Activate your Cannabis For Maximum Effect

shanel lindsay ceo of ardent cannabis

You are leaving half the potency from your cannabis plant behind when it is not properly activated or decarboxylated. Find out how this simple technique can take your cannabis flower to the next level.

About Today’s Guest

Shanel Lindsay is the CEO and founder of Ardent Cannabis. Listen in as Shanel talks about her move from a traditional lawyer to a tech and cannabis entrepreneur.

Special Offer

Shanel is offering CannaInsider listeners $30 off her flagship device the Ardent Nova decarboxylator. Use coupon code Canna30 for $30 off. Learn more here:

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Cannabis enthusiasst and committed patients are seeking out evermore ways to derive maximum impact from the plant. In the last couple of years, Shanel Lindsay and her team at Ardent have popularized a way to activate cannabis that is gaining a loyal following. Here to help us understand these promising developments is Shanel Lindsay from Ardent Cannabis. Shanel, welcome back to CannaInsider.

Shanel: Hey, Matt, thank you so much for having me. I'm very excited to be back. It seems like it's been a really long time.

Matthew: It has been. It's been about three years since you first been on, and your business has grown quite a bit. I want to dig into that. But before we do, give me a sense of geography. Where are you in the world today?

Shanel: Well, thankfully, I'm back home. I'm in Boston, and it's exciting to be home because we've been traveling a lot over the last couple of months. So I'm happy to be home for at least a couple of months.

Matthew: Good, good, I know with the MJBizCon, Thanksgiving, and a bunch of travel, everybody's feeling like they're in a time warp, and it's just time to chill out and relax and unplug. So I can totally relate to that. Now, you were on, as I mentioned, like, three years ago. But could you just give our listeners a sense of your background professionally and personally before jumping into the cannabis space?

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. So I'm a Boston native and my background by training, I'm an attorney. So I had a traditionally legal career before I went into cannabis. I was a litigator. I represented clients like Sears and Pepsi in a number of business matters. And obviously, that training was really helpful as I moved into cannabis policy. I was an author of the Adult Youth Law here in Massachusetts. It's a very exciting time here in Mass because finally are retail stores are opening, and our cannabis industry is really coming into its own. But in addition to the legal side, I also had a very long history with cannabis before it became an industry.

About 18 years ago, my son was born. Believe it or not, he's going to college next year, which is really exciting for us. But back then, which is really, kind of, like, the dark ages of cannabis, I got an ovarian cyst after he was born, and I saw that there was a lot of promise in using cannabis products, making topicals, edibles, things that would help my pain and inflammation. And I started making those products and got a real chance to, kind of, understand what the hiccups and the problems and the issues are with making cannabis products, and that was really impetus for me founding Ardent and turning to making cannabis technology that would make it very simple for people to do these things.

Matthew: Yeah. Gosh, I really, you know, I think you made the right choice to get into the cannabis field instead of staying a lawyer. But at the same time, I mean, I've gone through some business law classes and stuff, and while I don't think a lawyer is the right fit for me, I will say the process that you go through in thinking about law does expand the mind into areas that it just wouldn't go to normally. Do you feel like that has, kind of, helped you with any lenses as you work in this industry?

Shanel: Absolutely. I would say being an attorney has been the biggest asset and a real tool for me. Not only the analytical thinking piece of it, but the ability to, as you said, play devil's advocate and look at things through a different lens in order to come up with some really great solutions.

Matthew: Yeah. Now, let's talk about decarboxylation because that's the central theme of what your device does, the NOVA. And decarboxylation sounds like something from high school chemistry and you want to, kind of, take the fangs out of that and make it something warm and fuzzy. So let's make decarb being warm and fuzzy. Shanel, how can we do that?

Shanel: Oh, I'm up for the challenge, Matt. So really what it is, it's this fundamental chemical process to activate THC and CBD. And what I mean by that is, in the raw plant form there actually isn't THC and CBD. It has this acid layer over it, and you need to remove that acid layer to get those cannabinoids that people are seeking, right? The THC and the CBD. And this happens through a heat process where that carboxyl group is removed to reveal the underlying cannabinoids.

