Going into business with your significant other isn’t for everyone, but for these couples working in the cannabis industry, it’s been a journey they wouldn’t trade for anything else.

When Amy Ludlum and Peter Bishop met at the end of 2016, their shared entrepreneurial drive was evident from the beginning.

“On our first date, we talked about almost nothing but startups,” Ludlum tells High Times. “The passing of Prop. 64 in California caught our attention, but it wasn’t until one fateful night when we whipped up a cannabis drink on a whim, using simple tincture and some grapefruit juice, that things really clicked.”

That same night, the twosome agreed to start a company to test out their idea.

“Several all-night bottling runs and dozens of happy customers later, we knew we were onto something,” Ludlum says. “It was then that we both dropped everything and took the plunge.”

The end product? California Dreamin’, a low-dose cannabis soda currently available in four flavors: cranberry apple, pomegranate, tangerine, and grapefruit. The couple says that with legalization bringing new consumers into the cannabis space, they saw an opportunity to fill a gap within the market.

“It’s easy to make lots of cash selling knock-out brownies with 100mg of THC, but those don’t make sense for light and new cannabis consumers,” Bishop explains. “It’s a lot harder and less cost effective to make high-quality products with smaller amounts of THC. Given how unbelievably challenging this industry is, I can’t imagine [not] doing this together and supporting each other the whole way.

Six Couples Open Up About Working In Cannabis Together

Chris Whitener and Randi Sether, the couple behind MagicalButter (Courtesy of Whitener and Sether)

Chris Whitener, executive director of MagicalButter, where his partner Randi Sether also works as a digital marketing strategist, echoes that sentiment.

It’s exciting to create and activate on ideas with your best friend,” Whitener says. “Being with a fellow cannabis pro who understands your unique lifestyle and can share it with you has been a dream come true. Cannabis spreads love and brings people together — that’s what it did for us, and that’s what we do for others.”

The MagicalButter machine helps medical cannabis patients create their own medicine by infusing their own topicals, tinctures, and edibles. In fact, Sether started off as a customer herself making coconut oil to microdose her meals before ultimately joining the MagicalButter team full time.

“Many people will not recommend working with your life partner, but it’s actually quite sweet,” says Sether, who was formerly the director of marketing for Florida’s largest physician’s practice providing medical marijuana card recommendations. “The key to success in businesses and relationships is having varying roles. Our skill sets are different, but they allow us to work well together, complementing each other’s strengths and being able to achieve more as a team.”

Six Couples Open Up About Working In Cannabis Together

Kate Black and Katie Stem of Peak Extracts (Courtesy of Black and Stem)

That’s something that Kate Black and Katie Stem, co-founders of Peak Extracts in Oregon, can relate to.

My partner and I decided to make a go of it because we have complementary skill sets,” Stem explains. “Her specialty is branding, design, and cuisine. Mine is the scientific and business aspects.”

The coupled founded Peak Extracts in 2014 through Oregon’s medical marijuana program. It then transitioned to the recreational use market in 2016, eventually becoming the first edibles producer licensed in Oregon. These days, Peak Extracts is currently the number two cannabis chocolate manufacturer in the state.

“We’re doing work that makes a direct and positive impact on people’s lives, and it’s constantly rewarding to hear their stories,” Stem says. “From a veteran with debilitating nerve pain that can now sleep through the night thanks to our topicals, to women who use our chocolate to help with symptoms of PTSD, our customers are discovering new ways to take control of their health.”

Of course, working in cannabis comes with challenges that couples in other industries are less likely to face.

“The uncertainty can be very difficult,” Stem shares. “The rules change often, and with little notice, and we are forced to make changes to operations, the facility, or packaging on the fly. Between the regulatory environment and the constant influx of new money and brands into the industry, there’s always a feeling of impermanence, like it could all dissolve at any moment.”

Six Couples Open Up About Working In Cannabis Together

Julia Jacobson and Sam Ludwig, the duo behind Aster Farms (Courtesy of Jacobson and Ludwig)

Julia Jacobson, CEO of Aster Farms in Northern California, has experienced similar frustrations.

“The most challenging parts of the industry are the changing regulations, specifically around packaging,” Jacobson explains. “One day you place an order for 20,000 units of packaging, and the next day it’s no longer compliant. We speak with our lawyers and our packaging supplier daily, and we’re nonstop problem-solving.”

But the downsides of the industry haven’t stopped her and her husband Sam Ludwig, who serves as president of Aster Farms. After all, they’re a couple with deep roots in cannabis.

“Cannabis cultivation in Northern California has been part of my family legacy for almost 50 years, so when we decided to jump in with both feet, the decision felt right,” Ludwig says. “Julia and I had been using the plant medicinally for over a decade and with my family’s history in cultivation, we knew that was a great place to start. We noticed there wasn’t a brand aligned with what we cared about — clean, organic, and sustainable — so we set out to change that.”

Like other couples have mentioned, knowing which assets and abilities both parties bring to the table is critical for success.

“I’m a numbers person, and he’s a creative — where I drop the ball, he picks it up and vice versa,” Jacobson explains. “The other amazing thing about working with your spouse is the transparency. Unlike other co-founders, you know exactly how hard the other person is working — there’s no room for BS when you’re working with your spouse, and that’s great.”

And when all the sweat equity finally does pay off, the rewards are that much sweeter.

Six Couples Open Up About Working In Cannabis Together

Danny Sloat and Kristin Murr-Sloat of AlpinStash (Courtesy of the Sloats)

“The successes we have as a company are a lot more rewarding when we share them as a couple,” says Danny Sloat, founder of AlpinStash. “I consider myself extremely lucky to have her in all aspects of my life.”

Sloat credits consuming and growing cannabis with losing 70 pounds, transitioning off more than 19 prescriptions including opiates for multiple medical issues, and eventually establishing one of the most well-known micro-cultivation brands in Colorado. His wife, Kristin Murr-Sloat, is a cultivator at AlpinStash who cut her teeth in the industry working at a cannabis bakery.

In 2014, Sloat founded AlpinStash following a string of negative experiences working and growing for two different facilities. He says he was compelled to pursue his own venture that would be “completely dedicated to offering unique genetics and craft cannabis.” Two years later, he brought his wife on board.

“At first, finding a professional balance was tough,” Sloat says. “It can be difficult to go from seeing each other after work and on the weekends to pretty much spending 24-hours a day together. Overall though, it’s really amazing. As a couple, we complement each other, and this holds especially true for work.”

Six Couples Open Up About Working In Cannabis Together

Antonio and Heather DeRose of Green House Healthy (Courtesy of the DeRoses)

And for high school sweethearts Antonio and Heather DeRose, being able to combine their shared interests in an entrepreneurial way is what makes their work so fulfilling.

“Our business is focused around our passions for cannabis, health, fitness, and travel,” Antonio says. “Fortunately for us, we’ve known each other for more than 15 years, so we make a great team.”

The DeRoses left careers in finance to launch Green House Healthy, which creates healthy experiences through educational and athletic events, including cannabis-positive fitness and nutrition classes. They’re both athletes and certified personal trainers who aim to destigmatize cannabis and share how it has changed their lives.

Heather, for example, used to be “completely against cannabis” before discovering its benefits. Now, she regularly speaks about how cannabis helps her epilepsy, PTSD, anxiety, weight management, and athletic performance.

“What we both enjoy most about working in the cannabis industry is the community,” Antonio says. “Knowing our work has an impact on normalizing cannabis, improving the quality of life for people who need it, and the overall sustainable impact cannabis can have on our planet is enough to keep us motivated every day.”

The post Six Couples Open Up About Working In Cannabis Together 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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