because part of what the NOVA is about and what Ardent is about is educating people to the fact that they need to use a lot less cannabis than they would think to use for a therapeutic way and so the NOVA being the size that it is. It holds about a half ounce of cannabis. That people will understand and make more effective use of their product.
Matthew: So how long would it take if you put let’s say a half ounce in there to fully decarboxylate that?
Shanel: So with the NOVA whether you put in one gram, a half a gram, or an entire ounce it is an hour for the process. So with the cool down and the heat up time the total process is about an hour and fifteen minutes.
Matthew: Now if I were to do an experiment and put a gram of cannabis in there and then a gram of cannabis that I didn’t decarboxylate and just tried it out what would you say; how would I experience the cannabis differently? What would you say just on that anecdotal experiment? What would the difference be?
Shanel: Well right there if you were not to decarboxylate, if you popped bud A that had been decarboxylated in your mouth and ate it you would have an effect. If you didn’t decarboxylate you would have no effect whatsoever. So that’s just the difference between decarbing. If you don’t decarboxylate at all you’re not going to get any effect from this plant. When it comes to people attempting to make an edible with a one gram versus a gram decarboxylated we’re seeing people able to on average use 50 to 80% less cannabis.
Matthew: Wow. That’s amazing. So from just simply an economical tradeoff analysis this makes math sense aside from an effectiveness sense.
Shanel: Absolutely and I’ll give you an example of how we’re seeing some people get more and better use out of their cannabis. Right now even people who are extracting really, really well are only getting around 80% out of what’s in that bud. So right there you’re saving and those are professionals. So right there with not doing an extraction and just activating and decarbing and using the cannabis you’re saving a ton there. So extraction is one way that patients run into a roadblock in getting good medicine; not having that ability and then the second is the actual decarbing.
So we actually had a patient an 85 year old man who was growing cannabis and processing it for his wife who was a Parkinson’s patient also in her 80s and we took their medicine and tested it. For what they were using and making 34 cookies you would have expected each cookie with their source material of cannabis to contain around 17 or 20 milligrams of THC; 20 if they did it perfectly and 17 and really what we ended up seeing when we tested it was that they only had 2 milligrams in each cookie and on top of that none of it was decarboxylated.
So you have patients who are going through this incredible, courageous let’s be honest. In some jurisdictions medical cannabis is new. They’re actually going through the process of growing their own plant but then you can’t take that last step with processing it correctly to get it. So with using the NOVA for that type of dosage for all of those 36 cookies it would have only taken us one gram of cannabis to get what they were looking for rather than the 7 that they were using. So right there that’s an 85% reduction in the use of cannabis for that particular patient.
Matthew: Wow that’s incredible. So to circle back for people that aren’t familiar with why if you just were to swallow a bud of cannabis it doesn’t work is that it has to be activated like you were saying. That’s why most people; that may be with their experience with edibles they’re making brownies and that heating aspect is what activates it. A lot of times with edibles now it’s made from trim that’s bought wholesale and that’s not necessarily a bad thing but you have a lot more control over your experience when you’re finding a flower you like and then you’re decarbing it yourself. Do you maintain the full terpene profile then through the decarb process?
Shanel: So decarboxylation involves heat and so there’s always going to be some of the terpenes but we actually decarb at the lowest possible temperature to keep all of the terpenes because we do want that profile and also with decarbing and then using the NOVA you’re really allowed to get that full “entourage effect” of all of the different aspects of the cannabis plant. The real whole plant therapy and we’re seeing a trend of people wanting to get away from solvents and wanting to get the benefits of using not only the strain that’s working for them but access to all of the elements of the plant itself.
Matthew: So the NOVA device sterilizes the cannabis as well. Can you talk a little bit about that?
Shanel: Yeah so during this decarboxylation process the heating is warm enough to kill any microbes or anything that might be on the plant material and for patients who are then taking the decarbed plant and using it in a vaporizer afterwards they are not going to be sucking up any spores when they’re vaporizing and so for patients with compromised immune systems right now who may be inadvertently being exposed to microbes or mildew or mold that may exist on the plant they’re not having to worry about that if they’re using the NOVA and decarboxylating before they’re vaporizing.
Matthew: Okay and how do you envision the majority and the minority of users using the NOVA? Are they going to be eating it or what do people seem to want to do after they take the cannabis out of the NOVA? Do they want to vaporize it? Do they want to eat it? What do they want to do with it?
Shanel: So that’s such an interesting question Matt because we have so many different kind of silos of different people. Patients and on the recreational side so the biggest group are people that are already decarboxylating right now or need to be and don’t know that they should be. So people who are making edibles right now, people who are using MOTA POTS and Magical Butters. All of those processes require that the patient to decarboxylate first and so there are people out there who are immediately struggling with this who are already incorporating or can incorporate it into making better edibles using less cannabis and actually knowing that they’re getting the most out of it.
Then we have the other group who is looking to the NOVA for really more medicalized and clinical dosing. So we have once the cannabis comes out because the decarboxylation process is so precise the patient can know what the dose is in each individual piece of plant as long as it has been tested prior. They’re getting it from a dispensary or something like that and so when it comes out we’ve developed methods, pills, and sublingual wraps for them to immediately incorporate into very clinical type dosings. So we’re seeing a ton of patients both older people and younger folks who want to incorporate it as a wellness tool who are looking for that accuracy and consistency and dosing.
