To Be Blunt: The Podcast for Cannabis Marketers

069 The Power of Written Word to Educate and Inform The Canna Curious with Author Lauren Wilson

September 27, 2021 Shayda Torabi Season 2 Episode 69
To Be Blunt: The Podcast for Cannabis Marketers
069 The Power of Written Word to Educate and Inform The Canna Curious with Author Lauren Wilson
Show Notes Transcript

“[Customers] have said CBD didn't work. For me, that's a lost customer, that's money down the toilet. That's a lost opportunity because either they didn't know how to best use your products, or they didn't know how to tailor their experience with the plant.” - Lauren Wilson

Welcome back to the To Be Blunt podcast! In this episode, Shayda Torabi welcomes Lauren Wilson, bestselling author and freelance writer, to discuss the process of obtaining reliable information, the power of customer education, and the importance of fact-checking to enhance cannabis experience.


[00:01 – 10:16] Lauren talks about Becoming a Cannabis Nerd

[10:17 – 20:24] Utilizing Varying Media to Publish Content

[20:25 – 30:50] Ensuring the Reliability and Validity of Information

[30:51 – 39:48] Lauren discusses facts about THCO

[39:49 – 58:20] The Power of Consumer Education on Cannabis

[58:21 – 01:00:16] Food for Thought: Who do you turn to for a gut check?


Lauren Wilson is a bestselling author and freelance writer. With three CBD books under her belt, Lauren is passionate about shifting the social landscape and moving the industry forward through consumer education. As a well-rounded nerd she likes to lead with science, but believes cannabis can be a tool in a more holistic toolkit for health and wellness. Her latest books, done in partnership with MERRY JANE, are part of The CBD Solution series and can be found wherever books are sold.

Connect with Lauren 

Visit and follow her on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn @laurendoesthis


Shayda Torabi has been called one of the most influential Women in WordPress and now she’s one of the women leading the cannabis reformation conversation building one of Texas’ premier CBD brands. She's currently the CEO and Co-Founder of RESTART CBD, a female-run education first CBD wellness brand. And has formerly held marketing positions at WP Engine and WebDevStudios. Shayda is the host of a podcast for cannabis marketers called To Be Blunt, where she interviews top cannabis brands on their most successful marketing initiatives. When Shayda's not building her cannabiz in Texas, you can find her on the road exploring the best hikes and spots for vegan ice cream. Follow Shayda at @theshaydatorabi

Key Quote:

“It's not just cannabis, it's information in general, it's become so much harder for folks to parse out what's real and what's not.” - Lauren Wilson

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Lauren Wilson  0:00  
I also had the really great fortune of cultivating a wonderful network of doctors and healthcare practitioners and scientists and researchers and the chemists and formulators and people who I can rely on to say, Hey, you know, what's the deal with this, I just wrote an article about th CO, which is, you know, the new cannabinoid on the block. And, you know, relied really heavily on this network to kind of explain the chemistry to me and then explain the legal part to me and then explain that like, you know, I talked to a pharmacist and like, is this safe and so, all of that to say, you know, I'm a science nerd, so I default to the science and I always try to backup anything with science and all that to say I also don't like to discount anecdotal evidence so you know, if we're getting into like technical lingo, you know, there's evidence that can be supported by research and medical studies. And there's evidence that can be supported by word of mouth or patient experience that perhaps hasn't actually had a study looked at it.

Announcer  1:07  
You're listening to To be blunt, be podcast for cannabis marketers. We're your host Shayda Torabi and her guests are trailblazing the path to marketing, educating and professionalizing cannabis light one up and listen up. Here's your host Shayda Torabi.

Shayda Torabi  1:31  
Hello, and welcome back to the TV blog podcast. I'm your host, Shayda Torabi, cannabis business owner and brand marketer. And I'm so glad you're here with me for another episode of the podcast. Quick note, and heads up that I'm working really hard to try to establish the best quality sound and audio for this podcast. And it seems between the technology applications like zoom and Zen caster to the integration themselves with the microphone. Sometimes buttons don't get clicked or things just simply don't work out as planned. If you feel me right, I share this because I'm pretty sure my audio on this episode is a little bit wonky. Not on Lorenzen just on my end. But I'm also sharing that I was doing a recording earlier this week. And I had to reschedule because I'm pretty sure I was having technical difficulties and the sound wasn't picking up or recording my guests audio at all. super embarrassing. And luckily, he was really understanding and we were able to get it rescheduled. But I'm just sharing this as an expression of being human. Hopefully you can relate to having things not going 100% of the time, all the time. And the moral is that it is okay. And a reminder that the show must go on. So with that said, I'm so happy to present today's episode to you, my guest, if I can say this, which I can is a true badass. I just has a genuinely good time getting to talk to her and hear her story as well as what role she plays in the industry and hope that like all my episodes, you will find at least one takeaway I think that's like always my key is like, Is there one takeaway that you can glean from these episodes. So her name is Lauren Wilson. She is a best selling author and a freelance writer. She has three CBD books under her belt, and she's passionate about shifting the social landscape and moving the industry forward through consumer education. She's a well rounded nerd and she likes to lead with science, but she also believes cannabis can be a tool in a more holistic toolkit for health and wellness. Her latest books are done in partnership with Mary Jane and are part of the CBD solution series and can be found wherever books are sold. So for sure, definitely encourage you to go dig up some of Lauren's books. Some of her articles, read them absorb them. Obviously, we our team absorb education over here. So today, we ended up talking about the role that written words actually have in educating the industry, from consumers to people like you and I, we learn by absorbing content. And so I asked Lauren, how does she fact check? And what are her tips for creating a credible alliance of resources? And I think this is really important just to kind of tee things up like yes, Lauren is an author and a writer. But if you own a business, like you're creating content for consumers to consume and so how do you check what words you're sharing or what things that you're promoting or saying or putting on a label etc. And so I think she shares some good insights that we can all benefit from taking to heart and really Trying to realize and respect the position that we sit in as brands where we get to help educate the consumer. And so we also shared in this discussion observations that we see impacting the industry advancing like when a new cannabinoid hits the market and how that has a role in how do you educate the consumer? How do you do research on the new cannabinoids? Like, what are all those different loops that you need to go through to make sure that what you are saying is sound? And so how do you educate yourself as an industry? And then how do you turn around educate the consumers? And as we'll find through Lauren's story, you know, sometimes it's with the help of scientific research, and sometimes it is more anecdotal. So this was a really good discussion that I'm excited to share with you today. And without further ado, let's welcome Lauren

