CC 043: The Future of Cannabinoid and Terpene Science with Tristan Watkins
Formulated with love by some of the biggest science geeks in the industry, LucidMood marries cannabis and science to create products that work precisely with your body and mind to deliver just the right sensation.
Today’s episode features Tristan Watkins, the Chief Science Officer of LucidMood, and explores the science behind these incredible smells and sensations we receive from the cannabis plant and unique botanicals. Thank these pure and natural ingredients that come together to heighten our experiences and never dull them!
Read the Full Transcript
Joe: [00:02] Alright, Cured Collective listeners. I’m sittin’ here with Tristan from LucidMood. He is the Chief Science Officer, and we’re going to dive into all things cannabinoids and terpenes, and what LucidMood has got going on. So, thanks for joining me, man.
Tristan: [00:18] Yeah, thanks for having me.
Joe: [00:19] Yeah, so let’s start off with – I know we kind of went through these questions before the podcast – but let’s first start off with just your background, what got you into the cannabis space and sparked an interest.
Tristan: [00:33] Yeah, so my background starts back in Nashville. I got my Bachelor’s and PhD from Vanderbilt. I did a lot of research on a variety of different topics, spanning everywhere from cell molecular research all the way up to more like clinical cell psychiatry; so, really nice translational background. But it was really about 3 years before I finished up my graduate degree that I was really seeing this cannabis space unfold; and particularly hearing all these sort of anecdotal reports that, you know, cannabis does this, this, this, and this, and some of these effects seem to be competing with one another, and like – how? How is this all happening? Obviously, THC isn’t some like wonder drug that does 10 different things, so what is it about cannabis that makes it so unique and allows people to find all these benefits? So, I really started creating my own little research project, really just delving into the literature and trying to discover what makes cannabis unique. That’s really what led me to terpenes, these other cannabinoids, even flavonols and esters to a lesser degree, and basically learn that cannabis naturally expresses all these different compounds, and it’s that compositional compounds that really helps direct the expected effect or benefit that someone can get. So, of course, the logical extension was, well, now that I know this, can we play around with it or control is and create our own things?
Joe: [02:03] Right, right, right. I mean, and honestly, the big thing in just building of Cured was, people think cannabis, they think THC, they think high, they think stoner, they think sitting on the couch, they think Cheech & Chong. You know? Like us, our generation, and people around our generation, have used it – if we’ve used it for a long amount of time – have realized, I smoke this strain, I see a different effect than smoking this strain; and for the longest time, people were saying it’s the indica, it’s the sativa. Oh, ok, cool, so that means like what? But really, the answer to it is there’s so much more going on there.
Tristan: [02:43] Exactly. I actually am not a big fan of this indica vs. sativa dichotomy at all. I think it does a disservice to cannabis. Like you said, there’s all these different, cool benefits you can potentially have, and limiting it and restricting it to just upper or downer is, I mean, there’s so much more to cannabis than that.
Joe: [03:01] Yeah. So, when did you find… like, talk about this birth of LucidMood and you being the Chief Science Officer. Let’s talk about LucidMood specifically for a while here and what you guys got going on.
Tristan: [03:17] Yeah, for sure. It was interesting, I had come up with a very similar idea in graduate school, but obviously had, let’s say, zero business acumen at all. But I had this idea, I was like I’m going to move out to Colorado and I’m going to figure this out, or maybe I’ll find the right partners. I kind of searched around. That plan fell on its face pretty quickly, as far as me starting my own business from scratch; but fortunately, through some kind of sleuthing around on the internet, I found Charles Jones, who is the Founder of LucidMood, through actually a different program that he was running, but I saw that he was just launching LucidMood. At that point, I think it was just a landing page and talked about this idea of designer highs, and that they were formerly cannabis products, but you can feel different effects. I was like this is perfect.
Joe: [04:10] I love that, designer high. It’s the truth though, because we have an effect, and you’re designing what that actually looks like.
Tristan: [04:19] Exactly. You know, breakdown a plant and only use what matters for that effect, and leave everything else out because, at that point, it’s kind of superfluous and it just clouds the effect. But yeah, I was, you know, 6 months out of the job market – or 6 months on the job market, I should say; and at this point, I kind of found LucidMood. And of all things, I just sent an email through their contact us page; I was like, “Hey, Charles. I like this thing that you’re doing. I also really think that LucidMood’s going to be great. I have this background. I think we could team up and create some really, really awesome products.” Two days later, we’re meeting at a coffee shop. That following Monday, I’m having a team meeting with everyone, and we’re just discussing all the cool things that we can do, like right out of the gates. So, I got in really early.
