Leaf411 Supporter Spotlight: Lori Peck, Founder and CEO of CAASI CBD

Lori Peck, Founder and CEO of CAASI CBD

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

Leaf411 recently added our first supporting member from the State of Oregon—CAASI CBD!

While our vetting process is more virtual than in the past, we were impressed with CAASI founder and CEO Lori Peck’s story about why she started her company, as well her commitment to transparency throughout the manufacturing process.

(Just a reminder: Hemp-based CBD was made federally legal by the 2018 Farm Bill which allows it to be sold online and shipped to all 50 states. In order to meet the law, CBD hemp must contain less than 0.3% THC. This is such a small amount of THC that most people don’t feel any intoxicating effects from it.)

CAASI products contain CBD isolate, which doesn’t include any THC at all. Keep reading to learn more about Lori’s motivation for developing CAASI CBD, along with what makes her product different from CBD oils you might find at the grocery store.

Moving Past Stigma to Healing

Like many people, Peck was initially skeptical about anything related to cannabis.

“I bought into the stigma of cannabis. I didn’t know anything about it and hadn’t tried it since high school when I discovered that I’m very sensitive to THC,” Peck said.

A cancer diagnosis, along with several other life-changing events, inspired Peck to take a second look at CBD hemp’s potential to boost wellness. She found that it made a difference in her own life.

Based on her own experience, Peck was exploring the idea of putting together cannabis care kits for people who were fighting cancer. She began seeking out others who shared their expertise and discovered Hustle Hard: For Women Who Mean Business, a three-day intensive designed to launch female cannabis entrepreneurs. Hustle Hard has since grown into Females to the Front.

For Peck, the Hustle Hard event was transformative. “I was blown away by the amazing smart women that I met, including chemists, scientists, nurses and doctors working in the cannabis industry. Between my own experience using CBD hemp products and what I learned at Hustle Hard, I decided this was where I wanted to focus—developing clean, plant-based products that contain as few ingredients as possible,” she said.

Pivoting into Purpose-Driven Work

Peck majored in fashion design and spent years in corporate retail before launching CAASI.

“It was not my lifelong dream to be in corporate retail, but I gained a lot of experience on how to run a business. At the same time, my work lacked purpose. People don’t need new t-shirts all the time,” Peck said.

“Now, I’m doing work that I love, proving something that will be helpful for people,” she said.

Sourcing the Best CBD Available

Not all CBD is the same. That cheap bottle of CBD you find in the convenience store may only contain a fraction of the promised CBD, or it may have been manufactured using low-quality hemp.

Honest, high-quality CBD companies, on the other hand, are committed to sourcing hemp that utilizes industry best practices. They are also transparent, describing their processes and providing Certificates of Analysis (COAs) showing the results of third-party testing. CAASI is a prime example of a company doing CBD the right way.

“We start with hemp from Horn Creek Farm in Southern Oregon, where you’ll find some of the richest soil in the state,” Peck said. “They’re not FDA certified organic, but they use organic farming practices. They are just really good people.”

Sonically-Vibrated CBD to Improve Absorption

The hemp flower that Peck sources from Horn Creek Farm then goes to Scientia Labs for extraction. Transparency and scientific rigor are both central to Scientia Lab’s work.

“Scientia Labs isolates the CBD from the hemp. The CBD is broken down into a powder, and then that powder is mixed with organic MCT oils and just a few other ingredients,” Peck explained. “The challenge is that when you  have oils, they don’t easily mix with liquids. That’s where the sonic vibration process makes a difference. When the product is sonically vibrated, it breaks the liquid down into nanoparticles that more readily mix with liquids, and which can be absorbed into your system much easier.”

This process also results in a product that lacks the bitterness of many CBD isolates.

Peck said, “A lot of isolates can tend to leave a bitter taste in your mouth, but the CAASI CBD drops mild enough that you can even use them in water. They’re also very versatile, since they’re unflavored.”

Partnering with Leaf411 on Education You Can Trust

“At CAASI, we recognize that education is important, especially for people who are new to CBD. We do our best to align ourselves with experts like Leaf411 who are really knowledgeable and have the professional background to answer questions about medication interactions, for example,” Peck said. “It also provides credibility for us to be able to say we’ve completed your vetting process and meet the standards for a product that a clinical professional might suggest.”

Check Out CAASI at Our Upcoming Leaf411 Learning Series Launch!

CAASI will be joining the upcoming Leaf411 Learning Series Launch on August 20, 2020, as one of the vendors in our virtual expo hall. Stop by the booth to say hello and learn more about how CAASI’s CBD drops are different. Sign up for our our Learning Series at this link: https://hopin.to/events/leaf-learning 

CAASI will also be featured in an upcoming MJ Lifestyle VIP Plant Wellness Subscription Box, and will soon be available in select retail locations in the Portland, Oregon, area. Remember that you can also order trial size or full size products directly from their website.