Then on the recreational side we have a ton of folks who are making shatters and crumble who then want to use the extra material that they have in edibles and so they’re decarbing their material for that or decarbing their key or decarbing their trim and we also have a large growing group of Veterans who are using cannabis for PTSD who want kind of a more stoney high and feeling and that’s what you get when you decarb something and then you smoke or vaporize it after. Getting more CBN at that point so they’re really kind of different uses that really span the spectrum of what people are looking to get out of their cannabis experience.
Matthew: And what will the cost be of NOVA and when will it be available?
Shanel: So the cost for NOVA is going to be $299 retail. Right now we’re actually getting early adopters on board for our first units that will be coming out right before Christmas and so we’re offering a special price of $290 for those folks and they can go right on our website and take a look and be part of really the movement towards more accuracy in dosing and better use of cannabis overall.
Matthew: Shanel can you tell us a little bit about your experience going to the ArcView Group to raise funds for Ardent?
Shanel: Oh absolutely. What an exciting and wild ride. So we pitched to ArcView on a webinar and were chosen to go and present. It was in Las Vegas and it was really an experience unlike any other that I’ve had in my life before to really have every; all of the kind of major players in the industry there and given time. You’re also; we pitched alongside some amazing companies. So to be able to get up on the stage and to really introduce me, the company, and our mission in front of people who I really respect in the industry and then to get the kind of feedback that we got which was people kind of calling the product visionary and also making great connections.
I think that the ArcView platform was something I’m still as I mentioned in the beginning of the interview we just got back from the business of ArcView and then the advocacy of the International Drug Reform Conference and I couldn’t think of a better compliment or set of events to be involved with as we kick off our company and our mission.
Matthew: Before we close I’d like to ask you about your recent visit to the Massachusetts State House to deliver a talk on the public health burden of cannabis incarceration. Could you summarize that for us?
Shanel: Yeah Matt. Thanks for asking about that. So when we’re looking at cannabis and people generally being incarcerated folks who are in jail have a much higher incidence of disease including things like Hepatitis, HIV, up to 30% increase in our jailed population. So when you look at incarcerating people for nonviolent drug offenses what you’re doing is introducing a new level and new threats into our broader community by allowing people to be in situations that will lead to; Sorry Matt can we; that got away from me a little bit can we?
Matthew: Oh no problem. Here I can ask you again no problem.
Matthew: Shanel before we close I’d like to ask you about your recent visit to the Massachusetts State House to deliver a talk on the public health burden of cannabis incarceration. Could you talk a little bit about that?
Shanel: Yeah Matt sure and thanks for asking. I think that the work that we do in the industry on the advocacy side is just as important as what we’re doing on the business side so I appreciate you highlighting that talk that I gave. So when we’re looking at incarceration; incarcerated populations those populations have a markedly higher incidence of disease. Including diseases like Hepatitis and HIV and the sample we saw was a 38% increase in disease like Hepatitis C and so when you are incarcerating people and when we as a society are incarcerating people for nonviolent drug offenses what we’re doing is not only harming and impacting that individual person but we are also introducing a higher level of disease into our general population when these folks come out of prison and so that was what I was discussing along with some of the other issues like the disparate racial impact of prohibition on us as a whole.
Matthew: Yeah it’s amazing the negative impact of putting people in cages for having dried flower. It looks like that era is coming to an end fortunately. Shanel in closing how can listeners learn more about Ardent, your products, NOVA, and find you online?
Shanel: So you can find out more about NOVA at www.ardentcannabis.com . So that’s www.ardentcannabis.com and anyone can find me, I’m Shanel Lindsay. S-h-a-n-e-l L-i-n-d-s-a-y on all the major social media platforms and I’d love to talk with and engage with anybody who’s about improving understanding of cannabis and increasing access to and legitimacy of what we’re trying to do as an industry.
Matthew: Shanel thanks so much for being on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.
Shanel: Thanks Matt.
Matthew : If you enjoyed the show today, please consider leaving us a review on iTunes, Stitcher or whatever app you might be using to listen to the show. Every five star review helps us to bring the best guests to you. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/itunes. What are the fivedisruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on www(dot)cannainside(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com. We would love to hear from you.
Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.
[1:43] – Shanel talks about how she got started in the cannabis industry
[2:06] – Shanel discusses what aspect of the industry interested her
[3:50] – What is decarboxylation
[5:24] – Shanel talks about how NOVA does decarb
[6:32] – What is the NOVA device
[11:17] – Is the full terpene profile maintained through the decarb process
[12:01] – Shanel talks about the NOVA device sterilizing the cannabis
[13:00] – How customers are using The Nova
[15:05] – Shanel discusses the cost of NOVA and availability
[15:39] – Shanel talks about her ArcView experience
[18:00] – Shanel talks about cannabis incarceration in MA
Learn more about Decarboxylation with this free guide from Ardent
CLICK HERE for the Free Decarboxylation Guide
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year?Find out with your free guide at: http://www.cannainsider.com/trends