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Cannabis Changing the Life of Kids with Lung Disease

Fulton Family

The Fulton family relocated from Australia to Canada to help their two daughters, eight-year-old Georgia-Grace and 13-year-old Tabetha have a degenerative lung disease.

Before consuming cannabis oil, Georgia-Grace and Tabetha could barely walk a block comfortably. Now both girls enjoy walking, running and surfing comfortably thanks to cannabis oil.

National Access Cannabis Founder Alex Abellan also joins us on the call to talk about how he has helped the Fulton girls access safe and effective cannabis oil.

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. That’s www(dot)cannainsider(dot)com. Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback(at)cannainsider(dot)com to get started. Now here’s your program.

Hi this is Matthew Kind. I just want to give you a little bit of an update on this interview before we get started. There’s five total individuals in this interview other than me. Alex Abellan of National Access Cannabis, Bobby Jo Fulton and Marcus Fulton who are the parents of Tabitha and Georgia Grace Fulton. Tabitha and Georgia Grace have a degenerative lung disease that causes massive inflammation in their lungs and the only way they’ve been able to experience relief is with cannabis oil and they left their native Australia to come to Canada to access that oil because they haven’t been able to do it there legally. So you’re going to hear their journey from Australia to Canada and how it has affected them as a family and what they’re up to and I just wanted to give you a little context before we got the interview started so I hope you enjoy it.

While many of us here in the U.S. view full cannabis legalization as inevitable and many states have now legalized full adult and medical use that is not the case everywhere. As you’re about to hear our next guests moved from Australia to Canada to legally access the life changing benefits of cannabis to treat degenerative lung disease. I want to welcome to the show Alex Abellan, founder of National Access Cannabis and the Fulton family, mother Bobby Jo Fulton, Tabitha Fulton, Georgia Grace Fulton, and father Marcus Fulton. Welcome to CannaInsiders everybody.

Group: (Group hi’s)

Matthew: Did I get everybody’s name right? I just want to make sure.

Group: (Yes’s)

Matthew: Great. Well first the Fulton family can you tell us where you are in the world right now?

Bobby Jo: Victoria.

Matthew: Okay.

Bobby Jo: A long way from home.

Matthew: Yeah and how about you Alex?

Alex: I’m in Ottawa, Ontario right now.

Matthew: Okay great. Well let’s get a little background here from the Fulton family first. Can you give us a little idea of what you’re doing in Canada and you’re journey from Australia for your two girls? Bobby Jo or Marcus if you want to lead us off that would be great.

Marcus: Go ahead Bobby.

Bobby Jo: Well to begin with we given that it is highly illegal in our own country, Tabitha was getting very sick very quickly. We had no alternative pharmaceutical medicine. We had run out of every option there. So we did a twelve week trial in our own country that proved that we could get her off steroids and in fact off her daily oxygen procedure as well but what we couldn’t do was continue to use the cannabis oil in our own country.

Matthew: Now Tabitha and Georgia Grace how do you feel when you take the cannabis oil versus when you don’t have access to it? How does it affect your life would you say?

Tabitha: Well with the steroids I feel like after a while I wasn’t getting the benefits of the help I was supposed to be getting from the steroids.

Matthew: Okay.

Tabitha: And so obviously I did not have very good quality of life and when I; since being on the cannabis oil I have had an amazing quality of life. I’ve been able to do so many things that I have never been able to do like I got to surf. I got to do so many things. I could ride a bike and to me that’s a big thing. I have never been able to do that in my entire life.

Matthew: Wow.

Alex: Yeah if I could interject here I just want mention that Tabitha and the Fulton Family, Georgia Grace too they’ve been through a lot. Tabitha she was awake for only 45 minutes a day and sleeping the rest of the time because of the lack of oxygen she was getting and her quality of life in Australia was; it was really hard on the Fulton family and I have to say Marcus and Bobby you guys are the best parents in the world for what you guys have had to struggle with and the frustrations you were experiencing in Australia. I can tell you right now that the girls are amazing. They’re doing so wonderful Matt and it’s like a, it’s like night and day. I don’t even know if I could describe how amazing these girls are doing here in Victoria and really what we’re asking is we want to make sure they can go home and have the same safe access there in Australia.

Matthew: Alex let’s back up a little bit and maybe you can tell us what National Access Cannabis is and how you came to help the Fulton family?

Alex: Well the National Access Cannabis was a model that I started in Canada to help my community by helping the people that were using cannabis as a medicine and helping them from being ostracized from the community because if you were; if anybody says I’m using cannabis or marijuana then people all of a sudden with the Reefer Madness everybody would think oh you’re taking drugs when in reality it was a medicine. So the first thing I did was National Access Cannabis came up with a state distribution law.

The number one thing for us whether it’s medical or recreational really it should be done safely. So we developed a model that does risk reduction and health awareness through education and then that way people can make an informed decision if they want to use cannabis recreationally or medically. So that’s how it all started and then that’s how I met the girls because once National Access Cannabis started working with the community we started seeing amazing results. I mean people were coming in it was almost like a miracle for half of these people.

So when we started realizing that we need to spread information out there and help as many people as we can and when I found out that the Fulton’s were having trouble in Australia with these two little girls I said well if you come to Victoria on vacation ya’ll come over here and we’ll see if we can help you out and sure enough they came to British Columbia. They flew all the way from Australia and I think Tabitha you had an attack on the plane I believe right at the airport so we needed to get her a doctor right away. So we ended up getting her a doctor when she came to Canada and because of National Access Cannabis we work within the healthcare industry we had contacts with physicians so we were able to find the girls quite quickly a pediatric lung specialist to help with their lung disease. So we started that way and now we have Bobby and Marcus and the whole family with us and we’re all participating together trying to spread the word.

Matthew: Alex can you give us an overview of the medicine’s that Tabitha and Georgia Grace are taking quantities, strains? What can you tell us about the cannabis oil?

Alex: Okay so presently, well now that we’re allowed to make oils the licensed producers here in Canada are not ready to make the oil in the way that these kids need. The children needed our cold fuse so of course the THCA so that it’s not psychoactive and also with the CBD. So what we did was we connected the Fultons to a licensed producer here in Canada and Bobby their mother is very knowledgeable in making these oils and the father too. So what they did is we presently got them cannabis oil licensed producers and then when the Fulton family received it they did the dosing from what they got from their doctor. So I can let Bobby answer that question. Bobby so can you run us through and Marcus how exactly you’re making your oil?

Marcus: Sure. As you’ve heard we’re using a prescribed amount of cannabis with a prescribed amount of sunflower oil and pairing it with the use of a Magical Butter machine which regulates temperature and basically does the infusing for you. It’s a very reliable way of doing it. Previously we had been using a slow cooker or something like that with that it’s psychoactive and a little bit harder to control. With specific machines like the Magical Butter it makes it very easy to basically dial up what you want and that way you get a very consistent result.

Alex: Yeah so ([10:10] unclear) called Magic Butter where you can make your oil. It doesn’t hold temperature so it does activate the THC so then you can make cold fused oil. So they’re doing it at home and within like the next couple months we’re expecting our licensed producers to have these products available to our patients here in Canada, National Access Cannabis so the future is already here I think with the cannabis industry with these oils so we’re just waiting just for the government to allow us; allow the licensed producers to be able to produce these oils for children.

Matthew: Anecdotally is there any particular strains or concentrations or anything you can tell us that is working better for you Tabitha and Georgia? I mean I guess that question is for Alex or Bobby Jo or Marcus but I mean is there any difference here or is it really any cannabis oil seems to be doing the trick?

Bobby Jo: Well yeah.

Marcus: Besides basically supports a holistic medicine if you like so it needs to provide at least a certain amount of THC as well as the other cannabinoids and CBDs. So realistically something with a high CBD and a lower THC, there are various varieties which are specifically grown by producers now with understanding the specific conditions. So you can definitely get the particular type of flower that you like. Something with a higher CBD and a lower THC so that your extraction will reflect that as well it would be much higher in CBD and lower in THC or both in the acid form. It is still very useful.

Alex: Yeah to answer your question Matt presently right now we’re not going to specific strains. I mean that is the research that we’ll be doing in the office in the clinical trials as well to prove efficacy, but presently we just know that cold fused oil of THC and acid based and also with the CBD that it seems to work for their girls without strain specific. That’s something that we want to look into in the future Matt but presently it’s not strain specific right now.

Matthew: Okay and Alex just to clarify so you said the THC is not active so that means there’s no decarboxylation going on here is that?

Alex: That’s correct. You know there’s different temperature when you depending on how much you heat the cannabis plant or cannabinoids you lose some cannabinoids and you change the dynamics of that cannabinoid. So yeah we’re keeping it below a certain temperature so that the THC does not become psychoactive so you can take THC and just not get high as long as you don’t heat it up and that’s why people have to light a joint or even vaporizing it to have a heat to it to get that high effect but in this case yeah THC won’t give you that psychoactive effect at all.

Matthew: Bobby Jo and Marcus as the parents of Tabitha and Georgia Grace what has it been like for you to witness this transition. I mean we heard first hand your daughters are able to surf and run and do cardio activities. What do you see as the biggest change?

Bobby Jo: Tabitha and I have spent twelve years in the hospital together. The biggest change for us is that Tabitha and I don’t have to spend the time together. Tabitha can live a somewhat normal life. We were told a few years ago that we would have our little girl until she was sixteen if we were lucky. Now we have hope and that’s something that we never had before.

Matthew: That’s great. Now we’ve already heard that the Australian government is not friendly to cannabis right now. Has there been any signs that they may make an exception for the Fulton family or is it something where you’re considering staying in Canada or what’s the next chapter in your journey do you know yet?

Bobby Jo: Oh absolutely. We’ve been pushing our state government for a special exemption to get the girls home and on their oil. The Australian government is taking very, very, very tiny steps towards this but hopefully Tabitha and Georgia Grace can push it a bit further and a bit faster.

Matthew: Yeah.

Alex: Yeah and we’re working now as well, we’re communicating with now, the person we’re communicating with the Health Minister in Australia and definitely they do believe that there are proven anecdotal evidence anyways and there’s also a ([15:37] unclear) in the United States for infants as young as three months old for severe seizures. So the Australian government is aware of those effects, it has a medicinal benefit but they still have a lot of criteria so we keep it very tight for example for these girls that’s not part of their criteria and that’s why we’re communicating with the government over there in Australia to let them know that there are other benefits as well here which we’re doing research and then until we can prove efficacy it seems as though Australia is not willing to allow too many people to try cannabis. Because the last message they want to deliver and I agree with them is that cannabis isn’t a cure all for everything but just because that’s true doesn’t mean that we have to be so stringent on our rules regarding cannabis that has; that’s not going to hurt anybody and show that it’s helping these girls with their rare lung disease.

So that’s where we’re at right now and at least we’re in communication. The government is being really nice and cooperative and they just want more research but the issue we have here today is that I have this family from Australia staying with me here in Victoria and when their VISA expires that they might have to return home and I can’t allow that to happen because first of all they are a beautiful family. I don’t want them to leave at all because they came into my life and just kind of turned it upside down it’s amazing. They’re a beautiful family so I don’t even really want them to leave, but at the same time they have friends back home, they have a life back home and the courage of this whole entire family is amazing. It makes me want to just breakdown and cry. I love these guys and they can’t go back home if they can’t bring the medicine I mean that’s impossible so it’s almost like a hostage.

It’s a strange situation where we’re at right now Matt but I can assure you that we’re going to you know we’re working together and we’re going to make this happen and we’re going to help these kids and I can’t wait till the day till they can all go back home it’s going to be amazing.

Matthew: Yeah. Now can you tell us a little bit about the degenerative lung disease that the girls have because I just want to understand how the cannabis is actually helping? Is it an inflammation fit here where the cannabis is reducing inflammation?