Helping You Find CBD Products and Information You Can Trust

At Leaf411, our commitment is to you—the public. Whether you’re looking for CBD products you can trust, or medically-sound information on CBD, we can help. Call our anonymous nurse-staffed hotline for free at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) or chat us from our homepage during hotline hours.

Also, we encourage you to subscribe to our newsletter so that you can be the first to learn about our upcoming initiatives. Sign up below!


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 Gonzalez-Walker

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!


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

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

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 Gonzalez-Walker

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 Gonzalez-Walker

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.”

Partnering with Leaf411 to Provide Medically-Sound Education

Finding trustworthy sources of information can be challenging. This is especially true in the cannabis industry, where federal restrictions have limited research on the plant’s potential.

“There’s a lot of bad information that keeps going around. People keep passing it on as gospel but it’s really not,” Mike said.

He noted that, “I’ve listened to Dr. Gordon tell people what they should look for in terms of efficacy and the ratios that can help them. I learned a lot from him. That’s what we need more of. I’ve told people to call Leaf411 or go to the Leaf411 website because they have questions, and I’m not a doctor. I’m not going to answer those questions—that’s not my role.”  

Mike went on to explain how Leaf411 is needed in times like these. “People can have a real fear, wondering, ‘How do I dose? What’s most important?’ It’s important to keep giving people information about what helps and what doesn’t.”

Committed to Providing the Best in Cannabis Products and Education

What makes an incredible consumer experience? In part, it’s top-of-the-line ingredients and a commitment to producing high-quality products. When it comes to cannabis, it’s also about differently-dosed products to meet the needs of different people, along with the education on how to find the best product and CBD:THC ratio for one’s needs. 

At Leaf411 we’re thrilled to have supporting members like Altus who recognize that high-quality products and medically-sound information are both important to the consumer experience.

Wherever You’re At, We’re Here for You

When it comes to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we recognize that everyone is reacting differently. A lot of us are facing unique challenges and need different things to help get us through.

Some of us are finding ourselves with extra time, or are intentionally slowing down and rethinking our priorities across all areas of our lives, including our health.

And some of us are at the opposite end of the spectrum, overwhelmed as we juggle work with increased family demands, including school at home for our kids.

Wherever you’re at, the free Leaf411 nurse hotline is here for you. We can answer your questions about how to use CBD hemp and legal cannabis for stress relief, improved sleep, or to manage pain or other conditions. We’re also available to answer your questions about COVID-19.

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.


Leaf411 Member Spotlight: Alan Greenberg, Founder/CEO of CBD Garage

Headshot of Alan Greenberg, Owner of CBD Garage, an online retailer of high-quality CBD hemp products.
CBD Garage logo. CBD Garage is a supporting member of the Leaf411 nurse hotline.

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

For many of us, our response to COVID-19 is an extension of work we were already doing before this virus hit—helping our communities, improving access to high-quality legal cannabis and CBD hemp products, and playing our part in building a sustainable, equitable industry.

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re proud of the steps that our Leaf411 supporting members are taking to ensure the safety of both employees and consumers as they continue to provide access to plant-based medicine. We really do believe that our members https://leaf411.org/member-directory/ are the best in the industry, and hope that you’ll consider supporting them when shopping. As a reminder, we vet all our members to ensure their products are fully compliant and lab-tested.

Today we’re talking with Alan Greenberg, founder of CBD Garage, an online retailer of high-quality, lab-tested Colorado-based CBD hemp products. Alan shares how he came to the CBD hemp space, products he’s most excited about, and some of the ways he’s working to ensure safe, affordable CBD hemp in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. This access is critical to people living in areas with stay-at-home orders, where most retail outlets selling high quality CBD hemp are closed.

From Nutrition to CBD Hemp

People come to CBD hemp from many different backgrounds. We asked Alan about his background as a nutritionist and how that connects to his work in the CBD hemp industry.

Alan explains, “I started out as a nutritionist. In 2017, I attended an event in Boulder, Colorado, called Functional Forum, which is a mini-medical conference put on by the Evolution of Medicine. During an afterhours gathering at the conference, I met a rep from Elixinol. I’d heard about CBD hemp oil, but I don’t come from the marijuana world, so I was kind of oblivious about what was going on with medical and recreational marijuana.”

“The Elixinol rep asked me, ‘Hey, have you heard of CBD hemp?’ She then started talking about the endocannabinoid system and the research done by Ethan Russo, a neuroscientist who’s one of the founders of the movement. I went home and read an article about endocannabinoid deficiency syndrome, which connected fibromyalgia, migraines and IBS.”

This knowledge led him to suggest CBD to a close family member who found that it provided relief. From there, Alan continued researching the endocannabinoid system, as well as reaching out to experts in the field who were successfully using CBD to treat patients and veterans.

“Nutritionists and functional medicine doctors have thousands of supplements available to them,” he says. “CBD is another tool in the tool bag, but this tool is completely different. CBD is really unique in the fact that it plugs into the endocannabinoid system. That’s where it really gets interesting.”

