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Deep Dive into Cannabis Oil Extraction, Filtration and Distillation with Jim Makoso

jim makoso lucid oils

Jim Makoso is the co-founder of LucidOils.com in Seattle. Listen in as Matthew and Jim discuss the most important business and health aspects of cannabis oil extraction and distillation.

Key Takeaways:
[1:07] – What is Lucid Oils
[1:36] – Jim’s background
[9:27] – Jim talks about modifying extraction machines
[12:33] – Distillation versus extraction
[15:23] – Why extract with ethanol
[18:30] – Jim talks about the filtering process
[21:47] – What is fractionation
[23:16] – Jim talks about terpenes
[26:57] – Preserving terpenes & flavonoids during extraction
[28:57] – Jim talks about product creation
[35:57] – Jim answers some personal development questions
[42:12] – Contact details for Lucid Oils

Learn more at:
http://www.lucidoils.com

Important:
What are the five trends that will disrupt cannabis in the next five years? Find out with your free report at https://www.cannainsider.com/trends

 

Read Full Transcript

As edibles and cannabis infused products gain traction with consumers, more individuals and business owners and growers are looking to understand cannabis oil extraction. That is why I’m pleased to have on the show today Jim Makoso, cofounder of Lucid Oils. Jim, welcome to CannaInsider.

Jim: Hey Matt, thanks for having me. How are you today?

Matthew: I am great. Thanks for coming on. Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Jim: Actually right now I’m back here at home. My home right now is in Belleview, Washington. We do quite a bit of traveling for our work, but I have a couple days. I try to take a couple days every month to be at home, kind of get my house in order before going back on the road.

Matthew: What is Lucid Oils?

Jim: Lucid Oils is kind of a concept. It’s a brand, a consumer brand of Lucid Labs, which is really our parent company and that’s what we own. Essentially Lucid Labs/Lucid Oils is a licensing, branding and equipment design company focused on the cannabis industry.

Matthew: I want to get into that in a minute, but tell us first about your background and how you came to start Lucid oils.

Jim: My background, in general, I come from a finance, investment banking background, specifically , I studied economics and business finance in school, but took a departure from that several years ago when a friend of mine contacted me, who lived in Seattle at the time. I was living in Miami, and invited me to come out and see what was happening in the cannabis industry from a business standpoint. I’ve always been an enthusiast and consumer for personal use, but once I came out here to the West Coast, I started a company, a vaporizer company called Vuber Technologies. Shortly into that, having that business, we had the priviledge of selling that company and using the proceeds to start Lucid Oils back in 2015, back in January of 2015. Once we kind of got into the cannabis space specifically and had an idea of what was happening in the extraction world, it was a no brainer for us to hop in, figure out a business model and a plan that would work for us and start doing some business.

Matthew: That’s a big contrast from Miami to the Seattle area. Have you missed the sunshine of Miami, or do you like being in the rainy Northwest?

Jim: I’m from New York originally, so you hear all the stories, being from the East Coast, about the rain in Seattle, the software guys, so being a little bit more passive, aggressive up here. What I will say is when I first moved here the guys that I was investing with in that vaporizer company, they kind of sat me down and had a real conversation with me about how I needed to tone it down from my East Coast bravado of being loud. Too clean cut. They told me, let your beard grow, let your hair grow. This was when I still had hair before we started really working hard. Let your hair grow and really kind of breathe in the Pacific Northwest and understand the culture and that would enable me to do good business out here, and they were absolutely right.

The West Coast it’s a completely different vibe, specifically the Pacific Northwest. Yeah, it was a change, but what I can say now, living up here for four years, coming up on four years here in January, is this is by far one of the most beautiful parts of the country that I’ve ever been to and had the privilege to live in. Now I know what it’s all about. See, they tell people it rains here so that they’ll stay away, because they don’t share at all with anyone.

Matthew: Yeah, it is really beautiful up there.

Jim: It’s interesting. Being that we’ve been in business coming up on three years officially with products on the shelves for two and a half years here in December, it’s been quite the ride and currently we still have a very small team. When I say startup, let’s just call it a small business in terms of revenue, but a startup mentality still. Meaning, we wear all the hats we need to wear in order to get our business done. Kind of our motto is there’s four of us from an ownership standpoint that have a stake in this business, and there’s three of us out of the four that actually are carrying out tasks. One investor who is passive and he gets the reports quarterly and that annual report of how we’re doing.

So, what we focus on is leveraging our partnerships, which we have several in different and then as well on the equipment side in order to get done the day-to-day tasks, and we handle more of the macro stuff. My typical week and then month really is I’ll be in any number of states. Usually two weeks out of the month I’m in Nevada working on our Reno licensing deal where we work with a company called Greenleaf Wellness to produce all of the oil products that come out of that relationship to distribute to various recreational dispensaries throughout the state with a focus on our core customers are really in Las Vegas. It’s a really big bolstering market, and so I go down there two weeks a month just to kind of manage the team. We have two hired employees that are full time down there in our partnership that kind of run the lab. Then either myself or one of my partners are down there on the weeks I’m not.

So, that’s two weeks out of the month. On the other two weeks of the month, one week is usually spent with any number of laboratories installing and training people on how to use the equipment that we’ve designed. We work with a company out of Maryland called BR Instruments, where my business partner who is an engineer, redesigned one of their systems with help, but redesigned one of their systems to specifically work with cannabis distillation, to work with cannabis as an input and distill it using their system. That company originally was a petroleum and essential oil equipment manufacturer where they were creating these specific customized systems to fractionally distill petroleum, new petroleum deposits so that a company could then build a huge still based on those deposits and essential oil companies that were focusing on specific essential oils.

So, when we came in we used their equipment. My partner had redesigned it for our applications and we partnered with them to do that. So, now we go as a part of that relationship, a part of that partnership. We do, we install those pieces of equipment when people buy them, and we train them how to make what we call a lucid quality of oil and certainly that’s been very lucrative for us over the past year. So, one of the other two weeks that I have available, that’s exactly what I’m doing. I’m out there installing, meeting people and educating them on how to make better quality oil using our equipment.

Then that fourth week out of the month, typically, I’m pretty active in the business development side, either attending trade shows anywhere in the country, in some cases outside of the country. Continuing to build some existing relationship where maybe we haven’t gotten to a contractual step yet, but we’re in the conversation, bouncing around some letters of intent and other types of paperwork, and really landscaping the market. In the existing markets we’re in to see maybe where we can be more efficient. That’s kind of what my month looks like. So, I’m very happy to say, since I have a difficult time sticking to one task at a desk 40 hours a week, I have the flexibility in my current role here in my company to do any number of things in a given month. It’s structured, generally, but it allows enough flexibility where the scenery is always changing, but we’re always working towards one specific goal, which is increasing our footprint in this landscape and improving the quality of the products that we put out and helping others to improve the quality of the products that they’re putting out.

Matthew: Maybe you can talk a little bit about distillation and why you felt the need, you and your partner, to modify the machine. What were the machines on the market not doing that you felt like you had to modify a machine with your partner in Maryland, extraction machine?

Jim: That’s a great question because we get asked that pretty often by guys when they see the system that we co-developed with BR Instruments. Back when we first started, when we were first doing the research, before we had officially launched our company in January 2015. Back at that time there was really only one company putting out this product and they called it The Clear. It was these guys out of California. They were using what they call a short path distillation system, which is still very commonly used today. It was more of a high school chemistry or college chemistry set. Very effective in the right hands, and the guys had started that. Really smart guys, very well respected throughout the industry, known for continually pushing the quality of products. A guy out of Boston who ended up in California, who is a chemist, a guy by the name of Chris Baroni [ph], really started distilling cannabis initially in scale for production purposes, and he was using a short path distillation system.

You see many people still using short path distillation systems, but at that time we were using that and we had contracted with a PhD in Organic Chemistry who recommended the BR Instrument system. Keep in mind, before we used that no one in the industry had purchased one for the distillation of cannabis. So, it was, as yet, unproven. So, we kind of took a chance, and the reason being is their system featured a software component that allowed you to record the data of your run in 30 second increments, but all of the data required in order to do good data analysis, but more importantly to be able to repeat that process consistently by taking note of temperatures, pressures of different cuts, or what they call fractions, as you were distilling. That to us was something, as guys that didn’t have a science background, my partner is more of an electrical engineer and my background being finance, it was important for us to be able to capture that data.

Once we got that piece of equipment, it took us a pain staking month and a half to dial it in and we ran through thousands of grams, several kilos of oil, before we kind of figured it out. So, as you can imagine, that was probably in our business the most stressful time, because it was unproven. We spent lots of money on all this equipment. We had a new relationship that was getting restless with our inability to produce the quality of the oil that we had promised, but once we made it over the hump, we realized we had something special and the rest is current if you will.

Matthew: When you talk about distillation versus extraction, can you talk about what those terms means and how they differ and overlap?

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. In a real basic way, distillation is not extraction. Extraction is removing specific compounds from bio mesh or from a plant or from some type of botanical. Removing or extracting the specific components that you want using some sort of solvent or some process, typically a solvent. When I say a solvent, the most common ones in extraction in cannabis are hydrocarbons, that’s your BHO, your butane, your propane and other hydrocarbons. There’s ethanol, that’s another common form of extraction, that’s your alcohol. Then there’s CO2 extraction. Those are the solvent based, most common forms of extraction.

Distillation is what we would call a refining process. So, once you’ve extracted that material using one of those extraction methods, you’re going to put it through a number of processes. Generally most people will filter it in one way or another in order to remove or refine that product down to an even higher concentration of purity with less contaminants. Distillation is one of the final steps that you’re seeing people utilize in order to really purify the product to a higher level to specifically isolate those compounds which typically you wouldn’t be able to get out in any other way, unless you use some type of chemical liquid, liquid separation.