Matthew: Okay. So you're unsheathing the beneficial goodies that you want so your body can use them.

Shanel: Yes, absolutely.

Matthew: Okay, okay. That makes sense. You know, I'm sure that you get the same questions over and over from people that are like, "Okay, you've explained your carboxylation to me, you know, but I have a question." What are those questions, typically?

Shanel: Well, it's a lot of questions and it's a lot of myths that exist around decarb. So it seems like a simple process, right? Removing this carboxyl group but the difficulty is in removing that acid molecule without damaging the underlying THC and CBD, and also to fully remove all of the acid molecule from all of your THC and CBD. And if you're not able to do that, and it does require an incredibly precise time and temperature profile.

Really a lab grade time and temperature profile, you're really leaving potency on the table, right? Or destroying available cannabinoids. And that is the real problem with decarboxylation. That's the problem that people are running into both at home and on the commercial side, is it is difficult to do this process correctly.

Matthew: Right. And how much more potency do you get out of a flower. It's the biggest reason, I guess, people are buying. There are some other benefits, but potency is the biggest. How much more potent can a flower become after going through the NOVA?

Shanel: So if you're talking about...using me for an example, I was doing this for over a decade, right? Making cannabis products, using my crock-pot, using the oven, and when I went to the lab, even after being an expert for over 10 years, I was wasting between 30% and 40% every time. And so our average user, and I think we're still pretty eschewed with people that have used cannabis before.

Our average user uses half as much cannabis as they used with their previous methods. When you're talking about brand new users, then you're talking about getting, you know, 80% or more, because again, we've seen people come through the lab who don't have experience using cannabis and they burned off all of the THC or CBD available. And so it really is a tool that allows people to have all the science there for them without having to really think about that part.

Matthew: Yeah. If you're in a state where you have, kind of, a sealing on how flower you can buy, that becomes much more of a problem that you feel more acutely and you want to increase the potency so you're not having to get as much, so that makes sense.

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, you know, what's interesting to me is to see all the different types of people that are using the product. You know, we have over 30,000 people that have the device now? And it really is a mix between these brand new users, some of them being medical, some of them riding the excitement of, you know, new legalization. And I think we've done a great job at educating people about this important part of cannabis science and removing this myth that the only way that they can get accurate products is going to a store.

That there is the ability to use very, very little material and get very potent product, and that really is important especially for medical patients who are looking for potent products and often tapped out at a certain potency at the dispensary level, whether that's 100 milligrams or 200 milligrams. And it does get very, very expensive for people, whether they're using a lot or they're micro dosing and, you know, that's something that we want to solve too to make these kind of therapies very affordable for anybody who needs them.

Matthew: Yeah. You have people that want the maximum potency. There's people that want the better return on investment for every dollar they spent. And then those are probably the top two reasons, are there any other reasons that you hear from people that purchase the NOVA and why they buy it, control?

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. I think the number one is, like, confidence in this step, and this comes from people that have been, you know, making cannabis products for 20 years, and these brand new people, that they don't have to worry about when they're putting an ounce in whether or not they're going to get the right result because, again, this is a chemical process. This is not something you can look at or see or see the material and determine whether it has been completed properly.

And so that confidence in this step is really important, the cost-savings, of course, I mean, using less than half that you used before is a big thing. And then discretion as well, the device is odorless. And so we would be able to, you know, be in a room together and decarbing and infusing and you wouldn't know that that was happening. And that's really important for people still, having that ability to be discreet. And then I would say the last thing is the versatility.

One of the biggest questions that we get still, and I think there's still a lot of confusion about this is, how to, after you activate, how to make the best cannabis products, right? How to make something that is going to have the effects that you want and be the type of therapy that you're looking for? And so people are very surprised when they realize how little they can actually use. And we're talking about people using less than they would use to smoke a joint or even pack a bull in order to make these, you know, really medicinal or wellness or fun therapies.

