Legal cannabis, CBD and related businesses have seen lightning speed progress in the past couple years. Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo (CWCB Expo) at Javitz Center in New York City is a physical manifestation of that growth. I sat bewildered during my ride home from the event, tipsy with delight over the success of cannabis in a world that would barely have it only a few years ago. I can recall a time when to have a giant expo about cannabis at the Javitz Center would have been out of the question, even laughable, swarming with NYPD and their dogs versus trendy entrepreneurs in biz casual outfits.

I rolled in on Thursday morning of the expo for the press meeting and was a bit surprised at the busy energy of the room. The turn out of media members and business people alike was exciting. Most interesting to me in cannabis right now is the opportunity for women of all backgrounds to succeed. Moms, young women, older women, groups of friends, a lady with a business degree or someone with zero business experience, all have a fair shot.

I spoke to a woman who started her dispensary project while fighting for her life against cancer; another who started her beauty topicals businesses a year ago in her kitchen and since then has been inundated with orders, one who had a small creative company who now manages 40 people, mostly female, and yet a couple more who spent their savings and put in everything to developing an elevated CBD vape company they believed in.

It’s encouraging and exciting to see, and almost makes me want to start a cannabusiness (calling all investors!).  Read on to meet some of the women I had the pleasure of getting to speak with at CWCBE who are kicking butt and taking names in the cannabis world.

TribeTokes Kym (left) and Dege (right) with company mascot, Archer, photo by Alex M. Smith

What: TribeTokes, a line of vape cartridges, user-friendly batteries and accessories and Tribe Revive / Tribe Beauty, featuring pain relief and beauty products
Who: Degelis a.k.a. Dege Tufts (CEO) and Kymberly Byrnes (CMO)
Where: New York City

“We’re a very mindful fit and lit company,” Kym explained at an interview in their breezy, bright Chelsea showroom just a bong’s throw from the Highline. “We are for the conscious consumer and we definitely take a more wellness and holistic approach to our products.” I became aware of Dege (pronounced de-ja, like déjà vu) and Kym through the Expo. They are driven to increase the public’s access to CBD and cater to a high market. Ahem. But seriously.

“Our brand bridges the gap between the cannabis and the professional community. We consume for both recreational and medicial purposes, and we are also business owners,” explained Dege. “Kym is a fitness instructor, we meditate and do yoga and we care about our health and that’s where a lot of people are finding themselves right now, that they don’t fit one stereotype or the other.”

“We’re a lifestyle brand,” Kym adds. “We fit people who are into a quality lifestyle product that makes them look and feel good.”

Dege, a self-proclaimed “stock market nerd” in high school and later a partner at an investment firm, had her a-ha moment after the 2016 election, when she began to get excited about cannabis legalization and wanted to be involved in it. The COO of two businesses before starting her own, she got interested in the market’s move toward cleaner and more discreet ways to vape and how powerful CBD is.

The two women both swear by their own products and use them every day. Dege vapes CBD each night before bed to help with insomnia. Kym says she uses the line’s eye cream beauty product daily, and “slaters that shit on 3 inches deep” at times.

“It’s just insane what stress and environment does to someone,” Kym explained. “So, if I can have all natural ingredients in my beauty products that help me resist the urge to age, that’s what’s up. And if I can give that to my sisters and friends and community, that’s what it’s all about.”

Though the industry is still a very white, male-oriented space, Kym says that some of them have been incredibly helpful allies in getting women-fronted businesses funding and into the public eye. Yet, Dege says the majority of the people they work with daily are women.

Her advice for bringing more women into the forefront: “The only thing you can do to change it is work with women, invest in women, hire women. We can’t change everyone else, we just start here.”

Anna Pfleghaar, photographed at CWCB Expo, NY, NY. Photo by Jessica Delfino.

What: Co-founder, CocoCanna and partner, CBD Beauty Corner @ SAKS Fifth Avenue
Who: Anna Pfleghaar        
Where: Los Angeles & New York City

Anna, the founder of CocoCanna, a partner in CBD Beauty Corner and a cannabis consultant who helps cannabusinesses grow from seed to sale, launched a CBD pop-up at SAKS Fifth Avenue that was the first of it’s kind in New York City. The pop-up elevated beauty products to a well-heeled clientele for perhaps the first time, to many of their eyes. Anna’s company CocoCanna, is a vegan skincare line, produced by SHO Labs in Los Angeles, an industry leader in cannabis formulations. Her CBD–infused beauty product shop-in-shop, CBD Beauty Corner, carries 14 luxury cannabis brands and counting, including Mary’s Nutritionals, Papa Barkley, Undefined Beauty and Wild Flower among many others.

