Cannabis 101 for the Wellness Enthusiast
by Kiki Athanas
April 16, 2018
Today, it’s cannabis this and cannabis that.
Except it no longer comes with the subtle feeling of an eerie chill down your back. Instead, it’s a leading wellness item in our current health revolution, and the economic, political, and overall regulatory landscape is all changing to follow suit - hence all the canna-excitement.
[Side note: you can put ‘canna’ in front of just about any and every word - and I’m having fun with it.]
Okay, so what’s the deal with the CURRENT market in Canada? We all know cannabis is legalized in California, but what about us wellness-enthusiasts who want a bit of CBD goodness? Or that skin-protecting cannabis essential oil?
I’ll take one for the team and be the first to admit I’m not exactly an expert, so wanted to connect with and learn from someone who was.
Michael Garbuz is a ‘next generation’ cannabis industry expert and strategist - representing corporate strategy and legal counsel at CannaRoyalty, a Canadian company operating and investing in North America’s legal cannabis space. “Expert” is probably an understatement here. Michael is a University of Toronto law school grad who also holds an Honours Specialization Degree in Biological and Medical Sciences from Western University. All of this combined with his corporate law experience at Cassels Brock & Blackwell LLP makes developing the research-driven future of cannabis products look easy.
Thankfully, he also made understanding the cannabis industry easy too.
The following covers what you need to know about where things are right now, where they’re headed, and why you should care:
Medical vs. Recreational → The Middle Ground is ‘Wellness’
While the stigma around cannabis is definitely starting to drop - thanks to the growing awareness that this plant can provide meaningful positive benefits across a variety of use cases - there’s definitely still “bad vibes” and caution around legalizing it fully. Incase you need to be brought up to speed, currently, in Canada, only particular forms of medical marijuana sold directly to consumers are legalized.
The future holds that recreational use of the drug will be legal, provided that the producers and sellers are fully licensed.
Unfortunately, Michael explained that the barriers to enter this space are very high due to the cost of capital required to meet Health Canada requirements. With that said, there are plenty of companies already in this up and coming market - ready to pounce as soon as cannabis is made legal for non-medical purposes.
This paints the picture of “Medical” cannabis on one side - with “Recreational” cannabis on the other. While that may or may not be true depending on how you interpret it - Michael suggests an interesting opportunity lies in the middle ground.
“The cross-link between medical (i.e. think ‘big pharma’) cannabis and recreational use, is arguably defined as the “wellness” space in the industry. Companies are currently offering products for people who are seeking to improve their overall health whether it be longevity or the little aspects in their day-to-day lives.”
HELLO! THAT’S ME! And if you’re reading this on my blog, that’s probably you too!
This is good news, as I take it as an encouraging sign that more product lines will be catering not only to the chronically ill (who are prescribed drugs from their registered practitioner), nor just to the stereotyped ‘stoners’ - but will also be speaking to health-nut and longevity enthusiasts such as myself!
Yippie! Bring on the healing supplements thank you very much.
Michael shared an example of a super rad company he thought I’d like - and I’m thinking you might too.
They’re called Kindred, ‘Cannabis Together’ is their tagline, and they’ve got everything from body oils that “induce total body relaxation with pain-melting euphoria”, CBD supplements, and even a hybrid ‘BALANCE’ series of mouth strips that relax your body and ease your mind - like listerine but so much better.
Yup, make room in your wellness cubbies friends - now there’s more green powders (like, beyond what you boost your smoothies with) that you’ll be getting mega excited about. I sure am.
While Michael explains that the more ‘wellness-focused’ companies are popping out left right and centre, it’s still important to recognize that both sides of the spectrum - medical and recreational, will continue to gain momentum. Interestingly enough, the recreational cannabis industry is quite literally flipping the conventional steps of pharmaceutical testing on its head. See, in order for drugs to be commercialized for human use, they undergo long and expensive testing process. This is simply not the case for many of the products that will soon be brought to the legalized market. So, instead of several years of trial and error in clinical research labs, these products are being made available now, and testing following up along the way.
To me, that is exciting not because we’re ‘going against the rules’, but rather - it’s the trust and acceptance that something (a NATURAL something, I might add) that has helped countless people, is being given the ‘okay’. Even if that ‘okay’ comes with a big, scary, deep breath because of all the “risk” - we’re doing it.
There’s something to be said for intuition and trusting in the healing power of plants.
Products to Look Out For
So beyond edibles (that’s so 2008) - what’s the latest and greatest in cannabis CPG?!
Michael claims vape pens and beverages are where it’s at. Vape pens are super easy to use, and have become an extremely popular product in mature market. For beverages - let’s face it, people are already familiar with the concept of drinking intoxicating beverages, so we have some ‘context’ for how this works. With cannabis-infused beverages, though, the negative and dangerous side-effects that are associated with alcohol are basically nonexistent. Furthermore, drinks are convenient on the consumer side, and are relatively easy to fine-tune for specific duration and effects on the producer side.
I hear there is even canna-bouch.
YAS, I’m talking about cannabis in kombucha. Michael says it’s a thing. I say, bring on the probiotics.
The Role of Tech
Okay, so while bringing back some ancient healing herbs into the mainstream (and legalized!) limelight certainly gets my vote, I also wanted to understand how technology (beyond just the science) was going to step up and jump in.
Without surprise, there’s already ‘an app for that’.
Strainprint is one of the companies Michael showed me, which is a mobile app for medical cannabis users to track their intake and learn which strains and dosages work best for them.
So, basically what I’m saying is: start saving up. There’s some seriously epic wellness products on the rise, and as soon as they’re legal, I’ll officially be more broke - but totally blissed out.