The New Consumer Guide to Cannabis: Breaking Down the Basics

We get it. Cannabis can be confusing, and questions abound when you dive into the nitty gritty details.

But as the popularity and awareness of cannabis increases—specifically surrounding two of its most talked about components, called cannabinoids, CBD and THC—so do misconceptions about what cannabis is, what it does and what all of the hype is about (well worth it, if you ask us!).

Some of the most common questions we hear:

Do all cannabis products get you high? (short answer: no)
What is it used for? (the list keeps on growing)
How does it taste? (Azuca was founded by a chef—you can trust us on this one)
Why should I try it out? (how much time do you have?)

Like all good stories, we think it’s best to start at the beginning to help you nail down the basics. For the sake of brevity, we’ll hone in on THC and CBD only—though bear in mind, the cannabis plant contains more than one hundred unique cannabinoids.

Do all cannabis products get you high?

Nope. A cannabis-infused product’s ability to provide a high is dependent on whether the product contains THC or is CBD only. Not sure what THC and CBD are? Read on.

THC and CBD—what’s the difference?

CBD and THC, shorthand for cannabidiol and delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, respectively, are cannabinoids derived from the cannabis plant. More simply, they are two of the most abundant active ingredients found in cannabis.

A common difference cited between the two is that THC can get you high and CBD doesn’t. But it’s a little more sophisticated than that. Both THC and CBD are psychoactive—by definition, any substance that has an effect on the mind is psychoactive—but only THC is intoxicating, meaning that it can provide you with a euphoric high while CBD cannot.

Why? It all has to do with cannabinoid 1 (CB1) receptors, which naturally occur within your body’s endocannabinoid system. Since THC is an ‘agonist’, it stimulates CB1 receptors in the brain. CBD on the other hand, is an ‘antagonist’ and inhibits activation of CB1 receptors. A 2001 study1 demonstrated that when an antagonist blocks the CB1 receptors, an individual cannot get high, therefore when the CB1 receptors are open to being stimulated by an agonist, an individual can get high.

What is cannabis used for?

A growing body of literature indicates that cannabis has a variety of health benefits that can aid in the treatment and recovery of a range of ailments. Since the research on its medicinal applications is still in a nascent stage, its complete capabilities are not fully known. That being said, studies 2,3  have shown that cannabinoids can be an effective and well-tolerated pain reliever, with evidence suggesting that they are also helpful in the treatment of cancer,4, 5 fibromyalgia, rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis,6 muscle spasticity,7 Tourette Syndrome,8 schizophrenia,9  Parkinson’s Disease and Huntington’s Disease.2

Cannabis is also frequently used to treat the symptoms that accompany drug therapy for HIV infections,10 and synthetic cannabinoids have proven to be effective in relieving the side effects of cancer chemotherapy, like nausea and vomiting.11

CBD in particular is highly regarded for its calming effects, with individuals reporting that it relieves insomnia and anxiety, and can also help manage epilepsy.

What does it taste like?

Historically, cannabis has gotten a bad rep for tasting ‘grassy’ and smelling ‘skunky’. But that doesn’t have to be the reality—today’s edibles have advanced to the point where the “weed” flavor that many find undesirable is virtually undetectable. Our mantra? You can have your cannabis, and enjoy it too! Our products range from CBD simple syrup to THC-infused chocolate coins, shortbread cookies, Pâte de Fruits (Azuca’s Head of Kitchen Crew, Quino, dubbed this as his favorite product) and more.

We’re constantly coming up with new flavors—think Root Beer Pâte de Fruit and pomegranate simple syrup—and are expanding rapidly, so make sure to follow us on social (@azuca.co) to stay up-to-date! Warning: mouthwatering is a frequent side effect of looking at our Instagram page.

How much should I consume?

For novice consumers, it’s recommended to begin with a very small amount of cannabis—also known as a microdose—and gradually work your way up to the point when the desired effect is reached. For instance, with Azuca, this might mean using a half teaspoon of sugar or syrup in your drink. Fortunately, our products take effect within 30 minutes, so you won’t be waiting and wondering for hours as you would with many other edible products on the market.

The bottom line: every person is different, so starting low and going slow is the key to finding the correct dose for your unique biology and needs—in fact, many people prefer to microdose because it allows them to benefit from the plant’s vast medical potential on a daily basis, without experiencing any unwanted lethargy or euphoria.

Alright, all of that sounds great. How can I get in on the action?

Whether you’re looking to discover your Zen through CBD-only products or are desirous of finding balanced, THC-infused edibles and ingredients to incorporate into your lifestyle, Azuca promises to deliver fast-acting, precise and delicious edibles that you can count on.

Our CBD products can be bought online here, and our THC-infused edibles are available at Mayflower Medicinals in Massachusetts.

Sources

  1. Huestis MA., Gorelick DA., Heishman SJ., Preston KL., Nelson RA., Moolchan ET., Frank RA. Blockade of effects of smoked marijuana by the CB1-selective cannabinoid receptor antagonist SR141716. Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2001;58:322–328. [PubMed]
  2. Natalya M. Kogan, Raphael Mechoulam. Cannabinoids in health and disease. Dialogues Clin Neurosci. 2007;9:413–430. [PMC]
  3. Mary Barna Bridgeman, Daniel T. Abazia. Medicinal Cannabis: History, Pharmacology, And Implications for the Acute Care Setting. P T. 2017;42:180–188. [PMC]
  4. Kogan NM. Cannabinoids and cancer. Mini Rev Med Chem.2005;5:941–952. [PubMed]
  5. Bifulco M., Laezza C., Gazzerro P., Pentimalli F. Endocannabinoids as emerging suppressors of angiogenesis and tumor invasion (review). Oncol Rep. 2007;17:813–816. [PubMed]
  6. Cabranes A., Pryce G., Baker D., Fernandez-Ruiz J. Changes in CB1 receptors in motor-related brain structures of chronic relapsing experimental allergic encephalomyelitis mice. Brain Res.2006;1107:199–205. [PubMed]
  7. Brenneisen R., Egli A., Elsohly MA., Henn V., Spiess Y. The effect of orally and rectally administered delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol on spasticity: a pilot study with 2 patients. Int J Clin Pharmacol Ther. 1996;34:446–452. [PubMed]
  8. MulIer-Vahl KR. Cannabinoids reduce symptoms of Tourette's syndrome. Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2003;4:1717–1725.[PubMed]
  9. Zuardi AW., Crippa JA., Hallak JE., Moreira FA., Guimaraes FS. Cannabidiol, a Cannabis sativa constituent, as an antipsychotic drug. Braz J Med Biol Res. 2006;39:421–429. [PubMed]
  10. Woolridge E., Barton S., Samuel J., Osorio J., Dougherty A., Holdcroft A. Cannabis use in HIV for pain and other medical symptoms. J Pain Symptom Manage. 2005;29:358–67. [PubMed]
  11. Berlach DM., Shir Y., Ware MA. Experience with the synthetic cannabinoid nabilone in chronic noncancer pain. Pain Med. 2006;7:25–29. [PubMed]