Bobby Jo: Absolutely.

Alex: Talk to Bobby because Bobby is the mother that has been doing so much research on this for her children. She’s the best advocate for her kids so she’s; so Bobby I think this is one that you should just explain you know it from top to bottom do you want to explain that to Matt ([18:15] unclear)?

Bobby Jo: Absolutely. The girls we basically called the rarest of the rare. They were undiagnosable in our own country. They saw every specialist available to them. We then took it a few steps further and actually had them diagnosed by a specialist at Colorado Children’s and their diagnosis is actually an unknown ILD. So basically it’s the outer lung that’s affected. It becomes so inflamed they can’t put oxygen through to their bloodstream.

Matthew: Wow. So you didn’t really receive a diagnosis you’re saying until you came to Colorado. It’s this variant that nobody understood.

Bobby Jo: Yeah absolutely. As I say they’re the only children in the world that we know of like them. We had been told that we won’t have a name until autopsies so it’s not something that we really want to push for as you probably understand. So we’re happy with an unknown ILD. With is an interstitial lung disease which essentially says it affects the outside of the lung. Where asthma intends to affect the inner and outer airways. Our girls have massive inflammation around their lungs.

Matthew: Okay and Tabitha how does that feel when you’re fully inflamed like that with no treatments?

Tabitha: Well like when I was on steroids when I would get; when my lungs would get quite inflamed for a few years steroids would put the inflammation down to an extent but it never really went away. I was always sore chest and when I would breathe you could hear a crackling noise it was not a fun time but unlike the cannabis oils all the inflammation is gone and there’s no crackle anymore which is a good sign.

Matthew: Right. So a lot of listeners out there who might be on the edge and not understand that you can have the access to this medicine without a high. I mean you’re not walking around high. It’s a legitimate medicine. I mean do you get that question a lot Bobby Jo like hey are you giving your kids drugs.

Bobby Jo: Oh absolutely, absolutely. It’s the go too oh my goodness you’re giving your kids joints. No absolutely not, absolutely not. No it is so high in Omega 3, Omega 6, Omega 9, the list goes on and it is not psychoactive in any way, shape, or form.

Matthew: Yeah.

Alex: Yeah and you know Matt that is the most important thing is we need to educate the public, our communities so that families like the Fulton’s don’t get ostracized just because of the word cannabis and that’s one of the issues that we’re trying to tackle right now and of course through education that’s what we’re going to do and hopefully in the next five or ten years with proper research and clinical trials we’ll prove efficacy and we’ll be able to help other children with this same lung disease.

Matthew: Now have any individual politicians in Australia expressed any sympathy towards your cause Bobby or has it just been across the board just no feedback?

Bobby Jo: Oh no we’ve had the leader of the Green in our own state, Tammy Franks, we’ve been working with her for nearly three years now to try and get some type of exemption. Leaving the country was our last resort.

Matthew: Sure. Yeah especially as you approach a Canadian winter I’m sure you’re thinking that more and more.

Bobby Jo: I will tell you I’m glad she’s on Canada soil because a Canadian winter on Prednisone and oxygen there was just no way.

Matthew: Oh my goodness.

Bobby Jo: We had them at the end of that.

Matthew: Well what can we do, what can listeners do to support the Fulton family here and Tabitha and Georgia Grace? I mean this is really, this is really a touching story. It’s hard to believe that governments with the flick of a pen can restrict our personal freedoms like this but I guess it’s the world we live in at the moment. But how can listeners support you Bobby Jo and Alex?

Alex: Well first of all we do have a foundation or we did start something for the girls here. Anybody who wants to help with donation, Bobby will probably know more about that. The most important thing and maybe Bobby can answer that and you can say what it is the name of the foundation or I keep forgetting the name so what was it again Bobby?

Bobby Jo: It’s the Go Fund Me page.

Alex: Yeah and any help we can get would be amazing that’s for sure. You know we’ve been doing all we can and what I’d really like the listeners if they wanted to do anything that ([23:45] unclear) and that is that you should be open minded and to look into this anecdotal evidence and then see for yourself and then hopefully we can get these licensed producers or people that are producing cannabis to start doing more research and clinical trials and create like a den number so that we can get this medicine in pharmacies for these kids and it could be probably covered by the government.

But also I think if there’s anything that I ask for this whole industry is for us to come together and for us not to make people, just because they use cannabis oil, feel ostracized and put them in the same realm as a drug user or stoner when in reality they’re using it as a medicine that helps them to function through life, and I can assure you that I’ve been in this industry for a while and I’ve helped a lot of people, and they’ve actually healed me by educating me on this plant even more through seeing it happening in real life and I just think if we can share that information with everyone out there and it’s happening. The movement has started and it’s an amazing shift that’s happening right now and it’s happening around the world, and I think we should just continue on the path that we’re on and I think people are opening up. People are really looking at cannabis differently and yeah just educate yourselves and through education we can figure out more about this amazing plant that some people consider medicinal and some people call it spiritual and I’m on both camps for sure.

Matthew: Well Bobby Jo, Tabitha, Georgia Grace, Alex, Marcus thank you so much for being on CannaInsider today and sharing your story with us. We really appreciate it and we hope you Tabitha; I know Georgia Grace isn’t in the room anymore but we hope you get continued access to this medicine and there’s a quick resolution to all this for you.

Bobby Jo: ([25:50] unclear)

Tabitha: Yeah.

Alex: Thank you Matt for the time and for you considering how to spread the word this is amazing. I can’t thank you enough Matt for doing this for this Fulton family. They’re a special family and we really need to get this message out there for all the families and Bobby we talk all the time and she’s getting emails from so many families here in Canada wanting to know more about what these kids are doing and how it’s affecting them and how it’s helping them now with their lung disease. So again Matt I can’t thank you enough.

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

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Key Takeaways:
[3:27] – Fulton Family background
[4:16] – Tabitha discusses her condition without using cannabis oil
[5:59] – What is National Access Canada
[8:26] – Overview of the cannabis medicines Tabitha and Georgia Grace are on
[11:11] – Particular strains that are working better to treat the ailment
[14:02] – Biggest change in Tabitha and Georgia Grace
[14:58] – The possibility to be able to use the cannabis oil in Australia
[17:58] – What is degenerative lung disease
[19:55] – Tabitha talks about how it feels with no treatments
[22:11] – Are politicians in Australia onboard with the treatments
[23:11] – How can people support the Fulton family

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year?Find out with your free guide at:

The Impact of Cannabis on Tourism, Consumer Spending, Society and Taxes

adam orens

Adam Orens of Marijuana Policy Group dives into impact studies for the state of Colorado.

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at That’s Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at to get started. Now here’s your program.

As more and more cannabis tax revenue rolls into states such as Colorado, Washington and Oregon we begin to see trends emerge in the way that cannabis is impacting society. To help us understand the impact of cannabis on business and societies Adams Orens of the Marijuana Policy Group. Adam welcome to CannaInsider.

Adam: Thanks Matt. A real pleasure to be here.

Matthew: Adam to give listeners a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Adam: I am in downtown Denver, Colorado what is the epicenter of cannabis at the moment.

Matthew: Yeah Rand Paul was just in town like a week ago for the debates and he was saying people in Washington think everybody in Denver is running around high with axes naked. It’s just absolute pandemonium.

Adam: Well as I look at my window I don’t see any of that, but what I am noticing and what I would counter that with to the people in Washington is that this is the center of cannabis business and there are a lot of people running around with a lot of great entrepreneurial ideas at the moment and it’s exciting to be here.

Matthew: So Adam tell us a little bit about your background. How did you get started in the cannabis industry?

Adam: Well I started as an economic and public policy consultant and I’ve been doing that for over a decade with a firm in Denver called BBC Research and Consulting. So that’s a local firm that we deal with a lot of pressant issues in economics in Colorado; land use things like that. But what really started getting me into the cannabis industry was I saw the election returns in the Fall of 2012, and when Amend 64 passed and I really felt that this could be a new opportunity for my consulting practice.

What I thought at the time was there was going to be a new highly regulated industry with a lot of curiosity around as too how big it is, what are going to be the characteristics of the recreational market and at that time I decided that I’d like to try and wade into this industry and see as many people as I could meet at the time, and I could not have expected the fast growth and our involvement in it from the beginning but I’m very happy that I made that decision in 2012.

Matthew: Together with your co-authors you prepared a report for the state of Colorado titled “Market Size and Demand for Marijuana in Colorado.” Can you give us a little overview of what was covered in that report and what’s important about it?

Adam: Sure. This was a report that was commissioned by the State of Colorado Marijuana Enforcement Division. It was so the state could get a handle on how big marijuana demand was in Colorado. And the reason they needed to do that is they are the agency in the state that is responsible for regulating the market and also adhering to the conditions that were handed down through what’s called the Coal Memorandum from the Department of Justice. And so the state that needs to ensure that I believe there are about eight conditions; eight to twelve conditions were met from the federal government and two of those that are important for this report were to minimize diversion across state lines into states where marijuana is not legal.

And then the other one was to ensure that the black market is as minimized as possible and those two conditions have to do a lot with price and price is dependent on supply and demand. And so that’s why the state hired my group to put forth some demand estimates for them.

Matthew: We see more tax revenues coming into Colorado and obviously places like Washington and now starting with Oregon we’ll see more too. What other big impacts are there besides tax revenues and how do you see tax revenues shaping or changing the conversation or perception around cannabis?

Adam: Well there’s a number of other impacts. I would say they’re not financial in nature like Texas. I mean one could say and a lot of this is uncertain at the moment. Marijuana legalization has impacts on children, it has impacts perhaps on education attainment, traffic impacts, and those are still being studied at the moment. I don’t think enough time has passed for there to be any real clear findings on that. I also think things like the cost of incarceration is important when thinking about tax revenue impact and other public costs. It costs a lot to keep a lot of people in jail for cannabis.

One thing also that’s not discussed as much that I’d love to get a little more information on or study more is how does cannabis used for medical purposes impact spending on pharmaceuticals and also public programs for that as well. Can cannabis be used as a substitute for expensive pharmaceuticals and I think that those are important points that we’ll find out more about as more research comes forward.

Matthew: Anecdotally when I talk to PTSD sufferers it does seem to have a huge replacement impact on traditional pharmaceuticals which I think is a net positive, but no way to measure or I don’t have any metrics around that but I do hear that pretty consistently which is interesting.

Adam: Yeah and I’ve heard the same and I think we’re really still at the beginning of our discovery of other conditions and other applications for cannabis as far as medical treatments. Cannabis has not been studied into the degree that other substances had, and I think we’ll have a period here in the next few years where there will be new discoveries coming to light.

Matthew: Give us an idea in pounds or tons how much cannabis is being consumed in Colorado now?

Adam: So that was one of the pieces of our study that the state asked us to quantify for them. And so our estimate and this was at the time. This was done in 2014 and we’re still in the process of working with the state to define a scope for what could be our next study. At the time it was about 130 metric tons. So that’s about 290,000 pounds of total demand and that’s including medical and recreational. All of the cannabis users in Colorado and our best estimate as too the amount that they would consume in a year and that includes what we had estimated for tourism as well at the time.

Matthew: Who are the super users of cannabis and what are their consumption habits like? Can you compare and contrast those to say a regular or occasional user?

Adam: Sure and this is a really important point that was a finding in our study and I think is important for your listeners as they think about their cannabis businesses and what segments to market too. Super users or heavy users are those that use daily or near daily. And in Colorado we found that those cannabis users are about 20% to 30% of the market of the past month users in total, but they account for north of 70% of the demand of marijuana. So it’s very important for those that are thinking about segments to market too those heavy users are a very important market segment in terms of sales volume.