Typically the process is extract that material, create what they call crude oil, take that crude oil, filter it in any number of ways. Once it’s filtered, refine that crude oil in the distillation process in order to really isolate the cannabinoids from all the other compounds. Of course there’s additional steps that people are implementing now to isolate cannabinoids from each other, but that’s kind of the flow, the process flow. Once you’ve grown your product, you extract it. That will pull out the cannabinoids and maybe some contaminants. Once you have that crude oil, you filter it in order to separate a majority of those contaminants. Then once you’ve filtered it, you distill it in order to isolate cannabinoids from everything else.

Matthew: What do you think about extracting with ethanol in general? People know about this, they’ve heard about but they perhaps don’t know that much about it in detail. Why would you want to extract with ethanol versus some other medium?

Jim: The thing with extraction is the method of, or the solvent that you use to extract typically is based on one of two or three factors. Depending on where you are extracting, and let’s assume you’re doing everything by the books and you’re licensed either medically or recreationally in a state that allows it, typically the regulations of that state will be restrictive in terms of what you can and can’t use as a solvent. For instance in Northern California it’s very difficult for them to use ethanol as a solvent, so they have to use CO2 or hydrocarbon. In some states, and in some countries in fact, like in Canada for instance, hydrocarbons are frowned upon. Not only because they’re so called dangers because they have a very low boiling, so they’re in a vapor at room temperature and ignite with a very small spark, but also because it’s very difficult to get all those hydrocarbons out of your extract, once you’ve extracted.

Ethanol or any of the other solvents, it really is dependent on the product you wish to produce as well as where you’re actually carrying out your extraction that will determine what’s the most effective method. We like ethanol specifically in our process primarily because most of our products right now are just distilled products. In other words we’re taking that crude oil, filtering it and distilling it with 95 percent of all the material that we extract, because that creates our Lucid quality oil, and of course in Washington because we work with an edible manufacturer and as it turns out, distilled oil produces a very high quality input oil for edibles. It doesn’t have taste. It’s really high in purity and it’s easy to work with.

The ethanol that we use specifically is food grade, 200 proof ethanol and what we find is that if you extract with ethanol, with the right parameters, you can produce a really high quality product in terms of being able to get a full spectrum extract, but simultaneously pulling any water soluble or chlorophyll or any water soluables, plant proteins, waxes, lipids. If you’ve done the math and all the extraction the right way, it’s very efficient in that it will pull 92 percent plus of all the cannabinoids available in a very short period of time, while leaving behind the water soluble. So, that’s why we use ethanol in our process. We’ve dialed our process in to be very effective with that solvent.

Matthew: So, extract, filter, distill. That’s the process. You extract with ethanol and then you filter. What is filter, before you go to distilling, how do you filter specifically?

Jim: Filtration, there’s still a huge differing school of thought, a huge amount of difference in the school of thoughts on filtration. Most people generally agree you want to get lipids and fats out, unless you’re putting it in to a chocolate edible or something where you can leave a little bit of the lipids in there, even though we don’t recommend that. The filtration though, generally, people are trying to accomplish really one thing. That is remove as much of the non-cannabinoids, non-terpenoids, non-flavonoids from the product as possible, while maintaining the integrity of those products, meaning add the least amount of heat so you’re not degrading any of those compounds, but remove as much of those contaminants as possible.

So, when you say specifics about filtration, depending on who you ask, that’s going to differ. What we generally will do with all of our samples is filter it with several different micron filters to remove solid particulate that maybe is picked up in the run. Our typical ethanol extraction process where we have five micron filters on there as it is, so we’re pulling most of the solid material out. Five microns is a very small size. Then we’ll run it through… we’ll concentrate that by removing a lot of ethanol from those runs to get a concentration bat size, meaning anticipated cannabinoids in that solution is about 2,000 to 3,000 grams with a 7 to 1, approximately, ratio of ethanol to anticipated cannabinoids. Once we have that ratio, we’ll then go filter it with a pretty common process that people are doing.

We’ll scrub it with a specific type of carbon, then put it through several filter media, different types of compounds to remove the carbon and to pull out a little bit more of the color pigments before we take that. Reduce it all the way down, by removing all the ethanol solution where you are left with a crude that has been filtered and is ready for distillation. The filter media is going to differ from person to person and differ from product to product. Someone who is, per se, looking for a full plant extract, they’re probably not going to filter that very much. They’ll filter it through some filter papers to remove solid mass. They’ll remove all the solvent and then that’s what they would consider a full plant extract or RSO is what you’ll hear it commonly referred to, [21.15 unclear] Oil, but full spectrum, full plant extract is really what that is. You’ll do the least amount of filtering there. For our purposes to produce distilled, high quality oil or let’s just say distilled oil, we put it through a pretty rigorous filter media in order to remove as many contaminants as possible to get to that raw cannabis oil.

Matthew: Can you tell us a little bit about fractionation, what that means and why it’s important?

Jim: Real high level, the fractionation, you’ll hear that term often. All it really means is taking specific fractions while you’re doing extraction. There are some companies that have, as a part of their CO2 systems, the ability to fractionate. Generally they’re fractionating by removing the water compounds in one fractions, the terpene compounds in another, the cannabis compounds, the cannabinoid compounds all in one fraction, but the idea is you’re separating the plant into individual components. In the process of extraction, you’re separating your terpene content from your cannabinoid content.

In the context of distillation, what people are trying to do is separate even further your terpenes and terpenoids from your cannabinoids and some people are trying to go one step further and separate cannabinoids from each other. The idea of fractionation is just separating the compounds or groups of compounds into smaller and smaller units to get higher purities.

Matthew: Can you talk about terpenes a little bit, because we’ve got a lot of new listeners. I want to make sure they understand what terpenes are and why they’re important and why you’re taking so much care in positioning terpenes properly?

Jim: Terpenes, that’s really kind of a loaded word in the industry right now. People are starting to realize that terpenes first of all, you will find them in all botanicals throughout the plant kingdom. They are responsible for the smell, the smell of the plants. From pining and pine trees, which are also cannabinoids, terpenes are the same throughout the plant kingdom. They’re just responsible for at least initially to our sense of smell, the smell of the plants throughout the plant kingdom, and they serve a number of functions. Some of those functions are to protect the plants, some of those functions are byproducts, etc. Terpenes, as they’re related to cannabis, the same terpenes that you’ll find throughout the plant kingdom are the same terpenes that you find in cannabinoids. There are no, at least to my knowledge, there are no terpenes that are unique at this moment that we know of to cannabinoids. You can find them in other plants. Maybe one day somebody will disprove that or maybe there’s someone out there now who can disagree with that, but in general all terpenes throughout the plant kingdom are the same.

They’re essentially a naturally occurring hydrocarbon based on a combination of what are called isoprene units. These are the building blocks of terpenes and terpenoids. Terpenoids are compounds related to terpenes which may include some oxygen functionality or some rearrangement, however the two terms are often used interchangeably, but terpenes are isoprene units that are naturally occurring hydrocarbons and terpenoids are terpenes that include some oxygen functionality in the rearrangement as molecules. So, terpenes are responsible for those flavors and tastes. Flavonoids are to a lesser extent in that group, and they are exactly as they sound, flavor units that you’re finding inside of the plants. They generally don’t have a smell but do have a taste.

The reason why they’re such a hot topic now in the industry is because science has proven that an interaction between terpenes and cannabinoids are what create the effects that people are familiar with that give us the psychotropic and physiological effects that are either beneficial physiologically or giving us that high, what they call high or a psychotropic sensation. It’s a combination and an interplay between terpene molecules and cannabinoid molecules and flavonoids working together in what they call an entourage effect to give the efficacy that can be recreation or what scientists are figuring out, the medicinal in treating specific ailments.

Matthew: How do you take special care during the extraction filtering and distilling process to preserve those terpenes and flavonoids to make sure you get the desired outcome? Is there any steps you take that might be interesting to listeners?

Jim: For us we just tell everybody who is in extraction and anybody who is interested in it generally in this topic. From an extraction standpoint, as soon as you’re adding heat to any of those compounds are changing, and conforming into their longer chain cousins or completely different molecules all together. Heat is the enemy of terpenes. As you add heat or just oxygen to these compounds, they’re changing to different versions of themselves and different compounds all together. Typically what you’ll find is that when people are extracting material with the idea that they want to preserve the terpenes, they’ll be doing it as cold as possible and a vacuum if possible, and they’re using things that are very… where they have very low vapor pressure meaning that their boiling points are very low.

A great way to preserve terpenes is using hydrocarbon extract or using hydrocarbon as a solvent. Even CO2 are getting really good at extracting terpenes using CO2 in an initial step with lower pressures. In our process we extract the terpenes before we even extract the product, the cannabinoids themselves. So, there are different steps that you can implement, but the idea is you want to be cold and you want to be pretty gentle on the pressure side.

Matthew: We’ve talked about how the terpenes and the flavonoids help create the aroma and flavor and so forth, but how do you create a flavor and a taste and sensation and experience that you consider optimal? You have arrived at well, if we have this terpene/flavonoid/cannabinoid profile, this is what’s ideal for us?

Jim: That’s a great question. The interplay of physiological effects and creating a product are unique. Cannabis is not a compound like Advil or Tylenol where it’s really just one compound. Cannabis, as people think of it, is the interplay of hundreds of compounds working together to give us an effect. So, two things are at play when we are looking at product creation in a general sense. One is who is going to be consuming this product, and what is the desire effect? Because each person is different, when they consume, how they consume, their body, specifically, their metabolism. In general, every single person’s reaction to a plant could be completely different. We can say in a general sense, seven out of ten people should get this reaction, so that’s how we try to formulate our products.