Like Dr. Dave Gordon and our own Leaf nurses, Alan recognizes that CBD provides another avenue of healing for people and works best in conjunction with other positive lifestyle changes.

“If you’re taking CBD and want to fully relieve your symptoms, as you feel better you should start thinking about moving more, finding stress relief or eating better. All these things are complementary to the use of CBD,” he says.

The CBD Garage Difference: High Quality CBD Hemp from Colorado Companies

With federal legalization of CBD hemp products containing less than 0.3% THC, thousands of new CBD manufacturers and retailers have entered the market. One of the biggest challenges in the marketplace is finding businesses and products you can trust. 

“CBD Garage is a curated seller of artisan crafted products from Colorado. I like to say that if you want to buy whiskey, you go to Tennessee. If you want to buy cheese, you go to Vermont or Wisconsin. If you want to buy cannabis, you go to Colorado.” 

Alan went on to explain how Colorado’s long history of cannabis has positively impacted CBD hemp in the state. Many of the cannabis cultivators and extractors have expanded to CBD hemp, bringing their knowledge of the plant and extraction processes.

“These are some of the early pioneers. They built their companies from scratch. And the fact that they’re still around says something about them. I have personal relationships with all these great growers and manufacturers of products here in Colorado where it started.” 

“At CBD Garage, we know where our product is coming from. We know who’s making it.”

I was just fortunate to be able to meet all these people all along the way and build up a collection of great manufacturers on our website. You’ll see products that are local to us that aren’t the big national brands. But these people are probably some of the best in the industry at making CBD hemp products.”

CBD Garage’s Catherine Greener and Alan Greenberg standing together outside with Justin Marvonek and Dan Moriaty from Sun Horse Energy.
CBD Garage’s Catherine Greener and Alan Greenberg (center) with Justin Marvonek (left) and Dan Moriaty (right) from Sun Horse Energy. Dan is a third generation herbalist, and is the owner and formulator at Sun Horse Energy.

The Promise of Other Adaptogens and Medicinal Plants

We asked Alan about the types of products he’s most excited about, and learned about how products are combining CBD with other adaptogens—herbs which have been used medicinally for thousands of years.

“For the immune system, I love Boulder Hemp products that combine CBD hemp oil with medicinal mushrooms,” he says.

“We also have products that combine CBD hemp with adaptogens. Adaptogens are a class of botanicals that help the body adapt to stress. Every time you reduce stress in the body, you help to charge your immune system. When you combine adaptogens with CBD, it’s a great compliment. Cannadapt from Sun Horse Energy has several great CBD hemp adaptogenic formulas, including one with Kava Kava. They also just released a new product called Lung Support. It is a combination of adaptogens with immune and lung support botanicals.” 

“Also, Quicksilver Scientific has their CBD Synergies line which combines a lot of their existing nutraceuticals and botanicals.”

The Need for CBD Education Continues to Grow

Despite growing acceptance of CBD hemp products, there’s still a lot of misinformation out there. Every day, we get questions on the Leaf411 hotline that reinforce the need for balanced, scientifically-based education on both CBD hemp and marijuana products sold in legal dispensaries. 

On the CBD hemp front, CBD Garage provides robust education on CBD and the endocannabinoid system to the public. This includes an education section on the website and phone and chat support available to both customers and to people who have CBD questions but haven’t bought products from the website. They also partner with Leaf411 to provide guidance and answers to customers’ specific medical questions.

“Every product is a little bit different,” Alan says. “Depending on who manufactures the product, if they’re getting their cannabis from the same source or growing it themselves, everybody grows their plants differently. Everyone has a different genetic mix of the different hemp plants. Companies have different extraction techniques, whether it’s liquid infusion or alcohol extraction or CO2 extraction. These factors create different profiles for products.”

As a result, a product may not work for everyone the same way. You may need to try different products before finding what works best for you.

Education around different types of CBD hemp products and finding the best dose are also areas where Alan sees a need.

“There’s no magical dose. There are general protocols that we use, but everybody’s a little bit different. ‘Do I take CBD three times a day? Do I take CBD at night? Do I like a broad spectrum without THC? Am I better off with the THC in a full spectrum product?’”

“I suggest to people to keep track of what you’re using. Start with some guidelines and then work from there. When you’re starting out, you have to be patient.”

Alan explains that while some people experience positive effects on their first day of using CBD hemp, it may take longer for others.

“I had an uncle who tried CBD on a daily basis. He told me that he didn’t feel anything for two weeks and all of a sudden—bam—it kicked in. He was on the treadmill walking and didn’t even notice he passed the point where he couldn’t previously walk because his legs hurt.”

“Your benefit after a month is going to be different than your benefit after three months or after a year, because your body changes.”

Partnering with Leaf411 to Provide Medically-Sound Education

Alan recognizes that the voice of trained medical professionals is also invaluable, which led him to partner with Leaf411 as a supporting member.