And then also they consume more per day right. On any given day of use if you’re just an occasional user, we did a survey as part of our study and there was one done in Washington as well that according to the responses to those surveys said that the heavy users would consume over a gram of cannabis per day and that is a lot more than a very occasional user. Even those that consume once a month or so are far less than that on any one given day. So if you think about it if there is someone using every day and then their amount per day is so much, maybe more than three times what an occasional user would use. That’s why they account for so much of the market and the demand.

Matthew: Sure. Are there any other findings in your report that surprised you as you were gathering data?

Adam: Well that and this was focused on Colorado. Colorado had a higher percentage of those monthly users were in the daily or near daily category. So in Colorado and that was compared to the nation as a whole, and what that says to me is if you are a cannabis consumer on at least a monthly basis in Colorado there is more of a chance that you’re in that very regular consumer cohort or category.

Matthew: In terms of potency have you uncovered anything between flower, concentrates, and edibles in your data gathering?

Adam: We did a second study for the state. On this one was asked or was mandated by a piece of legislation in the state house here, and that was to look at equivalencies between cannabis in different forms. Between flower, concentrate, and edible and one additional piece of information that came from our study was some trends on potency and a quantification of potency using the state’s seed to sale tracking system called “Metric” and to my knowledge it was the first published study that had a whole lot of records behind it to look at these potencies and what we were showing were that flower was at about 17% THC in potency.

So when you compare that to other literature and kind of historically it’s trending up and sure there are other producers out there that can get their flower as high as I’ve seen things higher than 25% and higher than 30% even. So I think due to the genetics and the research being done and I think largely also because of the rec market flower potency is trending up. Concentrates and edibles are very related. They have a lot of similar components and concentrates are used to make edibles and they’re also developing new techniques for efficiency. It’s more efficient if you are making edibles that your concentrate is strong and so that you can use it to spread out among more batches and so we see a lot of these processes becoming more efficient and people developing new techniques that push efficiency when making concentrates and edibles.

Matthew: You mentioned Metric which is the state of Colorado’s seed to sale tracking system. How onerous is it to keep up to date for that for a business? Is this pretty simple? Do you have anything you could tell us about what businesses like about it or don’t like about it? What it does well any gaping holes?

Adam: I see a system that it’s useful for the state, it’s useful for their enforcement practices, and it’s becoming more useful for data gathering and for using market data in leveraging it for scientific studies like that equivalency study that I mentioned. I have heard anecdotally when we were doing that equivalency study. We interviewed a number of concentrate and edible producers and they did say that it is somewhat onerous to use that they have to devote some staff to it.

That it’s a system that has a learning curve. It’s a little difficult to get in and become a comfortable user of it, but I feel that it was a common complaint among the concentrate and edible producers that we interviewed that they have to hire a staff person and devote it to using Metric, and so they do find that somewhat onerous. Anecdotal though I think from what I’ve heard from the state they are committed to making this industry and this system work, and so I’d encourage those that have issue to report some of that back to the state.

Matthew: You mentioned before that the super user uses so much more than the occasional user. Is there any other intelligence a business owner in the cannabis industry should have handy when considering a new product or how to market their product that you would say would make sense?

Adam: Looking at the overall demand figures I think are very helpful, looking at some of the processes in the equivalency study that would be for a new entrepreneur trying to consider as a business. I would find those two documents to be considered would be a very useful part of your kind of elementary education into this cannabis business. I think looking forward there is a lot that is going to be forthcoming. I think for an established cultivator or product company those two reports are a bit basic for them. They already know some of this. They’re already producing things, but I think moving forward there’s going to be more information that segments markets either geographically or also demographically. I think some of that could come out in our forthcoming study for the state when we get to use Metric a bit more and are able to have two years of this data to start to uncover characteristics of the market that haven’t come forth yet.

So I think next year will be an exciting time for this part of it. I think it’s a great question because this industry is maturing right. In places like Colorado it is a few steps beyond other states. And so I think trying to work your margins, target your marketing to specific market segments those things are going to be a lot more important coming up and I think the research is going to start tracking with that, the market research and a lot of that also can come from their own point of sale providers too. These businesses do have a lot of information at their finger tips. Some public like I was describing but also some that are private data that they are collecting on their own. And I think they’ll have a great opportunity to start using these first couple years of data to benefit them in the next few years.

Matthew: Are there any interviews you’ve done with cultivators, dispensary owners, or someone that’s maybe a processor in the cannabis space that really stood out in terms of it being a learning experience that was impactful for you that changed the way you maybe thought about the cannabis marketplace?

Adam: Yeah, yeah and this is the first tour of commercial cultivation that I went on. This was in February of 2014. We were doing our market size study for the state. We were taken on a tour of a larger cultivation in Denver and I was able to see just the amount of professionalism that went on in that operation and that this was industrial agriculture. This was an agricultural operation and it was very dialed in, very precise, and the expense in the infrastructure that went into that cultivation facility was really eye opening.

The science behind the process was also eye opening and I mean it was really kind of important for me understanding the amount of investment that goes into this and how real this industry is. How it has staying power I believe here. I learned that in my first tour of a large grow facility. I’ve also gone on tour with the equivalency study I did. These extractors and edibles manufacturers and those again were just a high degree of professionalism. Very welcoming proprietor of the operation very invested in their processes and the safety. Either food safety or in the extraction process safety and so that also stood out so just the combination of those tours really kind of I earned a high degree of respect for the professionals that are doing that work.

Matthew: If you could wave a magic wand and get some piece of data that seems impossible or just near impossible for you to get right now that you think would shed a lot of light on things what would you; what would that be?

Adam: I’d love it if there was a piece of data that could say if the vision of Amendment 64 here was working. I wish that would exist. I mean I know this is kind of nebulous what I’m talking about here but people are going to start asking is this working, is this a net positive for society here and I don’t think we’ll ever really know that for sure. There will always be these just disparate pieces of data that we all know may be affected by cannabis legalization like number of incarcerations, incarceration costs, emergency room visits, traffic fatalities, graduation rates all these things that people mention are part of how to measure it but we’ll never be able to isolate the impact of cannabis on that in a silo or in a vacuum and so I wish there was a way to point, a figure that we could point to say oh it’s working or oh it’s not. But I don’t think that is going to exist anytime soon.

Matthew: What can you tell us about tourists and their appetite for cannabis? I’ve witnessed some things on my own in their purchasing behavior at dispensaries but I’m curious your thoughts on that. What the tourists are doing?

Adam: Yeah. It’s funny because you hear a different thing from the state tourism office than you do hear from business owners. I think the state says that it’s a very small percentage and I don’t know the exact figure of our tourist related cannabis but in dispensary owners that I’ve talked to and things that I’ve read in the newspapers. The coverage everybody sites their client base or their customer base as being half and half locals and tourists and that’s even around Denver right so I bet if you’re in more of a tourist based county or area like up in the mountains in the ski resort areas I bet that’s higher.

I bet those retail outlets in those mountain communities may have a higher degree of tourists coming in there. I’ve also heard anecdotally that the universities in Colorado, the public ones are having record high amounts of applications coming in from out of state students and yeah I know that’s pretty funny isn’t it. So I see this disconnect and I see also the tourism impact is going to be a declining phenomenon right. I think as more states or to the degree that more states legalize cannabis I think that that tourism component of the market is going to slowly decrease. But still if you have a cannabis consumer that is trying to decide between too going skiing in Colorado versus going skiing in Utah maybe this weighs in the way they decide where to go skiing that week.

Matthew: What has changed in the cannabis market since you put your report together?

Adam: When we put our report out very early on it was released the July after the rec market opened in January and at the time there was a lot of coverage in the media about taxes being way too high and about how the market is not gaining converts from the black-market as fast as we would’ve hoped and from what I can see that impact is starting to subside. I think as more centers came online, as more product was being introduced into the recreational market, as the novelty started to wear off and the high tourism impact in those first few months we’re seeing prices come down and I think that it’s an indicator that this market is working. That the regulatory structure is generally working. Based on some numbers we saw from the first year of sales in calendar year 2014 the regulated market was in both medical and recreational able to satisfy somewhere about 70% of the demand and I’m not including the caregivers in there as well in Colorado.

So I think for a first year rollout that’s a success and I think as prices when they settle, when they steady to an acceptable amount I think the regulated market share what they’re taking from black-market and underground producers is only going to increase and so I think given what has transpired since 2014 I think both the state and the industry have done a great job at trying to cooperate to make this market a success and I think both sides know that they’re success is dependent on the other and I hope all of that will continue going forward.

Matthew: Adam in closing can you tell listeners how they can find the Marijuana Policy Group online and follow your work?

Adam: Absolutely and we do have a news feed that we try and keep updated as best we can. Our website is Once again

Matthew: Adam thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate it.

Adam: The pleasure is all mine Matt. Thanks.

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 What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on, simply send us an email at feedback at We would love to hear from you.

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Topics covered:

  • How much cannabis is purchased in dispensaries
  • How much cannabis super-users purchase, and why you need to pay attention to this particular type of consumer
  • How tax revenues are impacted and how that is changing the perception of the public

Key Takeaways:
[2:24] – Adam’s background and how he got started in the cannabis industry
[4:10] – Adam discusses the report Market Size and Demand for Marijuana in Colorado
[5:59] – Tax revenues and the cannabis industry
[8:19] – Adam talks about how much cannabis is being consumed in Colorado
[9:24] – What are cannabis super-users?
[11:37] – Adam talks about surprising findings in the report
[12:26] – Discussing potency
[15:00] – Adam talks about Colorado’s seed to sale tracking system, Metric
[16:45] – What should entrepreneurs consider before launching a new product
[19:21] – Adam talks about his view of the cannabis market have evolved
[23:04] – Adam discusses the tourists’ behavior around cannabis
[25:10] – What has changed in the market since the report was produced
[27:40] – Contact details for the Marijuana Policy Group

Important Update:

What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year?Find out with your free guide at:

Love CannaInsider?
Please consider leaving the podcast a review here:

Every 5 star review helps us to bring you the best guests.

Using Cannabis as a Holistic Medicine with Donna Shields

donna shields holistic cannabis network

Interview with Donna Shields, Cannabis Culinary Nutritionist and Co-Founder of Holistic Cannabis Network.

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at That’s Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at to get started. Now here’s your program.

There is a growing curiosity about using cannabis medicine, particularly as an alternative or supplement to existing traditional medicines prescribed by doctors. However there is a huge chasm between what doctors know about cannabis as medicine and what patients want from their doctor or healthcare professional. To help us sort through this I have invited Donna Shields, Cannabis Culinary Nutritionists and cofounder of Holistic Cannabis Network onto the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Donna.

Donna: Well thanks so much. It’s a great pleasure to be here.

Matthew: To give us a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Donna: Well I am based in Boulder, Colorado. I am a registered Dietician/Nutritionist that has found their way actually from corporate food industry to a health education platform for cannabis. My cofounder, Laura Lagano and I have recently founded the Holistic Cannabis Network, as you’ve already mentioned, and we are building a cannabis education platform specifically for health practitioners.

Matthew: Okay. And what’s the interest here? What was the spark that caused this to happen and change from whatever you were doing before to get into this?

Donna: Well you know Matt like most things in life I think people find things because of a personal situation in their own lives. And for me that was a breast cancer diagnosis a few years ago which really put me on this path in being more interested about the therapeutic of cannabis in health conditions and realizing that as a nutritionist I had this great body of knowledge about nutrition and holistic healing modalities and why not combine that expertise with my own personal experience and really bringing it together to try and educate other practitioners about what I was finding to be true in the therapeutic world of cannabis.

Matthew: Okay. So tell us more about Holistic Cannabis Network, what that means and how we should think about it.