This specific topic of effect versus formulation or formulating a product for a specific effect is something that everyone in the industry who creates a product is trying to understand as we speak, and this is being studied right now at a scientific level, and that is what specifically, what compounds, what combination of these compounds, cannabinoids and terpenes will produce a specific effect. That’s a very very tough thing to approach as a product maker, but you’re starting to find that people are at least using cannabinoids to start to create products, specifically for an effect. I’ll just give you a quick example.

Let’s just talk about on the recreational side. CBN, which is a degradation product of THC. When THC has been exposed to enough oxygen and light it changes its components. Some of the molecules, molecular bonds move to different positions and you get what most consider a degradation compounds. It’s CBN or Cannabinol. That compound, which is a degradation compound of THC, is generally know to be sedative in nature. So, if you’ve ever smoked really really old weed or your consumers have smoke really really old week, typically it will make you a little sleepy, give you a little couch lock, but give you the heavy eyelids, and that’s because some of that THC in there is converted to CBN.

What some people are releasing is these CBN products where they’re purposely degrading material or taking old material and increasing the temperature and closing it to light to get a higher compound, a higher concentration of CBN and putting it out as a product. That’s just one example, but generally speaking, that is what people are trying to do now is figure out ways that these things interplay with the average consumer to create a tailored effect.

Matthew: When you’re designing you your customer terpene profile are there any undesirable things that you can pick up in the process if it’s done incorrectly. Particularly, you see novice people or people that are just starting out do?

Jim: Yeah, well generally speaking, let’s look at the case of a vaporizer. Most people are introducing terpenes into their oils so that they’ll work in a vaporizer. Most people know what a vaporizer is, but if you don’t, it’s similar to like those e-cigarettes that you see people have out there. It’s essentially a heating element that heats up that oil to a certain temperature so that it will turn into a vapor so that you can inhale it. It’s not smoking, it’s vaporizing. It really is the vapor of those compounds that you are inhaling and that’s why when you exhale it it doesn’t really leave much of a residue like a smoke, unless you have very high volumes of it.

In the case of a vaporizer, people are adding terpenes in order to thin out their oil in order to make it work in a vaporizer. The issue with that is because terpenes are hydrocarbons, if you have such a high amount of those, sometimes that will lead to some people look at a hypoallergenic reaction to it. They’ll sneeze. They’ll have the itchy throat, and that’s because when those terpenes are reacting with that vaporizer it’s a chemical reaction that’s happening at that point of contact, increasing that temperature to a very high temperature and changing those compound, those terpene specific, into something else. You get this situation where people are adding more terpenes than probably what’s necessary to be there, definitely more than what’s naturally occurring in the plant, and you get this kind side reaction.

There is no idea as to what the long term effects of these types of things are going to be. I’m sure at some point in the near future some of these studies will begin. I know one scientist at least that’s already studying the vapor from various different vaporizer cartridges, but generally speaking, terpenes in general are hydrocarbons, and you find them in all types of products on the shelf that aren’t cannabis products. What we’re seeing now is that people are starting to become, as product makers, are starting to realize that is, like food manufacturing, there is an unlimited direction that you can go in in creating these products. Not only edible products, but all products for consumption.

In any case where you are adding any compounds to something that’s going to be consumed by human, via smoking, vaporizing, eating, applying topically, you just want to take a really close look at the combination of the compounds you’re putting in there and making sure that they’re safe for your consumers.

Matthew: Jim, let’s pivot to some personal development questions. I like to help listeners get to know you a little bit more on a personal level. With that, is there a book that’s had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you’d like to share?

Jim: Yeah, there is one book that has a big impact on my way of life and my mentality. This might be a surprise to many, but the Bible. I’m a man of faith. I try not to press it on anybody else, because I fail a lot as an individual. I’m a human, but I definitely apply my life at a personal level. I try to live up to the standards that are found in the Bible. That’s a sense of morality that my parents instilled in us, and above everything, that was always the most important thing they tried to imprint on our lives. In my case, and several of my siblings, it stuck. I fail of course a lot as a human and as a Christian man, but that’s certainly the standard that I try to live to.

Outside of that from a professional standpoint, surprisingly the Art of the Deal, which I’m not a big fan of Donald Trump, but that book in specific there’s some really great stuff in there. In general, I would just say anybody who’s looking to do anything professionally or otherwise, reading in general, stimulating the critical thinking parts of your brain by reading something that’s academic or reading something that’s fantasy. In general, that’s just going to help keep your brain sharp and the ability to think and imagine. I find that reading in general, just for anyone, is just a good way to keep your brain very active and for a creative person, reading something that is imaginative that stimulates your imagination is just going to be good for your work.

Matthew: How about a tool? Is there a tool that you consider vital to your productivity?

Jim: Absolutely, and it has been ever since I’ve been a professional. I use Microsoft Excel basically for everything. For all analysis, for all backend, anything from a business standpoint, be it evaluating pricing in the market, I use Excel. In a smaller way, the market is pretty fragmented at the moment, so state-to-state there are different rules that apply in different access to information. For instance, here in Washington I use a tool called Headset, which was actually started by the same guys who started Leafly. I use Headset to review information about the market, market trends, growth, contraction, pricing and Headset is a great tool for that here in Washington, but that’s not a tool that’s readily available in other states yet, even though I know they’re making a push in Colorado and California.

Excel is like my go to software tool that I use for everything, and of course here in Washington, Headset, the piece of software equipment that provides real-time data on pricing and market trends is another great tool.

Matthew: Yeah, Headset is a great tool. We’ve had Cy, a cofounder of Headset, on the show. That’s definitely something. How do you use that Headset, just so other people can understand that data. What kind of insights does it give you as a business owner and someone in the extraction community?

Jim: Yeah absolutely. Well, the great thing about their software is they’re so well-respected in the space, not only here in Washington, but in the space because they created Leafly, which is one of the most well-know apps and companies for cannabis in the space. So, they’re very well-respected throughout the industry, but that specific piece of software what it does is it provides a real-time, day-to-day metric of what’s happening in the industry. So, I think of it from my trading days, similar to a Bloomberg terminal, which is giving you the feedback of all the pricing and the bid asks throughout the stock market on a specific security, stocks, bonds, etc., but the Bloomberg terminal is like the tool that everybody was using in order to have an idea of what was going on in the industry.

Similarly Headset is like a software, a piece of software that is giving you a real-time snapshot of what’s happening in the industry. So, for somebody like myself, a finance guy who is analytical in nature, to be able to landscape the industry and take raw data and create my own dashboard, create my own visual way to review that data in real-time, for me just provides me a snapshot of what’s happening in the market and allows me to anticipated kind of the direction the market is going in, in terms of pricing and consumer preference. So, for anybody who is serious about doing business in Washington it’s an essential tool to know what’s going on. Let’s say you’re not as plugged in to the market as I am where I have plenty of salespeople and plenty of business owners in different parts and aspects of the industry where I can call them up and get an idea of what they’re experiencing in their business, let’s say you didn’t have access to all that and you were entering the market for the first time or you’re from out of state entering the market, Headset will provide you with a real-time analysis of what’s happening in the market.

Of course, quarterly and annually they put out a report that’s all pretty and really well-written that kind of gives you that snapshot. It provides you with that information in real-time, daily. So, it’s an essential tool for anybody in Washington who is serious about competing in this space. Now, Washington is very very competitive market and that tool definitely allows to have the advantage when pricing and when looking at the market from a macro level.

Matthew: Very cool, thanks for sharing how you use that. Jim, as we close, can you tell listeners how they can learn more about Lucid Oils and connect with you?

Jim: Yeah, absolutely. Well, you can connect with me, you can shoot me an email, jimmy@lucidoils.com. If you have any questions about the industry or questions specifically about equipment we’re working on, questions about markets we’re in, feel free. I’ll tell everybody, use me as a resource. You can also connect with me, I do a number of the shows throughout the year where I’ll go and educate people on extraction, usually macro, real high level, just to give people an idea of what’s going on in the space. A part of my talk I usually focus on industry trends, what’s happening, the hot topics. This year you can catch me at, the remainder of the year I’m doing one more show in November in Las Vegas called the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo.

I’ll be hosting a panel on extraction and future trends in technology. On that panel will be A.C. Braddock, Eden Labs, Brian Abernathy, the CEO and Cofounder of Extracted Labs Refine Seattle, one of the biggest extraction companies in the country, easily. Then also on that panel will be one of my good friends, a colleague from Buke, Kelsey. She is a chemist by trade. She’s a Masters in Chemistry, but she’s the top rep for Buke here in the states on the West Coast. We’re going to have some great minds on that panel and we’re going to be discussing future trends in technology, so anybody who is in Vegas who plans on being at that show, you can come catch me at the panel. Then of course I’ll have two booths at that show with two different partners where you can come and take a look at some of the equipment and some of the tech we’re working on there in Las Vegas. Outside of that, you can catch me on Instagram, or at least my company, @LucidOils, as well as on Facebook, Lucid Oils, and then of course my website, www.lucidoils.com.

Matthew: Well, Jim thanks so much for coming on the show today and educating us. We really appreciate it.

Jim: Hey Matt, thanks for the time and anytime you need any more information on that front from me, you know how to reach me, but I’m a big fan of your show and I appreciate that you’d have me on it.

Integrating Chatbot Technology Into Cannabis Businesses

mason levy

Mason Levy is the founder of WeGrowapp.com an immersive chatbot technology that allows anybody to become a grower by asking questions to a bot. Listen in as Mason discusses how this technology will be woven into more cannabis business models in the future.