Lauren Wilson  5:54  
to the show. Hello, my name is Lauren Wilson. I am an author. I am a freelance writer, and I am a well rounded cannabis nerd. And I came to cannabis really through food. I worked for many years as a professional cook. I went to chef school, I taught cooking classes. And I wrote a couple of non cannabis related cookbooks and was endeavoring to write my third cookbook, this was probably back in about 2016. and realized that the embers of the fire of where I see the cannabis industry going had started to burn, you know, and I thought, there is time and space in the public consciousness for cannabis cookbook. You know, there are many cannabis cookbooks out there now. But back in 2016, there were a handful of like good, decent, well informed cannabis cookbooks. So I thought, Okay, I'm going to try my hand at that, and was endeavoring to do that starting to meet people in the cannabis industry, make friends make connections. And I was connected to Eileen konieczny, who is an Oji cannabis advocate, she's been working in the medical space and as an advocate for patients for decades, was part of the legislation that was created for the medical cannabis program in New York. And she had a book deal to write a CBD book for patients. And she's not a writer. So we teamed up, she was the medical brain, I was the writer brain. And we wrote healing with CBD, which was my first CBD book, and kind of just became real fast friends. And in the process of writing that book, not only was it a crash course in cannabis science, which I was already interested in from a cooking perspective, but I got to learn everything there was to know everything much of what there is to know a lot about how cannabis works in the body, what medical research looked like in 2016, and I've kind of been following it ever since. And not only that, but the book really helps folks navigate the CBD marketplace. And you know, a lot has changed since 2016, obviously, but I think that the CBD market in the cannabis landscape in general, remains hard to navigate for consumers and a lot of different ways. And so that was a real eye opening experience because I'm like, Wow, it is really hard to not only know what CBD is, but where do I find good CBD what is good CBD? How do I vet products? What do I look for? How much do I take, and the list goes on. And so that was when I started to become really passionate about helping folks on that journey and consumer education. And one thing led to another and I was able to write another two cannabis CBD specific books with Mary Jane and Chronicle Books, part of the CBD solution series. And that series really is beautifully put together because it takes the reader on a journey. The first book wellness is really like CBD 101 what you need to know about CBD and how it works in the body and how to make it work for you. And then the second book was written by the wonderful Ashley Manta who goes by the moniker the cannabis sexual she put together a fantastic sex positive book looking at CBD and other cannabinoids for your sex life in general. And then the last book in the series that I did as well it's called Living and that's just kind of a lifestyle guide. How do you integrate CBD? How do you fold it into the fabric of your life day to day and it kind of breaks your experience down by different rooms in the house which coincidentally came out during the pandemic and ended up being a very time appropriate release because as people were stuck inside it gave them an opportunity to kind of engage with CBD perhaps on a level that they hadn't before. So that's been my journey today I've been writing about cannabis hemp, CBD THC all the good stuff now for geez for going on five years, and I just don't see an end in sight. I mean, you know, despite the fact that I've learned a lot and become really entrenched in both the medical and business side The industry's, there's so much to know you can never stop learning about cannabis. I'm sure you feel the same way. But yeah, so I'm here to stay. I've taken root, so to speak. And you know, I hope to continue writing about cannabis and being part of this vibrant, ever evolving industry for years to come.

Shayda Torabi  10:17  
No, I really appreciate that background. Because when I think of books and the traditional industry that comes from the physical nature of books, I will always be the person who picks a book over like a Kindle, right? Or a book over an article online, not that those are obviously more accessible. I think technology has a bad reputation, because it's like this competing entity. But I think there's obviously merit to how you use the tools. But going back to like the physical nature of books, it's such a fascinating topic, which is why I'm excited to sit down and have you on the podcast, because specifically overlaying the conversation of cannabis. And now I know, I'm curious, kind of from the first book to the second and third books you did just to kind of kick things off, understanding the background behind publishing a book on the topic of cannabis. So kind of in one aspect, what is it? Like? Do you pitch the book to a publisher? Like, I can't imagine, in 2016, there were a ton of publishers who were like, yeah, let's talk about cannabis or like, let's go out on a limb, comparatively to obviously with Mary Jane, that is a very cannabis centric business founded by Snoop Dogg, he obviously has a lot of money behind him, so he can kind of do whatever he wants, so to speak in that regard. I'm imagining it's a little bit easier for him to go be like, yeah, let's publish some books on cannabis. But like in the traditional sense of publishing, kind of what has been your experience, especially with reflecting on the first book, like writing a book on this topic? Did you find that it was very well received? Or was it like hard to kind of shop around from a publishing perspective? I'm just kind of curious, like kicking it off, you know, how do you even go about navigating those conversations with a publisher?