Joe: [05:06] You got in at the right time because when I – as an entrepreneur myself – in those beginning phases, it’s like, well, as much as you might not know what you’re doing from a business perspective, I would say for the whole, it’s really just like we’re going to try some things and we’re going to see what works, see what doesn’t work; and I’m sure that’s been an evolution for the company since the beginning.
Tristan: [05:28] Oh, for sure. We’re multiple years in and we’re had a lot of missteps and failures, and I mean, that’s part of the growth process, right? There’s no rubric or path laid out in the cannabis industry right now, so we get to try a bunch of new, fun things.
Joe: [05:43] Yeah. So, was the delivery method from the beginning always vape? Or have you guys played around with that, because I didn’t even think about that before this podcast.
Tristan: [05:53] So, it’s always been some sort of vape. It’s actually funny – feel free to stop me if you don’t want to hear all of this – but we had a different kind of novel delivery system to start. Significantly more complicated, but we had this idea that like people can control their experience some more, so we had these little hemp pucks that you’d put in a [inaudible] vaporizer, and then you could drop your own terpene pre-made terpene blends, or you could blend them yourselves onto the pucks that already had the 1:1 THC:CBD cannabinoids on it. It was this idea that we would just provide someone like a little toolkit type thing, and then they can make whatever they wanted. Turns out, that’s way too many steps.
Joe: [06:33] Sounds like a cool experience, but-
Tristan: [06:35] Exactly. And actually, even to this day, we’ll pull them out every now and then and kind of play with it, especially when we’re testing out new terpenes, because it’s actually a nice way to do that. But yeah, we pivoted to the vaporizer; focused exclusively on the all-in-one vaporizer, the disposable version. But now with our new version 2 that’s launching, we’ll have the cartridges as well. Then, more on the horizon here, we’ve done the R&D efforts, now it’s a matter of just getting it all rolling – we’re creating these sort of edibles that essentially dissolve in your mouth in about 5 minutes through chewing.
Joe: [07:11] Cool.
Tristan: [07:12] And the effect hits in about 15 minutes or less. Only lasts for about an hour to an hour and a half, so it really mimics the same kind of that curve as vaporizing or smoking cannabis and gives the consumer a lot more control of their experience.
Joe: [07:24] That was going to be my next question. I was like, so the delivery method, personally, I haven’t noticed a quicker effect than vape.
Tristan: [07:34] Yep. You’re not really going to either.
Joe: [07:36] Yeah. So, you have, right now I’m looking at the card and you have 5 different SKUs sitting there, and the first thing that I see is basically like the function or the effect. We’ve got Luminous, Loving, Lively, Luscious, and – what is it – and Lullaby. So, you have the effects, and then I see the THC and CBD concentrations, and then within that, I’m assuming that there’s the other piece of that, is the terpene profile.
Tristan: [08:08] Yes.
Joe: [08:10] So, let’s start with the cannabinoid profile.
Tristan: [08:12] Sure.
Joe: [08:14] And why you tweaked them the way you do, and how people can understand that make-up a little bit better.
Tristan: [08:22] Yeah, yeah. So, it’s interesting. Our first version was all a 1:1 line. The reason we went with that is we quickly discovered that 1:1 balance of THC to CBD still delivers a high.
Joe: [08:35] It’s nice.
Tristan: [08:36] Right? It’s more kind of gentle, mild, it’s more manageable, especially if you’re more on the novice or newer user side. Then, what was nice is, if we kept everything at the 1:1, we could just use the terpenes to alter the effects. Well, while that was out on the market, we, of course, kept doing research, kept doing internal development, and realized that some of these terpene profiles will actually do better with different kinds of cannabinoid ratios. For instance, the Luscious pen, it’s a 4:1, and it’s really designed to be a little bit heavier, kind of like, you know, if we’re going to stick with that indica vs. sativa dichotomy thing that I’m not a fan of, Luscious would basically be our hybrid. It’s a little heavy, right? It lets you feel a little bit stoned; but the point of it being a 4:1 is CBD helps you stay a little more grounded, a little bit more present, so you’re never going to be that person that take a couple of hits then spends the next hour and a half in a corner while your friends actually do things and have fun.
Joe: [09:37] You might be a functional human being.
Tristan: [09:38] Yeah, exactly. You’re hopefully not going to like, eat an entire box of cereal, things like that. The CBD itself is present across all these in a way to kind of help remover of limits, some of those negative side effects, you know, long term users have just grown used to; and newer users might actually put cannabis down if they express.
Joe: [10:00] Yeah, a lot of people say they get too anxious.