“I’m not a licensed medical professional, nor are a lot of people selling CBD hemp oil. We can help people through general use of CBD as an adult, but specific medical questions are outside our scope of practice. Leaf411 provides licensed medical professionals who can answer those really detailed questions,” he says.

“For anyone under 21 or 18 who is considering using CBD, they should talk to a medical professional first, because children are much different than adults. If somebody is calling for their child, I always encourage them to talk to Leaf411. You need a licensed healthcare practitioner to talk to who has the experience and education to understand what’s going on (with your child).”

CBD Garage offers a list of resources including the free Leaf411 hotline as well as private practitioners who provide cannabis consultations for a fee.

Close up of showing hands with rubber cleaning gloves on, spraying disinfectant and cleaning metal table top.

How CBD Garage is Keeping Customers Safe During the COVID-19

Many of us are under stay-at-home orders. As a result, online ordering has surged in certain categories, including groceries, medicine and supplements. 

But how do you know if the companies you’re ordering from are using safe handling practices? 

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that, “The likelihood of an infected person contaminating commercial goods is low and the risk of catching the virus that causes COVID-19 from a package that has been moved, travelled, and exposed to different conditions and temperature is also low.” 

Even with that reassurance, many online businesses are taking extra disinfection steps. We asked Alan what extra precautions CBD Garage is taking to reduce risk of infection. 

“At CBD Garage, we’ve always kept a clean environment. We’re doing more disinfecting of all the surfaces, the mouse, the keyboard and the tables now. Also, we’ve begun wearing gloves while packing orders—that’s new.”

“One thing great about us is we don’t use a fulfillment center. We pack every order ourselves. You don’t have to worry about who’s packing your items. We have the same people processing orders every day, following the same protocols. It’s a very controlled environment.”

You can learn more about the precautions that CBD Garage is taking at this link.

Extending CBD Hemp Discounts to All CBD Garage Customers

When we talked to Alan, he recognized that many people are facing financial difficulties that could lead to tough decisions around medications and wellness products, including CBD hemp.

“We understand that people are going through some serious financial hardships these days,” he says.

In response, he opened up the paid membership-based Buyer’s Club so that it’s now available as a free benefit for all customers, with no joining fees, monthly fees or renewal charges. Buyer’s Club members get a 25% discount on everything in the CBD Garage store.

Buyer’s Club members also receive 25% off supplements sold on the Fullscript and Wellevate online stores, if you link to those sellers through the CBD Garage links (more info in the “Support” section here).

Graphic showing computer screen with words “25% Off” and CBD Garage logo. Discount available through CBD Garage Buyers Club.
3/31 Correction: The Buyer's Club discount being extended to all customers is for 20% off all products, not 25% as originally reported.

Leaf411 Can Help With Your Questions

At Leaf411, we’re thrilled to have members like CBD Garage who share our ethos of professionalism, kindness, and commitment to CBD hemp consumers. 

While CBD Garage offers education on CBD hemp products, we know not all businesses are able to do that right now. 

In some cases, businesses are closed. In other cases, they may be working under very restrictive conditions that limit interaction with customers, meaning that questions don’t get answered.

Leaf411 can help! Whether you have questions about CBD hemp products, legal marijuana sold at dispensaries, or even about COVID-19, our fully-licensed registered nurses (RNs) have the education and experience to provide balanced information and guidance. Call us for free at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).

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.


Lightshade Marijuana Dispensary Denver Colorado, Dayton & Alameda

Leaf411 Supporter Spotlight: Lisa Gee, Director of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility, Lightshade

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

Do you “vote with your dollars?”

In other words, when it comes to cannabis, do you try to support companies that not only create great products but also give back to the community?

Many people come to cannabis seeking an alternative to medicine-as-usual, which depends heavily on pharmaceuticals. In the same way, many cannabis businesses are creating an alternative to business-as-usual by truly embracing socially responsible and sustainable business practices. We believe that Lightshade is one of those businesses.

As part of the education that we provide at Leaf411, we love sharing our supporting member stories, believing that our members represent the best in the industry.

When we share these stories, we help change the outdated misconceptions around cannabis.

As a consumer, you can also help change the story, by supporting cannabis businesses that are committed to sustainability and social responsibility. First, though, it helps to see what a socially responsible, sustainable cannabis business looks like in practice.

Lightshade’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility, Lisa Gee

Leaf411 Founding Member Lightshade Dispensary

Our founding member Lightshade is a great example of how a successful business integrates social responsibility, community engagement, and sustainability into their core business model.

Lightshade is a natural partner for Leaf411, given our shared priority to improve awareness and education around safe use of legal cannabis.

We recently sat down with Lightshade’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Social Responsibility, Lisa Gee, to learn more about the dispensary’s work in the community and their commitment to customers.

Q: Lightshade is known for its dedication to corporate social responsibility (or as we like to call it, “cannabis social responsibility”) and supporting the community. What does that look like?