Lauren Wilson  12:03  
Yeah, that's a great question. I think that back in 2016, there were already a number of cannabis specific books on the market. But I think that publishers were just starting, you know, they were kind of at the same places that I was in recognizing that, you know, there was a lot of movement happening, and social acceptance, you know, has continued to grow and as an all time high, and so the publisher that we worked with, for healing with CBD is called Ulysses press, they're in California. And I think they were just real on the ball about the CBD trend and where it was heading. And the fact that there were no useful texts out there to help folks figure out what CBD is and how to use it in a meaningful way. And they decided to look really specifically at the medical and medicinal uses, but they were all for it. And they were the ones that approached Eileen initially saying, Hey, we want to do this book, and we think you're the person to do it. So that being said, I think that publishers are kind of like music labels, and that each has their own kind of flavor. And I think that some like Chronicle who I worked with Mary Jane to do the CBD solution books with, they've been publishing cannabis books for a long while, and they've done you know, High Times books, and they've done like beautiful photography books on cannabis. So I think that they, you know, we're already This is part of their brand, and they're open to that, whereas other publishers, you know, are probably going to be like, no, cannabis isn't for us. So, in that sense, you know, I think especially now, you can certainly find publishers that are open to cannabis titles, there are some publishing houses that are devoted only to cannabis titles. So yeah, it's definitely opened up. But generally speaking, what the process looks like for an author. And it's interesting, because even myself now, as an author, you know, I've done five books, they've all been traditionally published, which means I worked with the publishing house, I wrote the book, they designed the book, they deal with the marketing and the distribution, and they take care of all of that. But at the same time, self publishing is a very real and viable option for authors. And in fact, you know, without getting into a deep conversation about the merits of, you know, traditional versus self publishing, if you have a burning desire to write a book about cannabis, you could go the traditional route, but you could also just Self Publish. So I think that there are more options for people who are looking to write books than ever before. And yeah, you can make it happen.

Shayda Torabi  14:23  
No, I'm glad you said that. Because I think it's just such an interesting day and age where we were kind of pre discussing before we hit record, you know, we resonated on the topic of education. And it's not something that I think both of us take very lightly, but with the lens on how education sometimes is the vessel for misinformation, it gets to be a really murky, interesting kind of dialogue, right where now you have the internet, anybody can publish anything you now have, maybe, you know, self publishing, anybody can publish anything. So it's just a very, I'm always gonna take the stance of you know, these are options that exist out there. And obviously put the ownership on the end person to make sure that they're doing their due diligence when they are putting content out there into the world. But on the topic of self publishing, it's interesting just for like fodder, interesting tidbit, I did see that Amazon allegedly kind of makes it pretty easy for you to go self publish, you can kind of write your draft up and whatever, like push it through Amazon self publishing platform, and then essentially, like, they'll print your book on demand, depending on if that's like a feature that you want. So they're just really fascinating to me, kind of trying to kind of like break down, again, kind of from an education perspective, thinking of how do we get content out to the consumer? How do we get content out to the end user who's going to be absorbing this information to ultimately make them a smarter consumer, a smarter cannabis buyer. And in my role, a cannabis advocate, like I need more people to read your books to read these books so that they can understand how cannabis not only works in their bodies, but potentially be the advocate to how cannabis could work in someone else's bodies. So to kind of transition the conversation a little bit. I mean, you were talking about the first book, and how it was more medically focused, you obviously had someone who was like co writing it with you how to medical background, and so more from just your experience and expertise around? I guess, like brushing up against what is anecdotal versus what is like truth versus what is misinformation? And how does that really play out when you are trying to write something whether it's an article for you know, some blog, or some website, or something that's going to be like physically published, because I see and observe a lot of cannabis information in good spirits is like, Hey, I heard this information and I'm gonna, you know, write it in my own language are my own, you know, speech and kind of republish it or put it out there blasted out in an email, and which is great, but then that information sometimes gets legs of its own, and then you end up playing telephone. And then people are saying things that are maybe not factually true. So kind of, I'm curious from your, you know, experience doing it, what is that process like to like, accumulate all this information, go through it? And then ultimately, like, hit publish, whether it's putting it in a book or putting it online in an article? Like, how do you qualify? What information is that you're absorbing out in the world to ultimately present to someone to consume?

Lauren Wilson  17:25  
That's a great question. The shorter answer is, is that PubMed, which is a repository for medical and scientific research has become my best friend. If in doubt, I default to the science. So if I hear something from someone, and I question it, I go and see if the science can back it up. And granted, there has been if you go into PubMed, it's a database that you can search. And if you go into PubMed, and just put in cannabis, you are going to get 10s of 1000s of results. There have been a lot of scientific studies done in and around cannabis. But if you look at the bigger context of how medical research is normally done, and the amount of information the amount of verifying and validating and checking and reconfirming that goes on, when we're putting together a CD or a collection of medical research, cannabis is still pretty new and young, right? I mean, we only discovered the endocannabinoid system about 30 years ago. So we're still kind of in the new and the new young age of cannabis science. So there's still a lot to learn. But I was, you know, I default to the science, I go and see what's out there, what can be validated, I also have had the really great fortune of cultivating a wonderful network of doctors and healthcare practitioners and scientists and researchers and for the chemist and formulators and people who I can rely on to say, Hey, you know, what's the deal with this, I just wrote an article about th CO, which is, you know, the new cannabinoid on the block. And, you know, relied really heavily on this network to kind of explain the chemistry to me, and then explain the legal part to me, and then explain that, like, I talked to a pharmacist and like is the safe and all of that to say, I'm a science nerd. So I default to the science and I always try to backup anything with science and all that to say, I also don't like to discount anecdotal evidence. So if we're getting into like technical lingo, there's evidence that can be supported by research and medical studies. And there's evidence that can be supported by word of mouth or patient experience that perhaps hasn't actually had a study looked at it. And so I talked to clinicians who have been treating patients for years and utilizing cannabis as part of their toolkit for years. And they can see observable trends over years and say, like, okay, there's no study done on using cannabis for XYZ. But I've used it in patients over the years enough to know that it has some efficacy in this way in that. So anecdotal evidence is in that murky territory because I think it can be supported by a wealth of experience that kind of makes it valid, but then it can also Get into this like game of telephone, like you mentioned where people might be perpetuating information that isn't quite right. And this is the world that we live in. It's not just cannabis, it's information in general, it's become so much harder for folks to parse out what's real and what's not. And much like finding a good CBD product, it requires due diligence on the part of the consumer, which is unfortunate, but the world we live in.

