Ep 330 – The Startup Behind PBR’s Cannabis Drinks Is Opening the Door to New Possibilities…

harold han vertosa 1

Cannabis and hemp beverages are exploding, and it’s all thanks to new breakthroughs in infusion technology. Here to tell us about it is Harold Han of Vertosa.

Learn more at https://vertosa.com 

Key Takeaways:

[00:45] An inside look at Vertosa, the infusion technology startup behind Pabst’s new THC seltzers

[1:15] Harold’s background and how he came to start Vertosa

[4:31] How Vertosa creates water-soluble cannabinoids through advanced nanoemulsion

[9:05] Important factors Vertosa considers when creating infusions including bioavailability, clarity, and taste

[11:08] Vertosa’s partnership with Pabst to create low-dose THC seltzers 

[19:39] How Vertosa provides guidance to companies interested in entering the infused beverage market

[23:11] Can liners and their importance to the quality of cannabis drinks

[26:07] Vertosa’s different emulsion formulas and how they work with brands to create various products

[34:19] Where Harold sees the infused cannabis product space heading in the next 3-5 years

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew Kind: Hi, I'm Matthew Kind. Every Monday, look for a fresh new episode where I'll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at cannainsider.com, that's C-A-N-N-A insider dot com. Now, here's your program. Cannabis drink technology looks to have had its great unlock moment that will allow for consumers to embrace cannabis beverages. Here to tell us about it is Harold Han of Vertosa. Harold, welcome to CannaInsider.

Harold Han: Hey, Matt, glad to be here.

Matthew: Give us a sense of geography, where are you in the world today?

Harold: Right now, I'm sitting in my Vertosa office in Oakland, California.

Matthew: Great. What is Vertosa on a high level?

Harold: Vertosa is a B2B ingredient provider. We provide stable and scalable water-compatible cannabinoids that can be infused into beverage, cosmetic, and edibles. Our flagship product is a concentrated emulsion and we just launched a dissolvable powder.

Matthew: This is so exciting. We can finally get away from hangovers. I can't wait to dive into this, Harold. Before we do, I guess a little bit of background about you, how you started this journey how you created Vertosa, and what your education and background and career's been like?

Harold: Thank you. Yes, sure. I am a chemist by training. I received my PhD, specialized in emulsion chemistry from New York University. After I graduated there, I came, working for a company in the Bay Area called Bio-Rad. In Bio-Rad, we used emulsion droplet technology to do PCR. With COVID this year, everybody knows PCR. Everybody knows that PCR often gives false data. So our technology is Digital Droplet PCR. The DDPCR use emulsion droplets and we can detect exactly how many target genes this patient has. DDPCR will give you no false data. For me, it's revolutionary technology.

I lead a team of three other chemists, who design, develop, and produced this emulsification oil for the DDPCR system. You can see my career, most of my time I'm thinking about emulsifier, emulsions. [laughs] It's a very random opportunity, a co-worker, threw me a bag of weed after cannabis is legalized in California and I have to admit, I'm a latecomer to the industry.

I was a little scared in the beginning, I never consumed cannabis before. I started my own journey of experiments. To be honest, the first couple times, I didn't enjoy it but I know there's something there. As a scientist, I start to dig in, I start to read books, I start to watch documentaries and I learned why it is illegal. It's not because of It's bad by itself, but social reasons.

Then when I continue to experience it, I find out this plant is making my life better. I sleep more, I smell more, I drink less. I'm more focused. I feel this is so beneficial to myself, and I want to introduce it to millions of other people but I don't know where to start. Talk to my Vertosa journey, I start knowing the people in the industry going to the events and talk to them, ask them, "How can I help, in the Industry?"

Different people pointing me to a similar direction. They say because the cannabinoid is not water-soluble, so making a beverage or cosmetic is pretty hard. I thought, "Man, that was my whole career thinking about the relation between oil and water, how to make stable emulsion droplets maybe I should do that I have the passion I have the skill set." Long story short, that is where the idea of Vertosa is born.