Key Takeaways:
[0:50] – What is WeGrow
[1:18] – Mason’s background
[2:26] – What is a Chatbot
[3:51] – Businesses using a chatbot
[4:46] – Experiencing the We Grow app
[7:26] – Mason talks about the Swivel engine
[9:13] – Mason talks about a couple of use cases
[12:30] – Mason talks about metrics
[13:41] – What is a net promoter score
[18:37] – Mason’s entrepreneurial journey
[21:34] – Mason discusses his ArcView award
[22:58] – Mason answers some personal development questions
[27:15] – Contact information for Swivel and We Grow

Learn more at:
https://wegrowapp.com/

 

Important:
What are the 5 trends disrupting the cannabis industry?
Find out with your free cheat sheet at:
https://www.cannainsider.com/trends

Reducing Electricity Cost in your Grow By Supplementing with Natural Light

jonathan cachat ccv research

Jonathan Cachat PhD walks us through how to dramatically reduce electricity costs in indoor grows using The Dynamic Supplemental Sunlight.

 

The Dynamic Supplemental Sunlight (DSS) cultivation system is a hybrid-lighting approach to indoor cultivation facilities, using both full-spectrum, natural sunlight and supplemental artificial lights, to drive photosynthesis and healthy plant growth. A hybrid-lighting approach with resource efficient design represents the optimal way to save on production costs while producing high-quality, premium flowering plants.

Key Takeaways:
[1:01] – Jonathan’s background
[3:37] – Jonathan talks about his LSD research
[6:11] – Microdosing LSD
[9:58] – Why bring natural sunlight into indoor grows
[11:18] – Jonathan talks about how the technology works
[13:26] – How do the costs differ from an indoor grow
[16:59] – How are the plants responding differently
[18:46] – Jonathan explains how to carry out light deprivation
[21:44] – Does the height of the room have to be changed for the tubes
[22:57] – What roof alterations need to be made for the system
[24:13] – How does the sunlight affect the temperature of a grow room
[24:45] – What type of cultivation facilities benefit from this lighting
[29:03] – Jonathan answers personal development questions
[32:15] – Jonathan’s contact information

Learn more at:
http://www.ccvresearch.com

Important: What are the 5 trends disrupting the cannabis industry?
Find out with your free report at https://www.cannainsider.com/trends

Read Full Transcript

There is a race on to remove the most expensive inputs that make growing cannabis costly. One of the most expensive inputs is lighting and electricity. Dr. Jonathan Cachat, PhD of CCV Research, is here to tell us how to bring more natural sunlight into indoor grows using cutting edge technology. Jonathan, welcome to CannaInsider.

Jonathan: Thank you Matt. It’s a pleasure to be here.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Jonathan: I am actually on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie in Cleveland, Ohio.

Matthew: Jonathan, before we jump in to your research, tell us about your background a little bit. How did you get into this industry?

Jonathan: I have a PhD in Neuroscience and Psychopharmacology. I received that from Tulane University down in New Orleans. While I was doing a Post-Doc at the University of California at Davis in Northern California, right next to Sacramento, it was about the same time that the California legislature was implementing and extensive framework or regulations for the medical market there. So, my educational experience in drugs, brain and behavior, which is what psychopharmacology studies, allowed me to join with the flannel shirts of the cannabis farmers coming down from the Emerald Triangle in the state capital, and sort of serve as a voice of reason or at least a scientific background to help the legislatures understand. It was really facilitations between outlaws and regulators, as those outlaws became businessmen.

Matthew: Did you do anything interesting with psychedelics while you were there in California?

Jonathan: Yeah. During my graduate research, we had a license from the DEA, so we were able to study Schedule I though IV controlled substances. So, Schedule I where most of the psychedelics are and cannabis. While it was easy for me to get psychedelics and perform research, you can find those papers on the internet, getting cannabis was a really big issue. It took many months, rather than a few days. So, really jumping into the cannabis industry as well it was pretty clear to me that if there was any additional insights to be gained about how the plant relates to human wellness, that research could be performed faster in a consumer market, rather than the current university system in the United States.

Matthew: So, you studied the effects of LSD on mammals or animals or what exactly?

Jonathan: It was zebra fish. Zebra fish are… the best way I can relate to you exactly what species it is is a species of glow fish that you can find in pet stores. So, that’s a Zebra Fish with a jellyfish gene to make it glow.

Matthew: Well, I’m very interested in this topic because I think psychedelics can be very dangerous if put in the wrong hands or something that doesn’t know what they’re doing, but in the right environment they can be incredibly powerful. Can you tell us a little bit about that research with LSD?

Jonathan: It’s always interesting as a psychopharmacologist to hear how the public and the politics refer to “drugs”. To me they’re all just compounds. So, just them you mentioned sort of a danger. What’s the danger? When it comes to LSD and it comes to cannabis there really is no documented overdose danger. So, while I will agree with you that as we’re at this point with cannabis legalization, I’m sort of skittish to bring the discussion of psychedelic legalization to the forefront, but in many ways LSD is just as safe as cannabis in terms of you’re not going to overdose from it. You’re just going to have to have a safe environment to do it.

Matthew: I’m sorry, I’m just fascinated by this. So, you gave LSD to some fish. How did they react to it?

Jonathan: We were modeling effective disorders, so anxiety and depression, as well as addiction, which is exactly how we had to frame it to the National Institutes of Drug Abuse in order to get the grant money to study it. What we were modeling was essentially if we can induce alcohol withdraw or opiate withdraw in the fish, how do they behave. Generally what they did was swim to the bottom of the fish tank and remain there. Then when we looked at their physiological measure they also were releasing the stress hormone cortisol. We knew that that behavior was linked to a high anxiety state.

So, when we gave them Prozac and other drugs that are serotonergic antidepressants they would swim at the top of the tank. So, that was pretty clear cut for what we call anxiolytic drugs that eliminate anxiety and then anxiogenic drugs which increase anxiety. When it came to the psychedelics, this includes LSD, psilocybin, PCP and DMT, ibogaine, the behavioral profile varied widely and it wasn’t clear that it was inducing anxiety or reducing anxiety. What was clear is that their exploration of the fish take was dramatically increased.

Matthew: What do you think about this phenomenon of microdosing LSD that’s kind of popular in Silicon Valley right now with the tech community?

Jonathan: I would say, safely, as if not to confer the wrong message to your listeners, that it’s a very interesting area right for research in that the psychedelics are probably the best tool researchers have in the toolbox that will allow them to probe cognitive functions and consciousness in the human brain. So, it’s interesting when you think about microdosing and LSD because it’s already a microdose compared to any other substance that most humans consume that are measured in milligrams. This is measured in micrograms and nanograms. What I guess I’m saying is we don’t really know at a physiological, neuroscientific level exactly what’s happening in your cerebral cortex when the molecule of LSD is introduced. We just understand that it pulls back the shades of pre-conception in terms of seeing things for the first time and having a new look at things without the enculturation and what you’ve been taught to think or the modes of cognition that are related to your cultural upbringing. It pulls those back and allow you to look at a problem in a new way, and in fact make connections between divergent information or knowledge where connection wasn’t apparent before.

Matthew: Well said. What would you consider a normal adult dose or a typical adult dose and then a microdose? I’m not letting you off the LSD topic here Jonathan.

Jonathan: Generally we were giving the Zebra Fish, and this is pretty big for the Zebra Fish at least, but 250 micrograms of LSD. That’s a huge dose for humans. How we discuss it pharmacologically is essentially what’s the threshold dose. The threshold dose is about 30 micrograms for LSD, and that is the first noticeable cognitive effects or change from it. So, I would assume that we’re somewhere between 30, 40, 50 or less than that, so 30, 40, 20 in terms of microdoses, because I don’t think you essentially want to feel it. I’m not exactly too sure if there are people out there measuring these things in clandestine labs and giving people exact dosage or potency, analytical results. Hey, maybe we’ll look forward to discussing the next big industry being the emergence of psychedelic testing labs as the industry comes online.

Matthew: Gosh I hope so. I really think there’s a lot of promise there. Also as a footnote, just anybody interested in this subject, there’s a great Netflix documentary about DMT that Jonathan mentioned, dimethyltryptamine, I believe it is. It’s DMT, The Spirit Molecule. If you like documentaries and have Netflix, that one is really good and worth watching that explores some related topicality there. You’re at Tulane in New Orleans, kind of the hub of debauchery and then around all the clean sunshine biking people in Davis. Was that a big contrast to jump between those two places?

Jonathan: Not really. It was also considered AG land up there. I’m originally from Ohio in the Midwest where we have soybeans and corn primarily. No, while I miss New Orleans and love it dearly, it was sort of a move back to home for me.

Matthew: Jonathan, I know you’re going to tell us how to bring natural sunlight into indoor grows, but can you tell us why somebody might want to do this to begin with.

Jonathan: Most simply, plants prefer natural sunlight. That’s the light that they have evolved to thrive under. More complexly there’s three general aspects of light that you’re looking at when you’re growing cannabis. The intensity of the light, the spectral quality of the light and the photo period of the light. Of course any grower will tell you the photo period is related to flowing in cannabis. Intensity is most directly related to yield, but it’s that spectral quality and spectral composition is what leads to the finished product in terms of taste and smell, or at least the biggest influence on it. So, by replacing the spectrally empty HPS lights with the full spectrum of the natural sun, you are able to grow a more complex and more diverse and rich product like those seen in the outdoor coming out of the Emerald Triangle, but you’re able to do that indoor and not have to fight with the chaos of the natural environment that farmers have to deal with on a daily basis.

Matthew: So, that’s why somebody would want to do it. How does it work exactly? Tell us how this technology works to make this happen.