Azuca Brings Innovative Artisan Edibles to Medical Market

—New Brand Leverages Breakthrough Technology to Offer Customizable Culinary Cannabis Experience—

NEW YORK (October 2018) — Azuca, a line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients, is launching in the medical-use market, with products hitting shelves in the iAnthus network of dispensaries. Azuca’s product suite will fill the cannabis industry’s demand for an edible that offers a more controllable experience—not to mention a great taste.

The line consists of a variety of cannabis-infused sweeteners and syrups in THC, CBD and combination formulas, which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. Products are available in a wide range of flavors, all made in artisan batches to deliver medical benefits that not only provide patients with discreet relief, but are delicious as well. In addition to the sweeteners—with flavor options including lemon, pomegranate and orange—the line also offers an array of shortbread cookies, chocolate coins and Pâte de Fruit in both high and low doses, customizable for individual medical needs.

Azuca products are set apart by their patent-pending technology, developed by Azuca Founder and Chief Creative Officer Ron Silver, which wraps the cannabis molecules to make them more water soluble, allowing for easy digestion in the stomach, and avoiding the gut and liver where cannabis is degraded and absorption is slowed. Increased water solubility is associated with increased bioavailability and faster onset, enabling patients to more accurately and effectively medicate.

Silver brings a unique set of expertise to the cannabis market, as a renowned chef and owner of Bubby’s, a popular brunch destination with two locations in New York City and seven in Japan. Recognizing a void for trustworthy edibles in the marketplace, Silver developed the underlying technology for Azuca over a two-year period of R&D, before infusing it into specially crafted edibles that combine the science with chef-quality taste to offer medical relief in a safer, more desirable way.

Azuca is licensing its Intellectual Property to iAnthus, to bring its innovative cannabis solutions to iAnthus affiliates like the Massachusetts Registered Medical Dispensary, Mayflower Medicinals. Mayflower Medicinals will cultivate and manufacture world-class cannabis products out of its 36,000 square-foot, state-of-the-art production facility in Holliston, MA.

“Even as cannabis becomes less stigmatized in the U.S., there is still a widespread issue with edibles causing unpredictable and negative experiences. Cannabis is a powerful medicinal plant with a myriad of health benefits that should not be deterred by a lack of trust. To resolve the common problems plaguing today’s consumers, Azuca edibles utilize a unique technology that delivers a more controllable effect. Launching with iAnthus is the first of many milestones for Azuca, as we continue to grow our brand and push the boundaries of product innovation,” said Silver.

Leading the Azuca management team is Kim Sanchez Rael, CEO, who has entered the cannabis industry with over 20 years of entrepreneurial start-up, executive management, policy and venture investing experience.

# # #

About Azuca

Azuca is a privately-held, investor-backed cannabis company which commercializes a line of edible products using patent-pending technology. This technology wraps cannabis molecules in order to make them more water soluble, to increase bioavailability and effectiveness and minimize wait-time for more controlled, reliable edibles.

The Azuca product line consists of sweeteners and syrups which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. CBD products are anticipated to be available nationwide from late 2018, while THC products will be launching through licensed dispensaries in legal cannabis markets.

The Cannabis Market

Azuca is tapping into the burgeoning cannabis market with its edible line. According to industry estimates, the legal cannabis market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. Currently recreational use is legal in nine states plus Washington D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 30 states, with edibles representing a fast-growing segment.  New adopters are often health conscious and averse to smoking and vaping, making cannabis edibles the ideal solution.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gabrielle Wesseldyk at gabrielle@rosengrouppr.com or 212.255.0945.


Leading Edibles Brand Azuca Launches CBD Division

—New Executive Sales Director and General Manager Join World-Class Team—

NEW YORK (October 30, 2018) — Azuca—the line of all-natural cannabis edibles and ingredients founded by Chef Ron Silver—today announced the launch of its CBD division, with plans to offer hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) simple syrup direct to consumers as well as to restaurants, bars and coffee shops through a wholesale model.

To foster and support growth of the CBD business, Azuca has expanded its ranks with the addition of two new sales-savvy team members, enhancing the company’s experienced lineup of culinary and cannabis industry professionals.

Barney Stacher joins the Azuca team as Executive Sales Director, spearheading sales initiatives and leading the sales infrastructure process for Azuca’s CBD division. Stacher’s responsibilities will include driving both business-to-business and direct-to-consumer deals. He comes to Azuca with more than 20 years of experience in directing business development initiatives in sales, marketing, and product strategy. Stacher has worked closely with leading brands—including Hyatt and Macy’s—across the retail, food, hospitality and tech industries to analyze diverse information and produce valuable insights. Prior to joining Azuca, Stacher launched the iced tea brand Teany with electronic musician Moby. Stacher has a proven track record of facilitating teams to expedite innovation and generate revenue.

“I have always been motivated by a strong passion for communicating the value of emerging brands with unique stories to tell,” Stacher said. “When I first learned about Azuca, I was immediately captivated by the brand message, groundbreaking technology and delicious taste—all culminating in a truly innovative product that is distinct from any other CBD offering on the market. I’m eager to play an active role in making Azuca a national, household name by connecting consumers and business owners alike with Azuca’s high-quality and versatile ingredients and edibles that appeal to both cannabis experts and novices.”