There are struggles when you go into a new neighborhood. You have to create these relationships with your community where they can see the cannabis doing good. They don’t want to think of you as just an outlet for drugs. We take it really seriously that we demonstrate dedication to the neighborhoods that we’re in. We do this through the corporate social responsibility programs that we either fund directly and/or volunteer with. It’s part of Lightshade’s ethos, and is built into everything that we do.

We also take it very seriously that our vendors volunteer with us. I know there are vendor relationships we’ve had where the vendor didn’t have a corporate social responsibility (CSR) campaign or any community relationships. And as a result of volunteering alongside us, they’ve been inspired to take on their own volunteer activities. 

Q: It sounds like you really strive to be an industry leader when it comes to CSR. Why is that important to you?

We try very hard to mentor and demonstrate all the good stuff that cannabis does, and what a company like ours can accomplish when you get your staff involved and you get your vendors involved. At the same time, it’s a challenge for us because there’s no way for us to tell the full story. Our customers a lot of times don’t really know  everything we do. That’s challenging. We’d like them to know more about some of the work that we in the community.

Another goal for us is to be a thought leader demonstrating our dedication to community by bringing more people into it, whether that’s customers, vendors, or employees. It’s about showing what can happen when you come together as a group with very different people and the kinds of impacts that you can make to your community.

Lightshade Dispensary Volunteering with Denver Urban Gardens
Lightshade Dispensary Volunteering with Denver Urban Gardens at Delaney Farms

Q: Can you share an example of how you pull together all these different groups—employees, vendors and customers?

During our Denver Urban Gardens activity, it can be 100 degrees outside. We’re out there with shovels, picks, and dirt, sweating on a workday alongside our vendor volunteers, doing six hours of work and then going back to the office. That’s definitely one of the activations that we’ve had, with people calling afterward and saying they’re going to do their own event, or that they’ve adopted a park. They’ll even ask, “Do you want to help us?” This happened with Wana Brands. We’re looking to partner with them on more events. Their values align with ours in so many ways.

Q: You’ve created a unique corporate culture in this space, because you are paying attention to all those little things and they truly matter to you to do your part to make a difference.

I’ll share a story with you. A production company contacted Kelly and Courtney at kindColorado. The production company is profiling Denver and wanted to talk about two things, homelessness and cannabis. And they randomly found Kelly and Courtney on the interwebs and reached out to them and asked, “What can you tell us about cannabis and the homeless problem it’s creating?”

Kelly and Courtney said, “First of all, we need to tell you a little bit about how your assumption is wrong. Homelessness was not caused by adult recreational use legalization in Colorado. There’s a lot of other correlations with what’s happened here. But there’s some other stories you might want to tell.”

Out of the conversation came the fact that there are cannabis companies and dispensaries who are focused on homelessness. It’s one of our pillars at Lightshade. Kelly and Courtney suggested that the production company talk to us.

As a result of our conversations, their Denver episode will focus on Aurora Warms the Night, which is one of the big homeless programs we support, and Lightshade—how we are out there on the streets volunteering with the program.

The majority of  Aurora Warms the Night’s funding comes from that marijuana tax fund for homelessness in Aurora, CO (Aurora is located in the Denver metro area).

But the best thing about Aurora Warms the Night is that when you’re there helping, you’re serving the food and pouring the drinks for the people. Then you get yourself a plate and sit down with the people you’ve served. The program’s goal is to humanize the homeless, because it’s so easy for us to walk past homeless people and not see our common humanity with them. And we all do it, even if we hate ourselves for it. So it’s just a way of being like, “You are here. Connect with these people.” And I know I did. The first day that I was out there with Aurora Warms the Night, I sat in my car and cried afterward. The people I met were fantastic but also so vulnerable. They’ve been left behind or they started in a homeless and vulnerable family. And so that’s the kind of impact that we get to tell the story about.

Lightshade Dispensary Volunteering with Aurora Warms the Night
Lightshade Dispensary Volunteering with Aurora Warms the Night

Q: Your slogan is: “The Lightshade difference is night and day.” We can definitely see that in terms of the CSR work you do. But what does it mean for consumers?

Our slogan is a play on words. First of all, Lightshade—the name of the company—comes from the need for a cannabis plant to have equal parts of sun and shade. Also, our loyalty program is called the Night and Day Club.

Our slogan is a way for us to differentiate ourselves. It is aligned a lot with CSR. It’s also about the consumer experience, about how the retail environment looks and feels.

Q: Can you describe your retail environment?

We’re really trying to help elevate the cannabis industry just by the look and feel of the retail environment.  We use a lot of reclaimed barn wood. We have natural finishes and stained concrete with rich colors. The furniture is meant to feel more like you’re in someone’s living room, a very comfortable and elegant living room.

Our Dayton store has a fireplace in the waiting area. It’s located right next to a retirement community. We get a lot of older people who shop at our Dayton dispensary, which is a very comfortable, warm and welcoming space. When people walk in, they’re comfortable and they don’t feel nervous.