Tristan: [10:02] Exactly. The anxiety’s a big one too. In fact, with the Lively pen, that’s a 2:1, one of the first-pass issues that we had to make sure we didn’t run into was that anxiety racing as paranoia that some people say they experience with the sativa. That was the whole idea behind Lively. It’s how can we make a super exuberant, uplifting high without kind of pushing that threshold and then finding ourself a little too exuberant, maybe freaking out a little bit. Again, it all comes down to the ratio and that reliance on CBD to kind of help ground things out.
Joe: [10:39] So, something that people ask a lot is the efficacy, or is around the efficacy of CBD with zero THC. What are your thoughts on that?
Tristan: [10:50] I… ok, so I think CBD will do what it’s supposed to do whether THC is present or not. Now, in adding THC, well, now you’re kind of changing what you’re taking; now you’re adding THC to the mix, and that does something else. So… let’s just say, I’ll stick with, truly let’s say “proven things.” You have Epidiolex, the – who is it – GW Farms.
Joe: [11:18] Yeah, for epilepsy.
Tristan: [11:20] Exactly. I think it’s specifically like Dravet’s Syndrome too, for like child onset epilepsy. And that’s a CBD only, no THC product, that have shown great efficacy as a CBD product without THC. That being said, same company, GW Farm, has something called Sativex that has been approved in 20 other countries; not in the U.S. because THC’s still being scheduled. And it’s a 1:1, and it’s been approved for moderate pain relief as well. This is an example where, sure, CBD on its own probably isn’t as good for pain and bringing in THC is very helpful, but now it’s a different drug. You’re taking something different, so that’s really the viewpoint to have. I don’t think you need to have THC with CBD for CBD to work for whatever it does, at least.
Joe: [12:09] Right, yeah. That’s… you explained it a lot better than I do, but that’s basically what I’ve tried to tell people, is like, it’s CBD is – that molecule has shown efficacy – it wouldn’t be a drug if weren’t for that case. It wouldn’t have ever got there. GW, I think they started in 2006 or something like that, and got the IND around it, and it was just this last year where they came out with the drug; so they did 12 years of studying it. Like, c’mon. Also, not the biggest fan of big pharma, but of course, they’re trying to get their hands in the pot because they see the efficacy of it. Of course, that’s how it works. It’s just how it works, unfortunately. That’s our world.
Tristan: [12:21] I’m not a fan of pharma either, but things like this help drive acceptance of cannabis as a whole.
Joe: [12:57] That’s the truth.
Tristan: [12:58] So, there’s a positive to take out of this too.
Joe: [13:01] Yeah, 100%. So, we’re talking about the CBD and THC ratios. You’ve got all the way from THC-1 to 2 CBD, then 1:1, 2:1, 4:1, then all the way up to 8:1 THC to CBD in the Lullaby. So, higher THC concentration in more of the… well, no, I guess it’s actually kind of different. So, the nighttime one – the sleep one – has that high 8:1, but then the combination of the terpenes in all of these. How does that work? And then, I guess, first of all, how does it work, but also, what are terpenes and how do people understand them?
Tristan: [13:39] Sure, yeah. Terpenes in general, they’re the aromatic compounds that are expressed in a variety, well, in all botanicals, essentially. Two really useful examples: the phrase of “stop and smell the roses,” what you’re really smelling is predominantly geraniol and neral, two terpenes that are extracted from rose hips that really impart that rose flavor, or that rose aroma. Interestingly, geraniol and neral, specifically geraniol at this point, have been studied and shown, at least in initial studies, to help reduce anxiety. One of them actually, you know, it showed that it reduced something called [inaudible – not sure what this is], which is a marker of your body’s response to anxiety. So, it’s funny that there’s this quote of “stop and smell the roses.”
Joe: [14:31] Stop and smell the terpenes!
Tristan: [14:32] Yeah, it turns out that actually there’s a good reason to do so, right? And one that I think, another one just to drive the point home is – say you have lavender – I think most people agree that lavender scents, lavender essential oils, things like that are relaxing to some extent. It turns out there’s really a couple terpenes within lavender oil that really matter; so, the primary one being linalool. Linalool, again, it’s a terpene, it’s what imparts that primary aroma to lavender, but then it also has neurobiological effects where it can, in fact, help with like muscle tension, a little bit with pain, and just relaxation in general.
Joe: [15:13] Gotcha.
Tristan: [15:14] So, taking that idea of what terpenes are, realizing that they actually do work in the body and they can have some effect, you can start pulling out the ones that matter, and let’s say, point to one direction, one effect that you’re looking for. If we’re on Luminous, our 1:2 pen, very much designed to center and engage, but very much designed to help with, you know, if you want to take a pause from a stressful situation. We joke that if someone needs a cigarette or break from work, this would be a great replacement instead. It’s like-
Joe: [15:49] Way better.