Jonathan Teeters joins as General Manager of Azuca’s CBD Division and Director of Business Development. Teeters served on the Board of Directors for the Minority Cannabis Business Association and brings deep industry experience in the cannabis space, most recently leading a team in Washington to open the first dispensary on an Indian Reservation for a Native American tribe. Teeters previously served as Director of Operations at the prominent cannabis publication, DOPE Magazine, and founded NorthStar Therapeutics, an online marketplace offering CBD therapeutic products direct to consumers.

“As the momentum for widespread legalization continues to pick up speed, new cannabis startups are emerging left and right. In this increasingly crowded and competitive landscape, it’s imperative for brands to stand out and differentiate themselves,” Teeters said. “I’ve seen countless cannabis companies open and close their doors over the last half-decade, and I’ve developed an instinct for identifying the most viable products. Azuca not only demonstrates immense potential from both a consumer-facing and wholesale perspective, but it also represents the ‘gold standard’ that other companies should strive to achieve from a product development standpoint. It’s an honor to join a skilled and ambitious team that is going above and beyond to elevate the CBD sector with unparalleled precision and reliability.”

“With two accomplished new team members joining, Azuca’s CBD division is poised for unprecedented success,” said Kim Rael, Azuca CEO. “Barney and Jonathan’s experience in brand building and sales marketing ushers in an exciting period of growth for Azuca. As we continue to expand our team, product line and national reach, we look forward to providing both new and veteran customers with the comfort and relief they seek in our approachable, natural and trustworthy edibles and ingredients.”

# # #

About Azuca

Azuca is a privately-held, investor-backed cannabis company which commercializes a line of edible products using patent-pending technology. This technology envelops cannabis molecules in order to make them more water soluble, increasing bioavailability and effectiveness and minimizing latency for more controlled, reliable edibles.

The Azuca CBD introductory product line consists of sweeteners and syrups which can be added to food and beverages as the building blocks of a sophisticated culinary cannabis experience. Additional CBD products are anticipated to be available nationwide in 2019, while THC products are launching through licensed partners and dispensaries in legal cannabis markets.

The Cannabis Market

Azuca is tapping into the burgeoning cannabis market with its edible line. According to industry estimates, the legal cannabis market is expected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. Currently recreational use is legal in nine states plus Washington D.C., while medical marijuana is legal in 31 states, with edibles representing a fast-growing segment.  New adopters are often health conscious and averse to smoking and vaping, making cannabis edibles the ideal solution.

For more information or to schedule an interview, please contact Gabrielle Wesseldyk at gabrielle@rosengrouppr.com or 212.255.0945.


Meet Quino Baca: Head of the Kitchen Crew Behind Azuca

Chef turned cannabis culinarian, Joaquin (Quino) Baca is one of the key creative forces behind Azuca.

A member of the Azuca team since the very beginning, Quino has helped build out a product line of pioneering cannabis edibles that not only taste amazing, but also set an industry standard for what it means to provide consumers with a trustworthy, consistent and reliable cannabis product.

Quino’s resume touts headlining names like Momofuku Noodle Bar, Ko and Ssäm Bar, which he opened up with food industry mogul and former business partner David Chang before venturing off on his own to open up Brooklyn Star in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. The Southwestern-meets-New-American style restaurant was a local gem and married Quino’s New York-based ambitions with his penchant for the smoky, Southwestern flavors he grew to love while living with cattle-ranching relatives in Texas. His latest restaurant, Teo, is set to open later this year.

Curious to hear chef Quino’s perspective on his new role with Azuca? We were, too.

In a recent Q&A session, Quino shared his thoughts on helming the kitchen crew of Azuca, his favorite product, and what he’s up to when he’s not in production mode (spoiler alert: chefs are always on the clock). Read on to see what he said.

How have your skills as a chef transferred to your role at Azuca?

Production and R&D are two major parts of my role at Azuca. The production part is second-nature to me. Logistics, organization – those are integral aspects of running a restaurant kitchen, and that’s what I do for a living. On the R&D side, my chef skills and experience come into play by way of problem-solving and ideas for inspiration. What I’m doing at Azuca is still ‘chef work,’ just on a slightly different scale with a slightly different medium.

What has surprised you the most about the process of producing a cannabis edibles line?

What’s most surprising about this whole process is being in a field that’s in such a nascent stage. There’s nothing to go on – no recipe book, very few pre-existing guidelines. It’s all super fascinating, but also a huge challenge because we have to come up with answers to problems that haven’t been solved.

Has that been the biggest challenge then – the fact that the edibles world is, for the most part, uncharted territory?

That’s definitely been one of the major challenges. Having to start from scratch is tough in and of itself, and with so few guidelines and regulations, the learning curve is steep. Other challenges we’ve faced so far have been related to the science and technology that’s involved with making such a precise, fast-acting and reliable product.

As chefs, we know how to make dishes and their component parts, but we’re used to taking tastes here and there, and figuring out what’s missing. When we do this, the end product is undoubtedly delicious, but there’s also a slight variance from dish to dish. We don’t do that with Azuca products, this is not that kind of environment. Scientific exactitude is of the utmost importance here, so we’re always sure to be hyper-organized and exact in everything we do.

What have been the successes?

Being that the edibles world is one without a lot of guidelines, trial and error has played a big role in getting us to where we are today. A lot of our successes have come about as a result of accidents and mistakes because they allow us the opportunity to go back to the drawing board and see where we went wrong. We’re constantly learning better and more efficient techniques, improving our products and dreaming up new ideas so that Azuca remains an innovative and exciting – while also reliable and trustworthy – product for our customers.

How did you become involved with Azuca?

I’ve known Ron [Silver; Azuca founder] since 2004, when I opened up Momofuku in the East Village. Ron and his family quickly became super regular customers at the restaurant and, since the initial design of Momofuku consisted of a small open kitchen, we got to know each other pretty well.

