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.

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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.”

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CBD Brands See High Potential in Half-Baked Category

Made by hand, the dark chocolate espresso chews from Lord Jones are designed to attract the most discerning of foodies. They're sourced, the company says, with the finest Ecuadorian dark chocolate and packaged in a colorful cardboard box emblazoned with the brand's royal crest. But these aren't your grandmother's chocolate chews. The confections contain CBD, an extract derived from hemp plants that's quickly becoming a panacea for the aches and pains associated with everything from menstrual cramps to cancer.

"The whole idea behind the brand was to normalize the use of these compounds for wellness and to destigmatize it," says Robert Rosenheck, a former ad exec who founded Lord Jones five years ago.
Priced at $30 a box, Lord Jones chocolates epitomize the upscale possibilities associated with hemp-derived CBD products. The brand, which began wholesaling in January and now sells at 100 boutiques nationwide, is collaborating with the Standard Hotel to stock its minibars, and has partnered with Icelandic band Sigur Rós on medicated sound baths. (For the uninitiated, that's a sort of music-meditation blend that does not include water.) Gone are the grungy stoner tropes popularized in pothead flicks like "Up in Smoke" and "Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle"; this new breed of retailers and brands is promoting a more aspirational lifestyle associated with wellness and health.

Unlike their THC cousins, CBD products specifically promise relief from a variety of ailments, including nausea, inflammation, anxiety, arthritis, psoriasis and migraines. Some oils offer different mood treatments. And it helps from a retail perspective that these products don't get you high. Unlike marijuana-derived extracts, CBD (cannabidiol) has a negligible amount of THC, the compound that provides psychoactive effects, and is primarily associated with medical benefits, which is why a host of new companies are popping up offering their tokes—er, takes—on the trend.

Roughly 300 brands now offer CBD products—up from some 200 a year ago, according to Brightfield Group, a three-year-old Chicago-based market research firm focused on the cannabis and CBD industry. In 2017, total sales of hemp CBD were nearly $287.3 million, and the market is expected to hit $1 billion by 2020, according to Brightfield. Trend forecasters are calling out the growing field and its homeopathic implications as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.

"The anxiety epidemic is so high ... there's huge interest in natural or organic pain relief," says Faith Popcorn, futurist and founder of BrainReserve. "Millennials and Gen Z in particular tell us that they love natural, and of course, boomers love all things weed. There's a lot of wide opportunity."

If you can eat it or put it on your skin, it can be infused with CBD. In addition to chocolate chews, Lord Jones also sells CBD gumdrops, while some companies dabble in lollipops and others offer a shot of CBD oil in coffee, smoothies and plain old lemonade. Of course, many simply sell tinctures in dropper bottles. In Los Angeles, there's a growing movement toward the CBD "power lunch," which, even for L.A., seems extreme. At downtown restaurant Spring, three CBD-infused courses will cost you $37.

The CBD trend is "getting more glamorous, more designed, more stylish," says Popcorn.

Along with edible brands, beauty companies are infusing lotions and balms with the product. Popular brand Milk Makeup, which sells at Sephora, recently began offering a high-volume mascara "infused with conditioning CBD cannabis oil" that pledges to fuse "heart-shaped fibers to lashes for thickness without the fallout."

As more brands enter the category, there's a growing number of expos and events. The CBD Expo West, hosted by CBD Health and Wellness Magazine, takes place this September in Anaheim, California; more than 60 exhibitors are expected to attend. (A website promoting the event touts free samples.)

However, while opportunities abound in both sales and interest, experts say the current CBD field is primarily comprised of new-to-market and small brands just starting out. Larger companies have yet to enter the industry because of the nebulous nature of the legality of CBDs. Public companies, in particular, will also have a tough time convincing shareholders that they aren't trying to get kids high.

"The legal aspect of CBD is very confusing. There's a lot of gray area," says Bethany Gomez, director of research at Brightfield Group, noting that it's early days in terms of both legality and education. "More states are adopting CBD laws and people are able to start having a more educated discussion about products. There's much more medical research starting to go into CBD as well."

When Target, for instance, waded into the waters with an assortment of hemp and CBD-oil items last fall, it was only "for a brief time," according to a spokeswoman. The Minneapolis-based retailer no longer offers any CBD products. The spokeswoman declined to specify why Target pulled back on such items, though experts theorize it was because of CBD's edginess and lingering association with weed.

