Introducing Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterbran, Leaf411's Affordability Program Chair

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

If you’ve taken a look at Leaf411’s About Us page recently, you’ve likely noticed several new faces. Today we’re introducing Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterbran who joined the Leaf411 Board of Directors as our new Affordability Program Chair.

Bourlon-Hilterbran is a tireless advocate for cannabis patients, including veterans and families with children whose lives have been transformed through plant-based medicine. The Green Market Report lists Bourlon-Hilterbran as one of the Most Important Women in Weed in 2020, and many publications including GRAM, Westword, and Weedmaps have profiled her work.

A Passionate Advocate for Patients' Access to Cannabis

Our son had been on varying, numerous pharmaceutical pills and combinations to combat his daily seizures, but none of them stopped them, and all had side effects. Some side effects were hideous, some sent him into anaphylactic shock, some started shutting down his organs. The doctors told us to take our son home, that there was nothing more they could do,” Bourlon-Hilterbran said.

“Because I was left with no other choice, I chose to try cannabis for our son. It saved his life. Cannabis stopped his seizures when no pharmaceuticals did. I am ashamed to say it took those extremes (before trying cannabis as an alternative), but I want other families to learn from my mistakes. Cannabis should be a legal option and not the last illegal resort.”

At the time, AMR and Leaf411 didn’t exist, so Bourlon-Hilterbran had to spend hours researching and talking to other families she tracked down who had similar experiences.

“It was heartbreaking and extremely overwhelming at times, trying to gather information, talk to other parents, find the missing answers. I vowed I would do whatever it took to make the process easier for other families who had to relocate from another state or country to legally access cannabis as a medicine,” she said.

Every day, Bourlon-Hilterbran hears from parents who are navigating similar situations that she faced, who are either confused or conflicted about how to best help their children. She advises:

“Never forget that you are the lead on your child’s medical team. No one cares more for your child or knows your child better than you. Be respectful, be educated on your child and their condition, but make sure your doctors and family know that you will be an active member of the conversation when it comes to the health of your child. Never. Give. Up.”

American Medical Refugees: Serving as a Resource for Patients and Their Families

Bourlon-Hilterbran’s experience led her and her husband to launch American Medical Refugees. AMR has directly helped thousands of patients through in-person events, information sharing and online community-building, all incredibly valuable skills that Bourlon-Hilterbran will bring to her role at Leaf411 as well.

Bourlon-Hilterbran also shares her experience with other AMR families so they can advocate for legislative changes to improve access to safe, legal cannabis in their home states.

“We’re all in this together, and we need to stand united. Political party affiliation doesn’t matter when someone is chronically or terminally ill. We see Republicans and Democrats fighting side by side to legalize cannabis, even in my own family,” she said.

Although Bourlon-Hilterbran and her family now make Colorado home, their Oklahoma roots run deep. In 2018, Oklahoma voters approved medical marijuana, creating a new option for thousands of patients who could not afford to move out of the state to access legal cannabis. Bourlon-Hilterbran played an active role in that legislative process, working with Oklahoma Senator Connie Johnson and other critical entities to ensure the newly enacted laws put patients first.

While a lot of progress has occurred, stigma, stereotypes and barriers still exist. This came to light in 2019 when CBS rejected a medical cannabis ad created by Acreage Holdings for the Super Bowl. Bourlon-Hilterbran’s son was one of the patients featured in the ad.

For Bourlon-Hilterbran, the need to address stigma and stereotypes while also providing education was a major impetus for her planned launch of the Oklahoma Cannabis Expo in March 2020. Unfortunately, the emerging COVID-19 pandemic put a stop to all large public events, including the expo. Bourlon-Hiterbran is working closely with city and state officials to find a new date for the Oklahoma Cannabis Expo in Fall 2021.

Forging a New Role at Leaf411 as the Affordability Program Chair

When it comes to her role on the Leaf411 Board of Directors, Bourlon-Hilterbran is laser-focused. “My goal is to bring my educational and medical experience, along with my patient and industry networks together to offer patients support, information and access. Joining this team is a highlight of my life. The potential to directly impact more patients via free medicine and medical appointments makes me incredibly happy and proud,” Bourlon-Hilterbran said.

Leaf411's Commitment to You as We Grow

As Leaf411 continues to grow and innovate new programs, our core mission remains focused on the public, providing free, clinically-sound education and directional support about the safe use of legal cannabis (both CBD hemp and marijuana sold legally in dispensaries). We’re also committed to working with stakeholders to address outdated stereotypes and stigma, while also improving the public perception of the cannabis industry.

Our newest additions to both our Advisory Board and Board of Directors, including Bourlon-Hilterbran, will help ensure that our education and services that are fully compliant and transparent as we grow, and that we remain true to our mission to you—the public.

Stay up-to-date with our latest events, programs and initiatives by signing up for the Leaf411 newsletter below!

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Older Asian man yawning while looking at his phone.

Seniors and Insomnia: How a Little THC Can Go A Long Way to Restoring Sleep

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

Insomnia is an issue we hear a lot about on the Leaf411 hotline. Many callers ask if cannabis might help manage age-related sleep issues.

The short answer for most people is yes—but it depends on your specific health conditions as well as finding the best products to meet your needs.

We also hear concerns from callers who are eager to try cannabis as an alternative for sleep but worry about experiencing an unwanted high.

In today’s blog, we’ll address both these issues—why cannabis may help with age-related sleep issues and how to use it to minimize the risk of feeling overly intoxicated or uncomfortable.

(Note: When we talk about cannabis, we include both CBD hemp which is federally legal and non-intoxicating with less than 0.3% THC, as well as marijuana containing over 0.3% THC, which is legally sold in dispensaries in states that have legalized adult-use/recreational or medical marijuana.)

Older Black man sits at his computer staring into the distance, appearing tired and distracted.

Why Is Sleep So Hard As You Get Older?

It’s a well-known fact that sleep patterns change as we grow older. Falling asleep is more difficult and quality of sleep suffers, according to the Sleep Foundation. Many seniors also experience insomnia, impacting their overall quality of life. Changes in seniors’ sleep architecture trace back to the aging brain, a phenomenon that researchers have managed to capture using imaging in the lab.

Also, sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, pain and many other common physical and mental health conditions may negatively impact sleep cycles. And let’s not forget those everyday worries that keep all our minds preoccupied late into the night!

Clothesline with 3 signs saying “Good,” “Better,” and “Best,” symbolizing the challenge of finding the best solution for sleep.

Finding a Sleep Solution that Fits

When seeking a sleep solution, it’s essential first to have a clear sense of where the problem is. Many different treatment options exist, but they are not one-size-fits-all.

If your sleep difficulties are rooted in unhelpful bedtime habits like keeping the news channel on all evening, then the solution may involve behavioral approaches like turning off the TV and listening to calming music instead.

Certain health conditions and medications may also cause insomnia. If you suspect that a health condition may be the source of your insomnia, we suggest first talking with your primary provider to address any underlying medical issues.

In some cases, cannabis might be a helpful adjunct therapy for specific health issues. For example, cannabis has shown promise in managing restless leg syndrome. However, in other cases, cannabis may not be a good fit if it interferes with medications you’re taking.

Our Leaf nurses have the experience, training and research-backed knowledge to help determine whether cannabis may be a suitable option for you if you’re dealing with health condition-related sleep issues.

For many seniors, though, insomnia isn’t due to a specific health issue but is simply the outcome of the aging brain and changing sleep patterns. You may find that it’s harder to fall asleep or stay asleep, even after cutting out caffeine, taking up evening mindfulness practices, and shutting down electronics early in the evening. That can be frustrating!

Medical provider holding sleep pills in one hand, and cannabis in the other hand as an alternative for sleep.

Looking For Alternatives to Pharmaceutical Sleep Medications?

Finding a product that supports a good night’s sleep is the holy grail for most of us. A lot of over-the-counter and prescription products exist, but many come with unwanted side effects.

Over-the-counter medications like Unisom (doxylamine) and Benadryl (diphenhydramine) may cause unwanted grogginess the following day.

Likewise, many prescription sleep medications may work in the short term but have troubling trade-offs. The popular drug Ambien (zolpidem tartrate) is a hypnotic that’s gained a reputation for causing serious side effects in some people, including amnesia, hallucinations, sleepwalking and even sleep-driving. It also has the potential for dependency, like many other prescription sleep medications.

A powerful plant-based sleep alternative is becoming available to more people as marijuana legalization spreads to more states each year. However, just like conventional medications, not all marijuana is the same. Knowing the best type of product for your particular sleep issues can make a tremendous difference.

Your Cannabis Sleep Team: THC, CBD, CBN, Terpenes and More

You’ve likely heard about tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD); however, those are only two out of 113 different identified cannabinoids found in cannabis plants. Here’s a quick primer on some of the various cannabis plant compounds:

  • THC: This cannabinoid is responsible for the “high” that cannabis is best known for when used in large enough amounts. THC binds to CB1 receptors that are primarily found in your brain and spinal cord and help regulate the nervous system, as well as CB2 receptors which are found in the peripheral nervous system and play a role in reducing inflammation.
  • CBD: A non-intoxicating cannabinoid that indirectly affects the CB1 and CB2 receptors, though it doesn’t bind to them. CBD has been shown to reduce inflammation and muscle spasms and to help manage anxiety.
  • CBN: Cannabinol (CBN) is a lesser-known cannabinoid created when THC is exposed to heat and light over a period of time, and has been called the “sleep cannabinoid” by some people due to its sedating effects. It also lacks the intoxicating effects of THC, though an older study showed that it could make the effects of THC feel stronger. Research is still limited on exactly how CBN impacts sleep onset or duration.
  • Terpenes: Terpenes are aromatic compounds found in cannabis along with many other plants, including lemons, basil, oregano and pine trees. For example, if you’ve ever used lavender-scented products to help with relaxation, then you’ve experienced the power of linalool, a terpene found in lavender as well as in some cannabis chemovars (strains).

Cannabidiol (CBD) tincture with an illustration of CBD’s chemical structure and cannabis leaves in background.

How CBD Helps with Sleep – and How It Doesn’t

Remember when we mentioned the importance of identifying the root cause of your insomnia to find the best solution? CBD is the perfect example of why that’s the case.