Ron and I have a lot in common since we’re both restaurant owners, and over the years we’ve had multiple talks about partnering up on a new venture – the problem was that the timing was never right. This time around with Azuca, the stars aligned. I’m in the middle of closing one restaurant and opening another [Teo], so when Ron came to me needing another set of hands, I thought, how can I resist?

What’s your favorite product from the line?

Pâte de fruits. A cool, old-school classic.

Where do you see Azuca in five years?

In five years, Azuca will be an industry gold standard. As a company, we are dedicated to removing the intimidation factor from edibles and providing people with a variety of products that allow them to customize their experience to their liking.

Sure, some people like to see brightly colored, Willy Wonka-inspired candies on the shelves, but we’re a product line, not a candy company and the reality is that a large number of people consuming edibles have little to no experience with cannabis. The friendly yet sophisticated, adult approach that we’re taking with Azuca is really important in this market and is going to be what helps solidify our reputation as one of the most trusted names in cannabis.

What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

As a restaurant chef, I’m always working. I also do carpentry, so right now I’m putting finishing touches on my new restaurant, Teo, before it opens later this year. Outside of all that, I love spending time with my son, Mateo – whose name inspired Teo – and I have hobbies like cycling, but my true passion is restaurants.


Pot Stocks, ETFs, Top News And Data From The Cannabis Industry This Week

It was another busy week for the cannabis industry, with Aurora Cannabis Inc (OTC: ACBFFapplying to list on the New York Stock Exchange, tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. (NYSE: MO) reportedly showing interest inin Aphria Inc. (OTC: APHQF), and Walmart Inc (NYSE: WMTconfirming it conducted “some preliminary fact-finding” related to selling cannabis-based products in its stores.

The biggest news come out of MedMen Enterprises Inc (OTC: MMNFF), which completed its $682-million acquisition of PharmaCann, becoming the largest U.S. cannabis company.

“This week’s move by MedMen shows that the company is hyper focused on grabbing as much market share, as early as it possibly can. It’s a big pivot from the company’s original strategy to stick to limited specific markets,” Debra Borchardt, CEO of Green Market Report, told Benzinga. “Another big development this week was the reverse takeover plan from Cresco Labs, and the merge between MJ Freeway and MTech [see our notes below]. It’s possible that, with MJ Freeway getting listed on Nasdaq, we’ll get our first female CEO of a cannabis company to trade on a major exchange.”

Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ: FB) said it lifted its ban of search results for cannabis-related pages.

“It has been the best news Facebook has released all year,” said Abraham Villegas, owner of the digital marketing agency AV Social Strategies, and Founder of The Medical Cannabis Community. "I operate several online medical cannabis communities, and what is most disheartening is that people truly rely on our groups for information. Many people have no other way of finding out about cannabis and as a result, frequently resort to online searches for answers… I am so glad and grateful that this shadow ban has been lifted as it will once again allow people the chance to find our communities and obtain the relief they need.”

Marijuana Indexes & ETFs

The United States Marijuana Index, which tracks most of the largest marijuana stocks in the U.S., closed the week flat, while the North American Marijuana Index, which also includes Canadian stocks, gained almost 1 percent.

Over the last five trading days, the Horizons Marijuana Life Sciences Index ETF (OTC: HMLSF) (TSE:HMMJ) rose 2.3 percent, while the ETFMG Alternative Harvest ETF (NYSE: MJ) rose 1.2 percent. The SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (NYSE: SPY) closed the week down 4.1 percent.

Stock Moves

Here are some of the top marijuana stocks (market cap above $100 million) in U.S. exchanges and how the performed over the last five trading days:

• 22nd Century Group Inc (NYSE: XXII): up 6.4 percent

• Aphria Inc (OTC: APHQF): up 16.4 percent

• Canopy Growth Corp (NYSE: CGC): up 4.7 percent

• Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON): up 0.8 percent

• Green Organic Dutchman Holdings Ltd (OTC: TGODF): down 7.6 percent

• Green Thumb Industries Inc (OTC: GTBIF): up 3.1 percent

• GW Pharmaceuticals PLC- ADR (NASDAQ: GWPH): down 5.6 percent

• iAnthus Capital Holdings Inc (OTC: ITHUF): down 5.2 percent

• MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC: MMNFF): up 36 percent

• THC Biomed Intl Ltd (OTC: THCBF): down 3.3 percent

• Tilray Inc (NASDAQ: TLRY): up 1 percent

• Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc (NASDAQ: ZYNE): down 6.4 percent

In Other News

The parliament in Lithuania voted to legalize medicines containing cannabis. “If the parliament is ready to adopt this decision, we will make a very important step towards guaranteeing the best possible treatment for patients suffering from serious illnesses,” Mykolas Majauskas, member of the parliament, said during the parliamentary debates.

Benzinga reached out to Eduardo Blasina, managing director of Cannabis Uruguay Ltd. and founder of the Montevideo Cannabis Museum.

“This reaffirms the huge opportunity that the cannabis market represents, not only in the U.S. and Canada, but also on a global scale. Take a country like Uruguay, which can export cannabis-derived products… The potential is massive,” he said. “Every step in the direction of legalization helps us advance on our ethical commitment to providing access to cannabis to anyone who needs it.”

MTech Acquisition Corp. (NASDAQ: MTEC) and MJ Freeway entered into a definitive merger agreement. Under the deal, Denver-based MJ Freeway and MTech will become subsidiaries of a newly-created company. The merger, which is subject to approval by equity holders of each company, is slated to close in early 2019.

"This merger allows us to amplify our vision and strategy, thus extending our leadership role along the cannabis technology ecosystem," said Jessica Billingsley, co-founder and CEO of MJ Freeway. "With an increased balance sheet, we have the financial support needed to help cannabis businesses make intelligent decisions faster. With our acquisition partners, MJ Freeway will fast-track growth and expand product offerings to meet the evolving demands of a highly regulated industry."

MediPharm Labs (OTC: MLCPF) announced a three-year Cannabis Concentrate Program Agreement with Emerald Health Therapeutics Inc (OTC: EMHTF) whereby Emerald will provide MediPharm with dried cannabis to create premium quality cannabis oils, marking the fifth agreement of this kind for the processor.