Tristan: [15:50] Yeah. Yeah, exactly. So, we specifically chose terpenes that are all – so, geraniol is the primary terpene in there – and there’s a few other terpenes in there as well that have all been show to bind to other neuroreceptors that could help alleviate stress, reducing anxiety to some capacity, and pair that with a very high CBD ratio as well; because at the end of the day, CBD is not going to get you high, but it has been shown to be very helpful in relaxing, unwinding, destressing, things like this. So, it makes sense to pair these terpenes that are designed for relaxing, unwinding, destressing, with a high CBD cannabinoid ratio, and put those ones together; whereas on the full flipside, Lullaby, that has a number of terpenes that have been shown to be somewhat sedating. And what’s THC? At the end of the day, THC is much more sedating than CBD, so we kind of combine the two primary benefits of the terpenes and the ratios together so we can get even more better effects.
Joe: [16:54] Right. That makes complete sense. I mean, as a company that focuses specifically on hemp and CBD here at Cured, one of the things we talk about a lot is the difference of a full spectrum vs. an isolated version, and the combination of all the cannabinoids with the terpenes. What I’m curious about, and something we’ve played around with and done some R&D on is, going from taking one specific terpene, which, to me, at times, is a little bit… kind of like perfume-y; but then, when you get like the full – like if you take a specific strain, and then you take all the terpenes from that, so maybe it’s high in 1 or 2, but there’s like 3 or 4 other constituents or terpenes – is that the preferred effect to, or is that the preferred approach to have multiple terpenes like that in different ratios, or just spiking it with like 1 or 2?
Tristan: [17:54] What you described is about spot on with how we formulate. Our original version was really like spiking with one to just a couple of terpenes; but now, the formulation process has been what are the primary terpenes and what are the accessory terpenes. The primary terpenes are really chosen around their neurobiological effects, and the accessory terpenes either help support that effect, or they help with things like flavor so they’re not super perfume-y. It gives some complexity to the aroma and flavor, and they just allow the moods themselves to be a little but more unique. That being said, I think our most complex formula is probably the Lullaby at 8 or 9 terpenes. Sorry, I no longer can remember all the formulations off the top of my head at this point. I believe it’s about 8 terpenes is the max for Lullaby, but again, it’s around 2 primary terpenes, and then it’s 6 accessory terpenes that were developed. You know, it turns out that some terpenes, there’s one that’s really, really good at helping people fall asleep, but it’s incredibly harsh and tastes like shit.
Joe: [19:05] So, of course, you’re not going to use that.
Tristan: [19:07] Yeah, exactly. From a terpene standpoint, we’ve seen some – myrcene is actually on the Prop 65 list in California.
Joe: [19:17] Really?
Tristan: [19:18] Yeah.
Joe: [19:19] I didn’t know that.
Tristan: [19:20] Surprise, right? It’s not that hard to get on that list.
Joe: [19:25] Right. It’s California.
Tristan: [19:27] Yeah, right? California, it’s the easiest list to get on. But it turns out that, from what I’ve read, myrcene in itself is a little bit unstable; so, it’s probably less around myrcene being naturally expressed in the cannabis plant, but really what happens when you isolate it, and you let it sit out in a fridge, and things like that, and then you apply heat to it and let it cool and apply heat. So, that’s why it’s on Prop 65 list. Because of that, we had to rework all of our formulas and formulate around not using, arguably, the most common cannabis terpene there is. Which is actually a… it was a fun exercise.
Joe: [20:06] Science project, man. You’re the science guy.
Tristan: [20:09] I watch some shows – someone gave this quote that I always thought it was helpful – the most unique outcomes come from challenges, and that’s how I like to view that for our formulation process.
Joe: [20:20] Yeah. How about the derivation of terpenes? Like where they’re coming from, and also, people say this all the time, when I first moved – I was in California when I first started Cured – and people like, the argument of, is it hemp-derived or is it marijuana-derived. I’m like, what’s the molecule? So, that’s what I always said, but I’m interested to hear your perspective, especially – well, on both – the terpenes and cannabinoids.
Tristan: [20:48] There’s a couple of things that obviously are always important. First of all, it’s like, what’s the safety of the actual extraction process and extraction method? One of the nice things about choosing terpenes that are outside of the cannabis space, cannabis world, is you get to go to companies that have been established for 20, 30 years in perfumery and things like that, and they have a very good understanding of how to not only be efficient, but actually be really safe.
Joe: [21:14] They’re probably way better than the cannabis industry.
Tristan: [21:15] I mean, possibly.
Joe: [21:17] At times, maybe?
Tristan: [21:18] Possibly. I’m not going to say everybody, but yeah, possibly. So, that part’s really important.
Joe: [21:24] I just shit on some people. I’m sorry.