If your sleeplessness is the result of anxiety, stress or inflammation-related pain, then CBD may be useful at higher doses. Paradoxically, lower doses of CBD may cause wakefulness. Dr. Dustin Sulak discusses this challenge in an interview on his Healer.com website.

However, if you are contending with age-related changes in your sleep patterns, CBD may not be enough to solve your sleep issues.

Unfortunately, when CBD doesn’t work, many folks write off plant-based alternatives as a failed experiment and resign themselves to chronic fatigue or less-than-ideal pharmaceuticals.

Why CBD May Not Solve Your Sleep Problems

CBD doesn’t bind with the CB1 receptors that are concentrated in your brain and nervous system, but THC does. That gives THC an advantage when dealing with age-related sleep issues that are connected to the brain.

“But wait,” you might be saying, “I don’t want to get high—I just want to get a good night’s sleep!”

At Leaf411, we understand. Despite growing research and medical marijuana legalization in over half the states, the plant still suffers from stigma and misconceptions.

Stoner stereotypes are hard to shake, especially when some brands and celebrities promote the recreational, fun aspects of cannabis and not the plant’s therapeutic value.

Also, occasional fear-mongering news stories report how potent cannabis is today, but that’s not the full story. The legalization of marijuana in many states has allowed for more precise cultivation and manufacturing practices to develop flower (bud), concentrates, edibles, tinctures and other products tailored to different consumers. As a result, you’ll find products designed for consumers seeking high-THC products as well as for consumers looking for much smaller amounts of THC, or even ratio products with balanced amounts of THC and CBD.

Most legal states also require licensed marijuana cultivators and manufacturers to regularly test their products, assuring that the stated levels of THC are accurate. CBD products, on the other hand, are not required to undergo any testing, so it’s buyer beware.

Wooden letter blocks spelling out “Microdosing” referencing microdosing THC for relief.

Microdosing THC for Sleep, Not to Get High

When it comes to using marijuana for sleep, our mantra at Leaf411 is to start low and go slow.

Leading cannabis physicians support this approach, including Leaf411 board member Dr. Dave Gordon as well as Dr. Dustin Sulak.

Even very small amounts of THC, like 2mg, can have therapeutic benefits. Using very small amounts of THC is called microdosing, and it’s an increasingly popular option among people of all ages who are seeking cannabis’s health benefits without an intoxicating high.

Because everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, the minimum dose required for positive effects is also different—that’s why we always say to start low and go slow to find your optimal dose. How low? At Leaf411, we suggest starting with ¼ the suggested serving size on the package, or 1-2 mg of THC, whichever is lower.

You may not feel anything at the lowest dose, but by starting low and going up slowly each night, you can build up your dose safely until you find the right amount that works for your body. When increasing by a milligram or less each night, you may still end up with a dose that makes you feel a bit too groggy in the morning or uncomfortable before falling asleep. If this happens, just go back to the dose that was comfortable and reassess after a few days. When using ingestible products (edibles and tinctures), it can take up to 2 hours for you to feel an effect, so allow plenty of time before increasing your dose.

Old-fashioned clock at 7:15 pm, reminding someone to use THC a few hours before bedtime to help with insomnia.

It is always vital to time your dose about 1-2 hours before you want to fall asleep instead of waiting until the moment you are climbing into bed. Timing your dose will allow you to relax before bedtime instead of watching the clock and hoping it kicks in fast.

Our Leaf411 nurses always guide our callers to safe use by cautioning about potential side effects from THC, which is dry mouth and an unsteady gait. Our nurses suggest keeping a glass of water at your bedside so there is no need to walk to the kitchen and risk falling when you feel the cannabis take effect. These precautions are very similar to those you’d take with any other sleep medications.

Healthy older white woman at home sitting on a yoga mat while calling Leaf411 with sleep questions.

Helping You Find the Best Cannabis Product for Insomnia and Sleep

Our Leaf nurses are knowledgeable about the unique challenges that seniors face in getting a good night’s sleep. Our goal is to provide balanced education and clinically-sound guidance that is specific to your needs and goals. Our commitment is to you—the consumer—not to a particular product or company.

Call our anonymous hotline for free at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from the Leaf411.org homepage during hotline hours for help with your cannabis questions. 

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Various cannabis tinctures and other products, with cannabis flower (bud) in foreground.

Low-Dose Cannabis Options for Seniors

The cannabis market has responded to the growing popularity of microdosing by producing low-dose edibles and tinctures that make it easy to find the right dose. Many of these products are available in both THC versions as well as CBD:THC ratios.

Among our Leaf411 supporting members, Ripple offers a range of low-dose dissolvable powders that can be added to beverages or food or sprinkled directly on your tongue. Our member Wana Brands also provides low-dose vegan-friendly gummies, including new fast-acting gummies that take effect on average within 5-15 minutes. Medically Correct is another of our supporting members that is developing low-dose products tailored to different needs, including the recently launched Quiq brand, also designed for fast onset. Also, our supporting member Altus produces the Lucky Edibles micro-tart line with each tart containing only 2 mg THC. 

Fast-acting products like Ripple, Wana and Quiq are ideal for the person who has trouble falling asleep versus staying asleep. Something that you swallow is vital because these products tend to last 6-8 hours in your system, providing a longer sleep cycle than inhaled products that typically last about 2-4 hours. Gummies and tablets can be an excellent choice since they tend to be easier to cut into small pieces versus a chocolate that may crumble. 

It’s important to always pay attention to the dose size listed on product packaging. For edibles, in particular, there’s not one standard size or dose. One brand might produce 10 mg THC gummies, while a different brand’s gummies are 5 mg. Products like THC-infused candy bars contain multiple doses, typically with each square serving as a separate dose. Likewise, cannabis tinctures will list a dose on the bottle which you can measure out using the bottle dropper.


Celebrating Pride in 2020

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

Every year, LGBTQ+ Pride is celebrated during the month of June, highlighting the accomplishments and challenges of LGBTQ+ people throughout the world. Typically, millions of people gather during parades, concerts, workshops and other events to share their experiences and advocate for LGBTQ+ rights, including safe, equal access to health care services.

This year’s Pride will look different due to the COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions. Many events have gone virtual, including the 2020 Denver PrideFest and the 50th Anniversary San Francisco Pride celebration

Despite the lack of parades and crowded celebrations, it’s important to pause and reflect on the state of LBGTQ+ rights, as well as how they connect to the current movement against racism, bias and police violence, along with the movement for full federal legalization of cannabis. Keep readingyou might be surprised to learn how these issues are all connected!

Neon sign outside of the historic Stonewall Inn that says, “Love & Resistance, Stonewall 50.” LGBTQ+ people of color played a pivotal role in the Stonewall uprising.

The History of Pride

Why the month of June? In June 1969, the Stonewall uprising took place in New York City, when LGBTQ+ community members took a stand against harassment and violence they faced at the hands of police. On June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a neighborhood gay bar. Unfortunately, this was an all-too-common occurrence at the time. However, at Stonewall Inn the patrons and surrounding Greenwich Village community fought back, sparking the beginning of the LGBTQ+ movement.

Notably, the Stonewall uprising was led by several people of color including Marsha P. Johnson and Zazu Nova along with another activist, Jackie Hormona. People of color who identify as LGBTQ+ faced—and continue to face—higher rates of police violence, harassment and discrimination due to the intersecting issues of bias, racism, homophobia and transphobia.

Racism is an issue that Jamie London Wollberg of Trannabis Chi, one of the organizations we support, has recently elevated on his own social media platforms including Facebook and Instagram. Jamie is a trans cannabis patient who deeply believes we all have roles to play in bringing about change.

Trannabis Chi logo, featuring a cannabis leaf representing balance and collective consciousness.

“While social media can be problematic and is definitely not the solution to racism, it’s absolutely helpful in the movement and for learning. It’s a great time right now to follow people in the Black community, for both support and listening,” Jamie said.

“I have already learned so much. Sharing stories is a powerful way to bring empathy and understanding. Social media is shaped by and helps shape the world, so Black voices deserve to be heard there. I’m heavily motivated for many reasons with the biggest being an empath and therefore, deeply care for people. I believe that we are all connected within the higher collective consciousness.The smallest being the fact that I myself, though I have white privilege, am also marginalized. I am a queer and disabled transgender man who is a spiritual jew. I am spelling it out here to show how you can be marginalized and still have white privilege. Black people are being murdered – racism must end and I have to do my part,” Jamie explained.

Court gavel resting on a rainbow flag, symbolizing the victories and challenges LGBTQ people face.

Legal Victories and Challenges for the LGBTQ+ Community in 2020

As we celebrate Pride remotely this year, changes are underway that have very real impacts on LGBTQ+ lives. On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) which forbids discrimination based on sex includes LGBTQ+ employees. This clarifies an important workplace protection for LGBTQ+ individuals.

While advocates are celebrating this decision, concerns remain in other areas. In early August 2020, the Trump administration is rolling back non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ+ people in Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act. While the administration claimed it was simply cleaning up a confusing rule, the rollback could have very real impacts when it comes to access to care. Once the change is made, a health care provider may deny care to someone based on their self-identified gender or sexual orientation, and that provider will not face a penalty for doing so. This is especially concerning in the middle of a pandemic and poses yet another barrier for an already vulnerable community.

Stethoscope with cannabis leaf, showing connection between health and access to safe legal cannabis.

What Do LGBTQ+ Rights and Pride Have to Do with Cannabis?

Put simply, at Leaf411 we believe that access to high-quality health care is a universal right. That includes access to safe, legal cannabis.

The LGBTQ+ community has been active in fighting for medical marijuana legalization since the early 1990s. At the time, cannabis had proven to be an effective therapy for reducing the severe side effects of HIV treatment. Even though HIV treatments have been improved with less side effects, HIV or AIDS remains a qualifying condition for a medical card in Colorado.

Many LGBTQ+ people don’t have the option of safe, legal cannabis, however. In 17 states, many of them in the South, cannabis cannot be legally sold either medically or recreationally. Even in states with medical marijuana, the cost of medical card evaluations and registration can be steep, disproportionately impacting both people of color and LGBTQ+ communities. Also, in some states the list of qualifying health conditions is very limited, based more on politics and old stigmas than on the actual science backing cannabis’s therapeutic benefits.