Jonathan: The main component is made by a company called Solatube out of Southern California. They’ve been in the business of tubular daylighting devices for about 20 years now. What they offer over the competitors in terms of bringing in sunlight into our space is they have the highest light efficiency transfer. It’s a fancy way to say they’re the best at bringing the purest and most sunlight into the space as possible. That’s achieved through a few patents. Namely on a reflective material called Spectral Light Infinity, which is actually made and manufactured and formulated at a molecular level to be as smooth as it possibly can, and reduce the amount of light that scatters each time the light hits it and bounces off.

Matthew: You mentioned the light bouncing off. How much light is lost as the sun bounces around the tube on its way into the grow, to the plant?

Jonathan: With the Solatubes up to and the Spectral Light Infinity lining, 0.7 percent is lost per drop. So it’s less than 1 percent, meaning that there have been several installs for example where Solatube has ran these tubular devices underground into mines that have that have a flood risk. So, you can’t have any electrical lights down or else you’ll electrocute all your miners if it floods. So, they’ve run them as far as up to 100 feet underground with 9-90 degree angles in them, and there’s still appreciable sunlight at the bottom of the diffuser down underground. It really is the best way to transfer sun where you need it to be, and there’s no other products on the market that can do it as well as the Spectral Light Infinity.

Matthew: Let’s run through an example. Let’s say you have a 25,000 square foot grow. How would the setup cost with supplemental sunlight like you’re describing differ from a traditional indoor grow?

Jonathan: I want to compare the equipment here. I think it’s probably worth mentioning too at this point that the use of the Solatubes is just one component of the sun grown indoor system. It’s a way to sort of think about a lighting control mechanism. We have the Solatubes that capture and transfer the sunlight. We have a grow room intelligence system that measures the available sunlight both inside and outside. Then that is directly linked to our artificial supplemental light. So, the full system is sort of an automatic balance between the amount of available sunlight coming in and the amount of artificial light we need to compensate in order to keep our intensities up so our yields are still met.

In terms of just the lighting equipment alone, generally if we’re talking about 25,000 square feet, a theoretical approach to these costs where it’s just based on equipment. There’s no volume rebates or anything like that, and there’s also no energy efficient rebates given to the growers who are switching from high energy to low energy, it’s about $50 a square foot for the HPS systems in terms of the lighting equipment. For the DSS equipment it’s about $35 more, around $85 per square foot for the DSS system.

Matthew: That acronym, DSS, just describe what that means for everybody again.

Jonathan: DSS is sort of a way to conceptualize the notion that I just explained, Dynamic Supplemental Sunlight, in that the system dynamically balances the sunlight with the artificial lights.

Matthew: What kind of savings could a grower or business owner expect, having that Dynamic Supplemental Sunlight, as opposed to just LED or traditional grow lights indoors?

Jonathan: This is the sort of shift in the balance of the equation. There was an increase in the initial capital costs, but your operating costs, let’s say, roughly are about $45 per square foot if you are doing the electrical load for the HPS lights and the HVAC. For the DSS system that brings in the natural sunlight we’re looking at about $10 a square foot. So, annually and HPS we could consider one this size to have about $1.1 million in annual electrical costs. Whereas the Sungrown Indoor System comes in at around $300,000. So we’re looking at a savings of approximately $800,000 a year.

Matthew: Wow, that’s massive.

Jonathan: It is. I have talked to so many operators out there who have $100,000+ monthly electrical bills, and I feel their pain, but I feel like they also sort of are feeling the crunch of wholesale values decreasing and they’re looking at their $100,000 a month electrical bill saying how are we going to make this work for another two or three years.

Matthew: Interesting, okay. That’s good to know. How do you see plants responding differently? You mentioned plants responding differently with the supplemental lighting. You mentioned that it’s the sunlight’s ideal source of energy for plants, but we’ve got kind of a hybrid system going with the sunlight bouncing through a tube, coming out to the plants, and the LEDs or traditional lights. So, those two working together, what kind of behavior have you seen the plants exhibit?

Jonathan: Right, and I’m glad you characterized that at a behavioral level because previously we were talking about molecular levels and terpenes in cannabinoid production, but at a behavioral level it’s perhaps the most evident, but also one of the most interesting. We had time lapse cameras inside all of these grow rooms when we were doing the initial R&D. First it was do the plants even grow underneath these lights. Once we saw the time lapse videos where the sun would come in through the tube in the morning and the plants’ leaves would wake up and then track and follow with the sunlight as it moves through the space, that was a pretty clear indication that the plants liked the sunlight that was coming through.

Perhaps more interestingly, we haven’t really probed this much further yet, we noticed in the second round of R&D, in terms of facility design, that the LEDs would flip on maybe at 7 a.m. and there’s not a large amount of sunlight coming into the room at that time, but once we got to 9:30-10:00 a.m., the sun started taking over and the LEDs dimmed down. What was interesting, just scrubbing through sort of the daily time lapses, is that it almost appeared that later in the flowering period the plants had sort of trained themselves to wait to wake up until the sunlight came through. So, we would have these weird scenarios where the lights would come on, remain sort of leaves down sleeping, but as soon as the sunlight came in, they all just jumped up with joy immediately and just started tracking with the sun. So, there might be something there, but I’m not too sure about the cognitive abilities of plants at this point.

Matthew: Now what happens if you need to make the room go dark? How can you carry out light deprivation in this type of environment?

Jonathan: There are butterfly dimmers that Solatube has designed to put inside of these units. You’re able to automatically just open and shut them, and when you do you’re blocking out 99.8 percent of any of the sunlight coming in. So, it’s perfect for [19.05 unclear] capable, and in fact it’s much easier just to flip a light switch than it is to be pulling tarps over and across. Also worth noting too, the technology to capture the sunlight, besides the dimmer, there are no mechanical parts. So, when you’re trying to balance the financial equation you have things in there like semi-annual or annual bulb replacements. There are no bulbs. There are no bulbs to be replaced. The maintenance these units need is a spray down with a hose, depending on how close you are to the ag fields that are kicking up a lot of dust. The dimmer, it just sits right inside and being the only mechanical part, that perhaps is where you could have additional costs, but they are very well built and replacing a dimmer isn’t a big deal, nor is it really a big cost.

Matthew: What’s the experience like to open a dimmer of a totally dark room? Do you feel like Bruce Almighty parting the clouds, “Let there be light”.

Jonathan: Exactly. Like that, or it’s sort of like you’re standing underneath a Super Mario Brothers tube and you’re ready just to jump up into it. It’s seeing and feeling really is believing in terms of the Sungrown Indoor System. So, sort of been discussing this with industry people for several years now. I’ve come to realize that what people sort of imagine in their heads when they hear the system being described wildly varies. When you see it in person for the first time everybody sort of invariably was shocked and said, this is way more simple or less complicated that what I had originally thought. I thought there was going to be bells in this, there’s bells and whistles.

Then the most sort of true testament I think is when you do stand underneath this sunlight that’s brought into the room it’s really sort of an unusual and alarming feeling, because you feel the sunlight. You can feel the sunlight, but it’s not a feeling of sunburn. You associate being out in the direct sunlight at the beach with some sort of element of I’m burning slightly. When you’re inside these rooms you can feel the sunlight and recognize that it’s sunlight, but you don’t feel like you’re getting sunburnt. That’s why I say seeing is believing.

Matthew: What about the height of the room? Does that need to be different to accommodate the tubes?

Jonathan: The height of the room can be variable. We started with eight feet. We’ve gone up to ten feet in terms of the roof structure. Generally the facilities that we’re specing out now have a room height of around 12 to 16 feet. Generally the biggest variable that effects the cost of this system is the distance between the ceiling in your grow room and the ceiling in the building that your grow room is in. So, to run an extra extension tube length all the way down, that can affect the price of the system, but like I was mentioning earlier with the cave example or the mining example, it won’t really affect the performance that much. In terms of how far the grower prefers to have his lights above the canopy of the flowering plants, everybody has different rules of thumb. Everybody has a different approach. Really what we’ve done a CCV is work with the growers and work with the builders and also the business guys to balance a system that meets their needs in particular.

Matthew: How many holes would a grower need to make in the roof, and what does that entail, that process?

Jonathan: I think it’s sort of an old adage. The more light you can get in the better it’s going to be. It proves true. Really when we’re designing a system custom built for any facility we max it out in terms of what’s the max density of tubes that we can theoretically model on the roof space. So that gets us an idea of how much maximum sunlight we can get in the space and perhaps more importantly, how the sunlight moves through the space as the sun changes its position in the sky. Of course from there we have to pull it back. It’s a balance at that point between the structural integrity of the roof and the amount of sunlight that we can bring in.

So, I work with structural engineers or the project’s general contractor to find tha6t proper balance based on what type of building they’re growing in, what type of roof structure is there, what state they’re growing in. So, it’s hard to give you a specific number of how many holes you would need in the roof because it’s all really dependent both on your floor plan, your location on the globe, and the building that you’re in.

Matthew: What does the natural sunlight do to temperature in a room or grow room?

Jonathan: That is a good question because it’s another sort of negative of having the high intensity discharge to the HPS lights in the room. They generate an enormous amount of heat, but then has to be sort of fought or reduced by your HVAC. So, regular skylights bring in natural sunlight. So, what you’re used to seeing, sort of the square design with the plastic cover on it. Those will transfer the IR wavelengths that are the heat generating wavelengths of the sunlight. What makes Solatube different from their nearest competitor is that they have technology built into the product that absorbs that infrared wavelengths and then dissipates before it even gets a chance to get into your rooms. So, they have the best light to solar heat gain ratio of any skylight product on the market.

Effectively what that meant, we had an enormous Grownetics grow room monitoring system in all of these R&D units. So, we had very granular data on temperature in particular. There was no discernable or significant measurable heat gain that we could notice while we were performing and developing the system.