“I have anxiety and autoimmune issues, so CBD was the perfect thing for me,” Anna explained. ““I partnered with Evie Phillips, founder of Creeds Collective, a creative digital agency and HiFi Exchange, a Los Angeles cannabis showroom. We wanted to do something different than what everyone else was doing. We wanted to make something experiential and female-fronted. The whole thing is super high end, elevated.”

Anna points to the idea that New York City is where it’s at in terms of cannabis culture’s growth. “Lately I feel like that’s where the cannabis scene is flowering, especially in the CBD market. New Yorkers need CBD and cannabis more than anyone.” She adds that Los Angeles also has it’s own bustling cannabis scene, but that it’s a traditional market, versus New York City, which as always, is on the forefront of ingenuity and experimentation. Why would the cannabis world be any different?

Anna reported that she enjoyed being at the CWCB Expo and was pleased by the women contingency that was representing female cannabis users at the event.

“I think there needs to be more of that,” she said. “We’re the fastest growing demo in the cannabis industry, it just makes sense.”

For this female cannabusiness owner operator, business is good. “It’s booming. It’s beyond my wildest dreams. I started in my kitchen last summer, but I didn’t know it would be this big.”

Companies she admires and points to in her community include Humble Bloom, who she says she “looks up to like sisters,” and Women Grow. “They’re amazing people. They’re doing these really cool experiential pop-ups but they’re heavy on education and social justice which is incredibly important.”

Cindy Ortiz and William Sirois at CWCB Expo, NY, NY. Photo by Jessica Delfino.

What: Ortois cannabis dispensary project
Who: Cindy Ortiz and William Sirois
Where: South Jersey

William and Cindy met in New Jersey when William’s band would come through and perform. “When she got cancer, our band supported her. Then we became friends. I got into the cannabis world and suggested Cindy open a dispensary. She was already doing it herself and it worked out perfectly.”

The two teamed up to form Ortois with a plan to open a dispensary in the Cherry Hill area of Southern New Jersey. Cindy says that though it’s an expensive and exhaustive endeavor, she doesn’t mind the hard work, or that they are competing with large cannabis conglomerates for one of the state’s 14 potential license offerings.

“I truly believe in the product. As a 44-year-old mother, I find a lot of my friends are looking for alternative ways to relieve anxiety and just be able to deal with the day to day of juggling the life of motherhood, of women. We take on so much, and the cannabis helps relieve the stress, anxiety and depression.”

Battling cancer was also an inspiration. She opted for cannabis to help her manage treatment and surgeries versus opioid options for pain management. “I got cancer and thought, something‘s got to come out of it. When I started reading and learning about cannabis, I thought, this might be my thing. This is what is going to come out of it.”

Now that she is educated on cannabis, she finds that people come to her as a resource. “People ask me, where do you get your cannabis, how do you do it?” she said. “I’ve learned so much about it and I want to spread the word. I come from a poor Philadelphia neighborhood where people were getting arrested for having a couple ounces of marijuana, so there’s that.”

They have opted to include women in their process along the way, working on a potential partnership with Women Grow, hiring a female insurance agent, selecting an all-female design team and reaching out to women doctors to get support and information along the way.

William feels confident about their dispensary’s future success. “We spoke to an attorney this morning. We told him everything we have going on, and he said, ‘You guys are sitting pretty well.’ The fact that there are 14 licenses coming out, we think we may have a shot. I sold my house for this, so I’m all in. I’m definitely giving it everything I have.”

As they develop their project, they’ve reached out to family for support and involvement—an example of how careers in cannabis can offer opportunities that extend directly and immediately to community and friends.

William’s straight-edge parents were turned around after he flew them out to California and toured dispensaries with them. “My mom is a nurse and within 24 hours she went from absolutely no, to asking how she can be  a part of the team.”

His brother Matthew is the CFO of their company, and Cindy’s husband who works in media communications is very supportive, offering his good business sense to their project. Her 21-year-old son is hopeful that he might be part of the business someday, and her sister is their CPA. “We’re going to onboard her as well. It’s a family business!”

Left to right: Shega Youngson and Jessica Delfino at CWCB Expo. Photo by Jessica Delfino

What: Director, Community Engagement and Events, Canopy Growth
Who: Shega Youngson
Where: Ontario, Canada

Shega and I sat beside the Hemp House in Canopy Growth’s exhibit space at the CWCB Expo and discussed what it was like being a woman in the cannabis space now. “A lot of women are in senior roles,” Shega explained, wide-eyed. “In fact, this is my first time reporting to a male in awhile.” Shega was a self-described “one woman show” in 2016, working in cannabis advocacy in Toronto, educating people to build their own teams of experts and specialists who could empower others and offer access to cannabis. Today, she runs a diverse, mostly female team of community engagement specialists and event producers for Canopy Growth, one of the largest cannabis companies in North America. The team of 20 come from all walks of life.