One of the most promising areas of cannabis research is related to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). While much of the research is focusing on military veterans and PTSD, the same benefits hold tremendous potential for LGBTQ+ folks who frequently experience PTSD as a result of hate crimes, homophobia and transphobia.

In a recent issue of The Emerald Magazine, Marval Rechsteiner shared how cannabis helped him both with panic attacks and PTSD he suffered related to his gender identity and growing up in a conservative area. Rechstiner also realized that cannabis could provide a safe alternative for managing inflammation, pain and healing from surgery.

Cannabis also made a difference for Jamie London Wollberg of Trannabis Chi. He explained, “Cannabis has completely saved my life. Cannabis helped me through my transition, as well as through my numerous health challenges. I have multi-genetic disease, autoimmune disease, chronic illness, mental health challenges, and a brain disorder. I literally felt like I was dying and I wanted to die, many times in my life.” 

“Cannabis allows me to be me. It allows me to be the best version of myself I can in any moment. It makes it possible for me to function and/or at least survive the pain I’m experiencing. Cannabis IS healing and it’s my privilege to have lived and to live the path I’m on because it meant finding my way to assisting people on their healing journeys with Trannabis Chi,” Jamie concluded. 

Trannabis Chi’s next Body, Mind, and Soul event theme is “A Virtual Slumber Party of Rest and Manifesting Your Dreams” with the event scheduled for July 25, 2020. You can find more information at this link.

Black woman in striped shirt smiling and talking on her smartphone with a cannabis-trained nurse.

Leaf411 Is Here for You

Though the annual Pride month is wrapping up, the fight for equity is a year-round endeavor. 

Every day at Leaf411, we hear about the positive impact that access to safe, legal cannabis has on peoples’ lives, including those who identify as LGBTQ+. 

At Leaf411, our commitment is to help you find the best cannabis options for your specific needs and goals, regardless of where you are on your cannabis journey. We are sensitive, as well, to the numerous ways that stigma, stereotypes and misconceptions around cannabis have disproportionately impacted LGBTQ+ people, as well as Black, Indigenous and people of color. 

As we said earlier, high-quality health care is a universal right. When you call the free Leaf411 hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us via our homepage during hotline hours, you can expect to be treated with respect and sensitivity.

Not ready to call? Sign up for our newsletter below to stay up-to-date with Leaf411 events and initiatives.


Leaf411 Founding Member Spotlight: Stanley Brothers Announces New ReCreate Brand

Leaf411 is Excited to Share ReCreate COVID Relief Program Details

Learn how you can get one of the new ReCreate cannabis tinctures for $1

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

At Leaf411, we’re continually looking for ways to improve accessibility and affordability of cannabis for those in need. This includes marijuana containing over 0.3% THC which is sold in dispensaries in states that have legalized medical or adult-use cannabis, as well as non-intoxicating CBD hemp products which are federally legal.

ReCreate COVID Rel19F (relief) logo for the $1 cannabis tincture program

We’re excited today to share details about the Stanley Brothers ReCreate COVID Relief Program as part of their new ReCreate cannabis product line launch. Stanley Brothers is a founding member of the Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline. The family-based company developed the Charlotte’s Web CBD hemp brand that has changed countless peoples’ lives for the better. Now they’re bringing that same ethos to their marijuana product line with ReCreate.

Keep reading to learn more about the wellness-focused ReCreate product line, as well as how to claim your 15 ml tincture for only $1 (limited to select dispensaries in Colorado and California).

Addressing Essential Cannabis Needs During Challenging Times

Stanley Brothers knew they’d face a challenge as they prepared to launch their new ReCreate brand in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. While sales figures show that people are still finding the resources to purchase cannabis, consumers are more budget-conscious, sticking with flower which is both less expensive and more familiar to most folks but may not be the best type of product for their needs.

Also, many consumers depend on budtenders to give them a heads-up on new products and how to use them. Current restrictions make this level of budtender support difficult. Cannabis manufacturers cannot send representatives into dispensaries to educate budtenders about their products due to the Coronavirus concerns. And on the other side, consumers are encouraged to limit their time in stores, including dispensaries, and to utilize online ordering, curbside pickup or delivery to minimize exposure.

Out of this challenge, Stanley Brothers saw an opportunity to provide consumers with an affordable option to try their product while acknowledging the financial hardships many people face. They also realized that consumers would need support and education on the product, leading them to reach out to the Leaf411 team for help.

Sign outside shop saying, “Open for In-store or curbside pickup,” reflecting COVID-19 restrictions.

Stanley Brothers ReCreate COVID Relief Program Launch

Starting this month, ReCreate has committed to provide $100,000 worth of tinctures to cannabis consumers in Colorado and California who have been negatively impacted by COVID-19 layoffs, furloughs, reduced income or other circumstances. In doing so, the Stanley Brothers hope to give back even more to the community, following their Charlotte’s Web giveaway of a million dollars’ worth of CBD hemp earlier this year.

“We were supposed to launch ReCreate in early summer, but we didn’t feel like selling was the right thing to do right now,” said Ashton Norrell, Director of Sales at Stanley Brothers. “The brothers decided that they wanted to give away $100,000 of the ReCreate product to genuinely help people. That’s what we’re about—helping people. That’s what we’ve always done.”

Variety of fresh and dried botanical herbs, including turmeric, which is in ReCreate Relief cannabis tincture.

ReCreate’s Botanically-Infused Cannabis Products

The ReCreate brand is different than many other products on cannabis dispensary shelves. ReCreate offers tinctures, chocolates and gummies that combine the cannabinoids THC and CBD with other Ayurvedic botanicals designed for specific purposes. For their COVID Relief Program their CBD:THC tincture products include:

The four ReCreate tinctures included in the COVID Relief Program, showing the tincture bottles and packaging.

  • ReCreate Everyday 10:1 tincture, providing an option without additional botanicals
  • ReCreate Relax 4:1 tincture with lemon balm
  • ReCreate Relief 2:1 tincture with turmeric
  • ReCreate Sleep 1:4 tincture with valerian root

How Leaf411 Can Help You Find the Best Cannabis Product for Your Needs

We know that many of you will be interested in the ReCreate COVID Relief Program but aren’t sure where to start.

At Leaf411, we believe that clinically-sound, balanced guidance should be available for everyone, regardless of their ability to pay, insurance coverage or other factors. After all, that’s why we founded Leaf411 as a non-profit, to provide a cannabis nurse hotline and many other programs as a free service to the public!

In preparation for the ReCreate launch, our nurses are standing by with details about each tincture to ensure you are guided towards the CBD:THC ratio that best meets your needs. 

We’ll be transparent and honest as we are every day.  If we don’t think the ReCreate products are a good option based on your needs, then we will give you suggestions on what may be better suited for you. In that case, we’ll do our best to help you find alternatives. Our commitment is to you—the consumer—not to a particular product or company.

Call our anonymous nurse-staffed hotline for free at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) for help selecting or using your ReCreate tincture. Of course, we can provide guidance on other cannabis products as well!

Black woman in white shirt smiling and holding out a smartphone with the Leaf411 website showing on the screen.
Casual headshot photo, with Ashton standing smiling in front of a brick wall
Ashton Norrell, Director of Sales at Stanley Brothers

More About the ReCreate Product Line

We recently chatted with Ashton at Stanley Brothers to learn more about how the new ReCreate brand came about.

“Stanley Brothers started selling THC tinctures and CBD:THC ratio tinctures about three years ago. A lot of people rely on us for those products, but we wanted to do more,” he said.

“We knew we wanted to stick with low THC and a bit more CBD. We started kicking around the idea of adding botanicals and functional mushrooms and discussing how to combine those ingredients with THC and CBD to address specific needs, like sleep,” Ashton explained.

ReCreate’s products are designed for people who may either be curious or skeptical about cannabis.

“We want to make it as easy as possible and help people not be scared to come into a dispensary. In Colorado, we have a lot of dispensaries with a wide array of high-THC products. The stigma around some of these products can be negative. When stores are promoting dab rigs and blowtorches, that can scare off people who are simply seeking relief,” he said.

The ReCreate line, on the other hand, is designed with the natural wellness crowd in mind, using familiar botanicals to further boost health benefits. Stanley Brothers is also being thoughtful about the dispensaries they are partnering with.

“We’ve always been relationship-driven and relationship-based, whether it’s people, accounts or dispensaries. It’s really important for us as a company to create relationships that will last for a long time. It’s not just saying, ‘Buy this stuff, give us some money,’” Ashton said.

How to Sign Up for Your ReCreate Cannabis Tincture

Cannabis is a highly-regulated product and cannot be given away for free by a dispensary. However, the ReCreate COVID-19 Relief Program is as close to free as possible while still staying within the bounds of the law, reducing the price of the 15 ml tinctures from their regular price ($30-$42.50 per bottle) to $1 per bottle at select dispensaries in Colorado and California.  Please note that you’ll also be responsible for paying applicable sales tax.

Here are the steps to sign up for the ReCreate Program:

  • Visit the website: https://www.recreatecannabis.com/covid19
  • Fill out the Submission Form, which asks for your name, email, state and zip code.
  • Once you submit your information, you’ll receive a confirmation email with a coupon you’ll need to present at one of the participating cannabis dispensaries. You can search for the nearest dispensary at the bottom of the page.

Close-up of hand holding a tincture bottle dropper, showing how easy it is to adjust your cannabis tincture dose drop by drop.

How to Use Cannabis Tinctures

Once you’re back home with your ReCreate tincture, you might have questions about how to use it.

Cannabis tinctures are designed to be ingested. They come in a bottle with a dropper that allows for precise dosing. They can be used by placing drops under your tongue. Some of the THC and other plant compounds may be absorbed directly into your bloodstream, but most of the product is absorbed through swallowing. Tinctures also work well mixed into already prepared foods like sauces and soups, or warm beverages like coffee or tea.