We also take the training of our bartenders and our front desk staff very seriously. We do something outside the norm. Rather than use an off-the-shelf program for training, we developed our own training program and have our own training director. Our program covers product knowledge and compliance issues.

There are so many things that bartenders and front desk staff need to know. They have to have answers for everything, especially, “I’m not a doctor.” That’s where Leaf411 comes into the picture.

Lightshade Marijuana Dispensary Denver Colorado, Dayton & Alameda

Q: How does your partnership with Leaf411 help your budtenders and customers?

The partnership has created opportunities for us that we didn’t have before, because one of the keys to being a successful cannabis retailer is education. Because of the limits in our industry, there’s a lot we just cannot do.

That face-to-face relationship between the budtender and the consumer or patient is the one shot we have at providing education that they need to have. We’re not able to tell them certain things because it doesn’t fall within the legal scope. However, being able to give them a business card or the pamphlet to Leaf411 provides the opportunity to open the floodgates of education. We weren’t able to provide that before. I’ve seen it at stores, and I’ve heard it from budtenders.  

For example, we had two customers at the Dayton store the other day who had chronic pain and sleep problems. I explained to them what the budtender could tell them. We can say something like, “This is my favorite thing.” But we can’t say why. Being able to refer customers to Leaf411 is a perfect solution. It’s really important for us to be able to share a verifiable, trusted resource.

Q: As Leaf411 continues to expand, we’re getting more inquiries from dispensaries in both Colorado and other states. From the dispensary perspective, what would you tell them about partnering with Leaf411?

When we heard what you were doing, we were down. We were all in just with the idea.

Dispensaries need to have access to nurses or doctors as credible resources to refer their patients and consumers to. If you allow your budtenders to give medical advice, you’re going to be shut down in a month, maybe less. And if you don’t operate in the complete black and white area of compliance and regulatory environment, you’re not going to last long.

The only tool we have is Leaf411, outside of doctors. And sending customers to doctors is cost-prohibitive in many cases.

From a business perspective, partnering with Leaf411 is all about customer care, service and being there for your  community. You will build customer loyalty with this kind of service. You will have stories like ours, with people who have never walked into a dispensary before and receiving the support they need. They were absolutely thrilled and amazed at what came of that experience and probably changed their lives. Our partnership with the Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline is invaluable. You know, we just couldn’t be more thrilled.

Someone told me this a number of years ago and it really stuck with me. I don’t remember jokes or poetry, but I have never forgotten this. And it’s that with nurses, you can find someone who is as curious about what’s going on with you as you are.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

For More Information

Lightshade has eight recreational dispensaries in the Denver metro area, with five of those dispensaries also serving med patients. You can learn more about Lightshade’s community partnerships here.

Leaf411 is proud to have Lightshade as one of our founding members. Lightshade is committed to elevating cannabis’s reputation by providing high-quality product, experiences and information. Their ethos align with Leaf411’s commitment to kindness and professionalism.

Additional Resources

Check out our recent post, “Planning Your First Dispensary Visit,” if you’d like additional tips before heading out the door to Lightshade or any other legal dispensary.

Whether you’re a patient or a budtender, our cannabis-trained nurses are available to answer your questions on our FREE anonymous hotline at 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411).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 Supporter Spotlight: Dr. David Gordon, MD, 4Pillars Health & Wellness

An integrative medicine perspective on why patients turn to cannabis, the biggest medical cannabis myths, and how to talk to your doctor about cannabis as a treatment option

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN
Written by Denise Gonzalez-Walker

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline partners with healthcare providers and cannabis industry members to expand our education outreach and increase awareness around the safe use of legal cannabis. We’re proud to periodically spotlight our supporters here.

David Gordon, MD, founder of 4Pillars Health & Wellness, was an early supporter of Leaf411, and serves as one of our Advisory Board members. Dr. Gordon, better known as “Dr. Dave,” is the creator of the 4×4 Lifestyle Plan, offering patients an alternative to conventional medical treatment. His approach addresses food, movement, relaxation, and community to help patients transform their lives.

At Leaf411, we take our ethos (kindness, professionalism and caller loyalty) very seriously. Dr. Dave fits in with our organization so perfectly, from his devotion to his profession to his loyalty to his patients. We are honored to have Dave be a member of our Advisory Board and give him this spotlight. 

Leaf 411 COO Jennifer Axcell recently sat down with Dr. Dave learn more about what brings patients to cannabis, the questions and misconceptions he hears most often, and what he wishes other providers knew when it comes to advising patients on how to use cannabis.

Q: When do people typically come to you? How many other treatment options have they tried beforehand?

People have definitely already tried a lot of other options. This is true not only with cannabis, but also with an integrative approach in general.

In the cannabis space specifically, far and away chronic pain is the most common thing that we see. These are people who are still in pain despite them getting opioids or other medications. They’re still in pain despite going to physical therapy. They’re still in pain despite having surgeries and injections. They’re still suffering.