Matthew: Is there a rule of thumb in terms of what types of cultivation facilities can benefit from this supplemental lighting? I’m sure there’s people listening saying, is this a fit for me or how would I know or anything like that.

Jonathan: I think it’s best to characterize growing with HPS lights as a twilight industry in that most reasonable cultivators, while they may have come up into the game by growing with HPS lights, they understand that that ship has sort of sailed, and it’s on its way across the horizon. So, they’ll agree that a hybrid lighting approach to cultivation is where the future is at. So, really any hybrid lighting approach by definition is one that incorporates natural sunlight with the artificial light. So, there’s great progress in Big AG and even in cannabis in terms of finding the right balance of LEDs to greenhouse, in greenhouses. It’s sort of the same process with the Sungrown Indoor System. The difference between the Sungrown Indoor System and a greenhouse in terms of hybrid lighting approaches to cultivation is essentially because we’re growing in a contain, you can just think of it as a Yeti cooler. The ability for the cooler or your indoor to withstand massive or drastic changes in the outside ambient temperature is far greater than what can be provided in a greenhouse situation.

Matthew: What’s the lowest hanging fruit here in terms of geographies? Is this any place with the sun? What about your home state of Ohio? Where’s the best geographies that can use this technology, this dynamic supplemental sunlight?

Jonathan: Yeah, it’s interesting. So, at face value the total savings annually that you’re going to receive is directly correlated with your average annual days of sunlight. So, places like Southern California, Desert Hot Springs, Arizona and New Mexico where they have 300+ annual days of sunlight, that’s of course where you’re going to see the most dramatic reduction in your electrical lode. What about places on the East Coast? First noting on the East Coast that while in Ohio we’re able to grow cannabis outdoors, we not have as long of a season as out in California, it can still be done, but the regulators on the East Coast are generally more concerned about security and the sort of not in my backyard approach to cannabis cultivation. They don’t want to see it. They don’t want to smell it. They really don’t want to know about it.

So, in that situation your forced indoors. So, any savings that you can get, any time that you can shut off those artificial lights, you’re saving money. So, while they’re not going to see reductions that are 75 to 80 to 85 percent reduction in their annual electrical load that you would see in Southern California. The idea of saving 50 to 60 is still pretty appealing when you’re trying to balance the sheet here on the East Coast.

Matthew: Jonathan, I want to pivot to some personal development questions to help the listeners get a sense of who you are personally. With that, is there a book that has had a big impact on your life or your way of thinking that you’d like to share?

Jonathan: Yeah, so, E.O. Wilson is a Harvard biologist. He wrote a book called Consilience. I wish I could remember the subtitle. I think it’s called The Unity of Knowledge. The Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge where essentially he calls for the unification of information. A sort of cross pollination between academic disciplines as sort of a fruitful area of discovery. I think reading that book an undergraduate has really sort of pushed me to understand and try to apply different approaches from different academic disciplines or different professional disciplines and see if there’s any value in what they’ve learned and how it can be applied to whatever I’m working on. I guess I would just encourage people, it’s sort of diversity and diversity of thought is the foundation of insight and discovery. So, by reaching out and looking at different things that might not be related to exactly what you’re working on, you may find the answer that you were looking for the whole time.

Matthew: Is there a tool that you consider valuable to your day-to-day productivity that listeners might not have heard of?

Jonathan: I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, a lot of helping people with applications, and so there’s a new tool that I’ve been using to keep an eye on not only my spelling and my grammar, but sort of my prose. There’s a plugin called Grammarly where you can do your word processing in the Grammerly app or you can just copy and paste it into the app. It’s tests for things beyond the, like I mentioned. You’ve used the word therefore 60 times in this document. You might want to consider another word. It’s sort of beyond just spell check. It’s like you have a human proofreader there on call and on demand. It’s Grammarly.

Matthew: That’s a good one. I’ve used that too, and I really think that’s a great plugin. It’s free for most people I think. I use it in Chrome, like a Chrome plugin.

Jonathan: Right, yeah.

Matthew: That is a good one. Final personal development question. Did you ever take LSD while you were giving the fish LSD? You can tell me because it’s just you and me. It’s just you and me. You can tell me the truth.

Jonathan: I can neither confirm or deny any of that, and I will say that the DEA does not mess around with inventory control and trackability. Same is sort of true with the cannabis industry and cannabis as well. Not only was I the one in the lab managing and sort of directing that, but we had undergraduates come through as well. When you have different people coming into a lab that has controlled substances you really need to take it seriously because there’s not only… I mean in addition to the criminal charges, you’re going to lose your ability to pursue what the research that you built your career on so the risk benefit analysis doesn’t really weigh out.

Matthew: Okay, good answer. Very professional. Jonathan, in closing how can listeners learn more about you? Throw out your website and tell us how we can connect.

Jonathan: So the website is www.ccvresearch.com. It’s a good place to learn more information about the Sungrown Indoor System and how to get in contact with us. On social media platforms as well it’s just @ccvresearch and of course I’d be happy to connect and discuss things on LinkedIn as well. My last name is Cachat.

Matthew: Just for everybody listening that’s C-C-V like Charlie, Charlie, Victor Research. Jonathan, thanks so much for coming on the show today and educating us. I think this is really the beginning of a huge change from almost all electric indoor grows to supplemental like you’re doing. A move to supplemental and a move to greenhouse too, I think those are two big things, and this race for a lower cost of production that we’re already starting to see happen, especially in Colorado right now as the price falls on wholesale part of cannabis.

Jonathan: Right, exactly. It’s a pleasure to chat and that’s exactly the point that I try to emphasize to everyone is that you can see your profit margin shrinking, and the days of black market without any compliance costs or paying, maybe you pay for an attorney, but idea for paying for an accountant and a marketing department and a website team and a social media team, they’re dramatically decreasing wholesale value of cannabis and you’re increasing cost of production. You really have to consider more resource efficient ways if you’d like to stay in business and definitely last well into the future as this industry settles down from the onboarding startup stage.

Matthew: Well put, thanks again Jonathan.

Jonathan: Thanks Matt.

Generating 100s of Millions of Page Views a Month of Cannabis Content – Matt Gray of Herb.Co

Matt Gray CEO of Herb.co

Meet the cannabis content mogul Matt Gray, the founder, and CEO of Herb.co

Matt has created a cannabis content engine that generates hundreds of pieces of original content a month.  Matt’s team creates articles, skits, videos and more.

Matt just finished 4.1 million capital raise for Herb.
Listen in as he shares how he creates viral content and hints and the direction of Cannabis media is heading.

Key Takeaways:
[0:53] – What is Herb.co
[1:48] – Matt talks about his background
[5:25] – Matt’s takeaways from Bit Maker
[7:00] – How has cannabis media evolved since starting Herb.co
[8:20] – Coming up with ideas for Herb.co
[13:56] – Matt talks about helping brands get their message out
[17:52] – Demographics in the cannabis community
[24:49] – Matt talks about his predictions for cannabis media
[27:38] – Matt answers some personal development questions
32.35 – Contact details for Herb.co

Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi. I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I will 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. Now here’s your program.

As the public’s thirst for unique and original cannabis related content grows, entrepreneurs that understand how to attract, educate and influence online visitors are in high demand. I’m excited to talk with Matt Gray, Cofounder and CEO of Herb.co, who will share what online content people are looking for. Matt, welcome to CannaInsider.

Matt: Hey Matt, thanks so much for having me.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Matt: Right now I’m in Toronto, Canada.

Matthew: What is Herb at a high level? Tell us.

Matt: Herb at a high level is a one-stop shop for whatever people need cannabis related. So, whether you’re looking for the perfect strain for your medical condition. You’re looking to find some interesting news on legalization, or you’re looking to find an entertaining video to just enjoy while medicated. When people think cannabis we want them to come to Herb. Over the past three years we’ve built the largest and most engaged cannabis platform in the world, have over 100 million monthly engagements on our content and push over 200 million video views a month. They’re just this destination for people to find whatever they need cannabis related.

Matthew: That is ginormous. Well done. What’s your background? How did you come to start Herb? What were you doing before this, or as Martha Stewart would say, Herb, I don’t’ know if you’ve ever heard her pronounce that, but that’s how she says it.

Matt: I have. Essentially when I was 21 graduated from a university just outside of Toronto here. I had been learning to code while in school, and found it unbelievably beneficial. I was able to finally construct a lot of the ideas that I had in my mind. I met up with a few friends after graduating and traveling off through 14 countries over 4 months, and could see this idea for basically a technology bootcamp where people with no prior coding ability would be able to come through this school, and over the course of a nine week intensive, in-person bootcamp become full stack software engineers and get jobs at tech companies.

So, we did just that. We created that program. It was called Bit Maker. Here in Toronto it was the first technology bootcamp of its kind in Canada. Over the course of three years we trained over 2,000 software developers and got them jobs at tech companies like Shopify, Hootsuite, IBM and more. That company was eventually acquired by General Assembly. Shortly after doing that I’ve always been passionate about cannabis. I’ve been a cannabis consumer since I was 19. I’ve always loved the culture around it. I love the movement that’s going on behind it. I had a bit of an aha moment when a good friend of mine, who’s brother suffers from PTSD from some childhood trauma, I’d seen the medical benefit of cannabis with this individual who is finally able to sleep through night terrors and more. Found an enormous medical benefit, and it really struck me as like, wow, if more and more people had access to this, not just to the education to know that it could help them, this could really change the world and help end a lot of human suffering.

That combined with the fact that as I dove more into cannabis, I became more and more educated as to the social injustice behind and the war on drugs, and the fact that I believe the statistics are something like 1 in 4 African American males are locked up in the states, and 80 percent of those arrested are for cannabis possession, which is fucking ridiculous. So, that really needs to change, and I wanted to be part of that change in the world. This incredible industry that’s the fastest growing industry in the world, and figured that’s the best use of my time over the next ten years.