We always recommend that you start with a very low dose and go slow when trying any new cannabis product. For most tinctures, our nurses suggest starting with ¼ of the suggested serving size with the expectation that you may not feel anything quite yet. This low dose ensures that you don’t take too much for what your intended use is.  It’s always best to slowly increase your dose, journal your experience, wait anywhere from one to two hours to feel the effects and call the Leaf411 nurse hotline with any questions. Please Note: Tinctures are not designed for vaping! The carrier oils can be dangerous if inhaled via a vape device.

Sign Up for the Leaf411 Newsletter to Stay Up-to-Date on Future Affordability Initiatives

Next month, Leaf411 will be rolling out new initiatives to address the need for education, access and affordability. Sign up for our newsletter below to be the first to learn about these exciting new developments!


Recognizing Our Fallen Heroes on Memorial Day

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

While this Memorial Day will be different than most, the true meaning of the holiday remains the same—to honor military service members who died in service to our country.

At Leaf411, we also acknowledge the service members who’ve perished on a different front, as a result of the long-term effects of combat. 

Mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety and depression haunt many veterans long after they have returned home. In addition, chronic pain from past injuries can wear down even the toughest of warriors over time.

Black and white image of a stressed-out veteran in casual clothes, sitting with his head buried in his hands.

Unfortunately, these realities may drive some veterans to feel there are no alternatives for relief. Many veterans describe their frustration from going down a rabbit hole of conventional pharmaceuticals, where more and more medications are prescribed to counteract side effects from other medications. The end result often leaves them feeling like a zombie, as former Army Specialist Leo Bridgewater describes in this news article

Bridgewater was fortunate to discover cannabis as an effective alternative to the pharmaceuticals that the Veteran’s Administration (VA) “passes out like candy” in his words. He continues to advocate for veterans’ access to cannabis and even collaborated with a New Jersey cannabis cultivator to develop a new chemovar (strain) with a mix of terpenes designed with veterans’ needs in mind.

Sadly, for some of our heroes, cannabis remains out of reach either due to stigma or federal restrictions and suicide begins to appear to be the only option for relief. According to Veterans Administration data, the suicide rate among military veterans is 1.5 times the non-military veteran rate in the United States. Every day, over 15 veterans complete a suicide attempt.

Veterans and Cannabis: Fighting for Effective Plant-Based Alternatives

Veterans like Ron Millward who founded Balanced Veterans, Ryan Foster and Kevin Ogar at The Reville Project , and the leaders of Veterans for Natural Rights embrace a more holistic approach which can include cannabis to treat the veterans’ physical and mental wounds. Many of them have lost fellow soldiers to suicide. They are fierce advocates for veterans’ access to cannabis as an alternative to pharmaceutical treatment.

Are you curious to learn more about how veterans have benefited from cannabis? Check out this 21st Century Cannabis panel hosted by GoFire to hear veterans’ firsthand experiences using cannabis to manage PTSD, depression, insomnia and chronic pain.

Sign saying “Support Medical Marijuana” held above a crowd during a public event.
The U.S. Capitol, where several bills are being considered to improve veterans’ access to medical cannabis.

Current Legislative Action to Expand Research and Veterans’ Access to Cannabis

Research supports the value of cannabis as an effective, safe alternative for veterans who are suffering from PTSD and chronic pain. In March 2020, two bills moved forward in the House of Representatives that would expand research on cannabis’s therapeutic potential to treat PTSD and chronic pain (HR 712), and would allow VA doctors to recommend medical marijuana cards in states with legal marijuana (HR 1647). Currently, VA doctors are restricted from recommending medical marijuana, even in states where it is legal, due to the fact that cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. You can find more details about HR 712 and HR 1647 here.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has created delays in all kinds of important legislation moving forward, including these two bills, veterans like Sensible Colorado’s Kevin Grimsinger and Adam Smith will doubtlessly continue the fight to improve both access and research into cannabis as a safe, effective treatment alternative for veterans.

Holidays Can Be Tough for Survivors

Even in the best of times, holidays can be tough for survivors who’ve lost friends or loved ones.

For veterans, this year’s Memorial Day may be especially difficult due to COVID-19 restrictions. Community events that allow us to get together, reminisce, and celebrate, like the Colorado Veterans Project Memorial Day Run, have been delayed or cancelled.

At Leaf411, it means not being able to meet with our community in person at events like last fall’s Veterans’ Day pop-up at Seed & Smith dispensary. While we have several exciting virtual events in the works, not being able to hear your stories in person and give a hug or a handshake is difficult.

If you’re a veteran who finds yourself struggling this Memorial Day, we encourage you to reach out for help. Find a trusted resource, or call the US Department of Veterans Affairs sponsored Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255, or chat them via their website.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is also available 24 hours a day at at 1-800-273-8255 for anyone who is in crisis. The people staffing the lifeline care and are eager to help—you are not burdening them by calling!

Leaf411 is also here for you. While we’re not qualified to provide crisis services (we’ll refer you to the professionals at the Veterans Crisis Line or Lifeline), we do have the background and clinical experience to provide guidance on how to use cannabis for PTSD, anxiety, chronic pain or other conditions. Call our FREE hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our homepage during hotline hours.

Our guidance goes far beyond what you’ll find on anonymous internet forums. Check out last week’s Leaf411 blog post to see an example of how we triage and provide guidance tailored to individual needs.

Katherine stands smiling at the Leaf411 informational table, ready to help veterans with their questions. Katherine a fully-licensed cannabis-trained nurse.
Leaf 411 Co-Founder and CEO/ED Katherine Golden, RN, at the November 2019 Veteran’s Day pop-up event at Seed & Smith dispensary.
Smaller rocks forming an arch between two larger rocks near the ocean, representing finding balance in summertime.

Welcoming Summer and Looking Forward to New Initiatives

At Leaf411, we’re wishing all of you a safe and healthy Memorial Day, which also marks the traditional kickoff for summer. No doubt that it will be more important than ever this summer to find balance. For many of us, cannabis is one of the tools we rely upon to achieve this.

That’s one reason we’re excited about several upcoming initiatives we’re working on to make cannabis more accessible and affordable for patients. We’re not quite ready to share details yet, but encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter so you can be the first to know as these new programs roll out. Sign up for our Leaf411 newsletter below! 

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Cannabis and COVID-19: Do You Need to Change Your Cannabis Routine?

A Detailed Look at How Leaf411 Cannabis Nurses Help You Find the Best Cannabis and CBD Hemp Products for Improved Mental Health

Headshot of Leaf411’s Jennifer Axcell smiling in sunny outdoor setting.
Jennifer Axcell, Co-Founder and COO of Leaf411

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

Leaf411 co-founder and COO Jennifer Axcell has a lot of experience in using cannabis to effectively manage chronic pain and PTSD she suffered many years ago as a result of a car crash. She previously shared her story in our very first Leaf411 blog post.

But when coronavirus hit, Jennifer’s PTSD crept back up as stay-at-home restrictions and uncertainty took hold.

“I was struggling, I couldn’t eat or stop crying. I was not feeling like myself. Nothing seemed to help—not even my normal cannabis products. I was afraid that I would have to go back on the same pharmaceuticals that I’d used years ago, along with their terrible side effects,” Jennifer said. 

Instead, Jennifer decided to first check in with her friend and Leaf411 co-founder/CEO Katherine Golden, RN, to get her input. Katherine quickly recognized that a change was needed.

An Inside View of the Leaf411 Cannabis Hotline Triage Process

“When I spoke to Jennifer that day, I triaged her just like I would a caller on the hotline,” Katherine said.

Those triage questions included:

  • What is your daily cannabis consumption? 
  • How many milligrams of CBD and in what form (CBD hemp product, isolate, etc.) do you use?
  • How many milligrams of THC and what type? (Knowing the brand helps us look at the terpene profile if any) 
  • How did this cannabis routine help you prior to this sudden change and what have you done differently since?
  • Describe your feelings when using the products. (This is good to know when trying to figure out someone’s tolerance).

Katherine sits in front of the Leaf411 Hotline banner, wearing a computer headset
Katherine Golden, RN, Co-Founder and CEO of Leaf411, shown during a recent webinar. Katherine is one of several Leaf nurses who staff the hotline.
Durban Poison tincture bottle with product details: 100 mg THC olive oil infusion with 18:1 THC:THCV ratio
Conscious Medz Durban Poison strain-specific tincture

After obtaining all the necessary pieces of the puzzle, Katherine was able to determine that:

  1. Jennifer had continued to increase her CBD hemp from 25mg/day to 50mg or more/day thinking she needed to consume more to reduce her anxiety. She knew that CBD could have biphasic effects (having the opposite effects when used in higher doses), though she thought this occured only with much higher doses than she was taking. CBD can actually worsen conditions or be completely ineffective when used too much, which to Katherine sounded exactly what Jennifer was experiencing. Her CBD was no longer working at the higher level, so Katherine suggested she reduce down to 10-20mg/day BUT also try a tiny amount of THC for its uplifting effects.

    Katherine suggested our business member Conscious Medz product Durban Poison tincture since it has a nice amount of limonene (shows benefits for anxiety and depression) plus a large amount of terpinolene which shows to be very uplifting for daytime use. She suggested that Jennifer only use a micro dose of 2.5mg to start, which should avoid any type of impairment but would be a high enough dose to lift her spirits.

Remedy 1:1 ratio indica tincture bottle with product details: Olive oil infusion with THC and CBD
Conscious Medz Remedy 1:1 Indica Tincture

  1. Jennifer had switched from her THC inhalation (due to COVID precautions) to an edible. The product she was using was made from a distillate with minimal other compounds and no added terpenes. It worked for her prior to the increased stress, but Katherine knew that Jennifer needed something that had a chemovar that included its terpene profile. Katherine suggested Conscious Medz again since their Remedy tincture is a 1:1 Indica with a wonderful amount of sedating terpenes. Katherine again suggested starting with a micro dose and increasing one drop at a time each night until an optimal dose was reached. This meant reaching the point of sedation with a small amount of euphoria and also having the terpenes that benefit anxiety.

This regimen ended up being the perfect combination. 

“After five hours of taking the Conscious Medz Durban Poison tincture, I cracked my first smile in as many days,” Jennifer said.