Tristan: [21:26] Oh, yeah, that’s fine. I mean, we’re in the cannabis space, right? It’s not that hard to do. But no, so, first of all, safety’s obviously a primary concern; and honestly, if anything, I’m much more confident in a well-established company’s ability to extract from botanicals rather than from cannabis. Not that it doesn’t matter where it’s extracted from, from an effect standpoint, as you already said, a molecule’s a molecule, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not coming from some position of experience where they’ve tried a non-cannabis extracted terpene vs. another. In fact, I had a conversation with somebody that made the claim like, I just know that limonene, a high limonene product, a high limonene cannabis product feels different than if I take just limonene and add it to a distillate. And I was like, ok, I believe that’s 100% true, but the issue is when you’re doing the distillate with just limonene, you’re just ingesting limonene in a distillate, like THC, where it’s just like high limonene full spectrum plus a bunch of other compounds. It’s a whole like, do you need THC with CBD argument. When you add something else it’s something different now. So, I do agree there’s a very big difference between, let’s say, a full spectrum of terpenes vs. an isolated terpene; but somewhere in the middle is where you get the best of both worlds. You’re not just going with cannabis derived just to go with cannabis derived. We don’t do it because we want more control over what ingredients go in our products. It’s very difficult to extract just from cannabis and then break down just the terpenes into their own isolated ingredients in a reasonable way.
Joe: [23:15] How do you do that?
Tristan: [23:16] That’s the thing, I’m note entirely certain how you go about doing that. I’m not a chemist. I’m a neuroscientist, so I let the chemists be the experts in their domain. I know enough to know not to start talking about chemistry.
Joe: [23:33] Sorry, this was flashing for a second. Seems like it’s fine. Cool.
Tristan: [23:40] So, we choose botanically extracted terpenes because we know that we can get like pure isolated terpenes that are extracted in a safe manner that allow us to turn around and formulate in a very consistent manner for our products. It’s right now, as far as I can tell, impossible to do that, at least from a cost-effective standpoint, with cannabis derived terpenes. And since we’re already not doing the full spectrum, trying to preserve the strain, there’s no benefit to us to doing it. Honestly, there’s not much benefit to the consumer that’s choosing a formulated product or designer like ours over a strain extract anyway.
Joe: [24:19] Sure. Cool. So, what are – well, we can talk about both – what cannabinoids doing in the body, and what are terpenes doing in the body?
Tristan: [24:28] Yeah. A lot, it turns out. So… let’s just take THC, for instance. In general, it’s sort of primary thing that you’re looking at, it’s binding endocannabinoid receptors in the endocannabinoid system. Primarily it’s hitting the CB-1 receptors, specifically, with also some CB-2 effects as well, which are less in the brain and more through immune system and digestive system, things like that. More widespread through the body. So, you have THC and where it predominantly binds to, it’s important to consider what the endocannabinoid system is. It’s not your primary system where it just has like one goal. It’s more of a regulatory system that touches all these other primary systems. If you think of dopamine system as like your reward center, your reward system, which is a simplified way of looking at it, but let’s say dopamine is about reward, making things look interesting and important to you – that’s kind of its primary goal. The endocannabinoid system touches the dopamine system, and it can actually regulate how strongly it acts, and it does the same thing with serotonin, norepinephrine, all these other primary systems as well because it’s just a – it’s kind of like the conductor of the orchestra, and every other section is like the dopamine, serotonin, what have you – and the endocannabinoid system is the conductor.
Joe: [25:52] I like that.
Tristan: [25:53] When you ingest THC – one of the reasons why strip cannabis down to just the THC distillate or an isolate, what have you, and ingest it – you can feel different, like when you ingest it 3 different times during the day, because not only is it bonding to the endocannabinoid system, but it’s also altering all these other systems as well. Which, of course, means it’s incredibly complex and challenging to study and research and have a full understanding of, because nothing gets more confusing than altering your entire nervous system at once. So, that’s just THC. Then, unfortunately, I think a lot of people take that and think of THC as working the endocannabinoid system and assuming that, then they assume that the rest of cannabis, naturally expressed cannabis compounds, do the same thing, and they really don’t. Even CBD, only wheat has weak affinity in the endocannabinoid system, and acts really strongly in the serotonin system. Completely outside, right? That’s probably one of the reasons why it’s been implicated in things like mood, like anxiety, depression, things like that. Terpenes that – some act in the endocannabinoid system – so beta-caryophyllene is one of my favorite terpenes. It actually binds to CB-2 receptors in your endocannabinoid system, and some really cool research is coming out with it – some addiction research, which is some of the work that I did.
Joe: [27:15] Woah. That would be powerful
Tristan: [27:18] Really, really interesting. Helping kind of break that addictive cycle and the learned behaviors around addiction. So, really interesting, right? In fact, I would argue that beta-caryophyllene acts more strongly in the endocannabinoid system than even CBD does.