Matthew: Just to back up a little bit, the big problem up to this point is that extracted cannabis oil is not water-soluble so that was the big hurdle initially like how are we going to make drinks with this oil that cannot be homogenized into the liquid? Would you agree that was the big first problem and then how do you get this active ingredient in there? So talk about that a little bit.

Harold: Everybody knows water doesn't like oil, they don't mix. Cannabinoids, unfortunately, most of them are hydrophobic, meaning, they like oil, they hate water. That's why we see a lot of fat-dominant infused products, years ago. Chocolate cookies, they're relatively easier to make. However, if you want to scale up a consistent water-infused beverage, that's much challenging.

There are majorly two routes to introduce cannabinoids into water, either by liquid emulsion or dry powder. At Vertosa, our flagship product is the liquid emulsion and the emulsion is one liquid suspending in another liquid. In this case, cannabinoids as the oil liquid is suspending between water. That system can be diluted and when we dilute that system, we're creating a beverage. That is how we introduce cannabinoids into a beverage.

Matthew: All right, that makes sense. So that's a nanoemulsion then?

Harold: Yes.

Matthew: Okay. What's another word for nanoemulsion just so we can think about that's some way and like at a very small level that we introduced the cannabinoids into a molecule?

Harold: Yes. Nanoemulsion, this term itself is very confusing. Let me explain the story behind. Scientifically, nanoemulsion is always compared to microemulsion. If you have a system of oil emulsifier, water, and just roughly mixed, we call it raw emulsion. To make a nanoemulsion from raw emulsion, you need input energy, either by sonication or [unintelligible [00:07:01]. You input energy to make nanoemulsion higher energy state than the raw emulsion. On the other hand, from raw emulsion, if you can stir, just stir it up, maybe adding a little heat. This raw emulsion may form a microemulsion.

Microemulsion has a lower energy state. Scientifically, that is the definition of nano, raw emulsion, and microemulsion. However, most of the people involved in the industry seeing the nano word and that's the only thing they focus. To define nano is also tricky because nanomaterial is usually defined by sub 100 nanometers that is known also by our industry.

However, when we talk about nanoemulsions, EU major to our industry, still use 100 nanometers. But in the academic field, people use 200 nanometers. In FDA, I have read documents that they consider 500 nanometers, up to 1,000 nanometers to be as nanoemulsion. I think the governing body needs to have a better-refined term for the nanoemulsion on their site.

Matthew: When people get caught, or confused about what you're doing, how do you clarify quickly for them when you say like, "Hey, this is what I do," how do you say it in one sentence for people?

Harold: We make cannabinoid water-compatible in the large scale fashion and our process is repeatable, we use the route of nonemulsion because the nonemulsion has flexibility to choose emulsifier to customize the emulsion system and we can load relatively large amount of the active oil onto the nanoemulsion so it's more feasible for us.

Matthew: All right. So what do you think about in terms of bioavailability clarity and taste? I know these are big factors in the cannabis drink, how do you think about these?

Harold: I think the bioavailability, you are really talking about experience and talk about clarity you're really talking about appearance. So boil it down to three words, taste, appearance, and experience. I think the holy grail is super-- There's no taste, there's no color, and it's super bioavailable. That is the holy grail. I have to admit, as far as Vertosa, we haven't reached there. We're working very hard towards there but our current system cannot give you 100% fulfillment of the all three elements.

What we can do is that we know, we have created a system of emulsion because we don't believe one emulsion will fit all. When we talk to our clients, we always start with, what do you want to make and what is really important to you? Flavor, experience, or appearance? The answer is every client will put different priority into their beverage. That's why we say, "Okay, based on this priority, if you're saying flavor is the key and we do have the formula that pays well."

If you say, "I'm making a replacement for liquor." Nobody wants to drink a milky liquor. I want it to be very transparent. Well, we do have a formula for that too but this formula may taste a little different. However, the formula can formulate a flavor around it. There's always a workable solution by choosing one of our emulsion system.

Matthew: Okay. Gosh, I'm so excited about this, Harold, because I've mentioned hangovers earlier, but I mean, alcohol, ethanol is essentially poison, really. We're giving ourselves microdoses of poison. It's become assimilated into our culture. I don't propose we take it away or anything. It's just that now that we're introducing this botanical into a culture where people can get an experience that they want but not have that downside where the next day they feel dehydrated, and their livers working overtime.