Jennifer continued, “The biggest ‘aha’ moment for me was looking at the terpene profile. I know I am not the only patient who tends to focus on cannabinoid content (because those are always listed clearly on the packaging) and had forgotten the role that terpenes play. That’s one of the things I like about the Conscious Medz productsthe terpenes are clearly listed on the packaging.”

Jennifer’s new cannabis regimen is a huge shift from where she started and has been for years, which was being an extremely educated inhalation user, to realizing that even small amounts (micro doses) of the right chemovars and cannabinoid ratios may work well for her body’s supplement needs.

Now, Jennifer is feeling better mentally and physically. However, she knows that many others are facing similar challenges as they find their normal cannabis consumption is no longer providing the good sleep, relaxation or pain relief that it has in the past.

An African-American mother sitting on a sofa, stressed with her head down in her hand while her kids run around the living room.

Why Your Usual Stress Relief Routine May No Longer Work

We all have routines that help get us through normal times, but many of those routines have either been interrupted or overwhelmed by the last few months of change.

Anxiety is at an all-time high, according to research. We’re worried about our own health and especially that of our family and friends. We’re worried about how COVID-19 will impact our children’s education. We’re worried about our finances and the economy.

Many of our usual tools for dealing with stress and anxiety are not available—no trips to the gym, weekend brunch outings, or get-togethers with friends to commiserate and provide in-person support. While many resources have moved online, it’s a tough transition.

That means the tools we do have left—including CBD hemp (containing less than 0.3% THC and legal at the federal level) as well as marijuana (containing over 0.3% THC and sold at dispensaries in legal states)—have a lot of heavy lifting to do!

Close-up of colorful CBD hemp gummies and marijuana flower (buds) scattered on the tabletop.

Reassessing Your Cannabis and CBD Hemp Needs

Perhaps in the past, you only consumed marijuana or CBD hemp edibles every once in a while to help with sleep after a stressful workday, but now you’re finding that you’re using edibles every night.

As you can see from Jennifer’s example, everyone is different when it comes to the challenges they are facing and the potential for CBD hemp or marijuana to help. Our Leaf nurses have specialized training to thoroughly assess your needs and provide guidance for safe, effective plant-based medicine that’s tailored to your needs. Call us via our toll-free hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our homepage during hotline hours.

An African-American mother and her daughter doing yoga together, sitting in easy pose with eyes closed, representing other wellness strategies.

Embracing Other Wellness Strategies and Support

We often remind people that cannabis is only one of many tools in your toolbox. The power of cannabis is amplified by other supportive practices, from good nutrition to exercise and mindfulness.

Going back to the sleep example, we suggest not only looking at your cannabis use but also your other nighttime routines. Perhaps you always scanned through social media before going to bed. However, with the current public discourse often leading to online arguments, you might find you need to sign from social media in evenings instead of winding up in a debate with some internet stranger.

In Jennifer’s case, in addition to updating her cannabis regimen, she also committed to taking breaks from daily news and social media, which also helped.

Smiling African-American nurse in blue scrubs making a phone symbol with her hand, reminding readers that the Leaf411 hotline welcomes your calls.

Leaf411 Can Help You Find the Best CBD Hemp or Marijuana Regimen for Your Needs

The current COVID-19 pandemic has interrupted ongoing health routines while also drastically increasing anxiety and stress, which take a toll on both physical and mental health.

Many “canna-curious” folks are deciding that now is the time to give either legal marijuana or CBD hemp a try as an alternative for stress relief or wellness.

And for experienced consumers, many are wondering if a different cannabis chemovar (strain) or product type might provide better results when dealing with our current times.

Our cannabis-trained fully-licensed Leaf nurses can help! Give us a call at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our homepage during hotline hours. 

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Our Top April 2020 Hotline Questions: Cannabis and COVID-19

Cannabis Users’ Questions as the COVID-19 Pandemic Progressed

As the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, so did your questions. Today, our Founder and CEO Katherine Golden, RN, shares some of the most common types of cannabis and hemp CBD questions the hotline received over the past few months. Katherine also talks about why the questions that she and other Leaf nurses are currently receiving gives her hope as we all adapt to changing circumstances brought about by COVID-19.

When COVID-19 first came to Colorado, there were still many, many unknowns with the virus. Guidance at the national, state and local levels seemed to be changing on a daily basis.

At Leaf411, we immediately sprung into action to do all we could to support both our community members and the cannabis industry as a whole.

Old-fashioned red telephone handsets representing busy COVID-19 hotlines.

After hearing that many health hotlines were being overwhelmed with questions about coronavirus, we expanded our hotline’s scope to respond to general questions about coronavirus. We also took cues based on caller questions and developed marijuana dispensary preparedness plans and resources, which are discussed below.

Portable credit card machine held in a gloved hand, showing precautions marijuana dispensaries take to keep customers and employees safe.

The First Round of Cannabis Consumer Questions: Product Safety

On our hotline, we began receiving questions focused on callers’ immediate concerns around access and product safety. Colorado and other states with legal cannabis designated cannabis as essential which ensured access; however, one big question remained: How do I know my product is safe?

CBD hemp consumers and legal marijuana consumers were worried about potential virus exposure via product packaging. They also had many questions about how to ensure product manufacturers, in-person and online retailers, and legal marijuana dispensaries were safely handling products prior to sale.

In response, we provided the latest information based on Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO) guidance, translating those recommendations to the cannabis space.

We also developed preparedness plans and resources for both our supporting members and other non-member dispensaries.

Colorful cannabis edible gummies stacked next to a cannabis leaf.

Changing Cannabis Questions: Concerns about CBD and COVID-19

Legal marijuana dispensaries and CBD hemp sellers did a good job developing safety plans for both their employees and customers, often going above and beyond state mandates for essential businesses. Once customers became familiar with the new protocols, their concerns about product and packaging safety subsided.

However, as everyone’s understanding of COVID-19 continued to grow, research emerged that nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen could worsen COVID-19 symptoms. This issue is still being discussed and debated in the clinical research community. Like many things with COVID-19, we are still very much in the learning phase.

As research on NSAIDS and COVID-19 began circulating in the news, we started fielding calls on the hotline from people who use CBD for its anti-inflammatory properties. Many people have success using CBD to manage symptoms related to osteoarthritis and inflammatory pain. Did they need to change course to reduce their risk of developing serious coronavirus symptoms?

On the Leaf411 hotline, our guidance is always driven by both the research and the unique needs of each caller, so we can’t give a one-size-fits-all answer here. 

However, this resource may help, if you have general questions about cannabis and COVID-19. 

Also, our fully-licensed Leaf nurses are available to answer your specific questions at no cost to you at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).

Clinician wearing PPE holds up a chest x-ray, looking closely for signs of COVID-19 infection.

Cannabis and Lung Health During the Coronavirus Pandemic

COVID-19 is a respiratory virus primarily affecting the lungs. When the virus began to spread, we anticipated that many cannabis users would switch over to non-inhaled products—things like edibles or tinctures.

The reality has been more complicated than that. It’s true that sales figures for edibles (which include tinctures) are strong. However, flower (bud) also remains very popular.

Some industry experts think this is because cannabis flower is the equivalent of a comfort food. Most peoples’ first cannabis experiences were smoking flower, and in times of uncertainty people go back to what they know and trust.

Other people are moving forward with trying new cannabis consumption methods. On the Leaf411 hotline, we’ve heard from people who are navigating the switch from smokable to ingested cannabis products.

It can be difficult to figure out how much to start with, when changing from a flower product containing about 25% THC to an edible with 10 mg THC per piece. Add on to that the fact that inhaled THC enters your bloodstream more quickly while edible products pass through the digestive system and are changed by your metabolic practices. This means using flower versus edible can be very different in how quickly it hits, how long it lasts, and how intensely effects are felt.

Close-up of hand holding joint offering it to another person, with the other person’s hand up declining, choosing other cannabis consumption methods instead.

Cannabis Consumption Methods: Questions About Moving from Flower to Edibles

The switch from smokable to edible cannabis products isn’t as straightforward as you’d think, even for experienced cannabis users. The calls we’ve received on the hotline underscore the importance of understanding product dosing, and starting low and going slow when switching to edibles and tinctures.

In one case, we received a call from someone who assumed that an entire cannabis-infused chocolate bar equaled one dose. In fact, each square of the cannabis chocolate bar was a separate dose!

It’s an easy mistake to make, considering that grocery store candy bars count as a single serving. Unfortunately, in this caller’s case, their mistake meant that they used more cannabis than intended. While this isn’t life-threatening, it can result in a negative experience.

Due to social distancing practices, you may not be able to chat with your budtender about different products like you did in the past.

At Leaf411, we can help! Our cannabis-trained, fully licensed registered nurses know how flower and edibles differ in timing and dosing. Whether you’re planning an online dispensary order, or just returned home with a new product, we can with any questions you have at our free hotline: 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411). We’re also available via online chat. Look for the chat feature on the bottom of our website home page.

Young African-American man wearing a casual denim shirt and a surgical mask, with hands outstretched in asking gesture.

Our Latest Cannabis Hotline Questions: A Return to Routine Health Concerns

The COVID-19 virus will be a presence in our world for the foreseeable future. The latest calls to our Leaf411 hotline reflect this new reality. The anxiety and fear are still there, but it’s no longer an emergent issue demanding all of our attention. This shift in focus is an encouraging sign, showing that people are finding balance and perspective despite challenging times.

People are shifting their focus back to ongoing health concerns, and medical facilities are opening back up for routine care and elective procedures. (It’s important to note that “elective” includes a wide range of procedures, including joint replacements, biopsies, and even some cancer treatments!) 

As people return to routine care and undergo elective procedures, we’re hearing more questions about cannabis as an alternative for managing health conditions. We’re also getting questions about using cannabis both prior to and after surgery.

Of course, you’ll always want to share your medical history, including cannabis use, with your doctor prior to any surgery or medical treatment. You should also talk with your primary provider ahead of time about your goal to use cannabis as an alternative to opioids following surgery.

If you need help with talking points or research to share with your provider, give us a call at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411). Our Leaf nurses understand the clinical research supporting cannabis and can help you find the right resources and research to share with your doctor.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Leaf411 Supporting Member Interview: Coree Schmitz, General Manager, Stillwater Ripple

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

At Leaf411, we love sharing our supporting members’ stories. We really do believe that our members are the best in the cannabis industry, and hope that you’ll consider supporting them when shopping.

