Episode #

Spreading the Magic of Cannabis with Maya Elisabeth of Om Edibles


Blaine: Hello, everyone. Welcome to the Distru Podcast. I'm excited to have Maya, the founder of Om Edibles with us today. We're going to dig into her past, why she's in the industry, what's she's doing on this episode. Thank you for joining, Maya.

Maya:  Thank you so much for having me, Blaine.

Blaine: Cool. Do you want to give just a quick intro of you and yourself to the audience?

Maya:  Sure. Hey, I'm a normal human being. I'm just obsessed with cannabis. I really like the way it makes me feel. I love to consume it. It's a deep personal ally for me and spreading its magic to others is my calling in life. Nothing brings me more joy than producing and formulating products that contain cannabis for people to find relief with.

Blaine: Yes, a hundred percent. You're one of the first people I think of when I think of people that have been in the industry for the plant itself and are continuing to innovate while the industry goes through this corporate restructuring. You're always that beacon for me.

Maya:  Thank you so much.

Blaine: Before we even get going, I just want to know where you at right now.

Maya:  I think we're in a similar place to a lot of other people in the world. Obviously, this is something that we didn't really see coming with the pandemic, but since it's here, we all realize a pandemic was long overdue. We're just rolling with the punches like every other small business owner out there. I don't think that anyone is where they want to be as far as numbers in cannabis goes, but I'm beyond grateful that we've been able to keep operating because we wouldn't have qualified for any of the federal funding anyway. It's literally a saving grace. I also feel it's a differentiating moment for cannabis in history. I think that people will read about this in textbooks someday.

Blaine: Yes, agreed. I think this is going to be definitely historic to say the least.

Maya:  Absolutely.

Blaine: What I'd love to do is I'd love to go back because you have been in the industry for so long. You actually launched Om in 2008, could you maybe describe what the industry felt and looked like in that period of time?

Maya:  Sure. Yes. We established the Om Grown Collective in 2008 under Proposition 215. At that time, it was because we had a collective garden. I was always making the edibles and the topicals on the side. We used to be called Queen 215 and then I was trimming one day. I used to be a curateur. Before we had our garden, before we started the Collective Model, and it just came to me that this vibration om, this healing vibration, we can welcome ourselves to it any time.

When we take wellness and healing into our own hands, we don't have to outsource our wellness. When we can welcome ourselves home with om, this healing vibration that connects us all to each other and to ourselves. We came from a time where we didn't want to get caught. I used to run my cannabis under one loc, it was called Greenlight Edibles, and those were called gems. Then my truffles were called Queen 215, and those were peanut butter puffed rice truffles. Then you had two drastically different looks because it was so risky and you didn't want to get in trouble.

Then when Prop 64 was passed, all this branding went full speed ahead and with these regulations came that things have to be opaque. That's one of the things that makes the emphasis on branding so intense for cannabis because you don't really get to see the inside of the product, so the outside matters so much. That's just been our journey. Now, we're definitely a formulation forward company, but we branded to stay relevant and stay existing because of compliance. It's turned out to be quite an interesting process.

Blaine: When you made those truffles, those different products, did you have a structured THC percentages or THC milligrams, or is this way before all of that? Even if you didn't put on the label, did you dose it?

Maya:  Before that, I used to make them just a strong as I possibly could literally make my ganja butter just as absolutely saturated with cannabis flowers as I possibly and we just had to go off estimations because we didn't have lab testing then. We felt like they were about 250 milligrams each.

Blaine: I like that. It felt like there are 250 milligrams--

Maya:  Yes, super strong. We probably made about 50,000 of them over the years.

Blaine: How do you feel about that now? Do you like that world where people are making these crazy dose things, or do you like this new world where we're dosing everything out and doing 10 milligrams, 100 milligram caps? Which world do you like more?

Maya:  I have a deep conceptual understanding of why both are necessary. There is one part of me that says, "Let us have our freedom. This is our define birthright. Anything that grows in this earth should be ours to have." Then there's the other side of me that says, "Not everybody has established tolerance with cannabis. Five milligrams can be enough to send somebody into a really unpleasant experience."