“We want to set an example for the rest of the industry,” she shared. “Be transparent and give back to the community.” She described the economic impact her company has had on Smith Falls, Ontario, a Canadian town with a population of 10,000 where Canopy Growth set up shop. “The town has been completely revitalized,” she said. “We had our first pride parade ever, and were even given credit by the mayor Smith Falls for that,” Shega said.

Shega pointed to other companies that Canopy Growth works with to further set an example in the cannabis industry, such as Subsidiary Tweed and Hemp House, which was on display at CWCB—a group based in Pennsylvania who build homes out of hemp and were supported by Canopy Growth by having a sample home presented in their space at CWCB. She went on to say that Smith Falls is on its’ way to becoming a potential cannabis capital of Canada by way of tourism, research, extractions and infused beverages. Canopy Growth even purchased a former Hershey’s factory there and are joining with a local chocolate businesses to create cannabis confections and a cannabis museum.

Furthermore, Canopy Growth has invested in clinical trials for pain. “Women experience pain in very complex ways,” Shega expressed.

She pointed to April Pride, co-founder of Van der pop, a company out of Seattle which Canopy Growth invested in that has been conducting surveys about how women consume cannabis and the stigmas they face, and are on the road to empower women to have open access to cannabis. “Most women use cannabis to relax and with their partners to enhance intimacy,” Shega explained.

Many of the teams at Canopy Growth are supervised by women, such as creative, community and events and more, which is very optimist to see.

At a crucial turning point in cannabis when it’s still virtually anyone’s game, it’s encouraging to see that many of those anyones are women.

The post Five Cannabusiness Women and Female-Fronted Cannabusinesses You Should Know appeared first on High Times.

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1. What is CBD? What is CBD Oil?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring constituent of industrial hemp/cannabis. Its formula is C21H30O2 and it has a molecular mass of 314.4636. It is the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, and is being scientifically investigated for various reasons.

CBD oil is a cannabis oil (whether derived from marijuana or industrial hemp, as the word cannabis is the latin genus name for both) that has significant amounts of cannabidiol (CBD) contained within it. Our CBD products and extracts are derived from industrial hemp, so they could be considered CBD-rich hemp oil, hemp derived CBD oil, CBD-rich cannabis oil, or plainly “hemp extracts” since they typically contain much more than just CBD. Again, cannabis doesn’t mean marijuana, but is the genus name, and general umbrella term which all forms of marijuana and hemp fall under. The form of cannabis we use for our CBD and hemp extracts is industrial hemp; we do not sell marijuana.

2. If a hemp extract is 40% cannabinoids, what’s the other 60%? What’s in your hemp extracts besides the naturally occurring cannabinoids?

Our Kentucky hemp extracts contain over 80 different phyto-cannabinoids such as cannabidiol (CBD), CBC, CBG, CBN, etc.. In addition to the cannabinoids naturally present in our agricultural hemp extracts, there are also many other types of natural molecules and phyto-chemical compounds such as amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins (including B1, B2, B6, D), fatty acids (including omega 3 & 6), trace minerals (including iron, zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium), beta-carotene, chlorophyll, flavanoids, ketones, nitrogenous compounds, alkanes, glycosides, pigments, water, and terpenes. The most common terpenes in our hemp extracts are Myrcene, Beta-caryophyllene, Terpinolene, Linalool, alpha-Pinene, beta-Pinene, Nerolidol og Phytol, trans-alpha-Bergamotene, Limonene/ beta-Phellandrene (Co-elution), and alpha-Humulene.

3. What’s the difference between Hemp and Marijuana?

Scientifically, industrial Hemp and Marijuana are the same plant, with a genus and species name of Cannabis Sativa. They have a drastically different genetic profile though. Industrial Hemp is always a strain of Cannabis sativa, while marijuana can be Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, or Cannabis ruderalis. The major difference is how industrial hemp has been bred compared to a marijuana form of Cannabis sativa. organic hemp seedsTypically speaking, industrial hemp is very fibrous, with long strong stalks, and barely has any flowering buds, while a marijuana strain of Cannabis sativa will be smaller, bushier, and full of flowering buds. However, newer industrial hemp varieties in the USA are being bred to have more flowers and higher yields of cannabinoids and terpenes, such as our Kentucky hemp we’re now using!