Because of the uncertainties, most brands and retailers market their wares through word of mouth. But even that is challenging, because they're not FDA-approved and so specific health claims cannot be made. L.A.-based Lord Jones, which works with internal and external branding experts, has never advertised. It relies on earned media through social outlets, as well as unpaid celebrity endorsements from Busy Philipps, Amy Schumer and others.

"There's a very real challenge—it's a regulated industry," says Marshall Rutman, VP of marketing at Resolve Digital Health, a Toronto-based medical cannabis company, noting the particular difficulties of advertising on Facebook, for example. "There's a lot of places where you can't advertise and your marketing efforts are hampered, so you have to figure out a new way to connect with consumers."

Rutman, a former marketer at Lululemon, advises that brands use digital platforms to more subtly tell their stories, or the stories of their patients, rather than advertise outright. While Resolve Digital, which launches in the U.S. in September, does not have any CBD-only products on its current roster, it plans to offer it in future products for cancer patients.

Some brands say the best way to attract more consumers is by normalizing the product, a strategy that's proven effective for Clover Grocery, a one-year-old gourmet health food store in New York City's West Village neighborhood. Clover's founder, Kyle Hotchkiss Carone, says that brands packaging CBD in a way that's easy to understand, like in candies or chocolates, has helped grow the number of people willing to explore the ingredient. Clover sells what Hotchkiss Carone describes as a curated assortment of CBD best-sellers—roughly a half-dozen products priced from $30 to $90, which generate around 15 percent of Clover's sales. The store always has a staff member on-site who is able to explain the CBD category to curious customers.

At Bubby's, a 28-year-old restaurant with two New York City and six Japan locations, the recent addition of CBD-infused drinks has been remarkably popular, according to owner and founder Ron Silver. Each week, the eatery sells, he says, around 700 lemonades, coffees and cocktails infused with a 25-milligram shot each of CBD. Separately, in Massachusetts later this summer, Silver plans to launch Azuca, a line of sugars and sweeteners infused with CBD and THC. For all interested customers, Bubby's hands out an educational guide with a printed article from Bon Appétit magazine to help them better understand CBD. The article explains what it is, how it's made, its benefits, applications and "what you should know before buying."

"It's a big educational job because it's a mystery," says Silver. "In a certain way, it falls into similar trends like turmeric or coconut oil."

As appeal and understanding grows, experts expect CBD to attract celebrity investment in new brands, helping to further the product's mainstream potential. However, as the field expands, so will the competition. The winners will be those who get in early, build a loyal following and tell the best brand stories.

"Right now it's a gold rush situation, where a lot of new products are coming on the market," says Hotchkiss Carone. "Without differentiating themselves a little way besides some branding, it's hard for consumers to understand what's good and what's not."

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Is CBD Legal In New York? Where Can I Get It? How Much Should I Take? Will It Get Me High?

As the conversation around CBD (cannibidiol) has become more mainstream over the last year, more and more New Yorkers have become intrigued by its potential benefits. I've heard the same questions pop up again and again around the subject: what exactly does it do? Where do I get it? How much do I take? Is it going to get me stoned? And is it really legal?

There is now a robust online market for CBD products—and when you're dealing with a trusted, vetted brand such as Lord Jones or Bluebird, that is certainly one of the easiest ways to procure it. But there are also a lot of sketchy companies hocking inferior or fake products, and an enormous amount of contradictory literature online about how to get it. Below, you'll find some guidance in navigating the CBD world in NYC.

When it comes to serious ailments, you are still best served by talking to a doctor or medical professional. This is also true if you are taking any medications and want to experiment with some CBD (for example, if you are on blood pressure medication, you should be careful using CBD, which many take on its own as an alternative to traditional blood pressure medication — taking both will make you lightheaded). For otherwise healthy people trying to deal with everyday aches and stresses, with chronic migraines and joint pain and insomnia, you can test the waters on your own, or find someone knowledgable who can guide you through the process — thankfully, there are now resources for that in NYC.

"Up until maybe 18 months ago, you couldn't find CBD in New York to save your life," noted Josh Kirby, co-founder of California-based sublingual CBD company Kin Slips. "I grew up in New York, so I'm very familiar with how behind the state is drug policy-wise."