I do believe that part of the success for cannabis has to do with education, safe access, consistent access, and consistency of products, meaning who has this worked for, why would it work for me, where can I get it, am I safe to obtain it, does the inside match the outside, and can I find it again. If you have those four consistent variables, people can actually establish a relationship with cannabis and have positive titrated experiences that they feel comfortable with while they build their tolerance.

Do I believe there should be a cap on milligraming? I mean, I wish we could have more potent edibles than 100 milligrams, but at the end of the day, no matter how strong the edibles are, they must be labeled so at least people know what they're dealing with. I'm all for plant freedoms, but I'm also all for lab testing and having people understand what they're consuming.

Blaine: I'm in the same boat as you. I think the 100 milligrams is a little too small for sure for some people. It's crazy how blunts can affect certain people, especially the medical people. They can get into some crazy dose ranges, but they genuinely need that high of a dose.

Maya: Yes, totally. I catch myself taking six droppers full of tincture at a time and I don't mind it because it doesn't taste bad, but some people would like to achieve that with one dropper full. For every person that wants a spanking, there's a person that wants a tickle feather. That's just how it goes with cannabis. Everyone's needs are different. I've really learned that about the consumers.

Blaine: We'll tell the government that.

Maya:  Exactly.

Blaine: We'll tell them that a thousand milligrams is a tickle feather.

Maya:  Exactly. No, for everyone who wants a paddle, there's someone who wants a feather, and that's just how it goes because the endocannabinoid receptor system is so personal and unique and tolerance really is a thing. If you think about consuming cannabis for many, many years, it really is real that it affects you in a different way, because you're used to the feeling and your receptors have been saturated.

Blaine: I love how passionate you are about that product and its effects. One thing I think that honestly gets under-discussed is the actual cannabinoids themselves and how people are using them. You guys have a lot of product lines from tinctures to bath salts, which I personally love, to your gummies and you do experiment with formulation. What are some of the formulation hacks that you're excited about cannabinoids? What gets you excited about product formulation?

Maya:  Well what gets me excited about formulation is treating cannabis as a super food and combining it with other nutrient-dense ingredients in super foods. I love to make superior products that are delicious and effective and creative and enjoyable and amazing all by never sacrificing with chemicals or poor ingredients. Whether it's the cacao or our elderberry syrup, or even the Epsom salts...

Obviously, Epsom salts aren’t a super food, but they are nutrient-dense ingredient, combining these powerful things together allow cannabis to entourage which cannabis loves to do with other things other than cannabis, not just cannabis. I'm all about these power formulations that are maximizing every ingredient.

Blaine: What are some examples like these, like CBG, CBN, or these actual nutrients? What are some of those combos that you like?

Maya:  Everything that we make has full spectrum cannabis flowers in it and except for our gummies because they're just tiny and we don't have the wiggle room. We have to just be really concise and direct with those. I feel like when full spectrum, fulsome cannabis flowers are infused with essential oils and other nutrient-dense ingredients, far superior formulations are made. It's just a full package. It's a more supportive high. It's a more supportive therapeutic experience. It's better for your skin. It's better for your mind.

Blaine: I really like the word supportive you say there. I think that it's hard to put in words, but if you just smoke raw cannabis or some just raw cannabis versus something that's accentuated with the right layers, like CBD, CBG, it definitely evens out the experience in a really positive way.

Maya:  It's so true. Sometimes I'll dab all day. It's like I feel really high, but I'm still smoking incessantly, like there's a part of me that still hasn't been touched. Then I smoke a flower joint and I'm like, "Oh my god. This is perfect.” My munchies kick in, I relax, I have clarity for my day and things start feeling really good.

Blaine: I totally agree with that. I would like to touch the cannabinoids itself, too, because I love all nutrient, those different layers. Many people are experiencing that, like CBG, CBN.

Maya:  Sure.

Blaine: Do you get anxious about those new cannabinoids and isolating them and experimenting them? Which ones do you like? Have you tried them?