They’re definitely also tired of the risk and side effects of some of the other therapies when it comes to chronic pain. Certainly opioids—we hear about that a lot. But the risks and side effects of less toxic pain medications are underappreciated, whether it’s the ibuprofen class of meds or even Tylenol for that matter.

The biggest thing for people with chronic pain is that they’re not getting better. They’re not trying to avoid medicine. They’re really just trying to get relief that they haven’t had with other things.

If opioids were allowing people with chronic pain to feel great and be pain-free with high quality of life, these people wouldn’t be searching out cannabis.

We also see patients for lot of other conditions that standard medicines don’t treat well, be it sleep, mood disorders, or psychological symptoms. These are things that our current meds don’t do a very good job with.

Q: Is there a certain type of person who’s more likely to come to you? Is it the senior group, because they have more chronic conditions? Younger people who might be more open to cannabis? Or does it run the gamut?

The people who come to me really run the gamut, but they fall into a few categories.

A lot of people have figured out through experience that cannabis works better for them than other things. They’ve done the research and they know it’s safe. This is the average healthy person who has pain from sports injuries. It’s also the waiter or waitress or auto mechanic who comes home exhausted with pain and stiffness from work. They just want something to help their pain, help them relax and get to sleep easier. They don’t want to take a bunch of ibuprofen and Benadryl to go to sleep. They find that with a little bit of cannabis, they can relax, their pain is gone, and they fall asleep easily. This population just uses a small amount of cannabis in the evening. They know it’s more effective and safer than a lot of alternatives.

There’s also a big group of patients who have been dealing with various issues for years, and who are just sick of all the side effects and drug interactions. They want safer options. They might have been told they can’t take a variety of medications, or they’ve had side effects. These patients are looking for something they haven’t tried before because they have low quality of life. This is typically the senior population.

There’s a third patient group, the chronic pain population. The chronic pain may be related to an injury from a car accident or disc injury, or it could be non-injury related. Some patients have central pain issues like fibromyalgia, irritable bowel, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic pelvic pain, these kind of nebulous pain syndromes. That’s where you get the patient who says, “I haven’t had a good day in 25 years no matter how many meds I’ve taken.”

Q: What are the top three questions about cannabis that you get from patients?

These days, one of the top patient questions is about the different chemicals in cannabis, specifically THC and CBD. What is CBD? What is THC? What’s the difference?

Another common question is how best to administer cannabis, whether you’re talking about inhaling or eating or topical. People always want to know what’s the best.

Also, for patients who are new to cannabis, their questions involve safety, side effects, and interactions with other medications.

Q: What are some of the biggest misconceptions you hear from people, when it comes to using cannabis for health purposes?

New users often assume that using cannabis means that they’re going to be so high that they can’t function. That’s far and away the biggest misconception. I might explain to them that we’re going to use certain cannabis compounds that don’t cause any intoxication. Even if we’re using THC, the one compound that can cause intoxication, we might be starting it at a dose that they’ll barely notice or not notice it at all.

Also, a lot of the cannabis propaganda that people have heard over time is just wrong. The perfect example is when someone asks, “Is cannabis going to cause me to lose my brain cells?” Or they are worried it will cause early-onset Alzheimer’s. No, actually, the science shows that cannabis is probably going to protect your brain. We know that both the cannabis THC and CBD compounds protect brain cells. And there’s good evidence suggesting that they may reduce the risk of dementia.

Another misconception I hear is that cannabis is super-addictive. People just assume it’s a highly dangerous, addictive drug like heroin or cocaine, based on the propaganda they’ve heard. I share the actual information that’s out there in the research showing this propaganda is not true.

People also tell me, “My doctor told me there’s no research. There’s no science showing cannabis works.” (Dr. Dave responds to this misconception below.) 

There are a lot of myths about cannabis—the list goes on. But those are some of the main ones that people come in with preconceptions about.

Q: At Leaf411, one way we’re answering that concern about research is with our online Leaf Library. How do you answer questions about research, beyond saying “trust me”? 

My response varies between patients based on how they learn and what they want to know. We have different levels of research. You know, we have research that’s done in the lab that shows how and why cannabis works. And then we have research in animals showing its benefit. We also have research in humans, but the research in humans often isn’t as robust as we have for other medications because of the restrictions.

But I also remind people that most of what happens in a regular conventional medical office is also not supported by gold standard research using large-scale double-blind trials. Most conventional providers’ practice is based observational studies or recommendations, the exact same kind of research we have for cannabis, as well.

Evidence-based medicine is not just picking one study and saying, “Here’s the evidence. This is what we do.” Evidence-based medicine is combining the best research and science we have with our patients’ experiences, and with physicians’ experiences. And using those three aspects to make decisions that are best for a given patient. That is true evidence-based medicine. 

Q: From the patient perspective, when is the best time for someone to talk to a cannabis physician?

I am a little biased, but I think early on is best. In a perfect world, everybody would get guidance, even people who are knowledgeable about cannabis.

When I see a patient who tells me they’ve used cannabis for 25 years, there’s still information that I can provide to really optimize their treatment.