Shayda Torabi  20:25  
Yeah, I'm really glad that you emphasize to just the reliance I guess on the network, I think that obviously, there's a lot of things that should go without saying like, definitely double check your your fax, double check, you know, your sources, make sure that before you say something, it has some sort of quality assurance to it. But I think navigating the cannabis industry, going from being a consumer to a business owner, I think there was a lot of stuff that I believe because somebody told me versus me actually like checking the validity of that. And it's not necessarily that it was wrong, or the information wasn't to be believed initially, it's just the conversion of that to try to understand how that information gets perpetuated in the industry. For example, when we launched our CBD brand in 2018, there wasn't a ton of research on isolates that was really public facing from a consumer perspective. And when you would walk into dispensaries in legal states, obviously, the conversation was very skewed towards it's marijuana or nothing like it's the whole plant or nothing like there was no oh, here's THC. Oh, we're here's CBG. And so when we launched as a CBD brand, we kind of took the route of CBD isolate initially. And I remember reflecting kind of in the community here in Texas, at least, if not nationally, like the sentiment was like, Oh, well, isolettes aren't good, like only full spectrum and like only the entourage effect. And I remember kind of thinking like, what and then you could kind of extrapolate it out, there were people who were very clearly telling consumers full spectrum would make you essentially not fail a drug test. They were giving consumers they were giving customers as assurance like, oh, full spectrum is not gonna make you fail a drug test, like you're fine, which was a big question in Texas that we were navigating because we had the stigma that we were trying to fight against. And so my sister who's my co founder, her background, she is a former University of Texas collegiate athlete. And so she grew up not wanting to touch cannabis because she couldn't fail a drug test, she failed her drug tests, you lose her scholarship, she lose her placement on the team, etc, or whatever. And so we just delicately started observing this conversation that was happening around like why people were believing full spectrum would not with trace amounts of THC make you fail a drug test and how that information was getting passed along. And so I was just witnessing it in real time of, well, where are people pointing to that information like where's that information coming from and realizing like no one actually like documented or like, set it and maybe if you would dig through PubMed, or just, you know, maybe some of these, I don't wanna say older time, but more historically back to cannabis. Whatever books etc, like curriculum, maybe they would understand it's hard to unpack, you know, the endocannabinoid system and how cannabinoids work. But all that to say it was just really fascinating, because we were really confronted with Wow, people are just saying things to sell, which is the emphasis sell to the consumer, and they don't give a shit, pardon my French, what they're going to have as a casualty at the you know, cause of losing that sale to the consumer. So I see what you do as so integral because it's helping not only empower the consumer with factual information, but ultimately it's helping teach an industry which we're very new professionally, we're very immature and so where we get our information to is kind of this collective. Oh, we're like fact checking with each other. And so going back to what you said about a network i think that that has been the most important component for me, I'm not an author, but I do create a lot of content and try to reference a lot of stuff that's happening in the industry and obviously through this podcast, just try to build some sort of gut check of like, Okay, well if I have this thought or opinion and these two other people in my group have the same thought or opinion like maybe there's some validity and it gives us some, you know, direction and legs to run on. So it just was very interesting as we were kind of navigating that I don't know if you have anything that you want to add or kind of share from your perspective of what it's been like kind of being a mouthpiece for. I'm gonna say it truth, and how that has kind of, you know, in my opinion, probably helped the industry but also kind of maybe how you've seen when everybody has a microphone, how it hurts the industry.

Lauren Wilson  24:58  
Yes, I love that segue. Everyone has a microphone because my mind immediately jumped to clubhouse. And you know, there are lots and lots of cannabis conversations going on in clubhouse in in amongst industry and I spent a good chunk of time on clubhouse, you know, during the early days of the pandemic. And it was great for networking and meeting folks and learning and connecting. But I think coming away from that experience, one of my major takeaways was the fact that when I was on clubhouse, I was either in kind of industry bubbles or science, medical bubbles, and I was like, we need to bring these guys together, we need to bring these bubbles together. Because I think that there can be a lot of fruitful growth, for the all the reasons you just talked about. If we had more integration of those two groups coming together, and it happens in a lot of company settings, a lot of companies hire scientists and work with them, you know, to formulate and develop and whatever else. But I think on a whole, yeah, there needs to be a little bit more crosstalk. And I really hope that I can help to play that role, because I love science, and I'm a huge nerd, and I can sit there and read research papers all day. But hey, guess what, that's not for everyone, right? And for, you know, cannabis science can get quite dense. And for the average consumer who's living their lives and wants help in, you know, living their best life, utilizing cannabis, it's a fine line when you're a writer before your eyes start to glaze over. So I think that, you know, one of the things that I really try to do as a writer in the space is to take complex science make it easy to digest and applicable and valuable for folks. And you know, I think that that is going to be a major driver of value for brands and developing consumer customer relationships and you know, long term valuable customer relationships going forward. So, yeah,