Medical Marijuana Inc. announced the launch of its newest brand, Dixie Botanicals Canada, partnering with Canadian extraction and formulation company Salvation Botanicals.

"The company is pleased to be launching this well-known brand to such a promising new market," said Medical Marijuana, Inc. CEO Dr. Stuart Titus. "Dixie Botanicals Canada now offers a collection of Triple Lab Tested CBD products while consistently meeting its ever-growing customers' needs."

Phoenix Life Sciences International Limited (OTC: MJMD) said it received approval from the Vanuatu Investment Promotion Authority (VIPA) to establish operations in the country and manufacture botanical pharmaceutical products.

“This is a major step for the company and our operations in Vanuatu,” said Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Life Martin Tindall. “With this application approval, we can begin to establish the necessary resources required to initiate clinical trials and develop scalable production capacity for our botanical pharmaceutical medications and begin leading the global health initiative to end the diabetes epidemic.”

Green Flower is expanding its educational initiatives, announcing this week a new strategic partnership with dialogEDU. The companies are working together to provide designs for online higher education cannabis programs for trade schools, colleges and universities entering the global cannabis education market. Green Flower will utilize its extensive library of videos and multimedia assets combined with dialogEDU to provide schools with designs for cannabis courses for online and on-ground students that may be used for programs leading to certificates, diplomas and degrees.

CannAmerica Brands announced it will list on the Canadian Securities Exchange on Oct. 15.

PotBotics Inc. announced it entered into a letter of intent to complete a reverse takeover of Express Capital Corp. Upon completion, the resulting entity will apply to list its common shares on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

"We're excited to give everyone the opportunity to take part in one of the leading medical cannabis technology companies. With an established AI ecosystem and the upcoming release of the first dose-measuring vaporizer, the RYAH, we hope to bring more professionalism and transparency to the medical community while tracking some of the most exciting analytics this industry desperately needs,” said David Goldstein, CEO of Potbotics.

Azuca, a line of fast-acting, chef-quality cannabis edibles and ingredients, launched in the Massachusetts medical market through a licensing of its Intellectual Property to iAnthus. Azuca products rely on a patent-pending technology that wraps cannabis molecules to make them more water soluble, allowing for easy digestion in the stomach, and avoiding the gut and liver where cannabis is degraded and absorption is slowed.

“I developed the Azuca brand in order to solve the most prominent issues facing the cannabis edibles sector today: lack of proper dosing and unpredictable effects. With fast-acting, consistent results in precise doses, Azuca products are designed to build trust among both new and seasoned cannabis consumers alike,” said Ron Silver, Founder and Chief Creative Officer. “Our team is in the midst of executing a multi-state—and global—expansion strategy, which will bring Azuca’s breakthrough technology to consumers worldwide who are looking for an approachable, tasty and reliable edibles experience.”

Cresco Labs announced its plans to reverse takeover Randsburg International Gold Corp. This move would allow Cresco to go public and seek approval to list its stock on the Canadian Securities Exchange.

Find out more about these news and others on Green Acre Capital, Canadian legalization and Aphria with our friends at Marijuana Money, who make a weekly video summary of the top financial and business news in the cannabis industry.

More From Benzinga’s Cannabis Newsdesk

During the week, Benzinga also reported on:

New Frontier Data’s take on the DEA’s re-scheduling of cannabis-derived drugs, on California’s legalization of hemp cultivation, and on how cannabis production consumes less energy than McDonald's Corp (NYSE: MCD) and Starbucks Corporation (NASDAQ: SBUX).

Pyxus International Inc (NYSE: PYX)’s recent breakout and Citron Research’s bullish view.

The most actively-traded over-the-counter stocks for September.

Cowen’s view on Tilray, Canopy and the overall cannabis market.

The views of Ivan Feinseth, chief investment officer at Tigress Financial, on cannabis stocks’ valuations.

New ways for cannabis companies to raise money.

Blockchain as an alternative solution for the industry’s banking challenges.

Interesting Data

Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics released a report looking into the edibles market. According to the papers, people in the U.S. and Canada spent more than $1 billion in cannabis edibles last year and consumption is expected to surpass $4.1 billion by 2022.

Events Calendar

Oct. 11–13: The New West Summit, a conference focused o disruptive developments in technology, science, media and investment within the cannabis space will hit Oakland, California. Speakers include Weediquette’s Krishna Andavolu, Slow Ventures’ Dave Morin, BerneSteve DeAngelo, Ricardo Baca and others.

Oct. 16: Voters in five states (Colorado, Michigan, Missouri, North Dakota, and Utah) will have their say on how marijuana should be regulated. Ballotpedia, the encyclopedia of American politics, is hosting a free webinar tracking these measures. Editor-in-Chief Geoff Pallay told Benzinga: “Heading into November, 31 states and D.C. have legalized or decriminalized marijuana. Nine states and D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes. The legalization, in one form or another, of marijuana has had far reaching implications for the country and ballot measures have been at the forefront of this legalization. 2018 will be no exception.”

Oct. 19–21: The Initiative presents Hustle Hard: A Cannabis Friendly Retreat For Women Who Mean Business, a three-day intensive retreat for women in cannabis in Bend, Oregon.

Oct. 20–27: A coalition of over 20 organizations working at the intersection of the cannabis industry, racial equity, and reparative justice, will join local and community groups across the country for the inaugural National Expungement Week (N.E.W.). Conceived to aid those disenfranchised by the war on drugs, N.E.W. will offer free clinics to help to remove, seal, or reclassify eligible convictions from criminal records. N.E.W. events will be held in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Detroit, Los Angeles, New Haven, Philadelphia, Prince George’s County, San Francisco and Washington, DC. Organizers will also provide attendees with a varied (depending upon location) range of supportive services including employment resources, voter engagement, health screenings and more.