Matthew: Yeah, that's really cool. Now let's pretend that we're in your kitchen and you're showing us this device for the first time and how it works. I've held one and they're, you know, like a big, like a coffee bean grinder, if you would imagine a big one of those, like a big, you know, else would you describe it for people that are trying to take a look at it?

Shanel: Almost like a thermos size, I would say.

Matthew: Thermos, okay.

Shanel: Yeah. It's like a decarb. And, you know, it's like your mom says, it's what's on the inside that counts, right? It's very simple looking on the outside and that's, you know, purposeful. It's very innocuous looking. It would be, kind of, among your other kitchen appliances and you wouldn't necessarily know that it was made for cannabis. And for the user, all they're doing is taking their plant material, whether that is their flower, whether it's keif or trim or concentrate, any of their plant starting materials, putting it in the device, putting the lid on the device, there's an internal lid and an external lid as well, and pressing the button.

Matthew: That's it?

Shanel: And they...yeah, that's it. They go away and do whatever they want to do for the next hour and a half to two hours. But what's actually happening inside the device is, there is a thermal core that goes the entire length of the device. So you're having this really fully encapsulating heating all around the entire core of the unit. And we also have twin sensors, now these are the most precise sensors on the market, RTDs. There's one sensor that is embedded within that heating mat and then there's also a sensor that is embedded within the inner cavity of the device.

And there's an algorithm, and the algorithm is monitoring those temperature sensors in order to create these very precise heating cycles that are laboratory grade heating cycles to fully activate that product. And so we're talking about a level of precision and control that is, you know, beyond any kitchen appliance or any appliance that you would find, you know, on the market. It really is, you know, bringing the lab into the home.

Matthew: That's great. It really sounds like something you would see in a hospital or something. I'm trying to imagine, like, at some point, you know, how the medical profession might use something like this. I mean, they seem to like to use oil more in capsules and things, but I mean, if they have this level of control and granularity, there might be a space for flower in the medical community. I don't mean medical patients, but actually like doctors, nurses, and hospitals, so.

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. And in fact, we actually have a number of doctors' offices, both cannabis related and non-cannabis related, that recommend our product to their patients because of that ability to dial into the milligrams and to really have that control with the raw flower. And you mentioned though, kind of, oils and capsules and that really is, you know, kind of, the next frontier for us at Ardent is moving from, okay, now you have perfect activation, how do you now in one step without any effort get to that end product?

Matthew: Yeah. Let's circle back around here because I have a question know, this is for an individual user or somebody that uses this at home. But what about a commercial setting where there is a need for decarboxylation on a commercial scale? What's available there?

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. And I would say that this is one of the biggest questions that we've gotten, in addition to, how do I make products once I decarboxylate and activate it. This question of, when are you coming out with a commercial size version of the device, has been, you know, nonstop since we launched the product. And we actually have developed a commercial version of the device because, again, the same issue of activation exist on the commercial side of the industry. Right now, producers, manufacturers, they're using vacuum ovens, they're using commercial size ovens, but again, still the same problems with really, really dialing into a lab grade heating process. And so we have a commercial size version of the unit that will be coming out in 2019. So we're very excited about that. And we have some great partners for that but also looking for other beta testers for those units as well, so that producers and manufacturers can get this level of precision in their products as well, therefore, making those products more affordable for the end user too.

Matthew: Yeah, that's a pretty interesting development. I haven't really heard anybody talk about that, but I could see where, you know, if I'm a manufacturer, a brand, or a processor, my ears, kind of, perked up there, like, wait a minute, what can I do here? This sounds pretty interesting. Okay. So let's...go ahead.

Shanel: And our goal for that too is to make sure that we're hitting the right part of the market, right? Because we have a lot of these smaller producers, caregivers as well. So the first iteration of our commercial version is a five pound unit, and then we'll also have a ten pound unit as well. So I think that gives a lot of wiggle room for these manufacturers and producers of all sizes to come and take advantage of the technology.

