How a New York state of mind led to fast-acting edibles with precise effects.
When I think of good versus bad edibles, I’m reminded of the Tolstoy quote, “All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” All good edible experiences are light, happy, and aligned with your expectations; all bad edible experiences are uniquely miserable. As the founder of the top-rated edible brand, 1906, Peter Barsoom knows all too well how easily cannabis-infused treats can miss the mark, which is why he left a successful career in finance to get it right. From finding just the right blend of herbs to produce specific effects and figuring out how to deliver those effects quickly, the road has not been easy.
This is Peter Barsoom’s story as told to Proper.
On Ditching Finance For Cannabis
I’d been in finance for 20 years when I quit in 2014 to pursue more entrepreneurial opportunities. But the genesis of 1906 was really my wife's idea. She’s an active cannabis consumer and thought it would be a great idea for us to get into cannabis. When we came out to Colorado for the first time to do our due diligence visit in January 2015, it had been a year since legalization had been put in place. The thing that we immediately noticed is that if you are a flower smoker, life is really good. You've got so many choices between different strains, different potencies, where it's been cultivated, and if it's organic. So you have a ton of amazing options thanks to legalization.
However, only 11% to 12% of the adult population smokes. And we know all of the negative health consequences of smoking, let alone the fact that it's difficult to accurately dose oneself if you are smoking. So, if you are a non-smoker, the market doesn't work well for you. That said, there are three major problems with the edibles and the non-smokeable market. One is that most products taste bad. They have a strong, hashy flavor, and they're made with poor-quality ingredients.
The second thing is that you have no idea how it's going to make you feel. If you're a smoker, you choose a particular strain based upon how it affects you. For instance, I love Blue Dream. But if you're not a smoker, your choices are at best limited to indica-sativa hybrids, which, as all of us know, are not very meaningful distinctions. It’s important to know how people use cannabis. It's not about getting high, it's about feeling a particular way. Maybe I want something to help me sleep or I want something if I have pain or something that's going to relieve my anxiety or something to boost my creativity. There's a specific reason why people are using cannabis.
The third thing is the fact that there's a long delay between ingestion and when you start to feel the effects. So it’s those three factors: It doesn't taste good, I have no idea how it's going to make me feel, and I don't know when it's going to hit me, how long it's going to last, or when it's going to end. For those of us who don't have six hours to have a date with an edible or don't want to play Russian roulette with any substance we put in our body, the market doesn't work.
That’s what 1906 was founded on—the belief there is a large and growing segment of high-functioning adults, people like you and I, for whom cannabis can be a potential alternative to alcohol or pharmaceuticals. But to do that right, you’ve got to solve those three problems. It has to taste good, deliver a very specific effect, and it has to be fast-acting.