Joe: [27:32] Wow.
Tristan: [27:33] Then you have all these other terpenes. Some bind to these primary systems, some have downstream effects, some cause changes in anti-inflammation via genetic transcription. Really, you have to think of cannabis as basically naturally growing its own little mini-pharmacy – or not even mini – I’d say widespread pharmacy, but everything in it just has much, much lower effects than what you’d get out of true pharma right now. Then, it’s really a matter about tailoring all those compounds into the exact formula you want so you can deliver the exact experience that you’re actually looking for.
Joe: [28:12] That’s fucking cool, man. I love the science aspect of all this, and I think that that’s where so much – there are so many misunderstandings – like people will say like, “Oh yeah, endocannabinoid system. Like CBD is like the lock and key.” I’m like, “Well, actually, no.” Everybody’s been saying it’s like a modulator, but like, actual lock and key analogy is true for some things and not for others.
Tristan: [28:38] The lock and key analogy is a great way to explain what the ligand-receptor relationship is, ligand being the key and receptor being the lock. Basically, only one key can fit into that lock, and that’s what they’re trying to explain, but you know, what you just said is helpful for talking about THC in our endocannabinoid system; but same thing, CBD isn’t really a huge player in the endocannabinoid system. You know, there’s some studies to suggest that it has some affinity, but from what I’m seeing at least, outside of that system is where some of the biggest things are happening, from CBD at least.
Joe: [29:18] Yeah. I’m curious, let’s talk about some of these other SKUs here, like Loving, for example. You have 5 SKUs now. How many did you have before this? Did you have 2-3?
Tristan: [29:32] We had 6 in the version one. At one point there were 9, but then we were swapping them out as we build better ones and things like that. Right before this was launched it was 6 SKUs in the version one.
Joe: [29:47] How did you guys approach that? Did you just go, ok, we’re going to look at what people are looking the designer high, I guess, that people are looking for – the high that people are looking for – and how we’re going to design it. Simply it, not make it too confusing.
Tristan: [30:03] I mean, for the most part, we looked at a lot of data. BDS and New Frontier publish really, really great reports on like consumer habits, things like that, what people are looking for. One thing that we found is that overwhelmingly, people are using cannabis to relax, reduce stress, and go to sleep, and there’s a reason why we have Luminous, Luscious, and Lullaby. Luminous is the 1:2, it’s very good for helping you mentally relax or destress; up to Luscious, is very much a more physical relaxation, where you’ll get the body high as well; to all the way to Lullaby, designed as being sort of your nightcap, if you will. There’s a reason why we’re still leaning heavily into that, because that’s kind of what the market’s demanding; but then we saw these, specifically Lively and Loving, as being these two less commonly used cases. Obviously, Lively being [inaudible] being an accelerant for your life. Actually, a lot of it was our own research, going and speaking with bud thinners in Colorado, and repeatedly they would describe, or we’d ask, if you could just design whatever high you want, what would you want. Repeatedly, we got this idea of like, if I could just have something that I can just toke on throughout the day, run my errands, and go to the gym, and do this, and blah, blah, blah, and be like at a nice, cruising high all day without a crash or anything, that’d be great. And we’re like, ok. I’ll get to work, right? So, that was the idea behind Lively. With Loving-
Joe: [31:44] Open and at ease, I like that.
Tristan: [31:46] Yeah. I’ll just say, I don’t believe in the aphrodisiac idea. To me, if there’s some aphrodisiac, it’d be a pharmaceutical already, and somebody would be making millions and millions of dollars off that. There’s obviously Viagra, right? And there’s obviously MDMA, but, you know, getting a little strong for most people’s taste. So, I have issues with that. But, if you take a step back from this idea of what’s an aphrodisiac, to really what people are looking for is just wanting to connect with their partner in a more intimate way. A really useful first step is pausing your daily stressor life, disconnecting from that shit, and just connecting with your partner. Having a conversation for the first – like a no distractions, put the phone down, type conversation for like an hour. Play a game together, go out on a date and kind of like, re-date if you will. So, that’s the idea behind Loving.
Joe: [32:46] The first piece of connection.
Tristan: [32:48] Exactly.
Joe: [32:49] Come into the same moment. Are we here together or are we not? Because otherwise, it’s never going to work.
Tristan: [32:53] Exactly. It being a 1:1 is really helpful because no one’s going to get super ripped and zoned out and spacing around, because-
Joe: [33:01] 1:1, man. I honestly, and I see that’s why you guys started there, it’s… I would say, I mean, if people are like – if you’re a beginner and you’ve never gone into a dispensary before, what I have recommended to people is like, try 2:1 or 1:1, or even higher on the CBD side – because it is really, it’s like – of course, 1:1, the ratio – but it is balance. Like, you feel balanced. You don’t feel too high, but you feel the effects and you still feel calm, not anxious. Because I’m somebody that gets super anxious.