Matthew: Oh cool. I think for anybody interested in being a beta tester, maybe we can, at the end of the show, we'll put a or Shanel can let you know how you can contact her at Ardent and figure out how to do that if you're looking for beta testers or...

Shanel: That'll be great.

Matthew: If you're interested in a commercial, you'll know when they're available. So I want to talk a little bit about infusion and extraction because it seems like as we're just hinted on, that's, kind of, the next step. Now, most people buying a NOVA want to decarb flower, I would say probably the majority I would be guessing. But how about extractions and making capsules or making salves and doing things at home, is there any way to do that something in addition to the flower?

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. So there's two pieces to that, so the first part is your starting material. So absolutely, you can activate flower. You can also start with a concentrate and activate that concentrate. So that is definitely a new trend. We're seeing a lot of people either making their own concentrates or buying concentrates from the dispensary and then activating those and using those to make different cannabis products, whether those are edibles or topicals or that kind of thing.

Matthew: Okay.

Shanel: Then there's the actual infusion in the decarboxylator making a butter or an oil. So we were inundated, I would say, with questions about how to properly and most efficiently take decarboxylating material and then create a butter or an oil for that. And just like with decarboxylation, infusion is really a fundamental piece of making cannabis products that really there existed no real science data behind it. And as you know, we're laser focused on science and data at Ardent because, again, it really is the only way to educate people and to myth bust, so to speak, because there are so many, so many things out there still that people really believe about making cannabis and cannabis products that it just is not true.

And so what we were tasked to do and what we had been doing over the last year or so is really digging into this idea of infusion and coming up with the answers for our customers and for the world about the best way to infuse. Because what you don't want is to do a precision decarb where you've maintained all of your THC and then go do an infusion process where you're leaving half of the THC on the plant. Like, you really need to know, like, just like with decarb, what's going in, what's coming out, what are the test results of what you're putting in, how much oil you're putting in, and how much you're actually able to extract into that end butter and oil?

So we were very excited to, just a month or so ago, release this testing data and people can see this on our website under our education section. And we have an infusion guide and a bunch of testing results to show that you can actually infuse right in the decarboxylator after you activate. So what the person would do is they would take their material, decarb it in one cycle, then add their oil and butter to the decarbed material and put it through another cycle in the NOVA.

And when it comes out, what we are showing is that an excess of 85% infusion rate, and upwards of over 95% infusion with certain oil, because it does matter what oil you're using because some oils are better for infusion than others. And so that was so exciting for us and for all of our, you know, owners because now people are able to go in and I'm talking about being able to make products that are more potent than you're able to find on a dispensary shelf using less than a gram of cannabis.

Matthew: It sounds like something from Star Trek or something.

Shanel: Yes. And so, obviously, people who already own a NOVA were really, really excited to find out about this second use for the device. A back by science, they can go in and they can see, and you'll see, when you take a look at the website, we did testings with as little as a half a gram of cannabis. And we were actually able to get, like, 93 milligrams into our ounce of oil out of a potential 100 milligrams, used half a gram. And then we were able to show how you can crank that potency all the way up to 700 milligrams per ounce. And that was using four grams of cannabis.

And so really showing people how they can make these quick butters and oils, how they can dial into the potency, that, I think, has been a really exciting adventure for us, and again, educating people. If I can say, one very interesting myth that we were able to debunk during that process was, "Well, if I just use my raw plant and I put it in with the oil, and I heat it up to the right temperature, it will all decarboxylate while I'm doing that oil." And we knew this to not be true, but now we have testing results to show that the oil actually acts as an insulator.

And so if you're putting raw cannabis material into the oil, even if you are heating it up to the right kind of decarb temperatures, you are not going to see really good and significant decarb, right? And so we have testing results on the website that show if you're starting with raw plant material and putting it through the cycle, when it comes out, it's going to be about 25% decarboxylated, right? And that might be useful for people who want a partially decarb process but that's a big difference between, you know, a full decarboxylation and only 22%, right?