99% of the time marijuana has a high amount of THC and only a very low amount of CBD. Hemp, on the other hand, naturally has a very high amount of CBD in most instances, and only a trace amount of THC. Fortunately, the cannabinoid profile of hemp is ideal for people looking for benefits from cannabis without the ‘high.’ Hemp is used for making herbal supplements, food, fiber, rope, paper, bricks, oil, natural plastic, and so much more, whereas marijuana is usually used just recreationally, spiritually, and medicinally. The term cannabis oil can refer to either a marijuana or hemp derived oil, since marijuana and hemp are two different forms of cannabis.

In the USA the legal definition of “industrial hemp,” per Section 7606 of the Agricultural Appropriations Act of 2014, is “INDUSTRIAL HEMP — The term ‘‘industrial hemp’’ means the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol concentration of not more than 0.3 percent on a dry weight basis.”

4. Are hemp derived cannabinoids such as CBD as good as CBD from marijuana?

The short answer is yes. CBD is CBD, whether from marijuana or hemp. Most marijuana has a very low non-psychoactive cannabinoid profile (like CBD, CBC, CBG), so most of the time hemp would be much more preferable for anything besides THC. Marijuana is usually very high in THC (gives people the high) but usually very low in other non-psychoactive cannabinoids.

Nowadays in the USA, many farmers are growing industrial hemp flowers that are just as beautiful, odor-producing, and terpene rich as the best marijuana strains, such as our partnered farmers in Kentucky.

5. Why don’t you source your Hemp and CBD from within Colorado?

colorado growing operationWe feel that the hemp program in Kentucky is more well suited for our company in regards to growing hemp, and that because it’s 100% compliant with Section 7606 of the 2014 Farm Bill (and the 2016 Agricultural Appropriations Act), procuring it from there is perfectly legal at the federal level. Kentucky’s ecology is perfect for hemp just as it is for tobacco. The growing season is longer than in Colorado, and the soil is richer, so the quality of the hemp and the yields are better.

6. What’s the percentage of cannabinoids and CBD in your product?

Our raw extracts have varying percentages of cannabinoid and cannabidiol (CBD) content, the range being 10%-99%. Each product has a unique formulation and uses varying ratios of our extract types. Our CBD Isolate is over 99% pure CBD.

7. What is the best method of use?

For our dietary supplements we can only recommend them for internal consumption. Our CBD isolate is for research purposes only. If you don’t like the flavor of the oil supplements, you can mix with something sweet like apple sauce or honey to cut through the flavor.

8. What’s the ideal serving size for me, and how often should I take it?

There is no easy answer to this. Our starting recommended serving size is 15 drops but we generally recommend experimenting to see what feels best to you. Some prefer 5 drops, some prefer over 50 drops per day.

9. What is the safety of your hemp extracts? Are there negative side effects?

Hemp is considered by many to be generally safe. We’ve never seen or heard of any significant or negative CBD Oil Extractside effects in our years in the industry. That said, we can’t rule them out. Please consult with your physician before using any dietary supplement including Hemp extract supplements.

10. Which of your CBD and hemp products should I get?

As a company who sells various dietary and food supplements, we can’t suggest any of our products for the prevention, treatment or cure of any disease or ailment.

When considering our different dietary hemp products, know that they all come in two strengths. Our Original Hemp blends (Classic Hemp Blend, Hemp Complete, Brainpower oil, & Signature Blend) all have 250+mg of cannabinoids per fluid ounce, and our concentrated blends have 1,500+mg per fluid ounce, six times the potency of our traditional oils. We’ve found that sometimes less is more, but nevertheless, some people like to take very large serving sizes of our hemp extracts.

The main difference between the four Original Blends is the additional herbal ingredients besides hemp. We suggest you research the separate components of each blend to determine which product may be most appealing to add to your dietary regimen. If you know it’s solely the hemp extract that you are looking for, with no additional ingredients, then Classic Hemp Blend or Classic Hemp 6x is what you’re looking for.

For dabbing and vaporizing or for research you can try our CBD Isolate.

THOSE WHO SUSPECT THEY MAY HAVE A DISEASE OR ARE SEEKING HELP FOR A DISEASE SHOULD CONSULT A QUALIFIED MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL.

11. Why do people use Hemp Extracts and CBD? What are the benefits and uses of CBD?

In accordance with federal regulations we cannot make health claims regarding our dietary supplement products. We can only recommend our products for general wellness.