I think this is just a huge, huge thing. Let's take a look at one of a case study you have here with the company, Pabst. People may be familiar with Pabst Blue Ribbon. It's become like a hipster beer, really. It used to be an inexpensive beer and then it moved to this hipster icon. They've created a seltzer with your help that contains no alcohol but does contain THC. Can you talk about the journey to formulate this drink? What obstacles were there and how you surmounted them?

Harold: Sure, happy to. First, I have to say the whole journey with Pabst, they are a talented team. They're very focused, and they learn very fast, and working with them is such a joy. Also that it took a long journey. I remember two years ago is when we started our first meeting in their Los Angeles office. For brands like Pabst, to launch a new product in a brand new category, they take their time to get everything right.

Also because they're Pabst, they can literally talk to every single Canada's water-soluble companies in the world. I think they have done their homework in this space very carefully. That's why we as Vertosa is very proud and super honored to be their infusion partner. If you ask why, I think one-word, trust. Trust in our science and trust in our operation. From the scientific side, there are I think, almost three challenges we need to solve for Pabst.

First is can liner stability. Secondly is flavor, and third, is experience. We need to nail all three in order to be their partner. To be honest, two years ago, we didn't have all the answers to all the three topics. Back then, I think our formula was pretty good on experience. We can have a pretty good, quick answer. However, our formula didn't taste as good as today and we don't have an emulsion system that is super can liner stable.

However, I think what we say to them is, "Look, we never over-promise. We don't have it now but we can promise you, we improve our science over time." I think that's when we start to work with the biggest can suppliers, and the biggest can liner chemical suppliers to start testing our formula and improve our emulsion.

Now, I think we have a couple of formulas that offers less than 10% potency loss throughout the lifetime in the can. Flavor is also key for them. I forgot how many rounds of sample of tasting feedbacks back and forth over the two years. I really cannot count. I think it really needs the patience and openness to receive their feedback and be willing to improve.

Matthew: Do they have focus groups or at first it's just their team saying this tastes good, doesn't taste good? Or is it actual focus groups?

Harold: Well, they have a very professional team. They have a very professional flavor house to work on their flavor. Of course, they want to hear our feedback and they have their own opinions. It's a long process to really nail down what flavor, what level of citrus, all those final [unintelligible [00:15:27] takes a long time.

Matthew: Yes, because if it's just a little bit too much citrus or a little too sweet or a little too anything, people want it rounded and have to have a mass appeal. That sounds like a difficult thing to dial in just right. Go ahead.

Harold: Sorry, and that is on the science part. Science is only the theory and that you can make it, but it doesn't mean you can really make it in reality. The other side is our operation. For example, every sample show up on time, do they always have a COA? Are they consistent from one batch to another and how efficient is your large-scale production? How well the emulsion works with a large-scale pilot?

Our Chief Innovation Officer, Austin Stevenson, said, "Every touchpoint, every sample, every email or phone call is a test from our clients, is an opportunity to show our professionalism." I think that's why trust is earned every step of the way and that's why we're so proud to be the infusion partner for Pabst.

Matthew: How did you arrive or Pabst arrived at five milligrams? It seems like it's an industry benchmark now, five milligrams of THC per can. Can you talk about that a little bit? Just a standard dose now?

Harold: Yes. The standard dose, I think it would depend on how you define a standard. If it's for a low-dose beverage, I believe five milligrams is a good start for new consumers. It's more like consuming a light beer. Everybody can drink a light beer to feel the Pabst. That is what five milligrams of our formula does to the consumer. Also, like a beer, if you're okay, you can drink three, four cans and accumulate those effects.

I think that's what Pabst is trying to simulate. So people in the party, people may drink three or four of those saucers and feel like 15, 20 milligrams of THC and have a great time. However, I think that is for the new consumers, low-dose consumers. If it's for a high tolerance consumer or medical patients, five milligrams may be too low. There are products out there, especially formulized for those groups, where they have 50 milligrams to 100 milligrams per unit. I believe the beverage market starts to accommodate and design their target products to fulfill the needs of two spectrums of the consumers.