Matthew: Yeah. So it's like you have a shield on the oil that has to be broken through and then a shield that's on the flower. So you have to activate both things in order to get the optimal outcome.

Shanel: Exactly. And that's why it's important to decarb before you do that infusion process. It also shows that infusing in the oil after the decarb is not damaging the THC, right? Because the oil is acting as an insulator because that was another big question we get, "Well, after I decarb, you know, am I going to hurt the THC?" Because again, that activation process is a very, you know, sensitive process. And you don't want to damage the THC afterwards. And so again, digging into the science, providing the kind of testing results that people can replicate at home is really, I think, the bridge to people being able to really use this plant in all the ways that it was intended.

Matthew: Now, people are getting a little more sophisticated and highbrow with cannabis and talking about paring things with cannabis. What do you think pairs best with cannabis?

Shanel: Yes. So obviously, the most important piece, you know, is getting your full potency of the cannabis, but after that happens, there really are a lot of things that can improve that therapy. And the first category are things that help with the bio availability of the cannabis itself, right? So there are things like good fat, lipozene, things that help the cannabis, kind of, jump over, if you are using oral or sublingual under the tongue use. Things that help the cannabis move from the plant into your bloodstream. I would say that that's one category. Then I would say that the second category of things that pair best with cannabis are really a number of vitamins, nutraceuticals, other healing herbs and plants, and things that have, kind of, strong antibacterial and antifungal properties, antiviral properties like mushrooms, for example, like ginger and other herbs. And so I really think the future of cannabis is incorporating cannabis into an overall health and wellness regimen that involves all of these other natural elements.

Matthew: Yeah. In fact, that's one reason I can easily see the cannabis industry growing larger than the alcohol industry because we're not only displacing alcohol here with a botanical that doesn't give you a hangover, but we're also pushing into the supplement and wellness and medicine arena. So all those other huge market categories are going to be cannibalized to some extent by, you know, cannabis and cannabinoids.

Shanel: A hundred percent. I am always amazed at how much crossover there is between the medicinal, the wellness, and the enjoyment side of the plant.

Matthew: Oh, yeah. So you have some Terp Capsule Kits and Terp Lotion Kits. What was the idea behind these? What was the genesis of the idea with that?

Shanel: So that's just the evolution of our product line, right? A lot of what we do is based on, you know, my own experience through the kind of cannabis lifestyle cycle, right? Now in my late 30s I've really, kind of, experienced cannabis and the products that people need from when they are, you know, in their young adulthood to all the way up through, you know, I guess where I am now, middle-age, and also coming from the demands from our customers, right? And so, like I mentioned, once people have this precision decarb, right? And now they have the ability to infuse and make these oils, there's still this, "Well, how do I get to that end final product that I'm looking for to treat whatever I'm looking to treat or to have the enjoyment or experience that I'm looking to have?"

And so for people on the medicinal side, our capsules are essentially vitamin and excipient formulations that have a place in them for the activated cannabis to slide into one side. So it basically allows people to make these instant pharmaceutical alternatives to rival Ambien or, you know, whatever else they're seeking or whatever other vitamins that they're taking. And it includes excipients and pairings like the ones I mentioned above. Things that have like immuno support, nutritional supports, and in the same vein, we have lotion kits. So they have a base with pain relieving or invigorating lotion. And also come with the bit of oil that the person can infuse right in their device and then mix simply to make this, again, dispensary grade product that's very affordable for them, that allows them to take whatever strain or material that they might have lying around in order to make this really, really high grade product.

Matthew: Oh, yeah, I can see that. It seems like a natural extension will be very useful.

Shanel: Yeah. And we also have edible kits as well. And those are, kind of, on the fun side. We launched a goat's milk caramel kit for the holidays. And, you know, people should definitely look to see in the future from us a lot of more medical applications including suppositories, patches and the like, and, you know, our goal is to allow people to really make any product they can think of on the dispensary shelf. We're a fraction of the cost in no time at all, and even the ability to make products that will never be on the dispensary shelf. And really again, going back to that versatility that people are looking for that also allows them to explore the use of this plant in ways that they wouldn't have imagined.