Maya: I take Phoenix Tears personally almost every single night. It's got some CBN in it. Amongst CBG and CBDA, it's a really full spectrum medicine. It is so powerful. CBN will knock you out before it gets you high, which is great because a lot of people are scared to get too high. It just knocks you out. In the morning, I have to work to get my eyes open because I just slept in the same position all night.

CBN is super effective. It's just you should know when to have it. If you want to consume CBN and go to a concert, you're really going to literally ruin your night because you're just going to wish you were at home in bed, couch-lock.

Blaine: Have you seen CBG? Have you tried that one at all?

Maya: It's in my Phoenix Tears. It's something that I've consumed, but I haven't paid close attention or had it in the super isolated form. What about you?

Blaine: Yes, there's so many. I'm trying to test with the isolation. I like CBD isolated a little bit if you do it on top of something else, but no, I like CBN a lot. That's the only one that I've been really thinking about that actually... I think it puts you to sleep. Although I haven't done it to the extent that you're talking about. Can you explain that more? You have these drops. Are these drops that Om produces? Are these separate drops?

Maya:  No, they're just separate. They're something that I take personally and my family takes them as well, it’s the Rick Simpson Oil. All of our medicines are full spectrum; it's just a little bit of a different process. When you make RSO or Phoenix Tears, you actually use an alcohol as a solvent, so it's a little bit different.

Blaine: Why is it called Phoenix Tears? I've never heard of that.

Maya:  There's a man named Rick Simpson, who has been curing cancer for years in Canada. He even got in trouble over it, which they'll come after you if you really do cure cancer because chemotherapy is the largest moneymaker for the western medicine and doctors actually get paid and commissioned to prescribe it. Sometimes people would have survived if they weren't put through chemotherapy and it's the chemo that actually kills them.

This is a very loaded, very, very loaded, heated conversation or topic that most people avoid the plague, myself included, because I don't want to get in trouble and I like doing what I do. The truth is this, it only takes one Google search to really unveil these layers and I would encourage everybody to do their own research. That plenty of people that would have beat cancer by choosing, by using cannabis and Rick Simpson Oil, by cutting out white sugar and other acidifying behaviors could have beat the cancer, but it's literally the chemo that kills them.

Chemotherapy kills everything. Cannabinoids only kill cancer cells. Cancer cells have more endocannabinoid receptors than healthy cells. Unlike chemotherapy, the cannabinoids lock and key only with the cancer cells. It's like a magnet, they go straight for the cancer cells and they do three things at that time. They say to it, "Hey, you're a mutant cell. You were supposed to kill yourself back there. Kill yourself now." Also, it chokes out the blood vessel while it's telling it to kill itself, which it does so the cancer cell listens to it and kills itself until its program, die off.

While it does those two things, the third effect is it takes away pain, helps you sleep, gets your mind out of the way, helps you stop worrying, helps you eat, and helps you rest so that your immune system can do what it does best, which is protect you. Basically, that's why many studies have shown cannabinoids killing cancer cells and people have to do their own research. If something is federally illegal, that means that you're not allowed to do research on it.

Because cannabis has been federally illegal for so long, the United States has not permitted any real research, but if you look to other places like Israel or Spain, you can find... in Jamaica, there's a great longitudinal study about breastfeeding and stuff, and pregnancy use, but you can actually find scholarly data. All that to get to this is this gentleman Rick Simpson, he's just a normal guy. His recipe was that you would add paint thinner to it. I'm like, "Bro."

He's not like; "My name is Swami Rick Simpson. I'm here to bring you the organic goods." He's like backwoods and was like, "Look, when I take over proof alcohol and cook it with my rice cooker outside, which is super dangerous because it's alcohol fumes with an open heat source..." he basically was like, "I've been curing cancer." This has been going on for a long time. People have evolved and taken his medicinal ways to improve them, but he has... I mean it's just a low-budget film. It's called Run From The Cure. He calls it Phoenix Tears.