Matthew: How is the Pabst product selling in dispensaries?

Harold: Well, I focus too much on science. I don't have a lot of data in front of me. A personal story is, last year in October after they launched, I like to buy a four-pack for a friend of mine. I tried twice online and both sold out. That was my personal experience but I think also from all sold out, yes.

Matthew: In the Bay Area.

Harold: I'm in the Bay Area. I think they produce more now and is available now. I think just launching of Pabst to the industry is huge. I also like to quote our beloved Austin Stevenson, CIO. He said, "Pabst exists for 175 years and multiple generations grew up with this brand." This holiday season, you can bring back a four-pack of the Pabst THC-infused saucer and show it to a grandfather say, "Hey, look, this is the brand new trust."

I think it naturally offers enormous power to start to remove the stigma of the whole industry in our infused beverage industry.

Matthew: Yes, this is interesting here. These huge beverage companies, especially these brewers, they know a lot about the brewing process but they're not perhaps focused or at least historically focused on other kinds of beverages. Maybe they're starting again to seltzers or hard ciders, but they're definitely not familiar with THC. Where have they had to spend the most time learning to get their learning up to a certain point so they could really create a cool THC drink?

Harold: Yes. For example, Pabst, I have to say they are a professional team, and they learn quickly. However, this infused beverage market is so new and there are so many nuances. It doesn't matter if you are Pabst or you are a small startup brand. We all need to go through the learning process and that most falls onto Vertosa to provide this education and guidance.

Simple questions like how many milligrams should I target? Which emulsion of Vertosa should I use? What kind of experience will that emulsion offer? What is the compatibility with my other ingredients? Which packaging, which kind should I use? What's summer processing? How can I produce in the pilot? Which lab should I use? All those ongoing questions.

As our CEO, Ben Larson defined our company, we are not only an ingredient provider, we have to share our knowledge with the industry to educate our clients and became the top leader for the infused industry. Even for Vertosa, we are learning a lot of stuff on the go and we want to share those knowledge with our clients. For example, compatibility study, that usually take two months and if it's not compatible, if we reformulate the base, it will take another two month, and our clients doesn't have the luxury to sit and wait.

Thanks to one of the clients we're working with, we developed a system to speed up this compatibility study. Now, we can say we use two weeks to offer the 95% confidence about how compatible our emulsion is to the system. This knowledge, it became industrial standard that we share with all the other companies.

Also, recently, as you know, there is aluminum can shortage on the market. Everybody wants to use the can but there's only one option so they start to ask Vertosa, "How good is this liner? How can we make our beverage stable in this liner? And what's the data to support that?" So at Vertosa, we need to constantly testing, constantly sharing our knowledge, because clients and partners, they rely on us, rely on those knowledge to make a decision for their company. That adds a lot of pride to our work and that's what drives us every day to do those work.

Matthew: Okay. Talk a little bit about can liners and what's important to know there? I know it's a broad topic, but it has a lot of impact, both on the availability of the can liners available, how it affects the flavor, a lot of different things that just everyday casual consumers of drinks don't even think about, but what's the important high-level stuff to know about can liners beverages?

Harold: Right. Can liner is very, very complex. There is a fun article arguing that can liner is actually the most complex engineering problem in the 21st century.

[laughs]

It looks simple, people take it for granted. On the chemical side, different chemicals are used for can liners. Maybe you heard about BPA, BPA [unintelligible 00:24:04] including polyethylene, polypropylene, polyurethane, even polyacrylic. Those different chemicals are designed to fulfill different needs like high pH, low pH, high corrosive, low corrosive, and beer, tomato sauce, and a soda, energy drink, wine. They have different thickness. For a high corrosive liner, they're thicker, for a low corrosive liner, they're a little thin. There's so much liner options out there.

The emulsion compatibility with each liner could be singular. Meaning, one emulsion type may have a good compatibility with one-liner, but not all the other liners. We need to find and test those results and share that with our clients. That's just the theory. When you start to make a real product, you need to secure those cans.