When we’re talking about the person who is new to cannabis, I think early is best, ideally before they use it or within the first month. 

My biggest concern with a new cannabis patient is that they’ll have a negative experience early on due to the product they tried or using too much. 

It’s not dangerous but they felt uncomfortable. That creates a negative association. We know in all treatments, someone’s initial experiences play a huge role. We want to avoid negative experiences early on, because that makes future treatment more difficult.

I think all people need some education early on how to use appropriate dosing and appropriate products to minimize negative experiences. And a lot of that’s just starting really low. I don’t think the industry facilitates that in the way they package and label products, and I don’t think budtenders facilitate that. Most people working in dispensaries are cannabis users, and probably have higher tolerance than someone who is new to cannabis. They may not understand low dose concepts like building up the dose slowly.

I don’t think someone necessarily has to see a doctor, but they should get guidance on the concept of starting low. This could come from an educational resource like Leaf411. 

Obviously, seeing a cannabis doctor can increase the likelihood that the first thing the person tries will be effective. Talking to any knowledgeable healthcare provider makes it more likely that someone will find the most effective dose or product sooner. 

Q: How do you guide patients to talk to their primary care doctor, knowing that there is resistance and lack of knowledge among some providers?

I recommend that patients start by sharing their personal feelings and goals.

Don’t just say, “I’m using cannabis, deal with it.”

Instead, maybe say, “Hey, I’ve been really struggling with this. You know that we’ve tried many things and I haven’t been getting optimal results. I’ve tried this new thing. It’s really helping me. I’d really like to stick with this because I’m feeling better.”

If the doctor hears the patient articulate that they’re doing well and they’re achieving their goals, but they’re not willing to support that—I mean, I usually tell patients that’s the time you need to think about getting a new doctor.

If a doctor doesn’t know something and says, “Okay, I’d love to learn more. How can I support you?” that’s okay. They don’t need to be a cannabis expert. 

I wish that every doctor understood the low dose concept. If a patient said, “I want to try cannabis,” the doctor’s response would be, “I don’t know anything. But all I know is that you start with one or two milligrams and go up every few days.” If every doctor just knew that, that would be outstanding.

Q: Many people in the cannabis space have a story. What’s yours?

My story is not so much a personal story. For me, it’s really just seeing what worked with patients and what didn’t work.

I always wanted to be a doctor and enjoyed the sciences, and started on a pretty straight path going to medical school. I had no exposure to integrative medicine or anything beyond standard medicine throughout my training.

I started my own practice right out of residency, a general internal medicine, primary care practice. Paying attention to patients and how they were doing, I realized what I was taught didn’t work very well. I was doling out medicines left and right, and yet people were not getting better. Even if their numbers got better, I would see them keep coming in with side effects and new issues.

Within the first year or two of practice, I decided that I needed better tools. I started learning more about nutrition and root causes of health issues, and expanded into integrative practice where I had a bigger toolbox. I partnered with patients, spending more time with them to find out what their triggers were. Then, I incorporated new tools, using other practitioners, chiropractors, psychologists, physical therapists, and acupuncturists. I also taught myself more about nutrition and incorporated that piece as well. Patients really got better using those modalities.

Once cannabis was legalized in Colorado, I immediately had patients coming to me and saying, “Oh, I’ve already been using cannabis for my pain,” or “I’ve been using cannabis for sleep,” or for other conditions. Patients asked, “Will you authorize my medical card?” These were patients I knew and trusted, and so I signed off on that.

After hearing similar stories from many patients, I thought I should try to learn about cannabis beyond just signing off on it. When I looked into things, I was blown away by how much information was already out there about the endocannabinoid system and cannabis. At the time, there were a few decades of research showing what cannabis does, why it works, and how people were benefiting from it.

I saw this firsthand in my practice, as well. When patients were struggling, I looked at using cannabis as a bridge to help them get better so we could implement other dietary and lifestyle measures. Cannabis was just one part of my toolbox.

My story has really been focused on what’s best for the patient. That’s what led me to general integrative medicine, and to cannabis specifically.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

For More Information

You can learn more about Dr. Dave and 4Pillars Health & Wellness here. Dr. Dave provides in-person, phone, and video consults for people seeking guidance and education on cannabis as well as other integrative health practices to improve overall health. He also offers office appointments for Colorado residents seeking a medical marijuana card.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline is proud to have supporters like Dr. Dave. Our nurse team depends on our medical advisors to take our callers to the next level of care that is outside our scope of practice and Dr. Dave can do just that. He takes in-person, phone, and video consultations from all over the country. We are proud to list his practice as a resource for our callers.

We recognize that not everyone may have the resources to visit a cannabis doctor. That’s a big reason why we set up our hotline as a free service available to anyone, anywhere, regardless of their insurance coverage or ability to pay.

Do you have questions about using cannabis for a health concern?

Would you like to learn more about the low dose concept?

Call 844-LEAF411 (844-532-3411) for answers from our cannabis-trained registered nurses.