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.