I can see the idea for Herb, build a team around me of hackers, hustlers, artists and entrepreneurs, and over the past 2 ½ - 3 years now we’ve grown it to be the largest and most engaged cannabis community in the world. I built it totally nomadic. So, started it Denver and built it up more. The whole team was remote, coming from as far places as New Zealand to Denver to LA, SF and more. We had writers all over. We aggressively started getting into video content, producing a lot of different formats. Anything from “How To” to news segments and more. Yeah, I’ve built it to be this massive community of just people that love culture, love cannabis and view Herb as this kind of epicenter of those two things.

Matthew: Any kind of key insights you had when you’re working with all of the software developers and putting them through that intensive? Is there anything you saw, any trends in terms of some developers really seem to do well and they have certain characteristics or others don’t, or some people seem to gravitate to certain coding languages and do well with that? Is there any themes you saw that you recognized?

Matt: If you’re referring to kind of like high level takeaways from that experience and from running that, I think high level, it doesn’t matter what you do, it’s important to have empathy. Whether it’s empathy for consumers or empathy for people on your team, and being able to put yourself in other people’s shoes and see their struggle and see the opportunities. That experience really allowed me to, every day, day in and day out, put myself and my mindset in the mind of a technical individual who’s literally building the technology behind these websites and apps and things that you see.

So, with that empathy, moving forward in my life, I’ve just been able to ensure that whatever business vision that we have and whatever community we want to build, I have the understanding on the backend of what it will take technically to create that vision, which I think is enormously valuable. Secondly, it was just pretty obvious. It’s important to stay up-to-date with the newest technologies and the newest things going on. There’s a lot of exciting stuff happening. Nowadays with Voice being a new platform now, a new interface as well, what does that mean for the world. What does that mean for Cannabis and more? So, I think just like being more technically literate and understanding the shoes of engineers and their perspective is super useful.

Matthew: How have you see cannabis media evolve since you got started?

Matt: I think it’s very similar to a lot of just what you see across the entire industry. I think there’s a coming of age. Cannabis is entering the mainstream more and more and more, year after year, and it’s accelerating. So, whereas maybe four years ago you’re seeing super niche sites that maybe have a certain to them that isn’t as inclusive and friendly, and where the bar of quality of both editorial technology and design would be super low. A lot of that is changing now. There’s more and more people looking for quality information around cannabis, and there’s bigger and bigger companies in the space. People with better attention to detail, better taste for design and more. So, there’s just a general maturing of the industry, and with that you’re getting companies and brands that are really upping the bar and upping the quality of the content, which is great to see, and it only reflects well on everyone.

Matthew: How do you come up with the ideas for content? You have a lot of interesting stuff going on on your site. Is it just brainstorming? How does it work? How do you come up with these ideas to get all these views that you get every month?

Matt: I could probably go on for hours about this, but to give you the short and sweet, Cole’s notes, at the end of the day, we produce nearly 300 pieces of content every month. Even more actually. Where we’re getting all these ideas from, there’s a lot of different sources. We have a community that’s engaged like crazy, hundreds and millions of engagements every single month. So, we see what people are talking about. We also have programs we us to see what people are talking about, and we’re able to understand what content do these people want to see. What do we need to put there? What are our users asking for? So, that’s one way.

Related to that, through the backend of Facebook or Google and more, we can do research and see what are people searching, what are they talking about and create content around those topics that we know are super hot and that people want to learn about. Thirdly are through different tools that we have. So, some cool tools are things like Buzz Sumo, Tubular Labs and more. These are tools that basically allow you to monitor what’s going on online in the world, in a given space on a given keyword and more. So, you can search cannabis and see what’s the most trending topics around cannabis, say in the next hour or day or week or whatever. Through those three main mechanisms, although there’s a lot more we do, you’re able to get a good sense of what’s out there, what are people talking about, what should we be covering as a media platform.

Matthew: Do you just find the green light things that make you laugh or say hey, I see this as trending. If you write about this or do a skit about this, this would be funny to me so go for it, or how does it work?

Matt: Yeah I mean, high level, the most important metric on the social content side is share percentage. So, any content you create we make sure that we ask ourselves why would someone share this. So, what does that mean specifically? There’s certain emotions that you can trigger in humans that cause them to want to share content and make that content contagious. Some of those emotions are awe or laughter or anger and others. So, with any piece of content we’re trying to figure out how can we make this content useful, because people share stuff with practical value. Then secondly, among other things, is how do we make this compelling? Is it going to really inspire people and they’ll want to share it? Is it going to really anger people, and they’re going to want to share it, and more? We’re essentially green-lighting topics based on our perceived value of how shareable they are.

Matthew: Let’s do a quick role play real quick, if this is okay. I’m going to propose, I’m one of your content creators and I have four ideas here. I’m going to throw them passed you and you tell me which one you think would be best. Ready. This could be either an article or a skit. What might be served at a Snoop Dogg and Martha Stewart pot heavy brunch? That’s number one. Number two is, Five sneaky ways to find out if a co-worker gets high. Three, Why Elon Musk thinks he is in an artificial reality created by stoners. Then the final, How to abduct an uptight friend, get them high and change their life.

Matt: So, your question is which on is the best one?

Matthew: Which one would you say, okay, none of them are good, or if I were to pick on to create content around, it would be which one?

Matt: Perfect, yes. Here’s my thoughts on that. First and foremost it’s important that you understand your audience. Who are you trying to speak to? There’s a lot of great topics in there. If you’re running a cannabis and entrepreneur magazine, the Elon Musk is probably fire. For our community and what we see do really well, interestingly enough Snoop Dogg is the man. So, people just love Snoop, which I’m sure goes as no surprise to most people. So just based on how much I know the community loves Snoop Dogg, I think that one would do the best. Again, every community is different, every audience is different and it’s important to know who you’re speaking about because some of those topics would do better than the Snoop Dogg one, given a different audience.

Matthew: Right. Craft the message right to the audience. That makes sense. There is something about Snoop Dogg. He breaks all demographics, every single demographic likes him. I don’t know if people can’t really articulate why either. They just know they like him.

Matt: Yeah, I think it’s that he’s an OG. He’s been around for a long time. He’s authentic. He is pretty bold too. He’s a trailblazer and someone that’s not afraid to point the finger at Trump or do other things. I think he’s helped to really define culture in his own way. I think in general people have a lot of respect for him. I have a lot of respect for him. Yes, content on our site, as an example, in general does very well.

Matthew: Now, you work with brands to help them get their message out. Can you tell us how that works?

Matt: Essentially any brand, whether it’s a brand within the cannabis industry or a brand outside the cannabis industry, they’re looking to get in front of engaged people who will talk about their brand, and who will hopefully visit their site, purchase the product or more. So, we essentially at Herb work with brands all across the board. Anything from vaporizer companies to mainstream entertainment companies, apps and more, and help organically insert those brands through a basic product placement into the content that we create. Yeah, we can help brands basically get out there to the most engaged cannabis audience in the world.

Matthew: What kind of budget do they typically need to get the ball rolling in working with you?

Matt: That just really depends on what they’re looking for. We have content that’s much more quick and easier to create, things like articles, which would be on the lower side of things. Then we have full-fledge original series, which we do with a whole crew of 10+ people and it’s a real production. It varies depending on what they’re looking for.

Matthew: Obviously it takes more time and resources, money and everything to do a full skit or a video and editing and everything versus just writing an article. How do you get the confidence to do skit and invest time, money and energy in that versus an article? I mean, how do you this is the right topic for a skit? Is there a sense, like this is the right things to do, or you really just don’t know and you’re just putting it out there?

Matt: The truth of the matter is I’ve been intricately involved in running and building this product that is Herb for the last three or so years. Within that time, I’ve seen 5,000+ pieces of content go out. We’ve run deep analytics on every aspect of these pieces, whether it’s articles, videos and more. We understand all our content on a monthly basis, what core tile it would go into, whether it’s the top 25 percent or bottom 25 percent of performing content. We really have an understanding of what works out there and what doesn’t. Very similar to how you gave me those four topics there, and I could say hey, this is the one that would do best with our community. We do have a really good handle on what topics do well and that informs us in our direction with content.

That said though, on a high level, our approach with content is a 70/30 rule. So 70 percent of what we do we know it’s going to work 100 percent, and it’s a proven formula for whatever that thing is, but 30 percent of the time we’re kind of adding our own new flavor to it, our own vibe to it, or maybe being a bit experimental just to kind of constantly be keeping ahead of the curve into breaking ground into new areas, new genres and more. That’s kind of our approach on a high level.

Matthew: When you’re working with brands to help them get their message out and get exposure, do you offer any kind of assurances in terms of what you can do for them?

Matt: Yeah, we guarantee view counts. We can guarantee that these brands that work with us in the video content get out there to a certain amount of viewers. So, that’s the guarantee that we have.

Matthew: What’s the sweet spot in terms of demographics of visitors that come to Herb?

Matt: So, 82 percent of our audience are millennials, so 18 to 32. It’s about 55 percent male, 45 percent female, but they engage at equal percentages. So, males and females are just as engaged on the platform. Yeah, coming primarily from major cities like LA, Chicago, New York, Houston and more. It’s geared heavily towards college students. So, a lot of people at UCLA, University of Boulder, whoever that are people like football, college sports, like cannabis, working hard on school, doing their thing. That’s kind of where we skew heavily.

Matthew: You’re a pretty young guy yourself. If you don’t mind me asking, how old are you?

Matt: I’m 27.

Matthew: Well done, 27, that’s great. You’re a millennial then. You’re right in the sweet spot of your own demographic for your business. When you look at the millennials at a 30,000 view, can you make generalizations about them in terms of anything?