12. Is a standard hemp seed oil the same as a high-CBD hemp extract?

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Absolutely not. Standard hemp oil, which can be found very cheaply at a grocery store, is a much different product than our CO2 hemp extracts (not from seed). Standard hemp oil is produced by cold pressing the seeds, whereas our hemp extract is a supercritical CO2 extraction of the hemp plant itself, not the seeds. Hemp seed oil is considered to be a great nutritive food, but it doesn’t have the naturally occurring terpenes, cannabinoids and other components that our extracts do have.

13. Do I need to move to Colorado to get your Hemp Extracts and CBD? Where do you ship?

No. We actually source our hemp from Kentucky, as it’s legal to ship across state lines. Many people are under the impression that the only way to acquire hemp extracts and CBD for themselves or a loved one is to move to Colorado or another cannabis-friendly state. Many major news outlets are misinformed and are unfortunately spreading the idea that you can only get CBD oil in the states where medical marijuana has been legalized. This is simply not the case though. Because our extracts comes from hemp instead of marijuana, we can and do ship to all fifty states, and no medical marijuana card is needed. There are some exceptions, like with Indiana, Missouri and South Dakota we can’t sell our concentrated products due to state legislation.

We also ship to Japan, Australia, the EU, Switzerland, and Brazil. For all EU orders contact our exclusive distributor thereCannawell.

14. Is your Hemp Extract Oil similar to Rick Simpson Hemp Oil?

Not quite. Ours are from hemp and RSHO is usually using marijuana, a different form of cannabis than industrial hemp. Our industrial hemp extracts are more standardized and will usually have a much higher content of non-psychoactive cannabinoids like CBD than one produced through the Rick Simpson method. And oils produced through his method will usually have a much higher THC content, as it’s typically marijuana that is used for RSHO.†

Generally speaking, most marijuana producers and sellers (especially on the black market) don’t test for contaminants (metals, pesticides, bacteria, etc.). Rick Simpson Hemp Oil is actually more a method of extraction than it is a specific product. People use the Rick Simpson method with hundreds of different strains of marijuana, so the THC, CBD and other cannabinoid content of the final oil is always varying greatly, depending on the cannabis the consumers are acquiring. Usually what’s used for Rick Simpson oil is a strain with an inferior CBD content (and high THC), because that’s what the vast amount of marijuana is nowadays.

15. Where do you source your hemp and CBD from?

We have partners in Kentucky who grew a dedicated plot for us this year (2016) which is being used in our products now. mjna message boardWe also currently source from Europe but we’ll be changing that soon.

16. What kind of testing/analysis is performed on your products?

We have an industry leading quality control system, and we have third party laboratories analyze all of our hemp extracts and our final products for cannabinoid potency, heavy metals, bacterial and microbial life, mycotoxins (fungus), and pesticides.

17. What is CO2 extraction? What’s the difference between subcritical and supercritical CO2 extractions?

CO2 extraction is an extraction process that uses pressurized carbon dioxide to extract phyto-chemicals (such as CBD, CBG, or terpenes, flavonoids, etc.) from a plant. CO2 at certain temperatures and pressures acts like a solvent, without the dangers of actually being one. It is the most expensive extraction method, and is widely considered the most effective and safest plant extraction method in the world.

Many hemp and CBD companies boast about their supercritical CO2 extractions, but that’s actually only one (and perhaps an inferior) method of using a CO2 extraction machine. There are also subcritical CO2 extractions, and ‘mid-critical’, a general range between subcritical and supercritical. Subcritical (low temp, low pressure) CO2 extractions take more time and produce smaller yields than super-critical, but they retain the essential oils, terpenes, and other sensitive chemicals within the plant. Supercritical, on the other hand, is a high pressure and high temperature process that damages most terpenes and heat sensitive chemicals, but can extract much larger molecules such as lipids (omega 3 and 6), chlorophyll, and waxes. A truly full-spectrum CO2 extract includes first performing a subcritical extraction, separating the extracted oil, and then extracting the same plant material using supercritical pressure, and then homogenizing both oil extracts into one. In the essential oil industry, an extract made using this specific process is referred to as a CO2 Total.

18. What is the endocannabinoid system (ECS)?

“The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a group of endogenous cannabinoid receptors located in the mammalian brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems, consisting of neuromodulatory lipids and their receptors.” Wikipedia

There are two main types of receptors in the ECS, CB1 and CB2. CB1 receptors are primarily located in the central nervous system and brains of mammals, and CB2 are generally found in the peripheral nervous system. There are two main cannabinoids mammals produce- 2AG and Anandamide (named after the Sanskrit term “ananda” which translates to “peace”).

For hundreds of millions of years every vertebrate on Earth has been equipped with this ECS, a crucial system in the body, and it has been known about in the scientific and medical communities since the 1980’s. However, it’s still not taught about in most medical schools.

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