Shayda Torabi  26:50  
no, absolutely couldn't agree more. I think it's sometimes like to our detriment, you know, we can't, or we don't have the passion or just like the time or the attention to dig through all the research to support why we may, you know, believe or want to share a particular thought or opinion. But, again, I think when we are in an industry that is spanning so many different other industries, medical, you know, even supplemental, just even you know, from a recreational drug perspective, like there are certain repercussions and aspects and considerations that need to be considered when you are marketing and branding, these products and how you communicate those products, and I love that everybody is so education focused. But I still dance around, you know, the belief that like, there is bad information that is out there. And so it's like, how do you make sure that you and this is like always who I try to talk to, right, you know, like the listener, like, make sure you are, you know, taking care of your house, make sure that you have a good lineup of people in your network who you feel like you can ask questions, whether they're industry or medical, or marketing, or whatever the case may be. Because you do need to have some sort of like quality assurance just like you would with a product that's going on the shelf. Like how you communicate that product. And then because you mentioned that I'm very fascinated from kind of your perspective on you know, the topic of minor cannabinoids, right? And so that's even an area that like when I'm communicating to customers, I have to have the conversation you know, it's not that THC Oh is a new cannabinoid like it's existed in the cannabis plant infinitely. But now we as an industry have figured out how to productize it is really the conversation right? And so once you productize it again, that product then gets turned into a product, it sits on a shelf somewhere, someone and tries to sell it. And so having the conversation of these minor cannabinoids where my understanding is, again, it's not the THC, oh came out of thin air but like research wise because marijuana is not federally legal. You can't fully research the plant. But because hemp is now federally legal. There are a lot more research in scientific reports being done on cannabis in general. And again, this is just my understanding of kind of how this information gets created, reported disseminated. And so I just find, you know, maybe their scientific, this is what THC O stands for scientifically, this is the receptor that it plays on. But the actual output like what that does to a consumer is obviously where we have I think a gap because part of it is well we haven't really had it in the market, isolate it out to really know how it's going to impact us for anybody to have an opinion to then regurgitate that opinion or repeat that opinion. adversely. The research hasn't been done to then say well after th co has been for, you know, 30 plus years on this wide demographic, this is the long term effect of it. But yet it's illegal cannabinoid, people are selling it. So to pick on th CEO, I'm just curious what kind of maybe there's another cannabinoid that you you know, maybe got a little bit more experience or another story that comes to mind with but you know, delta a CB G, like, obviously, there's a few of them that are gaining really big popularity that from a consumer perspective, we're then being asked as the brand, what is this going to do versus Delta nine? And it's like, oh, let me go. Let me go read what you know, Lauren says, Let me go read what leafly or High Times or whoever, you know, the authority is on the cannabis or cannabinoid subject. So that was a lot to ask you. But I'm curious. Given you just said he did some on some research on THC to kind of what you want packed?

Lauren Wilson  30:51  
Well, everything you said, I agree with much of what you just said, and a lot of what you just said is right, except not about THC. Oh, because what THC O is, is an alteration of either Delta eight or delta nine THC. THC does not exist in the plant. It is a completely semi synthetic compound. It's not even.

Shayda Torabi  31:13  
Yeah, this this podcast point. I love learning things. So

Lauren Wilson  31:16  
I mean, we can talk about teach, do as much as you want. But the thing about teach SEO, and the way I've kind of been, because I've been thinking about this a lot recently, th SEO is akin to delta eight. So delta eight is a cannabinoid that naturally exists in the plant. But in very, very, very small quantities so small that you know, it would cost literally hundreds of millions of dollars of biomass to create one kilogram of naturally extracted Delta eight, but delta eight is everywhere, right? I mean, people are consuming Delta eight, they're loving it, it's available, and it's most popular in states that don't have state legal Delta nine. So through trial and error and testing and laboratory experimentation, people figured out how to make CBD into delta eight. So and this is where a lot of the controversy in and around the legality of delta eight and there's a lot of conversations being had in cannabis versus hemp industries as to where delta eight fits fits in the picture and how it should be dealt with from a legal and regulatory standpoint. But Delta eight is technically a semi synthetic compound it's made from hemp derived CBD and that's why if it comes from hemp CBD and the law gets really specific about you know, hemp CBD versus cannabis CBD, same compound, very similar plants, but you know, we have these very specific delineations as to what cannabis is in the law versus what hemp is in the law. And so if you take hemp derived CBD, you alter it into delta eight, the argument can be made and the hemp industry is making the argument that it is a lawful substance. And you know, there's lots of different legal arguments for why that's true. So, th co doesn't exist at all in the plant, but it can be made from either Delta eight or delta nine. So it is an isomer of THC. So it's a different form of THC that can be made from either Delta eight which was then made from CBD. So CBD can be made into delta eight which can be made into THC, our delta nine can be made into THC. Oh, so THC is an interesting one because I I'm at a point where I don't think we know enough about it products are out there, they're available. But there is literally zero research on THC, oh, it was looked at under a scientific lens back in the 40s in dogs as a military weapon, potentially. So like we really we don't really know anything at all about this compound. Anecdotally folks are reporting that it's a lot more potent than delta nine, it's got a lot more of a psychedelic effect. Which could it be a valuable compound? Absolutely. Do we know that it's safe? Not really. And on top of that, there are things that consumers need to be in my opinion need to be cautious about in and around semi synthetic compounds like Delta eight or th co because they can, it requires not complicated science from a chemistry perspective to create them. But the process of creating them can create a lot of isomers and different compounds that we don't really know a lot about and we don't even know what's in that magic sauce that gets created in the conversion process. And then on top of that, there can be a lot of contaminants much like CBD products can be, you know, contaminated with heavy metals or pesticides or what have you. These products can also have contaminants and the real problem comes in around the fact that we don't have any regulation for these compounds. You know, there's no one's regulating Delta eight, you know, companies might sound send the delta a product out to a lab and it might say 89% Delta eight. But what's that other 11% they don't have to report it. They don't even have to analyze it. So these products can be made well and responsibly, but without oversight in the industry, I get a little nervous from the consumers perspective. You know, what's in there? What are they consuming? Are these things safe we as an industry, I think it behooves us to figure these things out.

Shayda Torabi  35:33  
Hello, just want to take a quick moment to thank my sponsor and full disclosure, my company restart CBD, restart CBD is a brand that I built with my sister. So we are family owned and a women owned, we do operate a brick and mortar in Austin. So if you ever find yourself in Central Texas, we'd love for you to come say hi. But we also ship nationwide and we carry a wide range of CBD products. We really care about this plant, we really care about educating our customers, this show would not be possible without their support. So please go check us out at restart CBD calm and use code to be blunt for $5 off your next purchase. Thanks. And let's go back to the show.