Donna: Well as you’ve mentioned in the introduction there is a huge gap here between what is traditionally been done with this healing herb and what modern day practitioners know about it, and basically they know very little. And so as we looked around and thought how can we try and educate consumers, educate practitioners and move this national conversation forward in a very legitimate and positive way. We came to the place we really have to get people trained and educated. So that’s exactly what we’re doing. The Holistic Cannabis Network is an online platform for providing cannabis education training for what I would call Holistic Minded Practitioners.

So when I say that I mean our audience are really practitioners such as chiropractors, acupuncturists, health coaches, nutritionists, Reiki practitioners, yoga instructors, everyone who is working in, already working in one of these holistic healing modalities and would like to integrate cannabis education into their practice not only to educate their patients and their clients, but we see this also as a great business building tool for the practitioner as well.

Matthew: Yeah gosh that’s a good point. I feel like there is such a huge shortcoming with traditional medicine. It’s a challenge but also an opportunity. I’m sure there’s a lot of healthcare practitioners that want to get this information, want to help patients with it, but you know it’s just not there. Maybe I’m wrong but it seems like the more into insurance a practice is, the less they seem open to cannabis. It’s more the healthcare providers that are not taking insurance. They’re more outside the system where there seem like they’re more open to it. That’s my perception. I don’t know if it’s true. What do you think about that?

Donna: Well I think you’re spot on. The reality is that the practitioners who are open to this and who want to integrate into their practice tend to be more of the integrative or functional medicine practitioners. And when I use those words, integrative and functional medicine, what I’m really referring to is practitioners who are approaching healthcare by getting at the root cause of a problem. You know in this country we do a fabulous job of treating acute situations with our means of surgery and medications and we’re good at that. But what we’re not so good at is really approaching all of the chronic health conditions that are plaging our country. Things like cancer and heart disease and fibromyalgia and these things that are just chronic problems for people.

And using that integrative or functional medicine approach really allows us to get at the root cause of what ails you. And that’s really where we see the shift heading in this country. There’s a big paradigm shift in this country moving from the mindset of let’s just relieve the symptoms with a pill to let’s dig a little bit deeper, find out the root cause and then we can really get people on the path to wellness.

Matthew: Great point. There’s an inspirational writer, Louise Hay, who says every time you take a prescription medicine you’re telling your body to shut up. I don’t want to hear what you’re telling me, what you’re trying to tell me about what’s going on and it’s masking it. You know I get the point there. Obviously there is conventional medications that are really important and that don’t fit that criteria, but I think a lot of times now we’re just looking to pills to you know quick fix. It seems like there’s a huge opportunity in just autoimmune situations alone because there’s a tsunami of autoimmune problems sweeping the country. I don’t know if it’s just from GMO foods or what, toxins in our lives, but it seems like everywhere you turn you’re seeing more and more autoimmune issues and that might be a good kind of entry way for cannabis to come into people’s lives. Where do you think the low hanging fruit is where we can incorporate cannabis treatments for different ailments?

Donna: Well you know certainly chronic pain is the number one reason that people cite for using cannabis. And so if we look at just that area along we know that a lot of that chronic pain is the result of autoimmune disease of inflammation. And we know that cannabis has great anti-inflammatory properties. So you know whether it’s arthritis, fibromyalgia, Chrohns, a whole host of conditions we believe that cannabis as an adjunctive therapy, and so I want to be really clear about that. That in no way are we suggesting to practitioners that cannabis is the panacea for everything because it clearly is not, but when used in combination with a lot of these other healing modalities, when you put the whole package together in an integrated approach then that is really a great way to get people to feel better more quickly with less side effects from medications, probably with less cost and it also empowers people to take responsibility for themselves.

I think people, many people certainly are wanting to participate in their healthcare, and so we’re getting away from this idea of healthcare is something that the doctor does to you or for you, but you have to have an active role in it. So as we can get people to understand the therapeutic value of cannabis along with a great diet with exercise, with meditation and other modalities, this is really where we want to bring people.

Matthew: Yes, consumer driven change too. I mean we’re beginning a golden era here with exponential technologies allowing and empowering patients to do more of what they want or at least exploring more of what they want. I just had my gut bacteria biome sequenced for under $100. I mean it’s really just a remarkable thing to think that that could happen.

Donna: That’s great and that’s exactly the kind of testing that, you’re right, is now more readily available where people can dig a little bit deeper to see what the underlying problem is. And so as registered dietician/nutritionist we see a great interplay with cannabis therapy and obviously diet because when you really stop and think about it this is a medicinal herb not unlike many other botanical herbs that we encourage people to incorporate into their diet. You know using tumeric for inflammation, using Ashwagandha for anxiety relief. So this is not a farfetched ideal and we are, what we’re communicating to people and to the practitioners that we’re training, you know, this has been around for a really long time and we need to think about this medicinal herb just like we would all of these other herbals that have a therapeutic effect.

Matthew: I want to circle back around to that term integrative medicine which is becoming more widely known and understood, but there’s still a lot of people out there that say I’ve heard that, I don’t know what it means. I mean you might see someone on TV like Dr. Andrew Wilde, the guy with the huge salt and pepper beard talking about it. But we just don’t know what that means. And you said hey that’s getting at the root cause, but how is that different than traditional. Can you just compare and contrast, integrative with traditional a little bit more?

Donna: In a traditional appointment with a physician you go in for your 7 minute or 15 minute appointment, whatever is allotted by insurance, and you tell the doctor your symptoms and the prescription or the therapy is based on relieving those symptoms. So you go in with an earache, a sore throat, whatever, you get an antibiotic. Well in an integrative approach the appointment typically would need to be a little bit longer because this requires a conversation between practitioner and patient to find out a little bit more about what’s going on in the patient’s life. What’s their diet like? What kinds of products are they using? And you know after a little more conversation and maybe thinking about doing that micro biome test that you just had, you find out that there is a dysbiosis that the bacteria in the gut is not quite what it should be. So gee your immunity is compromised and that’s why you keep getting all of these recurring sore throats and ear infections. So that means let’s stop this repetitive cycle of giving antibiotics because while they are relieving the symptoms of the ear infection and the sore throat it’s playing havoc with the bacteria in your gut thus compromising your immunity even more.

So what’s happening is sometimes the treatment that we give people in a conventional setting is really compromising and compounding what the root problem is. So it really requires stepping back, digging a little bit deeper and the therapy needs to address the root cause and in that example I just gave you would be repairing and enhancing the bacteria landscape in the gut that’s going to build your immunity, you’ll get less ear infections, less sore throats, end of story.

Matthew: What is holding back healthcare professionals from integrating cannabis more? I mean my sense is that there’s a lot of fear out there. It’s like hey if I talk about this with a patient, the DEA is going to bust through the window and I’m going to lose my license. Also there’s not really a clear way for prescribing cannabis so much. I mean doctors are used to saying take 10 mg of this and do you think it’s going to take moving more to cannabis oils and capsule form where they can know exactly okay this is what I’m prescribing. It’s very objective. There’s very little in the way of differences from one cannabis oil pill to another. What’s it going to take to surmount those challenges?

Donna: Well I think the first and foremost thing is that physicians as well as others need to get some basic training and education because they really are operating in the dark right now. To understand the mechanisms of the endocannabinoid system and all of the other things that go on with understanding how this plant impacts the different systems in the body. The thing that you’re suggesting about dosage and what’s going to be the best way to address this with a patient, this is a very individualized situation because one size does not fit all for every patient. So you really can’t just send somebody out of the office after one visit and say here, this is it, this is the dosage that may work for you.

You know people respond differently just like they do to other medications. And so I think first and foremost we have to get practitioners trained and get comfortable with this whole topic. And there is a certain amount of fear that exists that they think oh will my patient think I’m a little, you know, am I crack pot if I bring this up? You know am I compromising my professional ethics by even suggesting this? And certainly in some states it’s more readily accepted than in other places. And so I think this is going to be really a slowly evolving process, and the more that practitioners hear about this at conferences, I mean, I’m delighted to say that at our annual… those of us who are registered dieticians at our big annual meeting this year there’s a program on cannabis and cancer care. Now that’s a very mainstream conference and yet it has made its way onto the program and I’m delighted to see that.

So you know Laura and I are trying to do exactly that to get ourselves onto speaking panels for different medical professional conferences so we can start getting the word out and getting the word out in a way that is accessible, understandable and very practical. Because at the end of the day you know the practitioner wants to know okay how do I implement this in my practice tomorrow.

Matthew: Great point. Now with your nutritionist’s hat on, just looking at cannabis as a food, I know I’ve had guests on in the past that say hey you know I take the fan leaves of cannabis and I make a salad out of it or I juice and so forth. Do you hear anything like that going on?

Donna: Well I think everyone is going to be comfortable with a different form, Matt, and again that’s one of the areas that I think most people think oh the only option is to smoke this. Well we know there’s many other delivery systems; tinctures, topicals, edibles, what have you. So that’s one of the other areas that we’re trying to get people to understand that depending on your personal preference and what you’re more comfortable with, and again I really want to drive home this idea that you have to meet people where they are. Whenever you’re asking people to make a behavior change, whether it’s exercise more or change their diet or start incorporating cannabis, you have to meet them where they are.

So for some people you know the idea of vaporizing or smoking it may just seem a little bit too out there. So for them maybe a tincture or maybe incorporating it into a meal that they’re preparing is the way to get them to take a baby step moving forward. So I think we have to offer all of these options to people and just get them in their comfort zone with it.

Matthew: Now you have some infused edible prototypes in development right now. Can you tell us about those?

Donna: Sure. Laura and I have a brand that we are looking to bring to market called CannaBatana, and the premise of this product line is using botanical based ingredients as the foundation for these food products because if you look at what’s readily available for the most part in the edible category most of it is candies, baked goods, sodas, foods that are highly sugared. And while you know that’s fine it’s not fine if you’re trying to use cannabis in a real therapeutic way.

If you walk into a dispensary and you’re looking for an edible to take therapeutically and you’ve got an inflammatory problem, why wouldn’t we want to have a product available for somebody that also has some other ingredients that have some nutritional ethicacy. Maybe some green tea in there, maybe some tumeric, some rosemary. Some other herbal and other ingredients that are delivering on a nutritional benefit. So that is our concept with the product line that we are looking to create. And I would clearly say that if any of your listeners have an interest in collaborating in developing this kind of a product we are absolutely interested in speaking with people who have production capabilities and are in a like-minded philosophy of bringing some nutritionally based products to the marketplace. I’m looking to talk to collaborators on this topic.

Matthew: And let’s talk a little bit about the Cannabis Kitchen, a book you contributed to. You know back to talking about meeting people where they are, are there any popular recipes or dishes in that book which would kind of help people just get their toe in the water and experiment with cannabis cooking that you would recommend?

Donna: Well you know the approach of this cookbook which different from some others that I’ve seen out there is that these recipes needed to be doable and practical. It’s not fancy company recipes, although some of them are certainly appropriate for entertaining, but the idea was to you know create everyday recipes that people really could make. So one of the things that I really like about the approach in the book is that every recipe has three different tiers of the foundational oil or butter that one would make the recipe with. So there’s a beginner oil for somebody who’s just getting their toe wet with this. So the milligram dosage is fairly low. And then there’s a moderate and a more ramped up version.

So I think this is a great way to get people comfortable with hey let me try this recipe with the beginner oil. A more experienced person could ramp it up. So I think these are the kinds of tools and tips that we need to give people to get them to try this. There’s a lot of base recipes for drinks. You know, you’re busy. How to make a really good smoothie. Things that people already understand how to make a trail mix, something like a stuffed mushroom. Okay we all know what a stuffed mushroom recipe is like. Here’s a way to do it with a cannabis infusion. So I think Robin Lawrence who is the author of the book had about ten of us from around the country who are experienced chefs and recipe developers all contribute to this book, and I think what you get is a really nice assortment of recipes that speak to everyday cooking. So I think people are really going to enjoy this book. The photographs are beautiful, very appealing, and the book just came out a couple of weeks ago. So it’s out there for people to try.