Matthew: So there's definitely probably some truth that your customers are people that like to, kind of, tweak things and see how far they can take things and stuff like that. Not everybody is like that, some people are like, "Just give me whatever off the shelf." But you find there's a do-it-yourselfer or like a MacGyver type attitude of your purchasers.

Shanel: So I think there's some of that. There's certainly people like me who just love this plant and love experimenting with it. But the end goal is that this is simple for people that have never even used cannabis before. Because there are just a lot of people that can't access a dispensary for as much as they need to. And so when you look at our kits, and we call them kits but really it's, kind of, just activating your butter and adding it to it. And so the idea is that it is very little effort for them, but certainly those people that are, kind of, into taking it to the next level, find a lot of joy in experimenting outside of the kits as well.

Matthew: Now, I want to ask you some questions about capital raising because you mentioned you've sold 30,000 of these and that's a lot of inventory. How has the capital raising process been for you, you know, from all the way back when we first did our first interview till now? I mean, how has the response changed? What's your experience been? Has it been challenging?

Shanel: Oh, yeah. I mean, in the beginning, you know, when we first spoke when it was an idea and a prototype and baby units, it was almost impossible for me to raise money. And in fact, everything that we've done, so far, has been done on a less than $600,000 cumulative raise over the years. And I'm really proud of that because if you look at, kind of, traditional technology companies, that is not the way that people are able to launch a product and get successfully to market. But now, things are a bit different, you know, we are, you know, selling millions of dollars in inventory a year now and are profitable as a company. And I'm actually really, really proud of that as well. We've been profitable since last year.

Matthew: Great.

Shanel: And so now things are a little bit different. We have the business fundamentals essentially that investors are looking for, you know. We have a brand. We have IP. We have sales. We have longevity in the marketplace. And so there are a lot more options for funding right now. Now for me, it's about finding, you know, the right strategic advisors that will help me, you know, really take this company to the next level in this rapidly growing industry as we know.

Matthew: Yeah. So you recently started or you did another pitch, I think, in Vegas. How did that go?

Shanel: Yeah. So we actually have just opened a new round of funding, we're raising $3 million to launch the commercial version of the device. We finished development on a number of things, including the commercial version, including our capsules, including our line of topicals. And so, yeah, the 3 million will really help us become even more of a global presence than we are right now and to launch all of these really high demand products that know, customers, frankly, have been waiting for a while now, especially the capsules.

Matthew: Yeah. Now, how has it been creating a product that has electronics on there that heats to a high level. I mean, your background's as an attorney, how do you bridge the gap from a legal mind to understanding the electrical components and iterating a physical product and all the different things that go wrong once you add electric and an on and off switch. I mean, could you talk a little bit about that journey? Because I know that this is a difficult thing. I mean, you haven't mentioned it, but I'm sure you've had a lot of blood sweat, and tears and sleepless nights over this type of thing. So please tell me.

Shanel: Oh, yeah. So in the beginning, so when I first started developing NOVA back in 2015, you know, at that point, it was just me and, you know, the great research and testing that we had done at MCR Labs to really hone in on the right timing and temperature profiles for this decarb. But then it was like, "Okay, well, how do I develop this device?" And for me, the lawyer training, the analytical training, the ability to really, really dig down and read, you know, copious amounts of very technical material and digest that, was incredibly helpful. You know, in college, my major was biological anthropology, right? So I've always had an interest and have a history studying, kind of, the biological evolution of humans.

And so, you know, science and that kind of thing were always very top of mind. So it was great to dig into this new area of electrical engineering and looking into the different types of heaters and sensors and all of these things. And so I was able to pull together individuals, electrical engineers, machining specialists, thermo engineers, and really able to work with each of them to develop the pieces of the device that I needed to pull them all together. And that was pretty risky because it really was me developing these individual pieces and then pulling them together into a device that thankfully worked, you know?