Yeah, no, I mean, I'm right there with you, I'd really didn't know to the nuance that delta, I should say delta THC o was not naturally occurring in the plant so much as an isomer of these other cannabinoids that are also equally, you know, sometimes questionable, and I take the same stance as you it's not necessarily that it's innately bad, but it's just, you know, the quality of how everybody it's like, if you took a poll, you know, is 90% of it? Or is 30% of it, you know, the quality and then it's the crapshoot of will Who did you buy it from? And what is the quality of the product that they're consuming or selling, that you're then consuming? And then extrapolating it out? I think to the degree that is it safe for human consumption long term, and the relevancy I think, for the conversation for the listeners to is just to understand, you know, again, when you are at the helm of being a piece of information, a touchpoint resource for that consumer, I'm not going to ever tell someone like don't sell that product, I think that the industry is unfortunately, far beyond that we are driven by the consumer. So I always take the stance, you know, my job is to bring the highest quality of these products to the consumers, backed by the best information and education that I can put together based on again, all these other things that we've kind of highlighted, you know, I'm doing the due diligence to make sure that I understand it is what I'm putting on my shelf, I'm doing due diligence to make sure that what is in that product is the highest quality, the highest efficacy of that version of that cannabinoid consumption method, whatever the case may be, it kind of like to me relates a little bit to the whole topic to like, smoking in theory is really bad for you, you know, but like smoking cannabis is arguably a much better alternative than smoking tobacco or nicotine. So it's like I'm not here to say smoking is bad. I'm just saying, you know, pick your poison, right? But again, when we are the voice, the mouthpiece, the controller for that consumers journey, I think, unfortunately, sometimes it gets diluted at the sake of a sale, and also part of the industry being driven by the consumer, like using Delta eight, and I've talked about this on the podcast before. Delta eight is a very hot topic, not only nationally, but especially just in the state of Texas, I think we were the leading state that was really driving a lot of this legislation, at least for our state, and the conversation about Delta eight. But you know, it comes down to how do you communicate on these cannabinoids, the consumers are asking, and so how do you communicate on it. And so that's really where the foundation for everything that I try to present to not only the podcast audience, but just in conversations in general is like, I just want to know more information. So how do you aggregate the right information using the right tools, and ultimately knowing that people are going to share that information. Now, I want to transition a little bit because you obviously are an author, but kind of with the pandemic have also extrapolated that out into content creation and content marketing and trying to navigate in the way that you know, I think we're beyond not to diminish the negative effects of COVID. But I think we're beyond dealing with the negative effects to the extent that it's seen as like, oh man, like my business took a hit because of it like Yes, that was super unfortunate that happened, but like now, we're like, Okay, you got to pivot. Like, how do you pivot? How do you transition and so from your experience, kind of going through the last year and some change, overlaid with what is happening in the cannabis industry. I mean, we just talked about a lot of really pressing, in my opinion topics that relate to the, the immediate nature of this information. It's like you write these books in 2016. It's funny, I was on a Half Price Books with my boyfriend over the weekend. And I was like, Oh, where's the cannabis section? And there was like a cannabis industry book from like, 2018. And I was like, I don't want to read it. That's old information, like the industry has completely changed. So kind of how have you leverage obviously, the changing of pace, the immediacy of the industry as well is navigating, like what's kind of been happening and the real time nature of 2020 to 2022. Now we're almost towards the end of this year that you kind of just observed as made an impact in the content realm that you're existing in?

Lauren Wilson  40:49  
Yeah, that's a great question. So we touched earlier, when we were talking before we started recording about, you know, consumer education, and I've kind of taken a journey over the last, you know, cheese, I guess it's almost six years now since I started, you know, dabbling in cannabis writing. But I think that, tying together what we've talked about previously, and looking at the kind of what I see the needs I see now, and where I see things going in the future. I think that you know, granted, and I really want to hear what your good marketing brain has to say about this, too. But I want to acknowledge my biases as an author. And also, as a longtime educator, you know, I taught cooking classes for many years, and now I'm writing a cannabis education. But in my heart, I feel like an educator. So acknowledging those biases, and putting them you know, to the side for the moment, I really do think that consumer education is going to play a big role in the industry going forward. And I kind of think about, I mean, consumer education can happen from a lot of different touch points from a business perspective. But I guess I see it happening predominantly through content, marketing, even social media marketing. And so this is the kind of the intellectual journey that I've been on over the last year, because I kind of came into the business side of cannabis really when the pandemic started. And that's actually kind of that's how I found to be blind to begin with, honestly, it was 2020 winter height of the pandemic. And I'm starting to dip my toe into content marketing for cannabis business. And I found to be blunt, and I have to say, Thank you, because this podcast has been so educational, such a good piece of support through my journey. And I'll just also take a little sidebar to gush for a second and say that, you know, I've been so impressed by you, I think that you are, you have such an intelligent and a cogent voice. And not only that, but you're a woman, and you're an entrepreneur, and you have a personal relationship to the plants. I mean, I know that your listeners have heard your story, I've heard your story, I find both your story and you to be really inspiring. And I think that voices like yours are so important to the evolution of this industry. If we want to build an industry that we are proud of, and that we believe in, we need voices like yours. So thank you, for you, thank you for this podcast. And just to go back to the consumer education pace, and this industry is going to continue to grow no matter what the industry is going to keep growing. I think that you know, CBD and the Farm Bill kind of threw fuel on a fire that was already starting to grow. I do think that federal legalization is on the horizon in some shape or form. And states are going to continue to legalize for adult use. I mean, we already have the majority of states with medical and no, Texas is a tough one. But