Because of this pandemic, last year, the restaurants and the bars are closed, so the tap beer is getting dramatically reduced and all those beer are going into the cans. The gigantic big companies, they absorb all the cans, and the cans available to our industry became very scarce. When you have limited options, you have to make it work.

That's why we've been bombarded by questions from our partners and kinds to say, "Hey, is this can, the only can that can buy from the market, is it good? How good it is? How can you make it better?" So, talk about cans is always evolving, if you come to visit our lab right now, you can see maybe hundreds of cans sitting out there at room temperature waiting to be tested, because we have to be continuously testing, providing data to providing guidance.

Matthew: You work with brands and labs to create these nanoemulsions, does that mean you design the nanoemulsion, but you do not actually manufacture that, just to clarify?

Harold: No. Actually, we design emulsion and we manufacture the emulsion. You can imagine our final product is a concentrated emulsion form, that's our final product. The reason that we hold the process to our heart is, it is very tricky to make a high-scale, consistent emulsion from batch to batch. There are many details you have to look into, many parameters you have to dive in. So just in order to offer this product consistently, we have to make sure our people is having their eyes on to each production.

Matthew: Okay. What does the ingredient actually look like when you take it to a third party packer, your nanoemulsion ingredient?

Harold: Till today, we had developed a conventional formula, natural formula, and organic formula. Because they share different droplet size range and they have different tasting profile, so they look a little different. For example, our conventional formula will look more brownish, like a chocolate milk, but it's translucent. Our natural organic formula, they look much like milk. They have slightly different viscosities. Imagine what we sell to you is a big jug of milky solutions and that solution is going to be diluted many, many times into a big tank to create infused beverage.

Matthew: Okay. You go to the co-packer, you bring your emulsion and what does that look like then, they put the emulsion in a huge vat?

Harold: Exactly. Imagine you have 500 gallons of coffee as a base, and in order to make a 10 milligram per a 12 ounce THC coffee, you need to measure our emulsion to the certain amount, which we provide a calculator and we provide a COA so our co-packer knows exactly how much emulsion you're going to weigh out. Then we provide some guidance how to blend this emulsion into the tank evenly and how long you're going to stir, how long until it became homogeneous. Then this whole 500-gallon tank will be dispensed into each individual unit. I think that's pretty much how you make a cannabis-infused beverage.

Matthew: It reminds me a lot of how Coca-Cola does things where they have bottlers all over the world but they don't give the bottlers their trade secret, the formula flavor of Coca-Cola but they send out the syrup to them in a concentrated form. Then they just follow a process to get that tasting exactly the same whether you're in Cairo or in San Paulo or New York City, how it's consistent. Is it tricky for the co-packers the first time they're working with Vertosa to get this just right, or what's that process been like?

Harold: Exactly, so we produce both cannabis and hemp emulsion. For cannabis co-packer, usually, they are new established groups. We hold hands with them very tightly, in the beginning, to make sure every step is validated and every little detail is measured and is recorded. Even for the hemp, a beverage, usually, they are existing beverage. They make beverage day in, day out. However, even for them, the CBD emulsion is a new ingredient. They even need more hands-holding from us too.

I've been going into both types of the co-packer facilities and talking to the operators and showing them what we think is the best way to infuse the cannabis and how you're going to measure, how to take samples, when to take samples, and what packaging to keep the sample and which lab to use to measure the potency.

Because, at the end of the day, making a regular beverage is easier, but to make a cannabis-infused beverage, the target is the potency. You have to keep the potency. There are ways or details that the potency maybe get lost if you don't follow a protocol. Especially in the beginning couple of batches, it's very critical. After that, after the co-packer understands how to make this beverage, that became a natural for them.

Matthew: Okay. Yes, I would imagine that's hard if you're working with a third party like a co-packer and you've got everything dialed in, the beverage is just right. Then, you have to work with another co-packer, let's say, in a different part of the country. It's like, "Wow, that has to taste exactly the same." You got to make sure the pH of the water is certain pH, the can liner as you were talking about, the emulsification is identical as before, a lot of moving parts there. Just as someone who consumes drink, I don't even think about things but you definitely notice if it's not consistent.