Oct. 24: Fast Company's Innovation Festival session on Cannabusiness is coming to New York City. Panelists include Verena VonPfetten, co-founder, Gossamer, Michael Steinmetz, CEO of Flow Kana, and Karan Wadhera, Managing Partner of Casa Verde Capital. Panel discussion will cover the three principal ways individuals are jumping into cannabis: from plant touching operations rooted in northern California’s sustainable cannabis community, to a celebrity-backed investment fund, to a woman-led media company.

Oct. 25–26: Enlighten, the first full-scale enterprise technology solution in the cannabis space will be partnering with Lemonhaze to put on The Lemonhaze Cannabis & Comedy Convention, taking place at the newly refurbished Tacoma Dome. This event hopes to be for Cannabis what SXSW has been for technology, pairing innovation and a hub of influence with fun and education. The event will feature comedy by Doug Benson and will combine a major networking event for the cannabis industry.

Oct. 30–31: Michigan is hosting its 1st Commercial Cannabis Conference & Expo. This inaugural year is special - celebrating its first year in a commercial framework and supporting the upcoming recreational legalization vote. Collectively, the state's cannabis community is taking a stand for a healthy and strong cannabis industry in Michigan. Sponsorship, booths, and tickets are available.

Nov. 1: The Arcview Group, CannaTech and URI Capital Management are co-hosting Hong Kong’s first-ever Cannabis Investor Symposium, focused on the global investment opportunity, with an emphasis in those attractive to the Asian market.


Restaurants add cannabis-derived ingredient to their menus

The James New York NoMad hotel is offering new room service items designed not only to feed but to relax its guests.

The luxury hotel tapped famed cannabis chef Andrea Drummer to design a CBD-infused menu. CBD, or cannabidiol, is a chemical component of the cannabis plant, usually hemp. It is a non-psychoactive chemical compound, which means it won’t give you the same kind of high that THC-laced marijuana does.

CBD is increasingly popping up in oils, gums, bath scrubs, body lotions, lip balms, and more. Now, chefs across the country are using it in dishes for its potential health benefits, which some studies have shown could include treating pain, inflammation, anxiety, insomnia, and seizures.

“There’s a misconception about cannabis and CBD users,” says Drummer, a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu who is based in California. “We’re understanding more of the health benefits of CBD.”

Recreational marijuana is now legal in nine states, while medical marijuana is legal in 30. Laws regarding CBD vary state by state, or in many cases, are quite unclear. Recreational marijuana is not legal in New York, but industrial hemp is, and the CBD market is taking off as a result. While marijuana is legal in California, the state this summer decided that the use of industrial hemp as a source of CBD in food should be prohibited for now.

In New York, The James’ room service menu has spicy meatballs with 15 mg of CBD, a butter lettuce salad with 20 mg, an olive tapenade with 16.6 mg, potato tots with 10 mg each, and an ice cream sundae with 20 mg. The hotel also offers a bottle of CBD Living Water.

The items don’t come cheap: They range from $14 for the ice cream sundae or olive tapenade duo to $32 for the spicy meatballs.

Other examples of restaurants and cafes that have added CBD to their menus:

  • Monarch and the Milkweed, a restaurant in Burlington, Vermont, has a line of CBD-infused sweets on its menu. Items include “Little Chocolate Smoke Toke,” an Applewood spoked crunchy praline and cinnamon-filled dark chocolate truffle with 50 mg of CBD; the “Evergreen Buddy,” a pine needle fondant-filled dark chocolate truffle with 50 mg of CBD; and the “HazelBonBon,” a milk chocolate hazelnut praline bar wrapped in gold foil with 20 mg of CBD.
  • Fuel, a health-food restaurant chain in Philadelphia, has introduced its "Dream" collection of CBD-infused smoothies. It comes in three flavors: the vegan Berry Dream and Green Dream as well as Orange Dream, which can be regular or vegan. The company plans to develop more CBD-infused food and drinks by next year.
  • Ankeny Tap and Table in Portland, Oregon, has the Two Flowers IPA. According to its website, it is "the first commercially produced Cannabidiol (CBD) Hemp infused beer in Oregon." It has more than 5 mg of CBD per 16-oz pint.
  • Blue Sparrow Coffee in Denver has a CBD Nitro Cold Brew on tap. A small costs $6 and a large is $7.50. Patrons can also buy bags of Strava CBD coffee that vary in potency.

Bubby’s, which has two locations in New York City, offers CBD-infused sweeteners for cocktails, coffee, tea, and lemonade. Owner Ron Silver has founded a line of CBD sweeteners and syrups called Azuca, which he hopes to market to other establishments.

“It’s here to stay and more and more benefits will be revealed,” Silver says. “It’s a good substitute for opioids and also a good substitute for alcohol.”

By CHLOE, a vegan national fast-food chain, has launched Feelz by CHLOE, a CBD-Infused product line featuring cakes, cupcakes, cookies, Rice Krispies treats, mini pies, popcorn, dog bones, and more.

Samantha Wasser, co-founder of by CHLOE, says the company first experimented with CBD in April with the Daily Hit CBD Brownie.

“We sold out in less than 30 minutes and after seeing the response from our customers, I knew we had to do something more meaningful,” she says.

The company has partnered with experts such as Nice Paper, a website devoted to cannabis research, to educate its staff and customers on the benefits of CBD.

“CBD is growing in popularity and sparking a lot of conversation and interest,” she says. “We see this as a growing movement.”


CBD-Infused Foods and Drinks Grow in Popularity at NYC Shops, Cafes

More businesses in New York City are capitalizing on the growing popularity of cannabidiol, or CBD, as merchants tout its health benefits to sell CBD-infused products as varied as pastries, coffee and topical creams.

The controversial compound found in the cannabis plant is said to have several medical benefits, including anti-anxiety, stress relief, pain relief and anti-inflammatory properties. It's even been approved by the FDA to treat seizures linked to two rare forms of epilepsy.

Research is still emerging on the use of CBD for medical conditions, and the jury's still out on risks and side effects, according to a News 4 I-Team investigation. But with the increased interest in CBD, New York City shops have recognized an opportunity to sell products containing the oil.

Ian Ford sells CBD-infused drinks ranging from $6 to $7, along with lollipops, caramels and jams at his Brooklyn cafe, . He says regulars come in to purchase CBD foods three to four times a week, claiming they help with issues such as arthritis, stress, and even ADHD.