I think it's because the first person he saved might have been Phoenix, by the name of Phoenix or something like that. It's a super black extract. You've seen it come in the little syringe, which is a stigmatized word. We call it a push because it's like there's no needle, but the truth is the stuff is unruly and really potent. It's hard to deal with it because it makes a mess. If you eat too much of it, I'm talking about the size of a half a grain of rice to the size of a rice uncooked, that's the difference of possibly eight hours of feeling uncomfortable. It's full of to terpenes. It's full of other constituents and chlorophyll; it's super dark.

When I hold up a jar of distillate, it really has no odor. The light is shining through it. This is black, black, black tar. Just 10 years ago, we were hot-knifing it and chasing the dragon and smoking it. That's how fast we've evolved.

Blaine: It's come a long way. Rick Simpson really, he's so influential on this. Then there's Charlotte's Web and there's all these crazy stories. You're so passionate about this and this community. Have there been some specific people or customers or just patients or people you’ve been involved with that, like a story that's personally affected you that makes you feel this way?

Maya: I'm call them cannabis miracles. Cannabis miracles are real. They can be something as simple as a topical, or they can be something as heavy as Rick Simpson Oil or Phoenix Tears. We've gotten countless testimonials and feedback over these years and that's literally what keeps me going. Anywhere from children that use our Love Om. She says, "Mommy, I need my magic cream," to countless women with endometriosis or fibromyalgia, our salts have brought so many miracles of like eczema and psoriasis.

Couples thank us all the time for intimacy products. I'm here for the miracles. I'm really here for the miracles and all I have to do is put cannabis together with other high-quality ingredients in a way that people find enjoyable and educate. The cannabis is the one doing all the work really.

Blaine: That's just so cool with the industry. We're just letting the people know about this magical, genuinely magic of cannabis. I think one thing that's important to remember is just how much people did for absolutely nothing and no reward to get to this point, the many thousands of Rick Simpson's that drew this movement and genuinely save lives despite being federally illegal.

Maya: Exactly.

Blaine: I don't think it can be stated enough how much they've done for the cannabis history.

Maya: I mean it's like if you have Rick Simpson Oil in your hand and President Trump was on his deathbed with stage four cancer, would you give it to him? I would. You think I like him? No. He's my least favorite person, but I'd still give it to him. You know what I mean? There comes this respect for life that most human beings have. It's like what are you going to do, run from the cure? The name of that documentary is just so haunting because that's what people have done. They've chosen profits over wellness and that's the whole problem.

Every once in a while, you come across a good person, like a Rick Simpson in this world, who far advances the movement. Instead of going to a drug company and trying to patent it he made a low-budget documentary and told everyone how to make it themselves.

Blaine: It easily was a courageous act from him. There is no question about it. There's so many people died. One of our customers, for instance, their kid has epilepsy, what it had done for them, it's incredible. You just hear these stories that you're like, "Wow. How is this plant not legal and why are we not researching it?"

Maya:  Acts of service.

Blaine: It literally makes no sense.

Maya: I will say another thing, too. I know California has the best stuff. We're so blessed to be here, but I'll point out another thing. Do you know who Dragonfly Earth Medicine is?

Blaine: No, not with that.

Maya: They’rs so cool I just love them. They're an awesome power couple that they actually have a certification for restorative farming and regenerative farming. You can go learn their ways and basically get a certification. Then you get to call yourself DEM Certified Dragonfly Earth Medicine. They're up in Canada. They just literally turn land into art that's edible and a feast for the eyes all by creating environments that feed themselves in the best way possible for the earth.

Long story short, they have a few products. They have a cacao with mushrooms in it that's super amazing. Then this other one, they make basically a Rick Simpson Oil, but it's out of hemp. They even incorporate the roots. It's the isolates of the CBD that aren't as effective, but a full spectrum hemp CBD, which you can get online and you can find access to is extremely medicinal and amazing, and it won't get you high. It's something you can incorporate as your everyday carers or preventative.

They even put the roots in it. The roots are treasure trove of medicinal value that are often overlooked and slept upon. There's a whole set of terpenes in the roots that don't exist anywhere else. They're really anti-inflammatory, and they've been used in the Materia Medica for thousands of years. Just one more part of the plant that brings medicinal value.