Matthew: Many listeners out there have a deep interest in integrating cannabis into their work lives. You have a seminar coming out in early 2016 in this area. Can you tell us a little bit more about that and how people can learn more about it?

Donna: Sure. We are hosting the first ever Virtual Holistic Cannabis Summit. This has never been done before. We are hosting this February 16th through the 19th of 2016, and online summits for those who are familiar with it know that it’s a great way from the comfort of your home or your office to tune in over the course of several days and listen to presentations by renowned speakers. So we are doing exactly that. We are bringing together over the course of four days presenters from the integrative medicine world as well as clinicians and researchers, growers, edible producers from the cannabis world.

So we’re taking these two disciplines and we’re integrating them together for an online summit that is going to have 20 to 30 speakers. So people register for free. This is all completely free content. Our website is what’s up right now, but very shortly and in fact right now we have a save the date on And beginning in January people will be able to start registering. You register, it’s free and then you tune in. If you’re not able to sit through four days worth of our presentations, you have the ability to get all the presentations with the PowerPoints. So there’s that option as well. So I really encourage people whether you’re a consumer, you’re a health practitioner, you’re in the cannabis industry, this is a great way to get access to a broad spectrum of speakers right from the comfort of your home without any travel.

Matthew: Okay and could you give out the URL one more time?

Donna: Sure that is So that’s where the information will reside for the summit and we will have all of the speakers up there with the presentations they will be giving. So you will have a very good idea of what you can expect when you tune in.

Matthew: Okay and is there any other ways that you would like listeners to follow you online or get a hold of you?

Donna: Sure, you know, our website is and that is where we are actually having our training modules reside. Very shortly there will be very detailed information about our webinar modules which when a practitioners completes that we will be offering a certification as Holistic Medical Cannabis Coach. And this is going to be a great business building tool for the practitioner. It’s a way for them to get a competitive edge in the marketplace, establish a point of difference for themselves within their community and really be able to enhance their practice, bring more clients in and obviously generate more revenue for themselves in their practice.

Matthew: Well Donna thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today. We really appreciate your time.

Donna: Oh well this was delightful. Thanks 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 What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on, simply send us an email at feedback at We would love to hear from you.

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Key Takeaways:
[2:28] – Donna talks about how she got into the cannabis space
[3:26] – What is the Holistic Cannabis network
[5:36] – People outside the insurance system seem more open to cannabis
[8:16] – Cannabis for ailments
[12:14] – Donna compares and contrasts integrative and traditional medicine
[15:16] – What is holding back healthcare from recommending cannabis?
[18:13] – Incorporating cannabis into your diet
[19:42] – Donna talks about their edible prototypes
[24:32] – Donna talks about a seminar she is conducting in early 2016
[27:10] – Contact details for Holistic Cannabis Network

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year? Find out with your free guide at:

The Next Big Thing in Cannabis – Terpenes – with Dr. Jeff Raber

dr jeffrey raber

Dr. Jeffrey Raber received his PhD in organic chemistry from The University of Southern California with an emphasis on developing new synthetic methodologies useful in scientific drug discovery and development efforts. In 2010 Dr. Raber founded The Werc Shop and independent laboratory focused on botanical analysis with a focus on serving the cannabis community.

In this interview Matthew Kind and Dr Raber discuss the best practices of cannabis testing as go over why understanding the cannabis plant’s terpene profile is key to creating a successful harvest and infused cannabis products.

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at That’s Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at to get started. Now here’s your program.

As the market for cannabis grows savvy companies are looking for interesting ways to differentiate themselves including publicly showing testing results of their cannabis and also creating unique terpene aroma profiles that make their cannabis more desirable. To help explore these subjects I’ve invited Dr. Jeff Raber from the Werc Shop to the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Jeff.

Jeff: Thank you Matt.

Matthew: To give listeners a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Jeff: I am in Pasadena, California.

Matthew: Okay. How did you get started in the cannabis industry? What’s your background?

Jeff: Yeah my background I’m a trained Chemist, Bachelor’s in Bio-Chemistry, a PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from USC in Southern California here. The way I got into it my brother was actually working at a construction company at the end of 2008 and he was approached too build out a store front dispensary in Southern California. When he came home and he said we were asked to build out a dispensary and of course the questions start to begin from there. What’s a dispensary and how does that all work and how can that be legal.

Matthew: Right.

Jeff: And that was kind of where we started. I don’t know if you should do that that doesn’t sound right, but then I did understand that there was Prop 215 and SB420 and looked into the Civics class again and there state’s rights and there should be a way to go ahead and do something of that type and help improve and change society in a better way. And in the beginning of 2009 when President Obama said we’re not going to prosecute individual patients we’re focusing on drug trafficking organizations, I thought that was a good chance that he was kind of speaking to patients like myself and others as well and saying if you guys want to do this the right way we’re going to see what happens with the experiments and that was kind of how we got started.

Matthew: And what’s the Werc Shop?

Jeff: It is a scientific organization though we didn’t want to call it the Cannabis Company or the Cannabis Lab or anything like that. We’re solely based on sustainability and anything renewable. So it’s not just one plant. It’s any plants that are of interest to us. We’re really just a bunch of broad-based scientists with an interest in Chemistry and sustainability.

Matthew: Okay and how do you approach testing cannabis that’s perhaps different than conventional testing?

Jeff: It’s pretty similar. We use the same types of equipment. The same equipment you’d find in a dietary supplement house or a pharmaceutical company and its again just another plant. I think a lot of people asked us that when we first started. Oh really you guys can test this stuff. We don’t need a magic machine. These are machines that are bought right off of the shelf basically. They are technical machines. You got to know how to run them the right way and certainly testing cannabis is very challenging because there are so many active ingredients and it is so complex in many different ways. But really it’s the same way that you would approach any other plant for the most part just like if it was Hopps or other types of products like that; Ginseng, things like that.

Matthew: And how is the industry as a whole doing in terms of testing? Are they falling short in any areas or leaping ahead in any areas?

Jeff: Well it’s still an evolving process I would say for that one. They’ve certainly come a long way so far. They were significantly short in the beginning. There were not many of us. I think a lot of people didn’t understand what might be proper equipment to analyze cannabinoids. What’s the best approach for some of those things but I think we now see that most everyone accepts liquid Chromatographs and being able to see both the neutral in cannabinoid assets is very important for a large number of reasons but we’re still falling significantly short in Pesticides.

I think that’s a very big growing issue and literally a growing issue when they put them on during the cultivation cycle that can be a problem, and I think the industry still has yet to set standards in that respects looking to the regulators to try and guide what you should test for. When a testing lab hears the word Pesticide up to thousands of chemicals can arise inside of a Chemist’s head in that respect. That’s pretty much impossible to look for. You need to understand a narrow list, you need to understand the limits that are required, and that’s what we’re looking to state regulators to try and set so that we can understand how to configure the right equipment and go after that the right way.

Matthew: So if you could wave a magic wand and before you buy let’s say an eighth of cannabis you want to buy for yourself personally. What would you like to see on the side of that package? What variables we like to see measured? What chemicals measured? What tests done? What would be ideal?

Jeff: Well knowing that it just has a label I’d like to understand that it had microbiological screening and contaminant screening for Pesticides or residual solvents so that you’d know that there was nothing in there that could harm you. And then in terms of what information about the particular product would be useful. I’d certainly like three to five well I’d say four to six maybe cannabinoids at the very least. More is always better but sometimes it’s hard to get them in a good Font size. There’s a lot of info that needs to go on the label and what we have done with strains has been with terpenes as well.

We tried to put on the top five or seven of those so that that can help guide people to selecting which product is right for them and I think that would be most ideal. More information is better than none so if you have a way of linking that to electronic results or someone can share those results with you at the point of purchase that would be fantastic.

Matthew: So you mentioned residual solvents there. Is there an acceptable level of residual solvents or does it have to be none where do you weigh in on that?

Jeff: No I think most states have set it at 500 parts per million combined for all the solvents that they require you to test. I’d prefer to see that be a little bit lower. I think 50 is doable maybe a 100 would be better, 500 just feels like a little bit too much like they are on the side of leaving a little bit more in there. When you’re talking about in relation things can be more potent. Certainly those types of things can also irritate the airways. So I would say less is better in that respect but they; it’s not completely none. It was none in California for quite a while but with the laws changing here I think we’ll see that we have to set limits much like every other state has done.

Matthew: And you also touched on microbiological testing. Can you delve into that a little bit more? What that is and how we should be thinking about it?

Jeff: Sure there’s usually classes of pathogens. Total aerobic counts those bacteria that love oxygen and live in that fashion and Terrabacteria is a class that includes E Coli, Salmonella, Pseudamona. Some of the really bad players and combine yeast and molds. So when you look at those three classes in a broad sense it’s a general picture of cleanliness and sterility and how well the plants were taken care of. More specifically you’d want to look at certain pathogenic type things like Salmonella, Pseudomonas, Listeria, and E Coli so that you’re sure none of those gather there even in a very, very small amount because people could get extremely sick from that.

Matthew: Okay and in the lab is there any kind of results that come up more often than you would’ve guessed that just keep on coming up?

Jeff: We see the E Coli ones yeah in that class the Antero class there not always E Coli but that class of bacteria comes up more often than I thought it would. You kind of expect the yeast and mold failures. There’s certainly ubiquitous molds and everything around and sometimes they can really take hold and kind of exceed the allowable limits, but dirty ones from dirty hands and things that you just didn’t wash or contaminated nutrients. You might think that the manure is really good to put onto to your plants but it’s not very good when it’s all over the plant in the end. I think we were most surprised at some of those and then when you’ve got one that fails everything and there’s just an entire bacterial party that’s certainly alarming.

Matthew: So controlling the inputs into your cultivation facility and also making sure there’s the best practices around hygiene sound like two ways to mitigate that risk?

Jeff: Exactly, yep, yep knowing exactly what you’re putting on there and just general sterility, being clean, washing your hands, wearing gloves, washing your shoes before you go in, or wearing certainly only clothes like certain dedicated clothes to go in and out of the cultivation facility is another good practice as well.

Matthew: What is cannabinoid profiling?

Jeff: Well that’s taking an analytical look at the cannabinoids present inside of the plant or another product. So they call it a profile it’s probably a better word than chromatogram. It’s a little shorter, a little easier to say but that’s how you’re going to try and look at the different types of cannabinoids that are present in your product.

Matthew: I have a question about terpenes but before we go into that subject can you just talk about what terpenes are a little bit more so we can understand that for people that might be new to that term?

Jeff: Sure, yeah. Terpenes are the component that smell. They’re volatile and those are the ones that you can smell. We often use the term aromatic not to be confused with a type of chemical but it says that they have a smell and they smell good with the nose. On top of their smell in terms of cannabis they are physiologically exceptionally important. They’re the components that play along with the cannabinoids to form what’s called the ‘entourage effect.’

While terpenes are very small hydrocarbon based molecules they are key components and building blocks for many things of the plant the plant uses terpenes to ward off pests or molds or different types of signaling mechanisms between themselves that we don’t quite understand fully today but they’re meant for protection purposes for the most part for themselves. When we consume them they actually help elicit the different effects that are predominant between different strain varieties and different types of plant products like that.

Matthew: Are you starting to see businesses think about their terpene profile and how to get the best aroma, fragrance so their product is more desirable?