"People are buying this product because it helps them get through their day," Ford told News 4 New York. "They’re regular people who suffer from stressful jobs and come in to relax. CBD mixed with the caffeine in our coffee gives them the energy to go about their day without the constant stress and anxiety they suffer through."

Caffeine Underground was the first coffee shop in New York to roll out the drinks in March, and ever since, Ford says his business has improved significantly.

"One-third of our business comes from CBD-infused drinks alone," he said, adding that inquisitive foreigners also frequent his shop after finding out about it online.

In Two Bridges, Oliver Coffee is also selling coffee infused with cannabinoid. For an additional $3, baristas will add the oil to any drink.

Ultimately, owners of these specialty shops emphasize the importance of informed shopping. Luis Sagar, owner of The Alchemist Kitchen in the East Village, wants his shoppers to come into his store with questions and leave with the knowledge to form their own opinions.

Customers who enter his shop will always have a consultation with a trained herbalist, to limit confusion. "From the beginning, we don’t sell right off the shelf… we like to inform first," Sagar said.

Sagar sells the CBD in four forms: drops, gel caps, water soluble CBD for infusing drinks, and topical creams and lotions. The four versions are processed differently, but all include CBD in some form.

"CBD is definitely growing in popularity… Alchemist is benefiting [because people] know they’re not walking into some hippie place selling herbs."

By CHLOE, the popular vegan chain restaurant, has also taken a bite out of the CBD craze and will unveil "Feelz by Chloe" on Sept. 27. It is partnering with CBD lifestyle brand Toast to bring customers more than 25 menu items including cakes, brownies, whoopee-pies and bubble tea.

By CHLOE co-founder Samantha Wasser said in a press release, "I am a big believer in the benefits of CBD and the potential of this ever-expanding industry."

Other businesses like Bubby’s in Tribeca is selling CBD-infused cocktails. For around $20, you can drink a Banana Rum Old Fashioned or a Summer Margarita — all mixed with a CBD sweetener. Bubby's partnered with Azuca to introduce a CBD infused sweetener to the menu, which they put in their cocktails, coffees and teas.

CBD and THC are two active ingredients found in marijuana, but unlike THC, CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it does not create the mind-altering "high" that THC does, according to Medical News Today, a website indexing health news. A number of reputable medical centers are doing research into the safety and effectiveness of CBD, the I-Team reports. One business report predicts the industry could hit $22 billion by 2022.


Cannabis Syrup For Your Shakes, Smoothies, And Sauces

Azuca Cannabis Syrup Could Make Recipes Even Better

Dosage has always been one of the trickier aspects to figure out when it comes to making cannabis-infused edibles and beverages.

But a revolutionary new product seeks to change all that.

Meet Azuca, a unique line of cannabis-infused sweeteners and syrups. These all-natural products are designed to offer cannabis consumers more control in creating a limitless array of edibles; plus, its one-of-a-kind liquid formulation makes creating delicious shakes, smoothies, and sauces a breeze. The wide range of products come in various THC and CBD formulas which you can customize as you get creative in the kitchen with medicating.

The Azuca Sugars are perfect for those who are interested to experiment with microdosing. They are available in as little as 1mg of THC, giving you much more control over the whole experience. Now you no longer have to rely on just cannabutter to elevate your baking experience; let the sugar do the work, too! The sugars can also be used to sweeten your coffee, tea, and juices.

The Azuca Syrups are made with not more than 7 quality ingredients, which you can add to your smoothies and drinks. Making cannabis-infused beverages has never been so easy. Thanks to these products, you no longer have to get your hands dirty making infusions from scratch. What else can you make with infused syrups? The options are limitless! With flavors like pomegranate, orange, and lemon, the Azuca Syrups take medicating to a whole new level.

If you’re on a diet and want some sugar-free loving, check out the Azuca Stevia Drops. Now you can make guilt-free edibles with a sweetener that’s sweeter than sugar but calorie-free, perfect for those on Paleo or Keto diets. The Stevia drops can be used in any recipe for drinks or beverages.

Azuca’s other products include delicious ready-to-eat edibles. Snack on their Chocolate Coins, which have been made from artisan 60% cocoa and premium dark chocolate. They make the perfect dessert and will impress your guests the next time you have a dinner party. The Pate de Fruit is a cannabis-infused version of the popular French candies, but this time made with only real fruit syrups and natural vegan-friendly ingredients for a delectable experience.

Perhaps best of all is the impressive onset: consuming Azuca products take effect in just 2 to 15 minutes, compared to the onset of traditional edibles which can take 1 up to 4 hours.

Patent-Pending Formula

But what makes Azuca products different from everything else that’s on the market is the patent-pending technology that was used to create them. This technology was developed by Azuca founder and Chief Creative Officer Ron Silver, which involves wrapping cannabis molecules to enhance their water-soluble properties. Because of this, they’re more easily digested in your stomach, while avoiding the gut and liver which tends to slow down absorption and degrades the cannabis. You benefit from the improved water solubility because this translates to better bioavailability and quicker onset. So whether you’re consuming for medical or recreational purposes, it takes out the guesswork and waiting time.

Silver draws on his expertise as an established chef. He also owns Bubby’s, a well-loved chain of brunch restaurants with two branches in New York and seven outlets in Japan. Seeing the dearth of reliable edibles in the market, Silver was inspired to develop the technology to create Azuca and spend two years focusing on R&D. He was then able to create trustworthy edibles, as well as sweeteners and syrups that should be a staple in every kitchen.

“Even as cannabis becomes less stigmatized in the U.S., there is still a widespread issue with edibles causing unpredictable and negative experiences. Cannabis is a powerful medicinal plant with a myriad of health benefits that should not be deterred by a lack of trust. To resolve the common problems plaguing today’s consumers, Azuca edibles utilize a unique technology that delivers a more controllable effect. Launching with iAnthus is the first of many milestones for Azuca, as we continue to grow our brand and push the boundaries of product innovation,” Silver says.