Harold: Exactly. That requires the brands, the emulsion provider as Vertosa and the co-packers to be working really, really tight together and over-communicate because there's just so many details. All three parties should be putting on a table and be open to discuss. That's the making part. I think a bigger part is the testing part. As you know, cannabis testing lab in California, two, three years ago, I heard this story that if you sent two exactly the same beverage to two different labs, and the result could be 5 milligram and 10 milligram. [laughs]

Matthew: Yes.

Harold: That was what it was back then. I have seen big improvement from all the labs here in California. What if you go to Canada? What if you go to other states? Regulating those labs and how to make their data more consistent is also falling on Vertosa. We are very proud to be a part of an organization called The Cannabis Beverage Association here in California, the CBA. One of the goal for CBA is to help testing labs provide consistent data.

There are nearly four levels of the lab data variation. It could be the standards they use. It could be iteration method they apply. It could be the machinery. Lastly, it's the screening stuff. All four parts needs to be consistent in order for two labs to give the same exact number of one product.

Those efforts we're doing day in and day out, is trying to make sure, maybe in this year or next year, we're going to send out different samples to different labs and if they are validated by the CBA, they should give the same testing results.

Matthew: Okay. Where do you see this whole nanoemulsion field for cannabis drinks and infused products going the next three to five years?

Harold: I think today is a special day because the election in Georgia on the senate. That could change the landscape of legalization. Let's talk about that. If in the next three to five years, if legalization is on the table or if we see a clear pathway to that, I think it will create a huge impact on the cannabis beverage market. The smaller brands may have more target market.

We have more support in terms of funding, in terms of distribution or they may just get acquired quickly. On the other side, the bigger brands may be encouraged to jump into the beverage market. At the end of the day, running a successful and sustainable beverage business needs to be reaching economical scale. However, if, let's say, legalization is still not happening for the next three to five years, I think what I see is people love beverage.

I have seen beverage market in the whole cannabis sector occupies only 2% to 3%, but it's the faster-growing sector. You can say that since you are low, so any number is fast. I do hear positive consumer feedbacks. I think, in my opinion, I'm very optimistic. In three to five years, I won't be surprised to see infused beverage take up 20% to 30% of the whole sector. That's how I see the markets going.

Lastly, I want to share this is, in three to five years, I think the successful brands will be known for their use scenario. They build a loyal follower by creating a unique experience. If you just simply put CBD in all kinds of stuff, that may not create a loyal following. It could be after a workout, after yoga. It could be better for sleep, it could be designed especially for parties and for airline travel, for movie theaters, for after lunch focus. I think we'll nail down the experience and make that a part of life. The consumer will keep coming back and asking for that experience.

Matthew: I like the idea of the after lunch focus drink. It's not going to get me jacked, but will give me some energy to get over that kind of digestion hump. That would be ideal. I vote for that, Harold, if my vote counts for anything. You don't have to say that does. We'll move on to next question. Where's Vertosa in the funding process right now? Are you raising funds?

Harold: Not really. Till today, we have raised about $7 million. We are very fortunate to running a sustainable business right now. We're not actively looking for funding, but like our CEO, Ben, always say, "We're not raising, but we're always raising." If there is a true believer of this sector, a true believer of Vertosa's vision, we're happy to have a conversation.

Matthew: Yes, cool. We'll get to the contact information here in a moment. First, I want to ask you some personal development questions, Harold. Is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?

Harold: Yes, there is a book. When I was in Canada this last year to open our Canadian site, a good Canadian friend referred me to a book, Start with Why, by Simon Sinek. This book had a dramatic impact on my vision, especially on why Vertosa exists, why we work so hard every day because our why simply put is to unlock the healing power of the cannabis plant and make it accessible to all.

Look at around us, I mean, it doesn't matter who you are, how much money you have, which [unintelligible 00:38:53] living? When we talk about pain, everybody has that. When we talk about stress, anxiety, everybody has that. I don't think a lot of company is talking about how to solve those pain and anxiety, how to heal those people.