There's no shortage of businesses selling CBD products around NYC in 2018, whether they are bodegas, vape shops, beauty specialists or herbalists. There's Remedies Herb Shop in Carroll Gardens and MedMen in Midtown and the newly-opened BreadxButta in Crown Heights, but the closest thing to a CBD district in the city can be found in the East Village, where every block seemingly has a store that has integrated the product into their business, such as Cloud99 Vapes, CAP Beauty, and Flower Power Herbs & Roots. And the epicenter of that is The Alchemist's Kitchen, an upscale herbal and botanical dispensary and apothecary located on East 1st Street.

Alchemist's Kitchen has been ahead of the curve on all things CBD, making it the ultimate destination for New Yorkers trying to parse the difference between full spectrum and isolate.

"It's really an amazing time because it's such a movement," said CEO Lou Sagar. "The fact that [NYC] hasn't had all the liberation that California has had works to our interests too—let's be really medicinal, let's not fool each other."

"Some people want to get their Reiki on, some people want to drink their Reishi," Sagar added. "It's all part of the same community, so The Alchemist's Kitchen is just trying to be a place where you can have the dialogue. Where people can come in who have menstrual cramps or thyroid conditions and ask, is there something I can do? We're trying to use herbalists to say yeah, there is something to this, why don't you try this, put it in your tea? And that's working well."

Alchemist's Kitchen has its own CBD brand (Plant Alchemy), carries a few other brands, and puts on multiple educational events a month. CBD products only take up around 10% of their shelf space, but nevertheless, it's their fastest moving product. Though it costs a little more buying from them than going straight to the source online (they mark up Lord Jones products, for example, which you can buy easily online for less), their biggest selling point is the team of chatty herbalists on hand to talk you through all your questions—making it basically the botanical equivalent of Apple's Genius Bar.

"We see a lot of Baby Boomers coming in, people who may have been familiar with cannabis from another era, so to speak, but they're interested in the medicinal properties of it and how it can help their aging parents as well," said Emily Berg, an Herbal Program Manager with an encyclopedic knowledge of all things CBD. "They're intrigued. Maybe they've heard about it through word of mouth. A lot of people come in not knowing anything and sort of need the walk through, but it's definitely becoming more mainstream and popular. We see it now with coffee or in edibles, or as part of different yoga classes and experiences."

"The more I learn about it, the more I feel like everyone can benefit from it," she added. "So if you're in a lot of pain, and you need immediate relief, it'll help you achieve that. If you're about to have a panic attack, it'll help relax you in the moment. If you need to sleep, it's not actually a sedative, but what it does helps your brain recognize that it can go from the sympathetic to the parasympathetic, like fight or flight to rest and digest mode. So it's often helping your body to sort of get through any adrenaline that's rushing in the system, and realize how tired it might be, or help you to relax in that sense."

Even vape shops see it as their responsibility to educate the public about CBD use and dispel certain rumors. At Cloud99 Vapes on 2nd Avenue, it's a similar story: "We definitely try to have every staff member very knowledgeable of [CBD]," said James Dinh. "We want to give people the opportunity to get over the fear of it. CBD is one of those things where people think, 'Oh it's still THC,' and all that. But if they are able to get it from a store like this, they feel more comfortable with it. They say, 'Oh, this is a legitimate thing. I'm not getting it from some guy on the street.'"

"CBD, I personally believe, can replace almost any store drug," Dinh added. "It can 100% replace Advil, ibuprofen, and all those things, because it just makes your body work better."

CBD can also be found in your ice cream, cocktails, brownies and craft beers. NYC restaurants and eateries, including By CHLOE and Van Leeuwen, offered special CBD-infused food concoctions for 4/20 this year; The James NoMad Hotel launched a CBD-infused room service menu this summer; and coffee shops throughout the city such as Swallow, Caffeine Underground, Oliver Coffee and Flower Power Coffee House have been publicizing their own caffeine/CBD concoctions for months. And out-of-state company Monk started shipping their CBD drinking botanicals to NYC this month.

"It's the wild west right now," said Sagar. "There's a novelty to having CBD in your latte. And it's popular. But is that really the medicinal story? No. The medicinal story is how do you take it to make you less dependent on opiates? How do I do that to give me more self control over my mood? That's plant based, so there are a lot of companies that are becoming CBD companies."

While most places are just dipping a toe in the CBD-infused water with pop-ups and special events, Tribeca's Bubby's is all-in on CBD. Owner Ron Silver launched a line of CBD-infused items (sugar and syrups), called Azuca, which he's selling at the restaurant, where you can also get it in coffee, tea and lemonade.