Tristan: [33:38] Yeah, me too. I get anxious, and I have issues with munchies. If a smoke a joint, I’m going to eat the whole fridge, all of it. And that’s why – you’re asking about why we chose certain ratios for what – there’s something about the 1:1 that allows people to feel the nice, really great positive aspects of THC, but still be very much engaged and in that moment and present, and they’ll be able to, again, connect with their partner. There’s actually also – the only formulary we’re using a rare cannabinoid in is Loving – it’s called CBG, or cannabigerol.
Joe: [34:19] I was going to ask about that.
Tristan: [34:21] Yeah, it was originally in our party pen as well. What we found is CBG seems to help people feel a lot more sociable, and a little more energetic as well. When we actually did our original studies, we threw a party and had people pin their mood on a mood board throughout the night, and I went through and translated it into real data and did some fun stats on it. We showed, essentially-
Joe: [34:43] What was your sample size there?
Tristan: [34:45] Right?
Joe: [34:47] That’s actually a really brilliant idea.
Tristan: [34:49] Dude, it was actually so much fun doing this. Just going from academia, just all whitecoat sterile and everything needs to be controlled to having to bring some creativity into it, because you can’t – this is when we’re testing party – you can’t test party effects in a lab room. That’s unreasonable. But what you can do is build a really nice situation where you can study a variety of different things. We also had alcohol and monitored alcohol intake. We had all of our guests only knowing 3 other people in the room so that – no one came in alone, but it wasn’t just a big group of people that all knew each other – and then we monitored how [inaudible]
Joe: [35:25] Oh, designer parties. Designer parties, designer [inaudible], designer lifestyle.
Tristan: [35:33] But yeah, so the idea, with a lot of that research and how we poured it over Loving. You know, we’re not going to turn around a submit this for a peer-reviewed paper, this isn’t for the FDA or anything. This is for our own knowledge, which we still believe this research is probably more than what most any other cannabis industry is doing.
Joe: [35:50] I would guarantee it.
Tristan: [35:51] And it gives us great insight on how to really deliver these things. We try it, we test it. If it works, it’s great. If it doesn’t, we go back to the drawing board. But yeah, back to CBG.
Joe: [36:02] CBG.
Tristan: [36:03] It’s a really interesting compound that, like I said, it seems to act in a couple different systems. I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail because it’s a whole lot of speculation. As you delve into the literature, it began to give me this working hypothesis that this would be a really nice addition, especially to something like a 1:1, especially when people are trying to connect with others. From what we’ve seen so far, that is exactly true. In fact, Loving is actually a modified version of our party pen. Back to the whole primary and accessory terpenes, the primary terpenes are the exact same as the party; we just added a few of the accessory terpenes that were actually going to help actually bring down those energy levels a little bit, so people take a step back, speak a little slower, and connect.
Joe: [36:54] Right. Well, this is honestly a really good segue into what my next question was, is like, what is the future of cannabinoid and terpene science? You talked about CBG, a minor cannabinoid, I guess you could call it. But what else? What’s cool, what’s coming, what are you excited about?
Tristan: [37:12] Yeah, it’s interesting. I see two different things. On the cannabinoid side, the clear sort of emerging players are THCV coming out right now. I’ve seen a couple companies out in California, I think Doug’s Varin has a patent on some genetic strain that expresses it really high. I’m very interested in it. I’m not entirely certain what it does. I would hesitate if anyone tells you they know exactly how THCV works. I’d love to see where they’re getting this information. But it’s supposed to be a pretty unique experience, unique high. Then, I don’t know. CBC seems to be interesting from a pain perspective. I’m more on the medicinal, wellness side. CBC seems pretty interesting, especially as sort of a combinatory therapy with CBD and THC. But again, that just kind of coming out. I’m actually admittedly less interested in cannabinoids right now than I am in the terpenes. I think the next thing is really starting to home in on these combinatory, or super additive effects that you can create. This idea that if you Compound A and Compound B, on their own contribute, let’s say, +1 of effect; when you combine them, they contribute +3. This 1+1=3 concept, where combining the right set of terpenes, or let’s say molecules in general, can actually create strong effects than them as constituent properties. And that, I think, will allow, not only LucidMood, but any other company that’s putting the research into this, to create even more differentiated effects that are actually more siloed from one another, and even stronger without having to rely solely on THC. Honestly, something that we’ve been playing around with is, what can we create with just terpenes. What kind of effects-
Joe: [39:12] No cannabinoids.