If we can really unlock the power from the plant and to deliver those remedy to the people who need those, I just see that as enormous power. That's resonated with me, with my team, with my client, and with our consumers. That's why consumers buy cannabis beverages, because they have stress from COVID, from family, from everything. That just fires us to do more to deliver more.

Matthew: Apart from what you're doing at Vertosa, what's the most interesting thing going on in your field?

Harold: Vertosa majorly focuses on adult-use or recreational sector but I see a huge potential of using our emotion formula for medical use. We have been talking to a couple of hospitals and institutions to perform some IRB studies, internal review board. Those studies, the goal is to prove simple facts, like can cannabis help patients reduce the use of opioids in terms of pain? How efficient are our emotions going to go into our blood? All those medical evidence we're collecting now, could be very, very valuable for us in the future to provide, either going to apply for certain healing for medicine or talk to FDA. I think that excites me the most this year.

Matthew: Also, people that are going through radiation or chemotherapy for cancer, sometimes they have trouble eating anything that could calm the nausea or help stimulate appetite would be huge too if I could come in a drink format.

Harold: Exactly, and we have a true friend and she suffers from fibromyalgia and it's a horrible disease. I think millions of people suffer from that. Basically, there's no cure for that disease and we have been giving her our emotion, just to help to alleviate some pain. In fact, it helped her dramatically to change her life. This is bringing me tears already, but she sent me the messages on Thanksgiving holiday saying, "Harold and Vertosa, this is like a godsend for me. I was almost giving up, but now this cannabis plant is helping me to regain my confidence, and regain my life." There is so much value we should dig in from there.

Matthew: Harold, this is a Peter Thiel question for you. What is the one thought you have that most people disagree with you on? It's a little bit controversial. What is that?

Harold: It's a little controversial, but I'm just going to say it. I don't think the world needs another iPhone 12. I think iPhone 6 fulfills all the needs, the human being possibly have. iPhone 12, iPhone 13, 11, 14, self-driving cars, big data, more screens, all those things add complexity and anxiety to our life. I have a friend who gave me a wonderful quote. He said, a nice picture is not made by high pixel, it's made by how happy the person is in the picture. You can take this photo selfie for 100 selfie and spend two hours to find one picture to share online, and you're not happy in the picture.

You are tired. That's always coming back to Vertosa is here because my personal view, I see Silicon Valley, I see all those big companies, they monetize by sending us, having big data, self-driving cars, but is that really happiness? Do they really deliver happiness to consumers? That's why I hope Vertosa, the work we're doing now, is provide you a solution to reconnect with yourself, to reconnect with your family, with your loved ones, and with nature. Whenever I talk about this, I just become so passionate, but I truly believe this plan can make the world a little better place.

Matthew: Harold, as we close, how can listeners get ahold of you and learn more about Vertosa and connect?

Harold: In a digital world, you can go to Vertosa.com, V-E-R-T-O-S-A, and register, and you can get our newsletters every month. We're also very active on Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn. You can search Vertosa or you can find me personally very easily at h@Vertosa.com. Well, in the physical word, the next time, if you are in that dispensary, if you pick up a hemp or cannabis-infused beverage, try to look for a sign called infused by Vertosa.

It will be a small logo on the back, on the lower part of the packaging. We're so proud of our signs and of our operation, and we want to provide, a trust, a layer of trust to the community and to the consumers. Look for my sign, that means we infuse it and we guarantee the high quality of that product.

Matthew: Well, this is such a fascinating topic, Harold. We wish you all the best and it sounds like you're off to a fantastic start, so congratulations. I know it's hard to build a business like this, so well done, and we'll hope to hear more from you on drinks in the future.

Harold: Thank you, Matt. Thank you for having me.

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 cannainsider.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 cannainsider.com/trends. Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on CannaInsider? Simply send us an email at feedback@cannainsider.com.

We'd love to hear from you. Please, do not take any information from CannaInsider or disguise it as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis for using it for medical treatments. Emotional consideration may be provided by select guests, advertisers or companies featured in CannaInsider. Lastly, the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies' 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.

[00:46:57] [END OF AUDIO]