But at the beginning, certainly, there were a lot of, you know, pieces that were coming and they weren't performing correctly. Thankfully, we had the ability to go and do and have the lab very close and do all this testing in the lab, and that brought us to beta units. And once I was able to release the beta units, I was really fortunate to have a factory and high-level engineers now that help to tweak the device and continue to improve it and develop our new models and iterations and really able to develop those in conjunction with these consumable products that I mentioned, like the capsules and the lotions in order to make this really complete, sweet of useful products for the end consumer.

Matthew: Gosh, that sounds like a lot of different things pulled together there. Do you think being in Boston with the deep talent from MIT, Harvard, BU, BC, Northeastern, I'm sure there's a lot of other universities there. Think that was a big help for, you know, being in that geography for doing what you wanted to do?

Shanel: I think certainly there were a lot...almost everyone I sourced from originally for my beta units was in the Northeast. So absolutely having access to really, kind of, high-level manufacturing and, you know, those early partners were really, really important to me. And it's funny to think about that because that was a real drudge time. And I'm happy to, kind of, be pass the point of...I'm having to do that stuff all on my own now and having a really great team of people both on kind of the development side and the product side to help bring these visions to life now.

Matthew: A smart move just doing the one decarb unit first instead of trying to do a commercial and a personal at the same time because I can see where that would dramatically increase the variables and things you have to focus on. So, I mean, start small and then scale up, so well done.

Shanel: Thank you. And honestly, people say, kind of, like, the best businesses come out of a need. And when I was looking and bringing this, you know, my products to the lab to test, this was really just me trying to make cannabis products easier, better, more efficient, trying to use less product, trying to know what my dose was. And so it was a real personal mission for me to create this product that was for the individual person. Because I really wanted them to be able to have access to this plant, and I saw that that really wasn't going to happen. That there was always going to be this, kind of, gap between what the individual person could do and what they really needed and wanted.

Matthew: Yeah. Scratch your own itch. A lot of people out there listening are thinking, "What should I do? What should I do?" If you've got a deep passion and you want to scratch your own itch, you've come up with something, this is like a fairytale story, almost to that. So with that, Shanel, I'd like to go to some personal development questions. Is there a book that's had a big impact on your life or way of thinking that you'd like to share?

Shanel: Sure. So I would say there are two books and one of them is, kind of, like, on the business science side and the other is more, kind of, like, internal, personal. And the first one is "Mycelium Running." And this is a book by Paul Stamets, and he is a mycologist, and this is actually his sixth book. His other books are about, kind of, the really mind-blowing and amazing health properties of mushrooms.

Matthew: Oh, yeah.

Shanel: Yeah, it's awesome. This book, "Mycelium Running," is actually about how mushrooms can be used to really save our planet from the environmental destruction that we're seeing happening. And it's a lot about bioremediation and using mycelium that way, and it's a really great read. All of his books are amazing. And so I would definitely say that book has got me thinking quite a bit. And I'm just, kind of, like, the personal side, there's a book called "The Joy" and it's by the Dalai Lama and Archbishop Desmond Tutu. And it's really an interesting read from, kind of, both of these leaders about their perspective on, kind of, the keys to finding, like, lasting joy.

Matthew: Great.

Shanel: And so Desmond Tutu actually spoke at my college commencement. And so, you know, his words and thoughts have, kind of, been with me for quite some time now. And that book is a really good one.

Matthew: It's amazing how something like that can, you know, get infused into your mind speaking of infusion and then cascade and color all these other things you do. That's great recommendations. The first time hearing both of those. And "Mycelium Running," you know, I've been hearing about, like, reishi mushroom and all these different things like ways to invigorate your health with mushrooms. That's something that's, I think, really interesting and powerful. I'd like to learn more about that. Is there any mushrooms you use personally for teas or anything that you...for health at all or no?