Blaine: That's awesome. I've never heard of that. I've some work to do, check out on-the-run, or...

Maya: Run From The Cure.

Blaine: Run From The Cure and then Dragonfly...

Maya: Dragonfly Earth Medicine. Yes, totally. If you're in Oregon, you're growing a hemp field. You could make Rick Simpson Oil out of your hemp. Is it better with TCH? I think so, but it still has all those components and terpenes all working together to entourage.

Blaine: We don't know when we need to test more and that's the problem. This has been a great conversation. I love your passion for this stuff. You are the founder of a really great brand and you guys have an amazing product line. I'd love to just learn more about why you chose Om Edibles as the name and how you got that product line started.

Maya: Great. As I was explaining earlier, we started with truffles and other various things. It was Martin from the Vapor Room would be like, "I need an olive oil. Can you make me a topical? We really need something like a tiger balm." All of those things led me to formulate more and more. They used to joke around and called me The Weed Mary Poppins because I used to basically have an ounce club where you could come get your medicine from me.

I would have cookie dough and all kinds of creative things for people to enjoy. The name, I touched on a little bit earlier about welcoming ourselves home to the healing vibration that we have access to when we take wellness into our hands with healing herbs and medicines. Basically, it's been this evolution. I always grew weed. I always sold weed. I always had an indoor and then the edibles and the topicals became such a takeover that I had to focus up on one thing.

That's when I went for the edibles and the topicals. By the grace of God, we got the first cannabis manufacturing permit in the whole State of California.  

Blaine: Loving those Mary Poppins.

Maya:  We're talking about a cannabis miracle.

Blaine: As a leader of a cannabis company, what are the biggest things on your mind as a brand looking forward in the industry?  

Maya: I think that this transition of bringing cannabis out of the shadows into this light is going to take and is taking longer than people thought. I think there were a lot of misconceptions that came from media stories and overzealous hopes and expectations that really left people with some crazy ludicrous expectations. Our approach has just been to focus on our knitting and to stay pretty modest because there's always a little something lurking around the corner with this new and emerging industry.

I'm interested to see where it does go. The pandemic affects everything. I feel and I hear that we're heading towards the economic depression after this. I already know that the cheapest trend and the strongest, cheapest hashes what's doing well right now, which does remind me of a depression. When the Great Depression happened, people bought potatoes and vodka, the cheapest thing to fill your belly and something to numb the pain.

It's very interesting. Our CBD side of our company, all the wholesale accounts that we service with that are non-essential. I don't know when they'll be coming back, like yoga studios, beauty salons, boutiques. We've started really just pivoting and focusing more on our direct-to-consumer for CBD and hoping and praying for the best for cannabis. Not every cannabis business is doing well right now.

Blaine: Yes, not everyone is doing well. I think that that reflects. What I'm telling people to do is just stay to your roots. You have a great product line, deal with the reality of the cannabis industry, and don't go off of on projection.  

Maya:  Totally. Don't believe everything that you read or hear. Some of the largest names out there, which I'll remain nameless, put forward $2 million orders that they've never been paid for. Did that skew the analytics? Of course. It made it looked like they were the biggest, but the actually never got paid for it. Is that really a sale?

Blaine: That's really interesting. What's one of the biggest trends or hyped things that you see that you just like, "Why is it so hyped?"

Maya:  Let's see. Oh my god. I have a fork in the road. I could go two ways. One is like serious and heavy, maybe I’ll go for it. I think somewhere along the way, Om maybe had something to do with bringing this trend of woman helping woman. Because of us being a female collective and who we are and that is really where we came from. Then all of a sudden somewhere along the way, cannabis just turned into this shark tank.

It was like, I started feeling this pressure like, "Am I responsible to lift every single other female in this space up, who actually just wants to basically make what I'm already making for 10 years? Is this authentic, or is it actually fake? Is this marketing, or is this fake energetic vampirism?" I have had to really sift through a lot and balance with myself being a giver and someone who is inclusive and coming from our culture where we're really hired friends because that's what we had to do.