Matt: Oh yeah tons.

Matthew: Okay, tell us some stuff here. I like the juicy stuff.

Matt: I think it’s all we know this stuff. It’s everywhere these days. It’s [19.15 unclear] that’s causing you to do Instagram, Facebook. Off the bat, everyone, it doesn’t matter what you do, you’re competing for people’s attention these days. It’s the scarcest resource. So, people have short attention spans. You don’t have much time with these people. We’re impatient. If you want to get me to watch something, convince me in the first three seconds that I should be watching that. Make every second count. It’s quite the challenge for someone to create content that captivates someone these days. There’s just so much noise. That’s one important thing.

I think the other part to it is being authentic. It’s not cool if you’re going to be super forward about, hey, this is our company, this is our product, this is what we do. No one’s going to care about that. That’s an advertisement and it’s not going to keep someone’s attention. No one’s clicking on display ads. No one’s clicking on prerolls and more. Making sure that when you’re representing a brand to millennials that it’s done in a very authentic way. It’s super important, because they can sniff an ad from a mile away. It’s not going to be as effective. Those are a couple things that come off the top of my head. I could go through a laundry list of more things though.

Matthew: I was listening to the gentleman, Neil [20.56 unclear], who coined that term “millennial”. He’s written a number of books. He’s a really interesting character, and he was going through some details about the millennials and generalizations and so forth. One of the things that he said that is much stronger in the millennial group than boomers, GenX and now the homelanders, who are the generation younger than millennials, is they really have a strong sense of community. That’s important to them to be in a community, a little hive, whether that’s online or in the physical world. They want that sense of community, which I think is interesting, particularly when you’re trying to create content. Will this appeal to this little community or this hive mind out there. Would you say that’s true at all?

Matt: What’s your question in a nutshell?

Matthew: Would you say the community aspect of millennials is an important thing that needs to be highlighted or do you not see that?

Matt: Yeah, I think community is everything. I think that yeah it’s important to everyone. That’s essentially the hardest thing to create. So, if you can around your brand or your platform or whatever it may be create a community, oftentimes it’s like catching lightning in a bottle, and once you have it though it’s extremely magical and really is the value that people find to something. Facebook isn’t cool if you just go to it and there’s zero likes anywhere and zero comments and it’s just you. These platforms, these things, they have network effects. They’re more and more valuable as there’s more and more people on them. So, yeah, I think that’s attractive to anyone.

Matthew: There’s a lot of people that are of all ages listening to the podcast, but there’s people that don’t have any kind of social media presence. They may have a business, but they just don’t even know how to get the word out about their business, even though their business is doing well. I come across these businesses all the time. They have a strong business, but they have no social media presence. They really don’t have a lot of people sharing anything about them online, but they have loyal customers. What would be your suggestion for them?

Matt: It doesn’t matter what you do these days, you are a media company, you are a content company. We live in a day and an age where content is king. It’s everywhere, and it’s the best way to get your brand out there. Get out there to the world what you believe in, what you stand for. People buy why you do something, not what you do. People want to know what you’re all about. So, I think it doesn’t matter what size your business is, whether it’s just you in a garage or a 1,000 person company, I think it’s important you have a regular cadence to getting content of some form out there so that people can find you, people can learn what you’re all about. Through that regular cadence, just chipping away at it, getting a regular routine going. More and more people are going to find out about you, start following you, and you’re going to create a no brained affinity to a big group of people.

Matthew: How do you see the cannabis media evolving over the next three to five years? We talked a little bit about the past, where it’s at now. How do you see it changing, if anything? Is the attention span going to be even shorter where it’s got to be a three second animated GIF, and if they like that, they’ll click on something that’s like a little bit longer, and then if they like that, it’ll expand into something even larger. Do you think it’s going to reverse? People are going to want longer, more engaging topics that they can really sink their teeth into and sit down with for a while. What do you think is going to happen?

Matt: My perspective on this, there’s a lot of sides to it. I think it’s the latter. I think that longer form content and long form video is the new wave. It is where things are headed. Essentially the platform really informs the content to some extent. It’s one large consideration. When you look at YouTube, YouTube’s longer form, informative, useful content. It’s the largest library of video content in the world. That’s that side. You have Facebook that just announced Facebook Watch last week. They’re getting into repeatable, scalable shows, and they announced 50 different partners in that. It’s being rolled out to 1 or 2 of Facebook users in America, so same deal there.

Yes, Facebook has all been about these kind of tasty, social snippets, and that’s where it’s coming from, but Facebook is taking over the world. They’re starting to prefer and promote longer form content. So, if that’s the case, more and more publishers, more and more brands and more are going to be creating that kind of content. So, that’s the direction I see it going, and I think that although attention is very scarce, there’s something to be said for creating long form content where people can really dig into it. They can relax, they can watch it. Although maybe the audience at first isn’t as large as a piece of short form content, you’re going to develop a loyal following around that long form content that’s going to stick through it. Every Thursday that episode comes out, I got to watch it. That’s similar to what you see with Netflix. They dropped House of cards or another long form series or show and people are binge watching that over a weekend. Netflix is an incredible company. So, that’s where I kind of see it going.

Matthew: That’s great. Netflix definitely has something with this binge watching. It’s so much better way of doing it than having to wait for the next episode. It’s so much more preferable, but then at the same time, if you binge watch a whole season, then there’s kind of like a strange withdraw feeling like I want the next season now. I got to go to my Netflix dealer.

Matt: Exactly. I feel the struggle.

Matthew: Let’s pivot to some personal development questions here to let the audience get to know you a little bit better. Is there a book that has had a big impact on your life that you would like to share?

Matt: Yeah. I mean, there’s a lot of different books out there that have taught me different things and have been pivotal at certain points of my life. When I was a super young age, I think I’ve read it four or five times, like every two years, is a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. It’s a real classic. At the end of the day there were two books that I remember hearing Warrant Buffet had read that said were super instrumental. One was Value Investing and the other one was How to Win Friends and Influence People, so I figured I should read this. Yeah, it’s really common sense stuff, but then again common sense isn’t that common. So, it’s a book that just really goes over everything from smiling to not picking arguments to just basic stuff that I think are just good tenants and a good foundation to have when dealing with people in general, because whether you’re starting a company, which is just a group of people with a common vision or goal, or just dealing with family or friends. It’s all about your EQ, your emotional intelligence and your ability to just be a good person and be someone others want to be around.

Matthew: I really agree with you. I’ve read that book when I was younger. Very powerful. I still remember some of the stuff and try to use some of the principles I learned in there. One of the things that stands out for me is that you’re trying to make small talk with someone, just get to know them, it’s always helpful to ask a question that they want to answer. If you don’t know how to break the ice, you’re trying to get to know somebody, that’s a great way to do it, versus talking about something political, which puts people in a different position kind of on their heels automatically. Great suggestion. That is a good book. How about a tool? Is there a tool that has a big impact on your day-to-day productivity that you’d like to share?

Matt: Sure. From a high level, everyone I think has different principles or values that kind of govern their approach to different things. One big thing that I’m big on is I believe life is a numbers game. Whether it’s your approach to winning in a new business or getting a girlfriend, at the end of the day the more people you talk to, the more you get out there, the better your likelihood. So, as part of business I’m very big on emailing, talking to people, getting outside the building and just getting shit done. One tool that a lot of people don’t use surprisingly enough that I think is absolutely essential is a tool called [30.20 unclear] for Gnome.

To a lot of people this is common sense, but a lot of people don’t know about it. When you send an email to someone you can indicate, if this person doesn’t respond to this email, boomerang it back to my inbox in one week. So, I know that if I’m emailing you Matt about being on your next podcast, as some random example, this is an untrue story, but just a random thing. I’m like okay, if Matt doesn’t get back to me in five days about this certain question I have, come back to my inbox so I can follow up with Matt again. It’s a simple tool, but something that I find incredibly useful at the end of the day. When you’re running a business and you’re dealing with 200 emails a day, or whether you’re just starting a new business and there’s a lot of people you’re trying to corral around a common goal, this is a very simple tool that helps keep you organized and lets you forget about the follow-up and simply this boomerang tool will remind you, hey this person didn’t respond. You should follow up.

Matthew: That’s great. Normally I stop right there with two questions, but I’m going to ask you a third here, because you’re really good at this viral marketing and content creation and you can tell me which option, this is like a multiple choice question, I want you to tell me (A) how you’d answer it, and (B) what do you think the number one answer would be if you posted this on Herb. Here’s the hypothetical question. What would happen if Attorney General Jeff Sessions accidently ate a pot brownie? Would he (A) Go on Twitter and ask Donald Trump to tickle him, (B) Start laughing and literally never stop, or (C) Eat an entire bag of Cool Ranch Doritos and watch reruns of the Dukes of Hazard?

Matt: I think it’s the last one. That one just strikes me, that just sounds right.

Matthew: You think the last one is the one that if you were to post that, that’s what people would select?

Matt: Yeah, and I think the community would be just in line with my thinking as well, yeah. That’s what I think.

Matthew: He knows it right. Boom that’s it.

Matt: That’s the one.

Matthew: Matt in closing we talked about Herb. Throw out your website, and let people know how to find you.

Matt: Our website is www.herb.co. We’re on Facebook as well, just search Herb; on Instagram @herb, and thanks a lot for your time Matt, really appreciate this and yeah, a great opportunity.

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 five disruptive 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)cannainsider(dot)com, simply send us an email at feedback(at)cannainsider.com. We would love to hear from you.

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. Final disclosure to see if you’re still paying attention. This little whistle jingle you’re listening to will get stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Thanks for listening and look for another CannaInsider episode soon. Take care. Bye-bye.

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