All Azuca products are lovingly made in artisanal batches, so you can be sure of its quality, taste, and therapeutic benefits.

---

Watch out for the launch of Azuca’s CBD products, which will hit the shelves nationwide later this year. THC products are expected to be launched in licensed dispensaries in legal cannabis markets.


NYC chef brings cannabis edibles to city with Massachusetts on horizon

For nearly 30 years, Bubby’s has been a staple dining destination in New York City, and now chef and owner Ron Silver has set his sights on the booming cannabis industry in New York and Massachusetts with his new venture, Azuca.

Azuca is a line of fast-acting cannabis-infused sweeteners and syrups that are currently available at Bubby’s locations and will launch in Massachusetts sometime this summer.

“Because it’s hemp-based, it’s 100 percent legal,” Silver told Metro of the Azuca products at Bubby’s. “In Massachusetts, we’re launching with a company called iAnthus Capital Holdings and Mayflower Medicinal, and we’re going to do THC and CBD products, and we’ll also do blends of THC and CBD products with different sorts of ratios.”

Azuca, the Spanish word for “sugar,” came about after Silver spoke to cannabis industry experts about the biggest problem they were seeing, “and 100 percent of them said it was a low-dose, controllable edible,” he recalled. “I’m a chef, so that seemed like something that was in my grasp to figure out.”

With his chef’s mind, Silver dove into research and development, eventually coming up with “this sort of technology” that has three patents pending on it. While “it’s a closely held secret,” it involves cannabis molecules, he said. The result is a fast-acting line of date sugar, maple sugar, demerara sugar, stevia and agave products, which can be used as standalone ingredients, say for coffee and tea, or in baking for users to make their own edibles.

“There’s exactly 10 mgs in it,” Silver said. “That’s one of the big problems with edibles, people can consume too much because they take so long to kick in.”

While Bubby’s has been a hotspot for decades, Silver has seen “an amazing response” since the restaurants recently started offering Azuca’s hemp-based CBD products in lemonades, coffees and teas.

“People are coming in for CBD drinks, just to sit at the bar and have them, and I think a lot of people are coming back again,” he said. “It’s a nice, consistent place and way to have it — and it’s really a cool system that’s taking the mystery out of how to use cannabis. There’s really so many interesting benefits that don’t have to do with being couch locked playing video games.”

Read More


Sweet N’ High: Cannabis-Infused Sweetener For Your Kugel

He operates two massively popular Bubby’s restaurants in New York - and seven in Japan. He and wife Melissa have four adorable kids. He even co-authored a book on Bubby’s Homemade Pies in 2007.

Now, Silver’s tapping his rebellious roots to launch a different kind of edible: Cannabis-infused sweeteners whose high-tech formulation lets consumers know exactly what dose they’re getting and “how long it’ll take to kick in.”

Azuca, which Silver introduced at a packed Bubby’s press breakfast last week, will market sugars, syrups, and elixirs formulated “to help you enjoy the benefits of cannabis in a gentle, controlled way.” Azuca is infused with cannabidiol (CBD) from hemp, which is believed to offer medicinal benefits without “stoned” effects. It’s sometimes confused with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), whose psychoactive components create the “high” most people associate with weed.

While Azuca’s available in a 25-mg-dosed lemonade at Bubby’s right now, Silver and his partner have big plans. A state-by-state rollout’s planned, along with expansions to Canada, Europe, and Japan, where Silver’s already got business partners. Silver’s also teamed with iAnthus Capital, a venture-capital operation that targets the cannabis market, to design “the best program of high-quality edibles in the world” for eventual nationwide distribution.

Silver’s not the only Jew at the forefront of cannabis. The Forward has reported on California activists who have been instrumental in changing laws there. And on a recent flight to Denver for a 4/20 conference on the business of cannabis, “half the plane was Hasidim, heading to the same conference,” Silver laughed. “It’s difficult to discuss, because you get into stereotypes. But I think there’s an interesting fit for Jews.”

Born in New York City, Silver spent his childhood in Salt Lake City, where his father opened a footwear store in 1963 “to sell shoes to Mormon girls,” Silver laughed. “There were not a lot of Jews around, though Jews had a pretty significant impact there as merchants.”

A cannabis user since 1975 - he was 12 - Silver played “100% bad-boy Jew” as a teen. “The bad boy Jew fucks around in Hebrew school. He gets in trouble. He’s a smart-ass. He hangs out with his friends, and they’re all smoking weed, but not really into drinking that much,” he said. “I’m still considered the black sheep of my family, and the least likely to succeed.”

His restaurants are named for his main inspirations — Bubbys Pearl Stall and Miriam Silber, and “my third Bubby”, family friend Lucille Crismon. “I used to talk to them every week. Each was wise in her own way,” he said. “Pearl knew I was a troublemaker. Miriam knew I’d be a good chef. And Lucille knew I was going to be successful.”

Pearl Stall’s also at the center of an indelible, though pot-hazed, memory. “We were at a cousin’s house in Staten Island for a family seder. My grandmother was there with her boyfriend,” he said. “My cousins, the boyfriend and I snuck out for a doobie. We came back in, my grandmother looked at me, and just said ‘F*ck’. Sha hated weed. More bad-boy Jew business.”

Fast-forward to 2014: As a chef and restaurateur with famously exacting standards, Silver became frustrated at the fuzziness around cannabis edibles. “They’re unpredictable,” he said. “Part of it is the industry, part of it is your own body.” But through “a lot of processes” - three patents are pending on his products - he managed to crack the code of how long cannabis takes to kick in.

“We took the problem - slow and inconsistent edibles - and applied fast-acting technology to a series of ingredients that will allow consumers to know exactly how much they’re getting and how long it’ll take to kick in.”

Next on Silver’s agenda: Getting kosher certification for Azuca. “I’ve had pretty in-depth conversations with rabbis who kosher things, and this is perfect for koshering,” he said. “It’s in our plan.”

Would Azuca work well in traditional Jewish recipes? “We have an infused simple syrup that’s terrific,” he said. “It’s great in iced tea or lemonade. You could use it in a kugel.”

Read More