Hi, I'm Lori, the founder of Caasi. You probably already know most of Caasi's story from the Origin Story section of this website; but if you haven't, you should check it out. Anyways, my marketing assistant and I have finally decided to start a blog! This first post is completely written by me and is a colloquial, informal, elongated story of my history with cannabis along with facts and figures about the industry itself, and a conclusion about the product I've chosen to make. From here on out, our blog posts will be educational and informative about all things cannabis and CBD. Welcome and I hope you enjoy!
MY EARLY EXPERIENCES
Gone are the days of buying a dime bag, from a dude, that knows a dude. Medical and recreational cannabis is legal in many states and the stigma is slowly but surely eroding. I for one, would like to apologize here and now, for buying into the stigma. I’m super sensitive to THC. I used it a bit in high school and couldn’t function when I did. I was the girl that was doubled over in laughter over things that were not funny. Tears streaming down my face, belly laughing, almost pissing myself and stomach muscles aching because everything seemed so hilarious. You might be thinking...What’s wrong with that? That sounds like a blast. It was fun, until it wasn’t fun. When I couldn’t stop laughing I would become paranoid and freaked out that people thought I was stupid. I would become so relaxed I could hardly move or function. I felt completely out of control and for anyone that knows me, I like to be in control. After I started college, got jobs and wanted to start a career, I stopped. I became judgemental. I didn’t ever think cannabis should be illegal, but I didn’t want to be around anyone that was partaking. I associated it with losers and stoners. Something that would hold me back from everything that I aspired to be. Boy was I wrong. I’ve learned a lot over the past 6 years and the attitude I had prior to legalization was based on lack of education and quite frankly, ignorance. I started a hemp CBD brand called CAASI and I’m so excited about this industry that I wanted to share what I’ve learned.
ORIGINS OF THE CANNABIS STIGMA AND HOW IT EVOLVED
Burned cannabis seeds found in the graves of shamans in China and Siberia date back to 500 B.C. Later it was introduced to Africa, Europe and the Americas with uses ranging from spiritual and religious ceremonies, medicine, making paper, clothes, sails, rope and the seeds were used as food. After learning from Native Americans and African slaves that hemp grew quickly, was easy to cultivate and had a variety of uses, colonials required it to be grown. In the late 1830s, an Irish doctor learned what most ancient cultures already knew; that the extracts in cannabis could help alleviate stomach pain and vomiting of people suffering from cholera. By the late 1800s, it was sold in pharmacies in Europe and the US. Marijuana wasn’t widely used for recreational purposes until the early 1900s following the Mexican Revolution and the Great Depression. According to the History channel “Massive unemployment and social unrest during the Great Depression stoked resentment of Mexican immigrants and public fear of the “evil weed.” As a result—and consistent with the Prohibition era’s view of all intoxicants—29 states had outlawed cannabis by 1931. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the first federal U.S. law to criminalize marijuana nationwide.” The Marijuana Tax Act was repealed and the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 was signed into law by Richard Nixon as part of the “War on Drugs”. It was then that cannabis was deemed a “gateway drug” and listed as a schedule 1 drug along with LSD, heroin, and ecstasy “with no medical benefits”.
Fast forward to legalization 2012 for Colorado then Washington and Oregon in 2014, the year before I was diagnosed with breast cancer. Even though I bought into the stigma, I wasn’t against legalization at all. I never met anyone on cannabis that was violent or wanted to harm anyone, I just didn’t pay much attention or know-how legalization would unfold and how it might impact me or anyone around me, however I was interested enough to pay attention. Fortunately, I’m cancer-free but the diagnosis, followed by more life-changing events, completely made me reevaluate my life and how I lived it. Prior to the cancer diagnosis, I took a hiatus from a career in corporate retail apparel working in management for over twenty years. I started an e-commerce business after the treatment to provide useful kits to people going through cancer. In doing that I started to research cannabis since I heard that it offered others in pain, especially cancer patients relief from pain and nausea. I went to a conference retreat, Hustle Hard, for women in cannabis to research and learn more. I had no idea what to expect. Would the women be catty and competitive? Sitting in drum circles stoned out of their minds? If they were, how would they be able to conduct business? My experience was the complete opposite and I was so impressed with all the women I met, and all that I learned, that I made a decision then and there to pivot into cannabis. I met growers, scientists that worked on the farms and in extraction labs to help formulate products. I met investors, other business owners, some that started dispensaries and others that started by making products in their homes until the state they lived in worked through regulations that would provide the structure they needed to move their businesses forward. I met political advocates, doctors and nurses. The organizers of the event, The Initiative, did and still does an amazing job with events and providing a cannabis accelerator and space for women and minorities in cannabis to connect, network and grow. The women are lovely and over the past couple of years I have become immersed in this collaborative and educated community of all genders, races and ages.
CANNABIS IS DIVERSE
I’ve learned that cannabis is beneficial in so many ways, to so many people. We all (pets included) have an endocannabinoid system. The cannabinoids in cannabis mimic some of those functions that already naturally happen in helping our bodies perform certain functions. There are over 120 something cannabinoids that we know of. THC, CBD and CBG are only three of the many that exist. Each of our systems is different and responds differently to different cannabinoids. Some people can handle high levels of THC and some not so much. I for one am super sensitive to THC but a I’ve learned to microdose a mixture of THC and CBD to help with anxiety and sleep. THC makes you feel high and CBD is non-intoxicating. When you mix them together and take lower doses the CBD balances out the intoxicating results to be more mild. Some people are super relaxed and sleepy on THC and others are invigorated and more creative and alert. There are different strains that can stimulate or sedate you. There are different mixes and ratios like only THC, only CBD or a mix of both. There are different delivery methods (smoking, ingestibles, topicals and suppositories). There are different extraction methods like full spectrum, broad spectrum and isolates. Terpenes that add flavors, individual benefits and offer entourage effect to each experience. I could go on and on and about this but the beauty of what I’ve learned is that there’s so much to discuss and share. I’ve met cannabis chefs, educators, estheticians, doctors/nurses that we as a company are aligning with. We will have some of these experts as guest bloggers to share and teach in more depth about all that I just mentioned and more.
In addition, we strive to be a business of impact. There are communities that are marginalized in large due to the war on drugs and there are people (mostly from black and brown communities) that have been unjustly incarcerated for non-violent minor offenses relating to cannabis. The fact that those people are still imprisoned for something that I am legally able to profit from, is not lost on me. I think anyone in the cannabis community, especially white people, owe help to those that have been oppressed. We care about front-line health workers, the LGBTQ community, Black Lives Matter and women’s causes. We’re just getting started but we have already donated and volunteered in small ways and will continue to contribute to causes we care about and will always work toward making a positive impact to those that need us most.
WHAT’S TO COME
I feel fortunate to have met the community of people I know in this space and CAASI will stay focused on plant-based non-toxic products with as few ingredients as possible. We align ourselves with experts and ethical vendors because although we currently offer one product (CAASI water-soluble beverage drops) now, we plan to expand to create a variety of amazing CBD infused products as we grow. Being able to provide products that offer better quality sleep, relaxation, and aid in pain relief, helping people live their best lives is so rewarding. We’ll be blogging along with guest experts of varying degrees in the industry. If you already know about CBD and enjoy it, great! Even if you don’t but you’re curious and want to learn more, please sign up for our newsletter and stay tuned to learn more and see what we have in store. If you’re ready to get started please enjoy this one-time code LETSGO for 20% off at www.caasi.co