The Stillwater Ripple brand was inspired by one of the co-founder’s grandmothers who was looking for alternatives to help with pain, but was scared by the available options at the time

From that need, Ripple was born. Ripple is a water-soluble, dissolvable powder that can be added to beverages or foods, providing a consistent, easily-adjusted dose of cannabis compounds, including tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) as well as cannabidiol (CBD).

Headshot of Coree Schmitz smiling, wearing glasses and a green dress shirt

We recently chatted via Zoom with Coree Schmitz, General Manager, about what makes Ripple products different, new products they’re rolling out, and how they’re maintaining safe operations during COVID-19. Nikki Kujawski, Senior Brand Manager, also tagged along virtually.

But before we got into the specifics of Coree’s work at Ripple, we couldn’t resist asking about one particular past job on her resume—cheesemonger!

From Startups to Cheesemonger to Cannabis

We’re always impressed by past experiences that people bring to their roles in cannabis, and Coree is no exception. 

“I had joined the startup community, and unfortunately the company I worked at went under. I was just like everybody else. You wallow in self-pity for about 24 hours, and then you realize that time is one of the better gifts you can ever have,” Coree said about the opportunity the layoff provided.

Peering inside a well-stocked cheese shop with various cheese wheels and signs showing cheese name and price.

“I literally showed up at the cheese shop closest to my house in Denver and said ‘I want to learn how to be a cheesemonger. Will you let me come in here and do this?’”

“I worked at the cheese shop for four to five days a week for about six months while I was job searching. Most damn fun I’ve ever had working. I mean cannabis is really fun. But slinging cheese is a great career path if you can make it work,” she said.

“I still buy from that cheese shop every week. Right now, everybody’s worried about their local small businesses and making sure that those small businesses are still supported. And so I decided to start doing a ‘Cheeses of Quarantine’ social media push. I’ve spent way more time in quarantine talking about cheese than almost anything else,” Coree said, laughing.

Solo kayaker navigating rapids, representing the effort and skill needed to navigate the cannabis industry.

Navigating the Rapidly Changing Cannabis Industry

It was Coree’s experience in the startup community, though, that has translated to success in the cannabis industry.

“Being able to keep your head in times of chaos and prioritize what the business needs in order to succeed is really beneficial. We all know that cannabis is very typical of a startup industry. But because it is cannabis, there are quickly moving changes in legislation and expansions. My background prepared me to be able to pivot very quickly, communicate quickly to the team on what we need to be successful, and prioritize those things to make sure we’re keeping up with the market and growing.”

Maintaining a Steady Hand During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The typical chaos of working in an evolving industry like cannabis is magnified by the current uncertainties brought about by COVID-19. We asked Coree how the pandemic-related restrictions were impacting operations at Ripple.

“Literally every industry has been shaken down to their core operations, asking how we are going to stay successful while also keeping everybody safe. The safety of your employees and your consumers are forever number one and always paramount. As an essential business, we’re very fortunate that we were given the opportunity to follow the guidelines issued by the CDC, the WHO and the governor, and still allow people to come to work,” Coree said.

She went on to describe precautions that Stillwater Ripple has put in place, including requiring employees who are able to work remotely to do so, along with six foot social distancing, masks and other operational changes to keep employees safe.

“What I am most proud of from the company founders is that we voluntarily opted to offer catastrophe pay to our hourly team. It can be a challenging decision whether or not to come in and make your hourly rate or stay home when you’re ill. We really wanted to make sure that our team members, regardless of their position, were empowered to stay home if they felt like they had symptoms or even if they were worried they had been exposed even at second and third levels. Or if their kiddos were at home and there wasn’t a childcare option. We made sure that people were financially sound enough that they could stay home. That’s been one of our biggest modifications of our regular process,” Coree said.

Hands covered by disposable blue nitrile gloves making a heart, in recognition of cannabis essential workers during COVID-19

Acknowledging Ripple’s Essential Workers

Many of our Leaf411 supporting members talk about their employees like family, and Ripple is no different. 

In fact, Ripple has been running an uplifting “Ripple Hero” series mixed in with their regular posts on Facebook and Instagram featuring staff from the production side of Ripple’s operations. If you’ve ever been curious about the types of people who work in the cannabis industry, it’s worth checking out. 

During our interview, Coree shared that, “Like any industry, right now our staff are nervous. They’re nervous about the economic impact of jobs lost. They’re nervous about the economic impact on small businesses. The best we can do is meet people where they’re at and share our plan for keeping our team employed. At this time, we see no reason why we would need to lay off or furlough any of our employees. It’s very important to us that we keep everybody safe. It’s also very important to us that we provide a right to livelihood.”

What Makes Ripple Cannabis Products Different

When we asked Coree what makes Ripple different, product consistency, dependability and versatility were all at the top of her mind.

“I’m never going to be the person who tells you how cannabis is going to affect you. But what I can tell you is you can count on Stillwater to give you that same experience every time.” 

Coree explained that when it comes to pharmaceuticals, beverages or other products, people expect a consistent experience. This expectation drives Ripple products as well.

“We want to offer the same level of consistency and dependability within the cannabis space. We believe that’s what really truly differentiates us,” she said.

While many cannabis edible products on the market are developed to be the stars of their own show (think chocolates, gummies and beverages), Ripple’s main product is a water-soluble powder that can easily be added to foods and beverages. Ripple is designed to absorb very quickly, with effects felt within 15 to 30 minutes.

“Since the beginning, both consistency and testing of our own assumptions have been core to what made this company special and what keeps us pushing forward to offer what we believe is the most versatile product that you can get on the edibles market,” Coree said.

Coree explained that, “Our products allow consumers to incorporate cannabis into their daily routine in the way that they want at the dose that they want.”

“We were one of the first companies to offer microdosing somewhat before microdosing was a term or concept,” Coree said.

Microdosing is based on emerging cannabis research showing that often people need only a very small dose of THC (less than 5 mg) to gain needed benefits or relief. Dr. Dave Gordon talked about the benefits of starting with a low dose in his interview with Leaf411 last year. Our Leaf Library also has an entire section dedicated to microdosing at this link.

Ripple products: Relief high-CBD with a green label; Pure THC-only with a blue label; and Balanced 1:1 ratio with a purple label

Coree said, “From the beginning of Ripple, there have been multiple doses so people can choose their right dose. For some people, a 10 milligram dose is a casual dose that they use to go to bed. For other people like me, 10 milligrams is going to make me incapable of doing whatever else I was going to do that day. Our product’s versatility allows people to have the dosages to use appropriately.”

“Also, Ripple is a water-soluble, relatively tasteless, odorless powder. We’ve heard from people who pour it straight on their tongue all the way up to people who make precisely dosed muffins with it. We heard from people who make their own mocktails with it. We have people who mix our Ripple Relief, which is almost all CBD, into their coffee in the morning,” she said.

“You don’t have to have bongwater-flavored coffee to incorporate cannabis into your routine. You can have regular coffee that you put a little bit of water-soluble powder in, the same as you would put your collagen in or whatever else makes up your morning routine,” Coree explained.

Cannabis Innovation: Ripple’s New QuickSticks

“We had a lot of consumer feedback that people were just dropping Ripple on their tongues because it was the easiest way to use it. We really wanted to make a product that would be easier for folks,” Coree said.

“Our new QuickSticks are made with Ripple but consist of a dissolvable that you drop directly on your tongue. Ripple is already a fast-acting product, but this will probably be the quickest acting product that’s going to be on the market. It’s water soluble, which means that you’re going to feel the effects a lot quicker,” Coree said.

Ripple QuickSticks: Blueberry Pom flavored Pure; Gingerberry flavored Balanced 1:1 ratio; and Mint Chocolate flavored high-CBD Relief

Coree described the three different QuickSticks flavors that Ripple is rolling out: Pure (the THC product) will be available in blueberry pom; the 1:1 THC:CBD Balance in gingerberry; and the CBD-dominant Relief in chocolate mint.

“We are hoping to soft launch the new products around May. We’ll be leaning on a lot of online tools during the launch as well. It’s challenging us to really switch gears and think outside the box,” Coree said.

Hands holding phone and laptop showing different online cannabis education options--webinar, eLearning, online education

Providing Online Cannabis Consumer and Budtender Education

COVID-19 restrictions have made existing in-person education strategies difficult, if not outright impossible.

Ripple is adapting to the new landscape by transitioning online training options, since their company representatives can no longer meet with budtenders in person to share product information. 

Coree also talked about the value that their partnership with Leaf411 provides, especially when it comes to consumer questions.

“At Ripple, what we’re trying to do is provide the information we feel qualified to provide and to also point people towards sources of information that we believe to be true. We have partnerships with people like Leaf411 where we will always point medical questions. In no universe, will I ever answer a medical question because I don’t believe myself to be qualified to do so,” she said.

You can check out an example of Ripple’s new education initiative at this link, which features product information, budtender insights and even our own Leaf411 CEO Katherine Golden, RN

Two hands holding paper with word “Community” reflecting how the cannabis community is working together

How Cannabis is Different: Supporting Others Across the Industry

Recently, Stillwater Ripple hosted a “Cannabis Safety During Corona” featuring Leaf411 CEO Katherine Golden, RN, along with Shannon Fender, Director of Public Affairs at Native Roots; Bob Eschino, Co-Founder and President of Medically Correct; and Nikki Kujawski, Senior Brand Manager of Ripple.

Nikki, who played a lead role in the webinar, was hanging out during our Zoom interview with Coree.

As we talked about the webinar, Nikki noted that, “Cannabis is an industry that’s always been different. Historically, Ripple and Medically Correct’s incredibles brand would be competitors. But we’re both over the moon about working together. We’ve been able to make sure everyone is supporting each other right now. I’m really excited to see how companies are stepping up and showing people that they matter.”

Green neon cross outside of a medical marijuana dispensary, indicating that cannabis is an essential need and is open for business.

Cannabis as an Essential Business in Colorado and Beyond

Colorado, like most other states with legal cannabis, deemed both medical and adult-use (recreational) dispensaries as essential businesses that were allowed to remain open during stay at home restrictions.