Tristan: [39:13] Yeah, and we’ve been messing with it. We actually started with the Luminous formula, those terpenes. That sort of oral delivery system that I was talking about, we started developing that, like just terpenes, no cannabinoids, very, very clear effects, just delivering terpenes. Even without cannabinoids. So, I think that’s something that’s getting really interesting as well. You’re actually starting to see companies like Monk already like rely on essential oils, which is… less specific than doing specific terpene profiles. But still this idea of delivering moods, benefits, effects, what have you, even without cannabinoids. That’s sort of the next step I see.
Joe: [39:54] Interesting. Yeah, it’s super cool, man. I think we’re just still on the doorstep of so much. I know that you’re saying you’re more interested in terpenes, as am I, but there’s so much in just the cannabinoid world. You talk to some people when we’re talking about finding CBD and its isolated version, what we’ve seen the price of that do over the last couple of years. Even like, we were talking to people about CBG isolate last year and seeing that going from, honestly, I saw it at like 80 grand a kilo at some point, and I don’t know what it is at now, but it’ll be interesting to watch that. Basically, it’s just like the availability of those cannabinoids are not really there yet.
Tristan: [40:36] Exactly. I actually don’t even mean to downplay the cannabinoid side, because with the Farm Bill, now it becomes cost effective and legal to start actually – whether you’re doing it from genetic component, you’re conversion or just from extraction, or whatever route you’re taking – but to really start focusing on some of these other cannabinoids, because now it’s completely legal to do so.
Joe: [40:58] About time.
Tristan: [40:59] CBG is dropped really dramatically, over 50%, I’d say, over the last 2 years for us. So, that part was really nice. I mean, well, we’ll see. I will say, from a medicinal standpoint, I’m very interested to see what happens with some of the more rare cannabinoids. Because we haven’t even been paying attention to them. It’s been, cannabis has been illegal for so long that there was no reason to select for anything than a high THC plant. THC’s what got you high, that’s what people are paying for.
Joe: [41:31] That’s the only way I went for a really long time. I was living in San Diego for a while and… actually, in San Diego, and in California, I found more dispensaries that I would go in that had a higher CBD strain. Then, I came back to Colorado and it was way less available, which was really interesting. But you’re right, everybody was going, how much THC can we get? So, you’re basically down-selecting, or breeding out the high CBD contents, right?
Tristan: [42:05] Exactly. The high CBD, I mean, you’re probably – there’s [inaudible] with the terpene expression – and when you’re maxing out THC as well. I’m loving seeing this shift back to what’s so cool about cannabis. It’s much more than just getting high.
Joe: [42:20] Yeah, absolutely. To start to wrap things up, where is LucidMood available, and I know you guys have some cool stuff going on in California; also here in Colorado. How can people find out more about LucidMood and where can they get it?
Tristan: [42:36] Yeah, so it’s specifically, if you’re in California, we’re launching at the High Note dispensaries, I believe by the end of this week, if not like Monday. Then, I think we’ll be distributing throughout a variety of other dispensaries. Sorry, I’m not the sales and marketing person, I don’t have the details. But we should be beginning distribution at the beginning of next week in California, through L.A specifically.
Joe: [43:00] So, that’s beginning. This podcast will come out a little bit later, but for those of you that are listening, that will be – that would have been the beginning of October, basically.
Tristan: [43:10] Exactly. Then, in Colorado – right now, our version one is very much throughout – distributed throughout Colorado right now. You can find that locator just on our website, lucidmood.net. Then, we’ll be porting over this version two, let’s say, hopefully by the end of October. I’m actually trying to purposely put a little wiggle room in there. It should be earlier, but we should be at least launching our carts by the end of October, have those being distributed through Colorado as well. We’re already in talks with dispensaries that their aware of it and are on board.
Joe: [43:50] And then sounds like hopefully a lot of other places nationwide in the future.
Tristan: [43:54] Oh, yeah yeah. I’m really bad at this. So, we’re in Maryland as well right now. Also, you can find it on our locator on lucidmood.net. Then, we’re in talks with a number of other states as well. I know we’ve been chatting about Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Arizona, some of these larger markets that, you know, we’re working with our partners and trying to get off the ground.
Joe: [44:18] Cool. Well, appreciate it, man. It’s been fun to dive into the science end of it. I know that we, just as specifically a company that sells, right now, CBD products, get a lot of these questions, and I think there needs to be a lot more understanding around cannabinoid and terpene science. So, I appreciate it, and think you guys are doing some really cool stuff there at LucidMood, man.
Tristan: [44:40] Awesome, thanks.
Joe: [44:42] Appreciate it.
Tristan: [44:43] Thanks for having me.