"For the last four years I've been working on the legal cannabis markets, and just sort of seeing people experimenting in New York City and in Brooklyn with serving CBD coffees and stuff like that," Silver said. "I was encouraged to look into it and figure it out. It felt risky. I really had to convince not only my partners, but I had to convince my staff as well that it was fine. On every level, we have the intention of helping people to understand how they can use cannabis in a sane way and that it's not just some sort of stoner thing."

One of the biggest questions facing this burgeoning industry in New York remains the legal hurdles. Saying that there is a really convoluted framework for the industry is an understatement; it's more like a lot of nerve synapses with no central brain.

If the CBD is derived from marijuana, it is not legal in New York, except for people with medical marijuana prescriptions. If it is derived from hemp, as the vast majority of products you'd find around the city are, it is legal on a state-level. Even so, it's technically illegal on a federal level, as it hasn't been approved by the DEA or FDA.

The Farm Bill, which President Obama signed in 2014, protects hemp when it's grown under the state-regulated law. New York is in a particularly good spot for this, as Governor Cuomo has embraced that and adopted measures to encourage more industrial hemp production in the state.

"Right now, the prevailing sentiment is that as long as you can have a pure enough version of CBD, and it comes from cannabis that was grown specifically as hemp or grown out of the country and extracted and then imported into America, then it's pretty much legal," said Kirby. "It's not expressly allowed. There's no law on the books saying, 'All CBD products are allowed and here's how we regulate them.'"

DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno told WebMD that online sales of CBD products are illegal in the entire country because they are classified as a Schedule 1 drug. "The DEA can and does investigate large-scale trafficking of Schedule I substances," she said, and there have certainly been cases that bear this out: twenty-three stores in Tennessee were raided for selling CBD products as part of a sting known as "Operation Candy Crush" (charges against 19 employees were eventually dropped).

But Carreno added that CBD isn't a priority right now—the DEA has limited resources and prefers to focus on the opioid crisis, methamphetamines and cocaine. As Kirby put it, "Because there's not a strict ruling on the legality of the CBD on the federal level, everyone is kind of operating in this gray area. It's not a very risky gray area right now, but it is still a gray area." Barring Jeff Sessions personally instructing DEA agents to bust up herbal shops, the NYC establishments should all be fine.

Aside from the legality question, the next thing users want to know is how much to take at a time. The problem is that there has been so little peer-reviewed published research done on CBD, it's hard to point to any specific numbers to guide users. Many suggestions we've found online recommend anywhere from 10mg to 1500 mg. "That's a big problem!" said Dr. Orrin Devinsky, director of the NYU Comprehensive Epilepsy Center who has been closely studying CBD for the last five years. "Outside of epilepsy, we have precious little scientific data on that."

Most experts I spoke with recommend a trial-and-error process of calibrating your own needs, starting with a tiny amount then building up from there. "It's important to understand that CBD is biphasic in its nature, so in small doses it's gonna make you feel more alert and activated, and then in larger doses, it's going to have more of a calming, sedating effect," said Berg. "With that being said, a large dose may not be suitable for every application of CBD, and that's why we kind of suggest microdosing. We also suggest that because your absorption rate depends on your metabolic rate. So with larger people it might be the case that they would need more to assimilate."

CBD is usually taken via a tincture (most recommend starting around 10 mg), ingesting it in food or capsule form (which takes longer to be absorbed, since it goes through your digestive track; gummies usually start at 10 to 25 mg), or topical oils/creams (which we've found highly effective when applied to areas where you have pain or inflammation; each pump of the Lord Jones lotion contains 2mg, and only two pumps are typically needed. It works immediately.).

CBD affects everyone differently, so adjust your expectations before you try: "The reality is that it's a very subtle effect anyway, it's just more of like a body sensation than a psychological sensation," added Berg. "So I think people are sort of expecting to feel maybe a wave of relaxation, which can be the case, but in order to manage expectations, I try to tell people it's subtle, and you know it depends on the dose. If you're not feeling it, you can always dose up."

Everyone involved in the CBD industry now only sees it expanding ever further as the way people use it continues to evolve. "There are tons of dispensaries in Las Vegas, and no one's gambling or drinking as much," noted Sagar. "They're trying to figure it out. How are we gonna get some money outta them? That's why a lot of people think the spirit companies will buy the cannabis companies."