But you know, I think that, you know, I live in New York, and that was a huge Domino to fall on the adult use front. So I think these trends are only going to continue to happen. So the industry is going to continue to grow. But brand longevity, I think is going to come from brand loyalty, like many other industries and many other markets. And so you know, I think the cannabis industry can look around at juggernauts like the Amazons and the Googles and the apples of the world. These are the top three definitely in the top 10 brands that have the highest consumer loyalty and why is that? And I think part of it is because they can dependably like consumers can rely upon them to do what they're meant to do and make their lives easier. And that's a simplistic boiling down of these brands. But I think that those are two really important points to consider and that's where the education piece comes in for the cannabis industry because I come to the business side of things so I started working in the in the content marketing space, but I came to it initially as like Lauren Wilson, the human cannabis consumer, and then as an author, and I've had a consumer perspective and I've come into the, the business side from the consumer side. And when I wrote healing with CBD, I can't tell you how many folks have come to me after that book came out over the last several years, and they've said to me, Hey, I tried CBD, but it didn't do anything. And that hurts my heart a little bit. Because people think it's just a fad. They think it's a gimmick, they think CBD doesn't work. And every single one of those people in my mind, I've thought this is a failure. For a moment, like an opportunity for education. I think the education piece becomes really important because in order to have the best experience with the plants, folks need tools, they need a few tools in their toolkit in order to really dial in their experience with CBD, THC, hemp cannabis, whatever. So let's make it easier for consumers. Let's look at the Googles and the apples and like let's make our lives easier for consumers. And I think that a big part of that is going to be through education because it's not so straightforward with cannabis and cannabinoids and it's not a one size fits all solution. So if you can be the brand that provides the people with the tools that they need when they need them, that builds trust, and that builds brand loyalty. And you know, helping people achieve whatever it is they want to achieve with hemp and cannabis, whether it's fun, whether it's a cool lifestyle, whether it's healing, whether it's wellness, whether it's athletic recovery, whatever, helping people achieve what they want to achieve, by giving them the tools that they need to get there through education, like I said, I think is one of the keys to brand loyalty going forward. And and every one of these folks that's come to me and at this point is probably hundreds that have said CBD didn't work to me didn't work. For me, that's a lost customer, that's money down the toilet, that's a lost opportunity because either they didn't know how to best use your products, or they didn't know how to tailor their experience with the plants. And so you know, from where I sit, I think now is the time to try to build long term relationships with new folks coming into the hemp and cannabis space, because guess what, we have new folks coming in every day. So as far as like, the consumer evolution is involved, the consumer journey is involved. And you know, where the next phase of growth is gonna come because consumers are just like the industry is gonna continue to grow, consumers are going to continue to get more educated and become more savvy. So I think that utilizing education as a way to build trust, and therefore foster loyalty is an it's an equation that makes sense to me.

Shayda Torabi  47:25  
Like retweet everything you just said, I couldn't agree more. It's such a, it seems like, obviously it's like, yeah, like radical, but at the same time, it's so simple, and unfortunately, is being poorly executed. And it's a hard one to you know, kind of digest in some cases, because I do feel like we're fighting the rapid pace of the market evolving and shifting, it feels like there's a new cannabinoid being productize every couple of weeks it feels like, then you have I mean, the amount of people obviously, who like you just share too who have had bad experiences. There are the people like you and I which sidebar also, I really appreciate the acknowledgement and the recognition because I do genuinely and truly love what I do. And I don't think I'm any more equipped or special than the next guy or gal who is having these conversations. I just feel very privileged to get to sit here with a microphone and make connections with badass women like yourselves who are, you know, helping to lean in and take part of the confusion away, right? It's like, I don't imagine that we're going to completely eradicate and change and make sense of everything. And one day, one week, one year, but it's like how do we collectively together start to make sense. And so kind of from what you shared my takeaway and reflecting on what I shared earlier to a little bit if we're all saying the wrong information that doesn't help the industry that doesn't help the next person who wants to get in and I never again want to be someone who's like the industry is full, like no room for you. Because like that's not true. There's a lot of room for people to succeed and obviously using Amazon and apple and blah, blah, blah as an example to like, there's different degrees, and I wouldn't even call it success. There's just different degrees to existence. Some people really care about being a multi state operator. Some people really care man, I met this guy, maybe he's listening chip. He's an accountant. He came to one of the conferences I was at and came up and spoke to me after and he's like, I'm an accountant. I love accounting. How can I help? I was like, great. We need really good accountants to understand cannabis and be in the industry. And so it's not to say everybody who's out there is like, oh, how do I make money with pot, you know, or with cannabis or whatever it is. But trying to get people to understand like, we don't really know what the end point is. And I think that's a really real thing that I talked about on the podcast. A lot of times most people don't like that confrontation that I share because it's like we don't really know what's going to happen with federal legalization. You And it's you know, just something to prepare yourself for as the industry does open up but so being able to be a component of that conversation to help the industry better digest the consumers better digest like it only helps us at the end of the day and you said it, you know, specifically when it comes to the consumers and I reflect on this with my brand, I have said it and I'll say it a million times I am a consumer before I'm a business owner, I love this plant. I want this plant to be accessible and you know, open for me to have access to not necessarily like freely but like legally, you know, be cool if Texas was like, you can grow you know, cannabis in your backyard, like I would love to grow at home and things like that. But I look at, you know, being really realistic. And when you look at how other industries are built and developed, looking at how other industries have found success, and how they've also had to deal with trials and tribulations and challenges. Like, we're not going to have an easy peasy runway and cannabis like we're just not no other industry does. But cannabis extra special. And so it's just like, how do you kind of buckle up and realize like, Huh, how can I contribute this conversation also acknowledging that like, I do believe information is changing. Like we're learning new things all the time. I mean, a topic that gets brought up a lot for us at our retail storefront is I'm a woman who is pregnant or I'm breastfeeding, what is the safety assurance of consuming cannabis going to be on my child and I'm like, I don't even know if a doctor can confidently tell you what the outcome could be of cannabis consumption with your child held to even throw you know, a switch on that I think what, and I have no children of my own, so I'm not a mother speaking on behalf of mothers or medical professionals or anybody in that regard. But like, didn't they just come out and say that you can now have like a glass of wine during your pregnancy like a day whereas like years prior, it was like, No, don't touch alcohol, it's gonna harm the baby. And so it's just like, unfortunately, part of our industry is acknowledging that like what we believe today could also not be true tomorrow. And kind of on that subject, too. I love to be a little you know, a little controversial but I did sir, the article. Sir, the ball I you wrote an article on cannabinoid hyper MSS.