Jeff: Certainly have seen a great big interest in that much more recently. We first started testing for terpenes back in 2011. We were the first commercial lab to do that and when we did it most people were like why are you doing that are you just trying to charge me for some other tests? I have no idea why I would want any of that which is kind of funny today when you look back and you see today a lot of people are very excited about it. We’re obviously having a conversation about it.

I think people have really kind of awakened to the idea that these are key components within the ‘entourage effect’ though they are the critical pieces that make cannabis very different than single molecule THC like Marinol. So it’s not just is there THC or CBD around but what else goes along with that from the plant so that we can have a much better interaction with our endocannabinoid system and I do see a lot of people paying attention to them nowadays. There are certainly cultivators that are trying to select breeds based on their terpene profiles.

There’s some trying to breed for them and certainly within other derivative products I think more and more people have become aware that forming a concentrate really strips out a lot of the terpenes. It can be a very different product and when you’re done processing that into THC or CBD such that it’s no longer representative of what was in the plant to begin with and now you have to figure out how can I get those things back in there.

Matthew: Great point and how do I get those things back in there and do I even need to use the original terpenes that were part of that cannabis plant? Maybe I can create a designer terpene profile. Incorporate some plants that aren’t even cannabis that maybe we want the aroma from lemon or combined with a different terpene profile of a different plant entirely.

Jeff: I would say those things are certainly possible. From our perspective a molecule is a molecule so you mentioned lemon. One of the popular terpenes inside of citrus fruits is limamine. So if I captured limamine at very high purity from the orange industry, orange juice industry, that’s the same molecule as the limamine that cannabis produces. So a molecule is a molecule and if I have that limamine I understand the product purity of that type I could use that in the same fashion that the cannabis plant would to create my concentrate product.

Matthew: So people aren’t complaining? Your customers aren’t complaining about the terpene tests anymore but they’re just really getting started in terms of customizing that terpene profile or are there any leaders that are already pretty far ahead in this game that have already created kind of a custom terpene profile on a finished cannabis product whether it be edible, drink, or some other kind of infused product salve or capsule?

Jeff: Sure I think there are some that are recognizing they are important parts of effects and also could be imparted in flavor if it’s a tincture or something of that type. Certainly some epileptic patients their parents have seen benefits with the tincture products where terpenes have been infused and typically asked if it could taste a little better that would be great so that their children are more willing to consume their medicine as opposed to not.

There’s also I’d say a lot of people are recognizing that that can standardize effects can produce desirable product in terms of vaporizing with vapor cartridges and electronic cigarette cartridges and we have seen some people pick standardized products so that patients can rely on them and are starting to baste those based on well engineered strains that they’ve had for a long time that they may have cultivated or bread themselves and found that a lot of people were benefiting from as well.

Matthew: So aside from an aromatic effect or a fragrance with these terpenes do you think there is a medicinal benefit as well from the terpenes? They have more than one thing that they do. There not just fragrant they also.

Jeff: Oh absolutely, absolutely. I mean we definitely have a big interest in terpenes and provide those types of compositions for infusion into other products and our goal in doing that was for the effects. It was not for the flavors or the taste or anything of that type. It’s so that you can standardize the effects. People can understand what types of products are best for them when it’s made in a reproducible and standardized fashion it’s consistent so that as a patient you can rely on that same type of effect time and time again. And it’s almost like the taste is an afterthought. It’s a little bit extra add on to that but there is an element that the way your mind and your nose are connected there is a scent memory and if things taste good and you feel good you might just smell that scent again and really kind of elicit some of that same feeling. There is a very interesting connection there on how we associate things with smells. It’s a very powerful memory trigger.

Matthew: Yeah.

Jeff: And if you are starting to feel better than that can be a really good thing and then there’s ways that you could play with putting that scent around in a lot of different fashions to just kind of elicit some of that mental I feel better effect which may be even advantageous in a number of ways, but terpenes themselves do have their own physiological impacts. There are a couple of different dietary supplement type products based solely on terpenes out of Europe and there’s certainly a number of components inside of a lot of different plants that we know are medicinal. Terpenes are definitely a very physiologically active class of compounds.

Matthew: You mentioned vape pens there. The market continues to spend a lot of money on this segment because vape pens are so convenient and discrete, but what about some of the solvents that are in vape pens and propylene glycol in particular. How do you feel about that and how do you feel the market might be turning away or to other alternatives?
Jeff: Yeah we’ve seen, yeah there’s definitely a concern there. I would say there has been studies done in the electronic cigarette market when you start to get heating elements they get really hot. Some of those diluting components they can turn into harmful components that you wouldn’t want to consume in any rate, let alone via inhalation. (PG) Peg we’ve seen the use of MCT which really kind of concerns us a great deal. Medium-chain triglycerides are fats and one thing that you can get from excessive fats is Lipid pneumonia where your lungs can’t clear them and you’re actually drowning in fat. So it typically happens with larger chain-fats but whether it could happen with large amounts of fats from cannabis or even MCT type oils remains to be seen.

So some of those are venturing into unknown territories and you might not know some things are not good until it’s too late. Others I think they’ve been around and been inhaled by many people for quite a while but things like PG can be irritants. They can irritate a lot of people’s airways. Some can develop allergies to those. Some people have no problems with them whatsoever and I’d say it’s a difficult choice to inform yourself with. There is a number of years worth of data in at least the E cigarette market about some of those but a lot of people are kind of trying to move away from that and understanding how they could utilize just the plant components to make sure that that would be a much more softer, I would say, approach. Things that you’ve already been haling being used is a much better approach as to adding things that you don’t know about.

Matthew: So it is becoming more popular to add medium-chain triglycerides or coconut oil and things like this as a way to make cannabis oil more viscous and easiest to vape but you’re saying that might not be the best solution?

Jeff: Correct. It would be less viscous, too viscous is why they don’t work in the cartridge so they want to thin them out. We can use the thinning out to make that standardized number so you can say every cartridge has a certain amount of cannabinoids in there which is certainly very advantageous from a standardization perspective but when you start to pick those types of pollutants you’re just not sure what the potential health affects maybe in that respect too.

Matthew: Okay so apart from propylene glycol which is used to cut cannabis oil or to make it less viscous and coconut oil or MCT oil is there anything else that appears like it might be safer or a better solvent to add to the cannabis oil?

Jeff: The other choice people use is Peg and I don’t know if one of those three is better than the other. I think the search is on to try and find other solutions that maybe be related to the plant and really figure out those types of components are a much better approach and solution to those who are concerned about what they’re inhaling. There may be no adverse effects from (PG) Peg or MCT at all we just don’t know so it’s kind of a hard one.

I don’t want to act like people should be scared of those we’re just not quite sure. I think what you are sure of is if you turn the battery power really high where you’ve got the voltages set high and using them for a while you can see those types of components start to break down and form other decomposition products that may be harmful like formaldehyde in a very trace amount. That is certainly a concern. I don’t think anybody wants to be inhaling that but you could also say even in an all natural cartridge if I do the same type of voltage am I turning the cannabinoids or other components into things that I don’t want either much like the combustion product.

So it’s a little marriage of kind of like software and hardware. So if the hardware works really well and it’s not getting too hot then I can use pretty much a broad based software and it’s going to work pretty well and I’m going to consume what I think I’m going to consume and not some sort of other derivative product that forms from overheating.

Matthew: Turning to CBD what are your feelings about extracting CBD from hemp versus cannabis I mean we’re talking about plants that are essentially under the same umbrella but there seems to be a big difference of opinion in terms of CBD coming from cannabis versus hemp. What are your thoughts there?

Jeff: I always find this one interesting. I mean hemp is cannabis.

Matthew: Right.

Jeff: Right so we start from the same plant Cannabis sativa L and underneath that fortunately for us I guess you could say the law has defined two parts of the plant in two different ways. So the flowering props and the foliage are called marijuana and the rest of the plant the stalk, stems, roots, seeds, and oils pressed from those parts are determined to be hemp. When it’s from that part of the plant and it has less than 23% THC. You kind of need both and really there’s next to no cannabinoids in the hemp parts of the cannabis plant.

So those who are saying that deriving CBD from hemp I really questioning exactly which part of the plant they’re deriving CBD from. I think some of the arguments get a little bit confused when they say CBD from hemp is not the same as CBD from marijuana. CBD is still CBD. I think the point in that is what else is going along with it. So do I have other whole plant components are there things like terpenes? Are there other minor cannabinoids, other fat components that may be going along with it in terms of an extraction?

So we are not really good fully well characterizing all of the concentrate components or the derivative components when we go and process the plant material to see how similar that is to the actual flower material that we started with and how is that compared to what people have been inhaling before is the other question. So I think the confusion comes from if they have really high purity CBD, say it’s like 99% pure or greater, and we have seen some of these products around. Well now that’s a single molecule right type of therapeutic, very different than a whole plant or broad based botanical profile type product where you might add CBD at 50% purity with the whole bunch of other minor cannabinoids, fats and waxes and it’s from say a CO2 extract for example.

There have been studies that have shown the single molecule CBD has an exceptionally narrow therapeutic window and it can be very difficult to dose that properly and it’s not predictable, if you take more you don’t get more of a response you might actually get a very different response in that respect. Whole like broad based botanical profiled CBD, whole plant people typically call it which I should clarify as well, that type of CBD product seems to have a much more linear predictable profile. So if I take a small amount I get a response. If I take a larger amount I get that response for a longer period of time.

That’s demonstrating how unique a broader based profile concentrate can be in terms of interacting with the endocannabinoid system. One single molecule with that system does not seem to elicit the best response. That’s why people don’t enjoy or find relief from Marinol at the same rate that they do from consuming via vaporization or something with all the plant components, whole plant cannabis. When I say whole plant cannabis it’s not that I took the whole plant and threw it in my extractor, eliminated everything and got a high purity CBD or THC product it’s when you’re trying to keep as many of the components that you can understand are present on the flower inside of the derivative product as well.

Matthew: We had a really big crackdown going on right now in Colorado over the last few months in terms of cultivators getting busted for using certain pesticides and fungicides in particular Eagle 20. How can cultivators raise healthier plants so they don’t have to treat their plants with pesticides and fungicides in a way that might be dangerous for their customers?

Jeff: Sometimes that can come down to the strain selection. So some strains are just much more robust and resistant to certain types of pests that’s because of their terpene profile predominantly. Your cultivation methods and practices certainly how built your room, how clean you keep your room, how sterile it is going in and out of that. Integrated pest management is a pretty viable approach.

There are some nicer more natural softer approaches that you can use to mitigate pests and you can even cultivate with other plants around that would actually cause a synergistic terpene mesh basically that would keep other pests away as well like growing with garlic and other things can actually be beneficial in that respect as well.

Matthew: Interesting. So if you were to create a product and you really wanted the chemistry in the terpene profile and everything to be just right what would your starting point be? How would you be thinking about it because we have a lot of entrepreneurs out there who are creating infused products or they’ve already created some or they’re thinking about it? What would your suggestions be for them in terms of making sure that they have products that test well?

Jeff: I’d probably call those guys at the Werc Shop. Yeah I think you really need to understand that you’re going to work with a good competent analytical lab and that can be an exceptional challenge. So just producing numbers doesn’t mean that the numbers are always right or that they fully understand what’s going on in that respect and I think that you do have to drive towards lots and lots of testing when you’re going to manufacture or produce a product so that you can understand the composition that’s there and what’s present or not present.

And what you’ll find is that it’s exceptionally difficult to try and standardize your process when you start to look at more than one component. It can become a very big challenge and then there has to be other ways that you might want to try to approach how can you get that reproducible profile inside of a product?

Matthew: Jeff as we close can you tell listeners how they can learn more about the Werc Shop?