Once marijuana is fully legalized here, Sagar sees a future in which you can go to a dispensary in New York City and curate your experience based on your specific needs. If you're someone who's really anxious, you can get a strain to treat your anxiety, without fear of a cannabis-induced panic attack. And once people can understand the nuances between different strains and how they're used, there will be more responsible use as well.

"We have conversations every day with huge corporations, like Walmart and Target and Sephora, and everyone is interested in getting into this business. And everyone has to figure out where there tolerance for risk is," said Cindy Capobianco, co-founder of Lord Jones. "It's bringing back ancient plant-based medicine which has been used for thousands of years, and our overarching goal is to de-stigmatize and normalize this plant. I think everyone who is in this business feels the way we do, that we're part of a movement that is not a moment in time. This is not a trend."

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Keep Calm and Live in New York City: The Promise of CBD, the Cannabis Chemical That Won’t Get You High

One morning, about a month ago, I walked out of my Brooklyn apartment on a quick mission to buy shampoo and ended up having six drops of CBD, the cannabis-based elixir, administered beneath my tongue by a Coloradan named Bodē. Such things are liable to happen in New York City these days. Bodē was in Zoë’s Beauty Products, my local cosmetics store in Greenpoint, talking up a line of CBD tinctures to the women behind the counter. It was obvious from his laid-back vibe, and his R.E.I.-inspired look, that he was not from the area. I might have ignored his pitch, and gone about my business browsing aisles of thirty-dollar conditioner and lilac hand creams, except that CBD—also known as cannabidiol, a nonpsychoactive chemical, found in marijuana and hemp plants, that has become the latest trendy ingredient among the wellness crowd—had been pursuing me around the city like the monster from “It Follows.”

It started earlier this year, when an acquaintance mentioned that she uses CBD to sleep. “It doesn’t get you high, it just chills you out,” she said. Later, I attended a crowded CBD yoga workshop, where an instructor named Brianna (who is now a field rep for a CBD-oil brand called Prime My Body) had us all ingest a dropperful of green goo from a communal bottle before settling into a series of restorative poses. After the class, one man proclaimed, to no one in particular, “I was so relaxed, I might have stopped breathing for a few minutes.” Then three coffee shops down the block from where I live started offering CBD-infused coffee. My local pharmacy hung a sign in the window proclaiming “Yes, We Have CBD!,” and 3 Roots, a juice bar in the neighborhood, put out a sandwich board with a laundry list of alleged CBD benefits scrawled in pink neon marker: “Anti-inflammatory, neuro-protective, anti-spasmodic, anti-depressive, anti-psychotic, anti-tumoral, anti-anxiety, antioxidant, mood-boosting.”

So I approached Bodē, who told me that his line of products, Bodē Wellness, which he makes in a tiny town near Telluride, includes two strengths of concentrated oil and two body balms—one unscented and one lemongrass, “for the ladies.” All are derived from industrial hemp, which contains almost no THC, making it legal to sell across state lines (though the legality of hemp is still somewhat murky). I told him that I had tried CBD in coffee, but that I hadn’t been able to feel its effects. He suggested that I try around 10mg of his strongest tincture, and that I hold the oil under my tongue for a minute before swallowing, to encourage “total absorption.” Then he offered to squeeze a dropperful into my mouth, right in the middle of the store. The oil was the brownish color of a stagnant pond, and tasted like old bong water with a hint of lemon. After ingesting it—perhaps, I will admit, because I really wanted to believe—I thought I felt something, a creeping sensation of serenity. I walked over to the East River and sat on a bench facing the water for almost an hour, feeling tranquil and unruffled, as if my nerves had been soaked in chamomile tea.

Later, in a phone call (which we scheduled around his farm’s “siesta schedule;” he returns to the fields at 4:21 p.m., “CBD Hemp time”), Bodē told me that his given name is Eric. He’d gotten into CBD after a girlfriend who was “working in the marijuana industry but really wanted to be a hempster” started dragging him along to hemp conferences. He had been working for more than a decade in natural foods, and had recently exited a marriage; he decided it was time for a change of scene, and a change of name. “I wanted my new name to feel like the tree of life, Bodhi, but also have this flair of body health and wellness,” he said. “And then I had seen someone else put the macron over a vowel in their name, so that’s how that happened.” After successfully peddling his wares to the beauty store, he told me, he’d continued through Brooklyn, like a hippie Harold Hill. The health-food devotees at the Park Slope Food Co-op, he said, had also agreed to carry Bodē Wellness. “They have seventeen thousand members,” he told me. “That’s more people than the town next to me in Colorado.”

Like many New Yorkers, I tend to be deeply wary of the nouveau-wellness movement that has crept into the city from L.A., with its Goopian buzzwords and mushroom tonics and colloidal silver—the idea that you can shop your way to an internal glow. New York’s CBD craze has already reached Dadaesque levels of consumerism—hundred-dollar tinctures to treat anxiety in pet cats and dogsCBD-laced room service at the NoMad location of the James hotel, in Manhattan. But CBD, with its potential to unclench tense muscles and pacify anxious thoughts, also promises to deliver something that many New Yorkers desperately need. Some of us will try anything that promises to soften the city’s edge, especially if it doesn’t require a prescription. Verena von Pfetten, a co-editor of the New York-based marijuana life-style magazine Gossamer, told me that her personal CBD regimen includes five to fifteen milligrams of tincture nightly, with an occasional extra daytime dose during mentally taxing periods. “With it, I can have an even amount of sleep, and avoid significant periods of stress,” she said. “This is about consistently keeping your body at a regular equilibrium.”

CBD also provides New Yorkers an alluring first whiff of mainstream cannabis culture at a time when the state’s leaders, having lagged behind other East Coast states in legalizing marijuana, seem to finally, maybe be coming around. (Mayor Bill De Blasio recently ordered the N.Y.P.D. to issue summonses instead of arresting people for smoking weed; Cynthia Nixon, in her campaign to challenge Andrew Cuomo for governor, has been outspoken about how marijuana’s criminalization disproportionately affects people of color.) Even if New Yorkers can’t yet enjoy carefully dosed artisanal weed gummies and attend multi-course marijuana dinners (at least not many), we can perhaps, with glugs of CBD in our matcha shakes, regulate and optimize our moods in the way we imagine West Coasters are doing every day. Better still, hemp-derived CBD, absent weed’s psychoactive effects, is palatable to the high-achieving New Yorker who still thinks of marijuana as a stoner’s drug, or at least a threat to productivity—you can swill a little at your local coffee shop in the morning, alongside your fellow-commuters, and still put in a ten-hour workday.

It’s worth noting, too, that many doctors believe that CBD has genuine medicinal value. Just last month, the F.D.A. approved a CBD-based drug for the treatment of Dravet syndrome, a childhood epilepsy disorder. I spoke to Esther Blessing, a psychiatry professor at N.Y.U., who believes that cannabidiol “is unprecedented in the field of neuropsychiatry” because it appears to have the potential to treat a wide variety of disorders—its best-documented effect is its ability to increase levels of anandamide, a neurotransmitter that counteracts stress. But she says that the research is still preliminary, and the unregulated market for CBD means that consumers are left to sort out the hemp oil from the snake oil. Yasmin Hurd, a doctor at Mount Sinai who uses four-hundred- to eight-hundred-milligram doses to study CBD’s benefit in opioid-addiction treatment, told me that hoping for therapeutic effects from a dosage as low as what’s found in commercial products like CBD coffees, which tend to contain only around twenty-five milligrams, is “ridiculous.” Joshua Kaplan, a neuroscientist whose upcoming research on CBD’s effects on epilepsy, anxiety, and autism will involve “vaping with mice”—said that the research he’s seen indicates that taking small doses of five to twenty-five milligrams multiple times a day could, “in theory,” help reduce anxiety levels over time. “Does one dose of twenty-five-milligram CBD do much of anything for an adult with anxiety?” he said. “The data don’t support it.”

The practice of small, daily CBD dosing is what Ron Silver, the owner of Bubby’s, a comfort-food restaurant with two outposts in Manhattan, tells me he wants to popularize among New Yorkers. Silver recently started offering a CBD-infused sugar called Azuca on Bubby’s coffee menu. I sat with him recently on the patio of the restaurant’s West Village location, which had started to fill with overheated tourists who had spilled off of the High Line, looking to recharge with twenty-one-dollar banana nut pancakes. We sipped on ten-dollar Azuca-sweetened iced coffees, served in tall glasses with green-and-white swizzle straws. (The restaurant also serves Azuca pink lemonade, Azuca iced tea, and, for three dollars more, Azuca watermelon lemonade.) Each beverage, Silver told me, contains only around twenty-five milligrams of CBD, but he believes that drinking one a day can have profound anti-inflammatory and stress-relieving effects over time. “I introduced it here, because right now if someone wants a CBD coffee at Starbucks they can’t get one,” he said. “But they should serve them, and one day they will.”

Silver, a native of Utah, has been in New York for decades, but he has retained a vaguely Lebowskian air from years spent on the West Coast. He started developing Azuca five years ago, when he was looking to get further into the “cannabis space” and wanted to make a product that he could actually sell at Bubby’s, which he considers to be a kind of live-beta testing ground. (He is also developing a line of THC-based edibles based in Massachusetts.) He told the newspaper amNewYork that CBD was “the penicillin of the 21st century.” When I asked him if he meant that as cheeky hyperbole—penicillin, after all, has saved millions of lives—he said that he stands by the statement. “There’s two aspects to the whole CBD thing,” he said. “One is that it is trendy and could easily fall into the same trend as turmeric or coconut oil. The other, though, is that it actually works.”

Not long ago, I purchased a small bottle of “full spectrum hemp extract” from Bluebird Botanicals, another Colorado-based company, which is sold at a local drugstore. It cost twenty-five dollars and contained two hundred and fifty milligrams of CBD. If you consider this ten doses of twenty-five milligrams at $2.50 each, it sounds like a pretty good deal for an anti-anxiety supplement. It’s less than a latte; it’s cheaper than therapy. But investing in a multiple-times-a-day habit seems like a lot to wager on a product that is still so little understood. I kept the bottle in the fridge (apparently this keeps the oil fresh, though I do it because it dulls the taste) and used it only sporadically, which likely defeats the point. I took an emergency dose when I was in the throes of a migraine; I also took two extra-strength Tylenol and—why not—rubbed some eucalyptus essential oil on my temples. The next morning, I went into Littleneck Outpost, another coffee shop in my neighborhood. They had just put up a new sign next to the register advertising CBD coffee and five-hundred-and-twenty-milligram bottles of Plant People brand extract, priced at eighty dollars. When I asked the owner how it’s selling, he told me that it’s “flying.” “I think it’s a placebo effect,” he said. “But this is definitely the turmeric of 2018.”

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Cannabis Entrepreneurs Ask For More 'Science'

Kim Sanchez Rael leads a company that creates sugars and syrups. Dr. Michele Ross, a neuroscientist is creating a trans-dermal pen to deliver medicine. Their passions intersect in the world of legal cannabis and the desire for more research there.

Sanchez Rael, co-founder and chief executive of Azuca, creates fast-acting infused “sugars, syrups, and other elixers.” Because she grew up in the “unscientific misinformation” of the Nancy Reagan “Just Say No” years she says, Sanchez Rael feels strongly that robust research and public education needs to focus on the safe and effective use of cannabis, rather than scare tactics.

Patients are curious about marijuana, but as a Schedule One substance, it has “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States,” according to the US Department of Justice. That means research into potential positive effects of cannabis is severely restricted.

Currently, Israel leads the world in cannabis research. Tikun Olam clinics there studied thousands of cancer patients who were prescribed cannabis for “malignancy-related symptoms,” like nausea. pain, and decreased appetite. The results published in the European Journal of Internal Medicine, show the substance can be safe and effective.

Sanchez Rael says that as laws, investments and public opinion evolve, cannabis industry leaders need to “educate policy makers at every level and partner with them,” from local city councils and mayors to Congress and the White House.  A Pew poll published in January 2018 found that 61% of Americans believed marijuana should be legalized, a number that has nearly doubled since 2000.

Ross, author of Vitamin Weed: A 4-Step Plan to Prevent and Reverse Endocannabinoid Deficiency echoes the importance of scientific research and education, especially when it come to the opioid crisis. Thought leaders in legal marijuana need to make doctors and others aware of cannabis’ benefits as a safe alternative to opioids she said. “There is an extraordinary amount of work that needs to be done by the cannabis industry,” she said, especially compared to the community outreach and education the pharmaceutical industry does.

Ross is also a board member at NanoSphere Health Sciences, a biotechnology firm using a patented delivery technology to create transdermal pens used to administer cannabis. In her research into mental health, Dr. Ross has become fascinated by the endocannabinoid system, potential benefits of cannabis and the plant itself. “The cannabis plant has over 111 cannabinoids as well as chemicals including terpenes and flavonoids,” Ross said, “The potential applications …are endless.”

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