Shanel: Yes, absolutely. And certainly, like I mentioned, we will be incorporating these into our capsules and some of our other products as well. So stay tuned on that, but certainly reishi is great for breathing and your bronchial tubes and also, kind of, like, relaxation through, you know, better lung health. Lion's Mane is great, that's, kind of, something that you want to drink in the morning time. It's great for brain health and function. And there's so many more mushrooms there, but I would say, those two are two of my favorites. And, I mean, looking at the data, and again, you'll be seeing more of this coming from Ardent. But looking at the information and the data about the ability of mushrooms to support our immune system to fight viruses, to fight pesticides, you know, it's just amazing. They are truly an organism that has been around for so long and we really have evolved with mushrooms. And so their ability to impact our lives and health is really so underestimated and I'm excited about what's next for that.

Matthew: Yeah, me too. Now, is there a tool that you or your team use that you consider vital to your productivity that you'd like to share?

Shanel: So I think for us, kind of, just like the basic business tools of staying connected and tasks staying in order, so I think, like, Asana is really useful for us. It's something that we use as a team to keep track of different projects and for people to communicate with each other. It's been quite useful for us over the last year or so.

Matthew: I took a class in college and it was called Business Writing and the teacher or instructor said, "Here's what I'm going to tell you about writing emails." He's like, "The subject of the email should be everything that person needs to know in a short bullet form. And then their action item should be, like, the first thing when they open the email, so they know what it's about and what their action item is, as most people won't read the rest." I was like, "Oh, that's pretty good. I'm glad I heard that." You know, because there's all these different ways of communicating with your business and like Instant Message and like Chatnow. And it's, like, "Hey, I might read three paragraphs of Instant Message and I still don't know what's being asked of me." Do you ever feel that way?

Shanel: Yeah, absolutely. And that's why I think it's important to have, kind of, like, a central location, where, like, everything is and it's actually pinging you to, kind of, follow-up on things because it is really difficult to, kind of, across all of the platforms and, you know, keep that continuity.

Matthew: So last question here, Shanel. What is the one thought that you have that most people would disagree with you on, so something maybe controversial that's not intuitive? This is actually a Peter Thiel question that he asks people. So he's, kind of, a deep thinker and I like this question because we get to draw out something that just is not totally obvious.

Shanel: Oh, I don't know. I guess it's a deep-thinking question that might have a shallow answer from me because I think that probably the most disagreeable thing that I could say is that, you know, French fries and ice cream go together and make a great combo. So I don't think too many people would agree with me on that. But I don't know, I think that, you know, for every dissonant thought, there is certainly a large group of people that feel that way, whether they'd like to admit it or not. So I also think that's an interesting question to pose.

Matthew: So you're saying for an extravagant snack you will eat ice cream and French fries together?

Shanel: Yeah. For on a splurge day, it might not be what most people would choose, but I think it's a nice sweet and salty mix for me.

Matthew: Yeah. It's good to break up the monotony. Every once in a while, I will just stay up all night and read or do something just because I feel like I'm in a pattern that needs to be broken. And it's, like, everyone in a while have, like, a huge sundae or do something. Just be like, "I've got to break up the pattern here because it feels, like, you know, otherwise there's this herding, like moving into a rut." It's like, "I got to just do something different here, just for the hell of it."

Shanel: Absolutely. And that happens to me on the business side all the time and I was actually, you know, thinking about that earlier, you know, different strategies to, kind of, pull away from the day to day grind and do the, kind of, big picture thinking and planning. And so I'm going to add a sundae to my mix now when I do that.

Matthew: There you go, put some French fries on there. All right. Well, Shanel, thanks so much for coming on the show. We talked about a lot of the different products you have, the products you have now, but also the products you have in development. We talked about raising capital. Let listeners know how they can reach out to you to be a beta tester, if you're still looking to raise more capital and how to find your products.

Shanel: Absolutely. So you can find us at So it's And I love for people to reach out to me directly at So it's and I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Matthew: Shanel, thanks so much for coming on the show and educating us about decarboxylation and also sharing your journey. Wish you the happiest holiday season and a wonderful 2019.

Shanel: Thank you so much, Matt. I can't wait to come on again sometime.

Matthew: Me too.

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