Jeff: Certainly you can visit our website at And I think that there’s a great deal of information there. We do plan on updating that website in the not too distant future but you can certainly contact us or learn more about us on my website.

Matthew: Jeff thanks for being on CannaInsider today we really appreciate it.

Jeff: You’re welcome. Thank you for the opportunity Matt. I appreciate that too.

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 What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on, simply send us an email at feedback at We would love to hear from you.

Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five years?  Find out with your free guide at:

Key Takeaways:

[1:42] – Jeff talks about how he got started in the cannabis industry
[3:06] – What is the WercShop
[3:37] – Jeff talks about testing cannabis
[4:32] – Jeff explains how the industry is doing in the testing space
[7:14] – Is there an acceptable level of residual solvents
[8:03] – Jeff explains microbiological testing
[10:09] – What is cannabinoid profiling
[10:41] – Jeff explains terpenes
[14:52] – Moving to creating terpene profiles
[16:07] – Do terpenes have a medicinal benefit
[18:09] – Jeff talks about vape pens
[22:46] – Jeff gives his thought on extracting CBD from cannabis vs. hemp
[26:36] – Jeff explains how cultivators can raise their plants without harmful pesticides
[28:51] – Contact details for the WercShop

Bringing Culinary Expertise to Edibles with Jamie Lewis

Jamie Lewis has a deep history with cannabis. After helping famed dispensary,Good Chemistry get up and running she went back to her culinary roots and started creating sweet and savory edibles and launched a company called Mountain Medicine. Learn more what it takes to run a winning edibles company in this interview.

Click Here to Read Full Transcript

Matthew: Hi, I’m Matthew Kind. Every Monday look for a fresh new episode where I’ll take you behind the scenes and interview the insiders that are shaping the rapidly evolving cannabis industry. Learn more at That’s Are you an accredited investor looking to get access to the best cannabis investing opportunities? Join me at the next ArcView Group event. The ArcView Group is the premier angel investor network focused exclusively on the cannabis industry. There is simply no other place where you can find this quality and diversity of cannabis industry investment opportunities months or even years before the general public. If that’s not enough, you will also be networking with the top investors, entrepreneurs and thought leaders in the cannabis space. I have personally made many of my best connections and lifelong friendships at ArcView events. If you are an accredited investor and would like to join me as an ArcView member, please email me at feedback at to get started. Now here’s your program.

As the cannabis consumer continues to spend more dollars on cannabis infused products that market is growing large enough to allow for segmentation and specialization. Foodies are gravitating to cannabis edibles and infused products that resonate with their values and creative expression. Edible artisans with backgrounds in culinary arts are taking their formal training and applying it to the cannabis industry. One such artisan is Jaime Lewis of Mountain Meds, and I’m pleased to have her on the show today. Welcome to CannaInsider Jaime.

Jaime: Thank you very much. I’m happy to be here.

Matthew: Jaime to give listeners a sense of geography can you tell us where you are in the world today?

Jaime: In the world today I am in lovely Denver, Colorado embracing this beautiful fall weather that has come in.

Matthew: Yes it has come in with a hurry.

Jaime: Yes I’m exited actually. Not so much for winter, but I’m going to enjoy fall while it’s here.

Matthew: Pumpkin spice lattes?

Jaime: That’s right, that’s right.

Matthew: Well tell us what is Mountain Meds.

Jaime: Ah Mountain Medicine is a marijuana infused products manufacturer. It’s located in Denver, Colorado. We’ve been in business for over five years now. We just had our five year anniversary this month and we produce edibles. We are currently in 120 locations in Colorado. The logo for my company is the mountain goat, and the reason for that is that it symbolizes the industry in cannabis in my mind. This animal is extremely agile and strong and maintains great traction. And it sometimes survives in the harshest of environments which can be very similar to the ever emerging industry that we are currently operating in with constant changing regulations and trying to change the conversation of cannabis as a whole. So that’s Mountain Medicine in a snapshot. We serve edibles anywhere from chocolates to baked goods, and we’re about ready to launch a whole new line of products with beverages and healthier options for the cannabis consumer.

Matthew: And how did you get started in the culinary world and then intersect with the cannabis world with your culinary skills?

Jaime: Well I went to culinary school in San Francisco to the Culinary Institute. I wanted to be a James Beard rock star. That’s like the Academy Awards for chiefs in our world, and that was my path. I was extremely driven. I worked in some really high end restaurants in San Francisco under some amazing chefs. It’s where I got my epic work ethic just working in kitchen. It can be quite grueling and very brutal, but that was my role. Originally I set out to do all things wonderful in the culinary world.

And about ten years ago I got involved with a co-op in California who was looking to construct edibles. The gentleman who worked for the co-op his father was HIV positive. So he wanted a product that his father could use. His father was at a point where he could no longer smoke the medicine to get it in his system. So from there I began extracting and creating various recipes that were very helpful for him and started working with other members in that community in San Francisco and found it to be extremely fulfilling for me. Of course back ten years ago that was pre-marijuana industry so there wasn’t a lot to go off of in terms of simple recipes or extraction processes. So there was a bit of a learning curve and some misbatched brownies here and there, but overall what I got from it was a firm understanding of how helpful cannabis can actually be to patients, and there began my launch over into the cannabis industry. From there I came to Colorado about five years ago, paying close attention to the regulations that were about to come online and decided to close down in California and go all in in Colorado.

Matthew: Now you’re deeply involved in the cannabis in Denver. For many that aren’t familiar what that might look like and how it’s evolving, how would you describe it?

Jaime: Ah it’s been amazing actually. I was at a point… I came on at a point early on where we were just about ready to help pass House Bill 1284 which governs us under the medical marijuana. So I was already actively involved legislatively with that process. Was involved with the Trade Association. We then started our own Trade Association, The Cannabis Business Alliance, which actually has a strong edibles advisory council, and I currently sit on the chair of that association. But we were playing so well with legislatively over the medical marijuana process and then I was actively involved during the passing of Amendment 64. So I got a real hands-on experience in terms of what it means to do the process from legislatively all the way down to the rule making process with the Department of Revenue in terms of setting up two separate industries; one for the medical and for the recreational.

And the great thing about Colorado is you know we were the first obviously, but with that we were able to just have just this access to such a great community of entrepreneurs that came in early on. So we are a tight nit community in the cannabis industry as a whole, but in Colorado especially just because we’ve been established a little bit longer than some of the newer states that have come online.

Matthew: And how would you describe some of Mountain Medicine’s edibles so we get a sense of what they’re like?

Jaime: Yeah my company produces products that are on the high-end side. With my culinary background my recipes are really honed in. I specialize in baked goods as well as high-end chocolates and confections. I’m getting ready to launch a whole new line of products; some beverages. I have a coffee drink coming out. I also have some honey that’s coming out that I’m really excited about. It’s locally sourced. I try to pull in that sort of sustainability, experience that I had in California and San Francisco. You know I was in the industry right about the time that Alice Water blew up. So the concept of sourcing everything within 100 miles, I really try to apply that to Mountain Medicine as best I can to get those local products. I try not to use refined sugar, and I’m very cautious about where I source my trim making sure that it’s grown properly, working with the growers to get that right precision of THC to CBD for certain products as well as just having my hand in the mix to make sure that everything from the top down is of quality going into the Mountain Medicine products.

Matthew: Now you said you have a coffee product coming out. Is that going to be a hybrid, a sativa or indica? I’m curious because I’ve often wondered what it would be like to combine a coffee drink with like a strong sativa that has an uplifting type of feeling to begin with and combine it with a coffee makes it a little more fast acting. I’m just trying to understand what’s possible in there in the coffee arena.

Jaime: That’s a really good question. Our R&D department worked really hard on this process because of that and a few other things too. We’re using a different extraction process in this and we wanted to make sure that emulsified correctly. Coffee it helps activate the THC in your system so we were very sensitive to using a hybrid. So it’s a 60/40 split on the sativa side and that sativa is a hybrid as well. So it’s got a nice uplifting feel to it, but it doesn’t add to the intensity that the caffeine will give you as well. And it’s going to be launched on the recreational side so my dosage is limited to that 10mg. So it’s just a little 10mg shooter that you can actually add to coffee or you can just drink it as a standalone beverage, either hot or cold.

Matthew: Okay. And so I’m trying to understand. Your background is with the dispensary Good Chemistry is that correct? I know you guys are related somehow or you worked there. Can you give us a little background there?

Jaime: Absolutely. I was one of the beginning members of the team in Colorado when they launched five years ago. So I played a very active role in setting up the operations from everything from the cultivation to the dispensary as well as the MIPS which is Mountain Medicine, it was sort of a sister company of Good Chemistry all owned under the one entity. So I worked in the very beginning stages getting everything up and running. I did everything from helping to hang the curtains in the dispensary to designing the dispensary as well as the inventory tracking systems. As you can imagine coming into a new industry and trying to set it up as well as trying to set up your company can be quite a mission, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

So I often explain that I went to the Harvard Business School for Marijuana. I got all the aspects of it, and I worked with a great team at Good Chemistry. They were amazing people to work with. I learned a lot, and in January of this year I decided to go out on my own, purchase Mountain Medicine as my own company and separate myself from Good Chemistry. I had taken Good Chemistry to amazing places and just kind of wanted a new challenge so to speak and to start something all on my own. So for good or bad I made the choice and here me and the billy goat hang and I’m looking forward to seeing how much I can do for it very similar to what I did for Good Chemistry.

Matthew: Great. Now do you feel like your background with dispensaries and Good Chemistry kind of puts you in their shoes when you’re approaching a dispensary that you want to carry medicine. How do you approach them differently than maybe someone else without a background in cannabis?

Jaime: Oh absolutely. That’s a great question. In Colorado it’s a very competitive environment that we dwell in. There are over 500 dispensaries in the state. The population of the state total is somewhere around three million. So that gives you an idea, or the Denver metro area is in the three million. So it gives you an idea of the small populates state with a large density of dispensaries and edibles manufacturers as well. So it’s an extremely competitive environment which actually makes it a very well educated environment. So I find the bud tenders and the dispensary owners to be extremely educated. So I approach them as business owners having the same knowledge that I have.

The great thing that I learned at Good Chemistry was having that dispensary bud tender to customer/patient relationship to really try to hone in on what markets best to the consumer and the patient. How to get the consumer or patient interested in edibles as a whole because some of them may not be familiar with usage as well as it just being a healthier alternative to smoking cannabis. So I think Good Chemistry was a huge lay out for me in that realm, and then also just having a well-knowledged industry that I work with makes it really easy for me because there’s not that sort of base 101 education that has to start.

Matthew: Yeah. You mentioned a little bit about the regulations you have to deal and you have to be adaptable like a mountain goat.

Jaime: Yes.

Matthew: There’s a dispensary here local in Boulder that’s really good and really popular and they made their own line of edibles and they were selling really well, but I talked to the Operations Manger and she said we just can’t keep up with the landscape of all the regulations around edibles. So we’re just going to buy wholesale from X, Y and Z. And I thought that was really crazy because hey, here they are people asking for edibles that they made, they were good, they were selling, but there was just too much to keep up with. Can you talk a little bit about what that means like keeping up with all these regulations and what that feels like?

Jaime: It’s constant. I mean I really channel my muse, the billy goat, when it comes time to talk about packaging because I have to be in a very centered place. It’s a constantly moving target. I mean just this last session there was new legislation that was passed that put it in the department’s hands, the Marijuana Enforcement Division that governs us in the State of Colorado. Some oversight to put regulations in place to further restrict the way edibles are packaged and sold, and it’s a constantly changing conversation in the sense that when you buy packaging at the beginning of January of this year, literally less than a year ago, my packaging will become obsolete in about six months. And from a manufacturer’s perspective we purchase our packaging in two year blocks as most manufacturers do in the sense that when you buy it in bigger bulks you’re able to get a discounted rate. So when you can’t do that you have to pay absorbent amounts in cost just in shipping alone to have smaller freights dropped just to stay ahead of the curve and make sure that you’re not sitting on additional packaging.