I've had to really learn how to draw the line of like, "How much can I give? How many can I look out for? Who is worthy and while making sure that we get through ourselves." That's been a big lesson for us is not feeling bad when we can't give when we can't, and giving when we can. Also, remembering to have discernment and keep our super valuable intellectual property pretty private.

Blaine: That stuff can get tough. I've definitely seen the content of the women in leadership and things like that in cannabis. I mean I think it's cool that we had that opportunity in this industry. I don't think you can ever go wrong with enabling, passionate, strong women to enter leadership roles.

Maya:  Right.

Blaine: As you said, I think be selective. I agree. I don't think it's even exclusive to women. I think that I've seen quite a few people doing that energetic vampirism to this industry that, I don't know. You can't tell until later events, are they in this for the money? What are they in this for?

Maya:  Let me ask you this, do you see it in any industry?

Blaine: Go ahead.

Maya:  Let's say that I'm in the Women's Coalition for Real Estate and I'm doing really well. I'm buying houses. I get some cool permit first. Am I supposed to turn around and give my house leads for sales to other people, or is it the nature of the plan in our culture where we came from in this like lingering of peace, love, and happiness that's really now that we're in this cutthroat space, like fake or for marketing?

Blaine: I mean I think there are those things in other industries. I know in tech, they're huge on helping women get in there, but I think it's different though because I think that in technology, there's this massive overabundance of money that makes it so everyone is winning no matter what just because there's so much money in tech. You're not afraid of losing anything by giving because everyone has so much. You're just trying to help them get a job or something.

If you help them get a fundraising, it doesn't hurt you. I think in cannabis, it's a little bit harder because you're sharing leads and you're sharing resources. To say that I haven't seen my fair share of deals gone south in the cannabis industry, or relationships broken overtime, it's just not true that happens in this industry.

Maya:  You think about it this way, too. You have your liens. You've got flowers, concentrates, topicals, tinctures, edibles. Even if someone makes a tincture that is not your exact blend of herbs, it's still in your lane. It's still a tincture, right?

Blaine: Yes.

Maya:  When you break down the market share, it can just get real sticky real fast. I've learned to just try to focus on my knitting because I've got a company to get through.

Blaine: I'm here to support you, Maya.

Maya: Thanks you have, we user your program. We're grateful for it. Emily uses it every single day. You were there for us. You came on your own, yourself in person to sit with us and set it up. I mean we're just so grateful and lucky to have your support.

Blaine: We always love working with you, guys. Awesome. I think that this great. You've been such a delight. Thank you for talking about the industry and just what’s on your mind and what the industry's dealing with. We're going to end on what's your favorite way to consume cannabis?

Maya:  That's my favorite question. Oh my god. Besides inhalation, which I do all day, every day, bath stewed. It's the healing of the nation. Cannabis baths deserve a category of their own. They are the future. They are far beyond a topical with all the benefits of a topical and totally different than the edible. It's because it touches every single part of your body at once. They are the future.

Blaine: I love it. I can endorse your bath salts. They are incredible. So nice, so great. Definitely check out, Om bath salts. Is that what they're called?  

Maya:  I call them Epsom salts. It's using how stigmatized the term bath salt is after those people ate people's faces. I'm like, "Oh my god, dude. Don't ever use that word, Maya." No. We say mineral soaks. We say Epsom salt. We say bath soaks.

Blaine: Check out Om Body Epsom salts. They are fantastic. Love them. Get the infused one. Highly recommended the infused. I tried the athletic and I loved it.

Maya: Thank you so much, Blaine.

Blaine: It was just delightful. Thank you, Maya. Do you have anything else to say to the audience? This has been great and thank you for your time.

Maya:  No. I just want to say thank you so much. I hope everyone's taking care of themselves out there and doing well. I know that we're on for better times. Let's just keep remembering our silver linings, like the environment getting a break and people spending more time with their families. Hopefully, we'll get on to a new place sooner rather than later.