However, at first the City of Denver said that adult-use dispensaries and liquor stores would not qualify as essential, prompting three hours of panic-buying before Denver’s mayor reversed course.

Looking back on that day, Coree said, “When Denver County attempted to delineate medical versus recreational, consumers did a very clear job of communicating how they feel about cannabis. Cannabis is very much considered a critical and essential piece of people’s daily lives. For those that maybe don’t understand cannabis as well, perhaps they will realize that there are a fair amount of medical patients that still shop recreational dispensaries which have different products.”

There’s also a belief that the cannabis industry in Colorado is primarily tourist-driven, though the recent travel restrictions and stay-at-home orders are proving a strong local market exists as well.

“I’m optimistic that we will be able to show how many local consumers we have—that cannabis isn’t just a tourism industry in Colorado. There is not any tourism happening right now, which means the cannabis industry will have a chance to really speak to the strength of the local market,” Coree said.

Hand holding smart phone with dialog bubbles coming out representing Leaf411’s online chat option.

The Need for Cannabis Consumer Education Continues

Many manufacturers, dispensaries and CBD hemp retailers are rolling out online education via webinars, eLearning modules or even online chats. At Leaf411, we’re encouraged to see these companies recognize that product education is an important part of the overall customer experience.

However, very few–if any–of those resources have the clinical training to answer your specific health questions about cannabis. 

Our fully-licensed Leaf411 hotline nurses do have that training! Our non-profit hotline provides free information and guidance on using CBD hemp and legal marijuana for wellness and relief. Whether you are concerned about potential medication interactions with cannabis, or just wondering where to start, we can help. 

Call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) at no cost to have your questions answered by one of our fully-licensed RNs. We’re also available via online chat. Look for the chat feature on the bottom of our website home page.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Leaf 411 Supporting Member: Nancy Whiteman, CEO, Wana Brands

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

At Leaf411, we love sharing our supporting members’ stories. We really do believe that our members are the best in the cannabis industry, and hope that you’ll consider supporting them when choosing where to shop and the brand you would like to try!

Nancy standing smiling in Wana Brands production facility, with trays of cannabis gummies on the table in front of her.
Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands

Wana Brands recently joined Leaf411 as a supporting member. Their mission is to help people enhance their lives physically, creatively and emotionally through the responsible use of cannabis. We recently checked in with Nancy Whiteman, CEO of Wana Brands, to learn how their mission translates to their products and the work they do in the community.

Q: Let’s start with some general questions about the work you’re doing every day in your organization and your community. You started out in the corporate world, before moving into cannabis 10 years ago. How did your past experience help shape Wana Brands?

Before co-founding Wana Brands, I was a principal with The Whiteman Group, a sales and marketing consultancy, and previously held a range of senior level marketing and business development positions including Vice President, Marketing and New Corporate Ventures for the Paul Revere Insurance Group in Massachusetts. My background in marketing and branding has definitely been very helpful in building Wana Brands. 

I always wanted to start a business, and I dreamed about launching a product-based business where my success wasn’t tied directly to how many hours I could work for a client. In 2010, when an opportunity to get into the cannabis industry presented itself, it was a no-brainer. It was exactly what I was looking for. And while I was initially driven by the business opportunity that the new cannabis industry presented, when I saw the impact that Wana Brands had on patients, that’s when I really felt the power of this industry.

Smiling older African-American man in white t-shirt doing outdoor yoga on a sunny day, representing wellness and health.

Wana is a health and wellness brand–but with a bit of a twist. 

Our tagline is “Enhance Your Life.” When we say “Enhance Your Life,” what we’re really saying is that cannabis doesn’t have to be the center of your universe but it can be one way to enhance your life. We choose “Enhance Your Life” because it speaks to what we try to provide to both medical/wellness and recreational users. 

If you are using cannabis for health and wellness reasons, Wana’s products improve the quality of life through pain relief and other symptom management. If you are an adult-use or recreational consumer, Wana helps enhance the activities you already love doing whether it’s being with friends and family, listening to music, being in nature or having a great meal. Health and wellness is holistic and addresses more than just the physical being. Wana’s brand story is wellness in its broadest definition.

Q: What differentiates Wana from other marijuana infused product manufacturers?

What differentiates Wana is the ability to leverage a decade of tried-and-true cannabinoid expertise along with our premium best-selling edibles recipes. Our greatest investment has been in refining and perfecting the Wana Gummie Recipe. It can be challenging to mask the bitterness of cannabis and hemp oil, but Wana Brands has dedicated extensive resources to perfecting our recipe, which is vegan, gluten free, all natural and kosher certified. 

We are committed to continually learning and evolving the science of product development. We have chosen to align ourselves with best-in-class partners for leading edge products including the industry’s only extended release formula, proprietary terpene blends for flavor and effect, and the most effective quick onset technology that we could find. We also spend a lot of time and energy thinking about where the industry is going and trying to make sure that Wana products are reflecting that. I think that over time, that will become the big differentiator in the industry–brands that are keeping track of the science and incorporating it into what they’re doing versus brands that are just making a product and hoping for the best.

Wood letter dice with “G-M-P” standing for Good Manufacturing Practices, which Wana Brands follows.

We want consumers to be 100% comfortable that they are consuming a product that is safe, professionally made and consistent. Safety is incredibly important to Wana Brands. Even though cannabis is not yet federally regulated, we have implemented the highest standards in food safety and compliance programs and are one of the first edibles companies to produce in line with current Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP) and HACCP food safety practices. From our very first batch of products in 2010, every Wana product has been tested for potency even before it was required by regulation. 

Finally, I hope that as we continue to communicate our focus on education, thought leadership and social responsibility, that consumers see will turn to Wana as a trusted brand that is committed to improving their health and the wellness of the world through cannabis.

Q: What are some Wana products you’re especially excited about?

Wana Brands has a long history of advancing technical and scientific innovation in order to perfect its products’ medicinal efficacy and ease of use. It’s also a company that remains true to its original belief that edibles should be a treat as much as a health supplement. And that’s why it has put so much consistent effort into ensuring that the flavors of its edibles come through, instead of the taste of the cannabis. At Wana, we’ve developed new products that have quicker onset times and more bioavailability. This includes: 

  • On the Wana Brands side (THC), Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies featuring new Happy Hour flavors launched in March 2020 and provide a novel edible experience, with an onset of 5-15 mins and Delta-9-THC effects (similar to an inhalation effect rather than an edible effect) lasting up to three hours. Traditional edibles have an onset time of up to two hours, with effects lasting up to six hours.

    The new Wana product line features an all-natural recipe, with no high fructose corn syrup. Each gummie offers 5mg of THC, with 20 gummies per package. Fast, effective and innovative, Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies harness TiME (Thermodynamic Individual Molecular Encapsulation), a new quick onset technology from Azuca. While traditional edibles convert Delta-9-THC in the digestive tract to 11-Hydroxy-THC, Wana Quick gummies feature individually encapsulated Delta-9-THC cannabinoids with greater bioavailability that work at the molecular level to bypass the liver and enter the bloodstream immediately. This means onset in less than 15 minutes for most, and a Delta-9-THC experience that lasts two to four hours.

Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummie candies and product containers shown. The containers include photos of fresh fruits and a label indicating THC.
Wana Quick Fast-Acting Gummies in Happy Hour Flavors, including the indica-infused Piña Colada with 5 mg THC per piece to help promote stress relief; the 1:1 ratio Strawberry Margarita with 5 mg CBD/5 mg THC per piece promoting relaxation and tranquility; and the sativa-infused Peach Bellini with 5 mg THC per piece, designed to have a motivating, uplifting effect.

  • On the Wana Wellness https://wanawellness.com/ side, we just launched our Wana Wellness Quick Fast-Acting Hemp Tincture, Infused with Colorado-grown broad spectrum hemp oil, Wana Wellness Quick Fast-Acting Tincture acts within 5-15 minutes. Powered by Quicksilver Scientific’s advanced nanoemulsion technology, this product is 5 times more bioavailable than traditional tinctures, making it quick and easy to keep up with your dietary needs. Leveraging functional ingredients, Wana Wellness offers three options:

We have more innovations planned. I can’t go into a lot of detail because we are in R&D but the common denominator is that our new product initiatives are all focused on helping people have more nuanced, effective and enjoyable experiences with our products. There are many variables that we are combining and tweaking including dosage, onset and the addition of terpenes, functional ingredients and rare cannabinoids. Sometimes minor changes or additions can yield very significant improvements in people’s experiences.

Wana Wellness Fast-Acting CBD Hemp Tincture product bottles with green RESTORE label, blue REST label, and purple RELAX label.
Wana Wellness RESTORE, REST, and RELAX Fast-Acting Hemp Tinctures containing broad spectrum CBD hemp and other beneficial plant compounds to support a healthy lifestyle and meet specific needs. You can learn more about these products at this link. https://wanawellness.com/store/#tinctures

Q: In addition to developing new products, you’re also working on several community-based initiatives. Can you tell us more about them?

Wana Brands has made giving back to the community a priority, and last year we implemented a formal CSR program. Knowing that we have the chance to enhance people’s lives in very specific and concrete ways keeps me motivated as well. This year, we are working with the Last Prisoner Project, so stay tuned for more news from that partnership.

Q: You recently made a very generous donation of Wana Wellness CBD hemp gummies to Leaf411. You also are offering CBD hemp gummies to your community, to help with the stress and anxiety that many of us are feeling these days. Thank you! What inspired you to take this action?

As our country grapples with COVID-19, stress levels are at an all-time high due to entire sectors being shut down, quarantines put into effect, consumers being told to shelter in place, concerns over health & wellbeing. Recently, I posted on my local NextDoor (a geographically-based neighborhood app) to see if anyone wanted free CBD gummies. I was overwhelmed with the response. Not only do lots of people want to try the gummies, many shared how anxious they are feeling for medical, financial and other reasons. It really made me realize what an enormous emotional toll this is taking on people at a new level.

Woman in casual yellow shirt views a laptop and writes on a notepad while completing online cannabis education.

Q: Wherever we go, we hear a lot about the need for trustworthy information and education. What are some ways you provide information to your community?