So the packaging requirements I find to be the most difficult and extremely helpful to the consumer all of the regulatory language that is on there, but the one piece is is that they just keep adding to the regulatory language without giving us any time to see if it actually works, and that seems to be the biggest things that we have to go through is that you know we just passed legislation two years ago. We don’t have enough data and statistics to show if that works before we seem to be changing it almost every year with different stuff coming down the pipe. It’s interesting and you know we’re a lower marginal product that’s sold. I mean flower obviously is one of the highest marginal items as well as extractions. And when you come to edibles we’re sold on the cheaper side on the medical marijuana side with a heavy amount of milligrams in it. We have really tight margins to go through. It is literally just like running a small kitchen and those are very competitive and very rough to keep going.

Matthew: So you really have to be a Swiss army knife here. You’ve got to have a really good sense of what the marketplace wants in terms of the edibles at the right milligram level. You also have to be a packaging expert and a regulatory expert and then an operations expert. Are those kind of big categories you would say?

Jaime: Absolutely. I say it all the time. I’m a lab. I’m a kitchen. I’m a manufacturing plant. I’m a distributer. I’m responsible for the deliveries of my own products. We have a sales department. We have an R&D department. There are a lot of moving pieces to being in the edibles business, and moving forward rightfully so. I mean I do appreciate and understand the regulations. The difficult part is just to keep your numbers really tight and stay afloat in the first few years so that you can get through this sort ever changing regulations. As the dust settles I do think, I’m hoping anyways, I hope when the dust settles it will be a much easier process to move through, but I mean it’s only been less than two years in terms of it being a regulated product sold recreationally. So I will say overall for the past two years for all the hiccups. I am still very grateful to be in this industry and wake up happy almost every morning. So for that I’m blessed.

Matthew: Good. Now you talked a little bit about sourcing ingredients when possible in 100 mile radius. How else do you approach ingredients? I mean when you’re creating a new edible do you just have something that pops into your mind. Are you saying hey, something with caramel. I mean how does the whole process start when you’re creating an edible that you think will do well?

Jaime: Well unfortunately I have a chef’s mentality. So I think about it in terms of what looks lovely and delicious and good in my mind and then put that to market. There are a lot of different moving pieces to that. So I actually have an R&D department and I have a gentleman that runs it. I come up with the ideas and he figures out how to streamline it into mass production. And it’s actually a really beautiful system that we have. I don’t launch a product often. When I do it’s usually, this will be the first time that I’ve launched new products in almost two and a half years.

And we developed these products over a period of nine months. So there’s a lot of time and energy that goes into it to fine tuning the recipe, to making sure that the THC and CBD and cannabinoid profiles are broken down correctly and we’re getting consistent test results as well as making sure that this product can be packaged. You know it’s very wonderful to think about a beautiful, you know, cupcake but when it comes time to figure out how to get that into child resistant packaging out goes the cupcake because it’s virtually impossible. So my R&D guy thinks along those lines. He thinks packaging first. I think product first and we somehow meet in the middle. It’s just a perfect synergy that we have. He’s my rational R&D guy, I’m the creative one.

Matthew: Do you feel limited at all about the milligram dosage limits on the rec side? Do you feel like that limits your creativity or ability to do things? How do you feel about that in general?

Jaime: No, I actually embrace the limited milligram dosage on the recreational side specifically just because this product has been on the medical side for so long those patients have an understanding of milligram dosage and all of that. And then there’s also the process in place for recreational where you’re dealing with a lot of novice consumers, and with those novice consumers you really have to educate them on going slow and low and making sure that they have a really good experience on our products otherwise they won’t come back to enjoy them again. So I completely support a low milligram dosage on the recreational side. I do not support it on the medical side for various reasons and one being mainly that we’re talking about a medical marijuana patient who’s trying to manage an extreme amount of pain or needs a lot of this medicine in their system constantly. So it’s not as necessary on the medical side, but on the recreational side I find it to be very helpful and a good way to message to the country as well in terms of how this product can be launched safely and effectively.

Matthew: Great point. And to give listeners a sense of context here 10mg is the limit per edible in the recreational side of a dispensary, but a medical dispensary it could be ten times that or you know 50 times that. It can be, I don’t know, is there a limit on the medical side, I don’t know.

Jaime: There isn’t. Yeah there’s no limit. And there is a limit on the rec side is 100mg totally but they have to be individually packaged in 10mg dosage. And on the medical side, again which I think is very important, is that there is no limit and rightfully so. And generally in my business I sell anywhere between 100 to 250mg. I don’t go above that and it intends to be around that 100mg sweet spot that seems to be what consumers and patients seem to purchase the most of.

Matthew: So you have a fun way of categorizing the dosage that relates back to the mountain goat. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Jaime: I’m glad you picked up on that actually. I thought it was very creative. Obviously being in a state that is now recreational where we don’t just have to market to the medical marijuana patient we were giving a great opportunity to market and brand a little bigger than we ever thought we could. And with that I wanted to have some fun with the mountain goat but also have it a fun, educational sort of jumping off point. So I categorized my milligram dosages into four categories. It’s the rookie grazer, the veteran and then the old goat. And it goes along the line if you’re a rookie grazer you should start around that 5mg, wait 2 hours and see how you feel. If you’re a veteran you can jump up to that 10 to 15 even possibly 20 spot. And then when you get to the old goat we suggest a 20 to 25mg dosage. So it’s just a fun way to educate the consumer on milligram dosage. I also use a pretty crafty tagline that I like very much that’s the “Don’t Graze and Drive” just to educate everybody to make sure that they consume these products safely and don’t get behind the wheel. So I like to plug the mountain goat in wherever I can as an educational tool.

Matthew: Now which of your edibles is the most popular? What sells the best?

Jaime: Ah the most popular product that I have is the chocolate dipped pretzel. That one has just been a staple of ours for quite some time. It’s dipped with a dark Belgian chocolate that we outsource as well as there’s something to be said about that sweet and savory element. So that is my number one product on the medical side. And on the recreational side I offer four product lines right now and they’re the high-end chocolates and they’re little chocolate discs. And my popular on that side too is that sea salt chocolate. So I have salty and savory on both sides sort of winning out all the other edibles.

Matthew: Yeah and you got some crunch there. I feel like if something has a fat flavor, sweet, salty and crunch it’s like there’s a tractor beam pulling me in and I can’t. There’s no way.

Jaime: And that right there is how I have my creative process. What tastes good, feels good. I mean so it’s really thinking about a fat kid, what you like to eat I think.

Matthew: How have you seen edibles evolve over the last couple of years and where you do you think they’re going in the next couple years? I mean we touched on packaging a little bit, but edibles themselves how do you feel like it’s where you were and where you’re going to? How is it going to contrast?

Jaime: Well I think it’s a really exciting time to be in this industry overall. Obviously it is growing all the time. So being involved in it on the ground up is very exciting in any of these industries, but the edibles especially because what we’ve noticed in the State of Colorado is there’s an increase in sales recreationally speaking on edible consumption where flower and cannabis smoking on the medical side is still a very popular item for the patient to consume. So what we’ve seen is that the novice consumer and the recreational consumer wants to eat the product rather than smoke, and I think that opens us wide open to an untapped market that maybe never has had access to this or even though about consuming it. So I see the market growing for edibles manufacturers and demand. And I think that’s a pretty exciting for us at Mountain Medicine. In the next couple of years I think it will just grow even more. I think that the science behind it will help us also and I think we’ll see more tightly controlled, extracted cannabinoid edibles coming out on the market here soon if not already and pretty genius branding the marketing coming out too just from what I’ve seen in Colorado.

Matthew: Do you mean the ability to dial in at a more surgical level, maybe the terpene profile and the strains and so forth combining into a unique blend for your product?

Jaime: Absolutely and I explained this like ten years ago because I was involved in this industry when it was just a movement, before it was even an industry. We were all fighting for something we believed in. And so much of that has changed. In the beginning stages I mean we couldn’t even get people to talk with us you know attorneys, accountants, you know nobody would touch us. Now that it’s become a viable industry we have access to so many intelligent people that do this in other industries. So I’m really excited about being able to tap into that.

As you know I sit on NCIA which is the National Cannabis Industry Association and I’m also the chair of it and we have been having these conversations about setting forth industry standards and testing standards and moving forward with this sort of overall standards and with that we’ve been approached by various companies to how they can help us; from testing companies to manufacturing companies. So I think just having access to smarter people than ourselves or people that we weren’t actually able to have access to in the past, they’re going to help us pull this industry even further along than it already is and the cannabinoids and the terpenes, with the sciences that can come on and the extraction operators. I mean I think it will be very exciting actually.

Matthew: Now earlier this year in June you were at the ArcView Group Cannabis Investor Forum in Denver and you hosted a very popular cannabis cooking class for ArcView members. Can you tell us about that?

Jaime: I can. I was really excited because I thought I was actually going to do the cooking demo, but instead I actually gave a really amazing sort of open forum conversation around a light explanation about what edibles look like in the State of Colorado. And I went from everything from compliance to packaging and a lot of what I took from ArcView I incorporated into my conversation with people that joined us around the marketing and branding of products because as we know that’s really become a big thing that a lot of companies are paying attention to. So we focused a lot on how companies are marketing and branding in the edibles realm and how they’re marketing and branding in the extraction world as well to really get their products out to the consumer. And a lot of those questions that came from the crowd were around that in terms of how companies were branding, how companies were marketing and packing requirements and restrictions were also a hot topic as well.

Matthew: Jaime, how can listeners learn more about Mountain Medicine and find your edibles?

Jaime: Well if they are over the age of 21 in the State of Colorado they should most certainly go to my website which is and from there we have a location on the webpage that shows you all the 120 dispensaries that we are located in to get access to the recreational. And if they are a medical marijuana patient, they can do the exact same thing on the website to find out where our products are sold.

Matthew: Great. Well Jaime thanks so much for coming on CannaInsider today and educating us. We really appreciate it.

Jaime: Thank you very much for your time. Always a pleasure.

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 What are the five disruptive trends that will impact the cannabis industry in the next five years? Find out with your free report at Have a suggestion for an awesome guest on, simply send us an email at feedback at We would love to hear from you.
Some quick disclosures and disclaimers, me your host works with the ArcView Group and promotional consideration may or may not be given to CannaInsider for the ads placed in the show. Also please do not take any information from CannaInsider or its guests as medical advice. Contact your licensed physician before taking cannabis or using it for medical treatments. Lastly the host or guests on CannaInsider may or may not invest in the companies or entrepreneurs profiled on the show. Please consult your licensed financial advisor before making any investment decisions.

Key Takeaways:
[2:07] – What is Mountain Meds
[3:16] – Jaime explains how she got started in the culinary and cannabis space
[5:20] – Jaime talks about the evolving cannabis market in Denver
[6:40] – Jaime talks about some of the edibles at Mountain Medicine
[9:09] – Jaime discusses working with Good Chemistry
[10:50] – Approaching dispensaries about marketing her brand
[12:51] – Keeping up with the regulations around edibles
[16:33] – Creating a new edible
[20:02] – Jaime talks about how she categorizes dosages
[21:18] – Jaime talks about her most popular edibles
[22:36] – The evolution and future of edibles
[25:24] – Hosting a cooking class at the ArcView Group Cannabis Investor Forum
[26:25] – Mountain Medicine’s contact details

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Important Update:
What are the five trends that will disrupt the cannabis market in the next five year?
Find out with your free guide at: