The national discussion over cannabis legalization hit a tipping point back in 2012 when a five-year-old girl named Charlotte Figi began receiving cannabis oil treatments for severe epileptic seizures she experienced due to Dravet syndrome. Once having hundreds of grand mal seizures a week, following those treatments her seizures decreased to an amazing two or three per month.
The product credited with improving her life — created by cannabis pioneers The Stanley Brothers — would later be named in honor of the young girl: Charlotte’s Web.
In the years following, CNN’s Chief Medical Correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta would cite Figi’s medical case as a wake-up call to Americans that cannabis, when used correctly, was a useful medicine. Gupta’s groundbreaking documentary titled Weed had the tagline “Why I changed my mind on weed,” and helped spark a movement of people sympathetic to the cause of medical marijuana.
Now the Stanley Brothers are helping to initiate another potential sea change that takes them from hemp products — which legally contain no more than 0.3% THC — into low-dose THC as an everyday wellness supplement. Those products, called ReCreate, include beneﬁcial uses of the entire cannabis plant, combining them with botanicals and other functional ingredients like ashwagandha, chaga and lion’s mane.
Co-founder and CEO of ReCreate, Jesse Stanley, sat down to talk about the next wave of cannabis consumers and how The Stanley Brothers’ new formulated products can sit comfortably next to your toothpaste in your bathroom cabinet.
David E. Carpenter: The Stanley Brothers are best known for CBD products — why the move now into THC?
Jesse Stanley: We don’t see it as moving from CBD to THC. Prior to founding Charlotte’s Web, our work in the medical marijuana space opened our minds to the full-spectrum potential of the plant, and that has been a guiding directive as we’ve grown our understanding. We’re committed to harnessing all the beneficial compounds that cannabis has to offer, whether that’s in hemp or marijuana, which both contain CBD and THC in varying levels along with other meaningful compounds that function better together. For us, the alchemy of working with the nature and the science of cannabis is to create a balance of ingredients for truly purposeful wellness outcomes. ReCreate represents the connection of everything we’ve learned along the way, from our early days in medical marijuana to Charlotte’s Web. This evolution was born from an ongoing commitment to discovery and innovation, a journey that we feel is far from over. With ReCreate, we were really excited to reimagine THC as an everyday supplement for new and existing cannabis users. There’s a misconception that CBD is the only health cannabinoid and that THC comes from the devil’s lettuce, which diminishes its true potential to help with common wellness needs. We developed ReCreate products with CBD and low-dose THC, Ayurveda botanicals, and other functional ingredients that can sit comfortably next to your toothpaste in your bathroom cabinet.
There are a lot of cannabis products currently on the market. How do you plan to stand out?
An oversaturated market is a problem for brands without purpose. We believe that our commitment to ongoing innovation and optimization of our products is indicative of our long-term commitment to the future of botanical wellness. We are operating in a constantly evolving space so in order to assume a position of leadership it’s crucial to work toward establishing new industry standards on an ongoing basis. For us, the focus is on creating safe and effective products with predictable outcomes that make for a safe landing for new and existing cannabis consumers trying to make solid wellness decisions in a very confusing market. ReCreate’s mission is to reimagine the use of the whole cannabis plant for everyday wellness. We want to empower people with access to high quality natural options that can be part of daily life. We also want to share education around other functional ingredients, like adaptogens, functional mushrooms, amino acids, etc that work in harmony with cannabis to create more effective outcomes. With conflicting information and evolving choices, consumers also rely on the legacy and mission of a brand to provide them with confidence in their choice. This is something we experienced first-hand with Charlotte’s Web as it was a commitment to product quality and improving the lives of its community that catapulted it to an industry-leading brand based on consumer love and trust.
With the demographic for cannabis expanding, where do you see your products having the most impact?
With ReCreate, we’re focused on what we’re calling the “awakened consumer,” those who may have had previous experiences or perceptions of cannabis but are now looking at it differently for its wellness benefits. These could be CBD consumers that are now more comfortable exploring the other beneficial cannabinoids that exist within the plant or people looking for natural alternatives to replace or supplement existing therapies. Cannabis can be very daunting to these new consumers. They seek products that provide them with a sense of safety, control and comfort. They are curious and willing to educate themselves on their options but often it’s hard to find clear and reliable sources of information. We hope that our experience and credibility in cannabis will help us foster a sense of trust with our customers. By developing a two-way relationship we will be able to develop a better understanding of our customer and evolve with their needs.
What’s the best way for cannabis curious people, who might already have a great CBD routine, to begin their journey into THC?
Everybody is different so it’s important they find the level that they’re comfortable with and build from there. It’s also important to establish the intent of your wellness journey. Rather than guess, we strongly encourage people to speak to their medical practitioners, find a reputable dispensary, and speak to a bud-tender about which products would best address their needs. Also, these nonprofit groups can assist in answering questions, like what type of product may work best for you and your needs: Americans for Safe Access, Realm of Caring, and Medical Jane.
How does the combination of THC and CBD enhance the effects of each?
We believe strongly in using the whole plant in all our products with all cannabinoids, flavonoids and terpenes working together as nature intended. Charlotte’s Web products use a whole-plant extract derived directly from a proprietary hemp genetic that produces a natural balance of cannabinoids with less than 0.3% THC, thus classifying it as hemp and legal for sale. The same holds true for ReCreate, only with higher levels of THC. The beneficial properties of the plant are amplified when all the cannabinoids can work in harmony, this is commonly known as ‘The Entourage Effect’. When CBD and other non-psychoactive cannabinoids are combined with low-dose THC, their combined benefit is amplified when it comes to specific wellness outcomes. Our products aren’t designed to get you stoned out of your mind, rather they are formulated to achieve the perfect balance of all the beneficial cannabinoids to get you exactly where you want to be.
How can THC benefit people who are not primarily interested in getting high?
Our focus is on helping people to support their health rather than getting high. Just like any substance, more isn’t necessarily better when it comes to THC. Personalizing your experience to find your sweet spot is a guiding directive of our consumer education perspective. Humans are already well accustomed to ongoing optimization. We constantly ask ourselves what mental or physical state we want to be in — if it’s focus, then we take caffeine; if we want a sense of calm, we might meditate; relaxation, maybe a glass of wine. ReCreate products are purposefully formulated to provide further choice to balance and optimize your mindset. They can be as much a part of a daily routine as a nightcap or a morning smoothie. It is self-care at its highest form.
You’re including other ingredients in ReCreate — why the addition of plants and fungi like ashwagandha, chaga, and lion’s mane?
The wellness revolution is well and truly in effect and there is a thirst for knowledge with regard to the role plant-based therapies can play in everyday wellness. People are becoming increasingly aware and accepting of the potential of botanical therapies and are integrating them into their lives more than ever before. Botanicals like turmeric, valerian and ashwagandha roots and functional mushrooms like chaga, lion’s mane, and cordyceps are commonplace in the supplement aisles at supermarkets and pharmacies all over the country. By combining cannabinoids with well-known functional botanicals, we are not only able to formulate more effective products but create a bridge for consumers who may already integrate them into their wellness routines.
What is your greatest challenge heading into higher-THC products?
We’re navigating many of the same challenges that we overcame in the CBD industry, but on a larger scale. From an operations perspective, unlike CBD, THC products are governed on a state-by-state basis so all stages of the supply chain need to be located in the state in which the products are sold and produced to meet their regulations. The inability to centralize and scale production means that we need to be meticulous with our operating procedures to ensure all products are of the same quality and consistency. Consistency in our products, no matter where they are produced and sold is very important to us and it’s something we learned when we started to scale Charlotte’s Web. When people rely on your products for their health and well-being, companies have an ethical responsibility to consumers, and they shouldn’t accept anything less than our absolute best. It’s also time for the U.S. government to federally decriminalize and regulate marijuana. Its prohibition has been a disaster of epic proportions with billions of tax dollars wasted. American lives have been destroyed by a lack of access and also, being locked up needlessly. It has created a chasm of economic and racial inequity. The tax burden to cannabis companies is unjust while they are deemed essential businesses but can’t access the same governmental support systems as other industries. Slow action has thwarted research that could be providing humanity with answers to some of our toughest health questions. With 10 years of cannabinoid product-development experience, we feel we are very well equipped to tackle the challenges of the evolving THC industry. If there’s a mistake to be made, we’ve probably made it and have learned from it.