Wana Brands leads the industry in the development of training and education, including self-guided interactive courses, reviewed by health professionals, that cover topics such as how edibles work in the body; and explaining the endocannabinoid system. This knowledge can ensure consumers have the best possible experience when they get home from the dispensary. Wana is the gold standard for cannabis training and education, propelling sales and moving the industry forward. 

Wana also partners with best-in-class leaders such as Leaf411 and Three Wells.

We will also be developing more newsletters, educational webinars and other exciting content about Wana Brands in the near future.

Q: What are some emerging education needs you’re seeing?

With the growth of the infused product industry, education is essential to ensure that consumers have a good experience with edibles, such as Wana products. Consumers need to understand they should Start Low and Go Slow, since traditional edibles can take up to two hours to take effect and consuming too much can lead to an uncomfortable experience. As stigma around cannabis dissipates and consumers are more comfortable discussing use, understanding around cannabis consumption will increase. But first, it can be as basic as educating consumers on the difference between THC vs. CBD. The need for education can’t be stressed enough.

Q: How does your partnership with Leaf411 align with those efforts and/or your organization’s mission?

Given Wana Brands’ national footprint and the fact that Leaf411 is a national cannabis nurse hotline, we felt our missions aligned perfectly. Leaf411’s medical expertise makes it a trusted partner for Wana’s commitment to education.

Wana logo with the message, “Keeping Our Distance. But still enhancing lives with safe, quality products.”

Q: COVID-19 restrictions and precautions have very much become a part of all of our daily routines. What are some steps you’re taking to keep customers and employees safe?

On behalf of Wana Brands, I want to express our deepest concerns for everyone’s safety and wellbeing during this unprecedented time. 

We have been tracking this issue for the past few months. In the beginning of March, we began instituting safety measures that would ensure we can operate safely and still get our safe and reliable products to market for those who rely on Wana products to provide support in daily life. Following guidance and regulations from our state and national government, we have our sales, marketing and administrative staff primarily working from home. Our operations staff is working in staggered shifts and in new configurations that allow for extreme social distancing. They monitor their temperatures daily and if any employee is feeling ill, he or she is directed to stay home under our paid sick leave policy. More of our COVID-19 response is outlined in our COVID-19 alert at this link.

The April 20 Cannabis Holiday Is Over, But the Need for Cannabis Remains

A lot of people stocked up on their favorite cannabis and CBD hemp products over the past month, either in response to COVID-19 restrictions or in anticipation of 420 (April 20). April 20 is a day of celebrating all things cannabis, including the cannabis community which came together virtually this year!

But for many of us, cannabis is not so much a special event as a need to restore balance and relief to our lives. If you’re interested in checking out Wana Brands, you can find their products at our supporting members Lightshade and Smokin Gun Apothecary. Wana also includes a tool on their website to find other legal dispensaries offering their products.

We also encourage you to check out our other member interviews running on our blog throughout the month of April to learn about more great cannabis products.

Whether You’re a New Cannabis Consumer or An Experienced User, Leaf411 Can Help with Your Questions!

Our fully-licensed, cannabis-trained Leaf nurses provide nonjudgmental, medically-sound guidance and balanced information at no cost to you via our anonymous hotline: 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) 

We also offer an online chat option, which you’ll find on the bottom of our website homepage during hotline hours. 

Not ready to call or chat? That’s okay! Sign up for our newsletter below to stay caught up on the latest Leaf411 news and events.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides free, anonymous education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.


Supporting Member: Mike Tudor, CEO of Altus

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Rustning

At Leaf411, we love sharing our supporting members’ stories. We really do believe that our members are the best in the cannabis industry, and hope that you’ll consider supporting them when shopping.

Headshot of Mike Tudor, CEO at Altus, showing him in navy blazer and striped button-down shirt
Mike Tudor, CEO at Altus
Altus Blue Logo

Altus’s mission is to empower consumers to make the most educated and personal choice when selecting cannabis products. Their mission aligns well with Leaf411’s commitment to providing education and directional support tailored to individual needs.

The COVID-19 pandemic was very much on Mike Tudor’s mind when we recently caught up with him. Mike is the CEO of Lucky Edibles  and Altus, which manufacturers precisely-dosed gummies, tablets and topical products in the Colorado and Nevada adult-use cannabis markets. Altus also produces flower sold in legal dispensaries in Nevada.

Stock photo of old fashioned theater billboard that says: 1 - Social Distance; 2 - Wash Hands; 3 - Clean Surfaces

Maintaining Safe Cannabis Operations During the COVID-19 Pandemic

People are paying attention to how companies respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the same is true in the cannabis community. Is the company taking extra steps to protect employees? How are products being handled to reduce risk of infection spread?

When we talked to Mike, it was clear that he and others at Altus were deeply committed to doing all they could to ensure the safety of their employees and customers.

“We’re all struggling with the great unknown,” Mike said. “You can only hope that people take social distancing as a mantra. You flatten the curve.”

At Altus, that means limiting access to the manufacturing facility. “We’ve taken the approach that this situation is not something that we’re playing with. We’re taking (coronavirus) very, very seriously. We’re minimizing contact between people inside the plant and outside the plant. We’ve actually closed our doors to outside visitors, which is difficult,” Mike said. “Think about it—this is an industry where people are used to coming around (and visiting), and all of a sudden they can’t.”

Altus 5:1 Kiwi Gummies in the 10-count and the new 2-count packaging, which includes photos of kiwi along with product info.
Altus 5:1 Kiwi Gummies (25 mg CBD and 5 mg THC) will soon be available for sale in a two-pack.

Providing Product Information to Cannabis Consumers in the Age of Social Distancing

Most legal marijuana dispensaries have also adopted extreme social distancing practices to comply with state mandates and guidance. This means that manufacturers like Altus face new challenges in providing information about their products to budtenders.

Mike talked about this challenge as Altus prepares to roll out a new two-pack of Kiwi gummies with a 5:1 ratio of CBD to THC, as part of Altus’s Therapeutic product line.

In the past, the Altus product representatives would have visited dispensaries in person to share product benefits with budtenders. Now the reps are working from home, sharing product information when they call or email existing customers.

“We’re servicing our customers,” Mike says. “I’m making sure that we don’t stop providing service. That piece is very critical to me.”

Altus is also providing pizza, snacks and drinks to dispensaries in recognition of the work that budtenders and other frontline staff are doing to maintain consumers’ access to cannabis.

A close-up of a smiling woman standing outdoors with a fresh apple in her hand.

How an Exceptional Experience is Part of the Altus Mission

Mike’s commitment to an exceptional experience spans across not only customer service, but also the product itself. He brings an impressive food and beverage industry background to his role at Altus.

“I got into the (cannabis) industry five years ago. One of the things I found when I got into it was that many things being sold tasted terrible,” he said. “My approach has been that if you’re going to sell food, make sure it’s the best tasting there is. Because that’s what people evaluate when they buy products that they actually have to put in their mouths and taste. That’s my guiding principle.”

Regarding how his work in the cannabis industry compares to his past experiences, Mike said, “It’s been a fun, fun ride. I’ve worked with some really great people. I’ve learned different things from all of them. I’ve also taught others about what the world needs when it comes to good-tasting well-designed products.”

Altus 1:1 Blueberry Acai indica-based gummies with 5 mg CBD, 5 mg THC, and Pineapple sativa-based gummies with 10 mg THC.
Altus gummies are available in different ratios and flavors.

Creating Great-Tasting, Precisely-Dosed Cannabis Infused Products

“I have a really top notch production manager now, and I’ve been fortunate in my career to work with really sharp, smart production managers who’ve made my job a whole lot easier,” Mike said.

“We go to great lengths to make sure products are designed right. That’s been a bedrock for us, that our products are dosed properly and are tasty. If it doesn’t taste good, you’ve wasted your money.”

High fiber fruit puree is the first ingredient in Altus gummy products which are identified by one of three pillars based on their effects: Ritual; Therapeutic; and Enhance.

Altus 20:1 Ritual tablets; 50:1 Therapeutic tablets; and Sativa-based THC tablets.
Altus tablets are available across all three pillars: Ritual, Therapeutic and Enhance.

Altus tablets designed for swallowing and topicals are also available across the three pillars.

You can learn more about the product pillars on Altus’s website at this link.

Altus products are also designed for ease of use, keeping new users in mind.

“We’re coming out with a two pack of our Kiwi ratio gummy for people who want to try something different,” Mike said. This product should be available in dispensaries before the end of April.

Mike also talked about Lucky Edibles’ development of Micros tarts and mints containing two milligrams THC that allow people to easily build their own dose. 

“Some people can do two or three of these and they’re fine. For other people, one is enough. We’ve actually done quite well with the two milligram products. They taste great, and the hashy notes are masked quite well,” Mike said.

Altus 5:1 Kiwi Gummies in the new 2-count packaging, which includes photos of kiwi along with product info.
The new two-pack of 5:1 ratio Kiwi gummies will be available soon in legal dispensaries.

A Personal Perspective on Education

Mike also talked with us about the need for education, especially among older folks.

“I’m a user of CBD/THC because I have bursitis. My doctor said, ‘Yeah, if it helps you go for it,’ but he had no guidance other than offering me a steroid shot, which I refused.”

“Since I’m in the industry, my friends ask me for guidance as well. I tell them they have to understand that in the old days when we smoked, (cannabis) was 6% to 8% THC. It’s now approaching 30%. If you take a hit on somebody’s joint, you’ll be on the couch for a long time.”

Mike pointed out the value of starting low and going slow when finding your best dose, which in part drove the development of the Lucky Edibles Micros products. “You can try them and take one at a time until you feel the comfort you’re looking for.”

(As a reminder, edibles require more time to take effect than inhalation. Our Leaf nurses recommend that you wait at least two hours after ingesting an edible before deciding to use more.)

Mike pointed out the value in having doctors like Leaf411 advisory board member Dr. Dave Gordon providing education on cannabis. “I’ve attended his seminars, and it’s been fascinating listening to him,” said Mike. “He brings the educational piece. Cannabis is not just to get stoned, but is absolutely helpful medication for calming anxiety, helping appetite, and getting good sleep.”