Yes. And I've had Alice moon on the podcast, she has been very vocal about it. And again, I'm not someone who's like, because I know she's gotten a lot of controversy and like, kind of like threats kind of against her for saying it. But it's a really interesting thought to use that and only bring you in, because I know that you wrote an article about it recently, but like to extrapolate the concept. We keep promoting cannabis as this, like end all be all, but like, maybe there are some negative side effects. And maybe there are some repercussions that, again, is like a very unpopular opinion. And I'm not like trying to like throw cannabis under the bus. But just like with all good things in excess, and to kind of further extrapolate it, I had a friend, not too long ago, we were smoking, we were hitting the bond. And you know, like, I'm sure you guys can relate, I'm sure you didn't really learn. It's like, you know, you hit it, whether it's via joint, whatever, and then you think, you know, I'm probably good, but I'm gonna hit it again. And then you think, you know, I'm probably really good, but I'm gonna hit it again. And the next thing you know, you're blitzed off your ass and you're like, Did I really need all that? Like, I don't know. And so this friend basically after we were having a sesh he's like Shayda Do you ever think that we're overdosing on cannabis? And again, not in a derogatory negative way, but just like what is truly a dose? And so you can extrapolate that to CBD? Obviously, there's a wide range of applicable dosage milligrams being thrown out. Just yesterday, I heard I think it was I think it was the CDC My sister was telling me it was some government agency that said 100 milligrams to 800 milligrams of CBD. But then you see products that are like 10 milligrams, five milligrams, like again, I'm not saying right or wrong, but when you kind of put that filter on the conversation of cannabis from an educational perspective, how do you navigate this conversation when we're confronted with a lot of information that like we just really don't know what the end result is going to be both from a human consumption perspective, let alone an industry perspective, right?

Lauren Wilson  54:28  
I love everything you just said and I'm really glad that you know I'm right there with you and your controversial opinion because it's not about not loving the plant. I love the plants you know, and I think they serve such value and you know, the history is awful and the situation is changing for the better and my heart I'm an advocate, but you know, our cannabinoids benign substances that we can just take willy nilly, they're not you know, they have effects in our body, that cannot can Not good and cannabis hyperemesis syndrome is an extreme case of how cannabis might negatively affect you. And thankfully, it's a small number of people that can develop it. But you know, that article that I wrote was in and around discoveries we're making about the genetics that might impact whether or not you develop cannabis hyperemesis syndrome. So some folks might just be genetically disparate, predisposed, like some folks are genetically predisposed to substance abuse disorders. It's just, it's the reality of what it is and it's not about vilifying or hating. It's about having open honest and and transparent conversations because people need to be able to make informed choices. And so I'm right there with you on that. And I'm trying to remember the second part of what you the last part of what you said because I wanted to respond to it.

Shayda Torabi  55:49  
I don't even remember the last part of what I said.

Lauren Wilson  55:53  
But I think that Oh, right. The second part that I wanted to respond to is that I think it's okay to say we don't know because we don't know there's a lot we don't know especially when you're talking you know, you mentioned minor cannabinoids earlier. We know a lot more about THC than we do about CBD. We know a fair amount I wouldn't even say a lot about CBD. But then you talk about things like Delta eight, which we do know a little bit about, there's been some study of but like THC, oh, and CBG. And CB like these are new. These are new brand new baby cannabinoids that we don't know a lot about. And I don't think there's anything wrong with saying that because it's transparent and it's honest, and people can make informed decisions based on that. So you know, we don't have all the answers as an industry because we're at the beginning, and we're going to discover I have every faith and it excites me to no end to think about the discoveries that we're going to make in and around cannabinoids and the human body and how they work together. But we have a long way to go. So it's okay to say we don't know

Shayda Torabi  56:59  
I'm right there with you. It's fun while it's otic and sometimes very stressful situation to exist in but if we don't exist in it, then what is life you know, you got to kind of push the boundaries and kind of take the risk if you want to be in this industry. But I really thoroughly enjoyed this conversation I know the listeners have as well is there anything that you want to leave us with as final send off thoughts.

Lauren Wilson  57:23  
I'd like to offer myself up as a resource to people in whatever way they might need. If there's like think of me as an Open Library in which you can you know, come and check out a book so if there's something that you need to know about cannabis, cannabis science, if there's something you weren't like hit me up, I'm available on social media at Lauren does this, you can check out my website, Lauren m as in monkey I'm here to talk about cannabis. I'm here to help folks on their journey. So please feel free to reach out. And best of luck on this journey. I think that your audience you know, it's such an exciting time for this industry. I think we've had a really valuable and transparent and no pun intended sobering conversation about the state of the industry. But it is such an exciting time to be in the cannabis world. And I think all we have to do as folks in this space is do our best and try to have some integrity while we're at it.

Shayda Torabi  58:21  
Amazing insight from Lauren, I really appreciated her approach to how she formulates her point of view and like yes, we should absolutely be looking at the science like what are these cannabinoids and what research has been done on their long term effects, but not only on our bodies, but in treating and easing certain diseases and ailments. But on top of that, who is in your community or network that can help you validate? So really think right now the food for thought the takeaway is figuring out who do you turn to for that gut check? Do you have peers and mentors other businesses maybe in your same city or state that you can kind of refer to and like reference your questions to make sure that you have a sound understanding and some sort of consistency in the way that you're communicating in comparison to how others are communicating. It's something that has taken me years to build up but has proved its weight in gold and being crucial and helping me validate and form my own thoughts and opinions. So okay, that's all I got for today. Thanks for tuning in to another episode of the podcast. I will be back next Monday with a brand new one. Until then definitely go in the archives check out some of the past episodes there honestly, all incredible such amazing guests that we've had on the show so far. And looking forward to talking to you guys next week. So I y'all

Announcer  59:49  
love this episode of To be blunt. Be sure to visit the Shayda slash to be blind for more ways to connect. New episodes come out on Mondays and for more behind The scenes follow along on Instagram at the Shayda Torabi

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