Confronting anxiety is something every person has to go through, but it’s very rare that it’s done in a productive way. International speaker and performance coach Alan Mallory speaks to Dr. Diane Hamilton about the subject of anxiety and the many ways it can affect your life. Alan’s story might help you find the root causes of your own anxiety and find ways to deal with it.
Cannabis, as a recreational product, has experienced a boom thanks to new legislation lifting restrictions on it, especially in California. Micah Anderson of LEEF Organics joins Dr. Diane Hamilton to talk about navigating this new legislation to make sure the product gets out. It’s a “Rubik’s Cube” of an industry to work through, but the payoff is amazing.
We have Alan Mallory and Micah Anderson. Alan is a keynote speaker, author and performance coach, and Micah is a visionary in the area of California cannabis industry. This is going to be a fascinating show.
Listen to the podcast here
Confronting Your Anxieties With Alan Mallory
I am here with Alan Mallory. He is an international speaker, author and performance coach who is passionate about leadership and reaching new heights in all that we do. His unique philosophy of life revolves around empowering people and embracing an agile mentality, focused on goals and results. He’s got a Master’s of Psychology from Adler University and he set a world record on Mount Everest along with three members of his immediate family. I’m interested in learning about that. Welcome, Alan.
It’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
I watched some of your talks and what you deal with. I was like, “What’s with all the mountains and snow climbing?” What got you interested in mountain climbing? I’ve done outdoor rock climbing, but other than the mountains here in Phoenix, I’ve never done the mountain climbing you’ve done in the snow. Tell me, what led to your interest in all that? Can you give me a background on you?
I would call myself a mountaineer to some degree, but I’m more of an adventurer. My family lifestyle is different than most. Instead of going to the beach for vacations, we’re often doing some whitewater canoeing, kayaking or something adventuresome. That’s what prepared us for Everest as well because it’s an extreme problem solving every day. You build that resilience going through a lot of other adventures. My brother and sister were on the expedition as well. I would credit my father for getting us into mountaineering, but more than anything, getting us into that goal setting mentality. I’ve had many different what I would call Everest in my life and I continued to set ambitious goals and I think that’s important. That’s one of the ways we get to positive emotion out of life by continuing to push ourselves.
I don’t know if I’d put myself as an adrenaline junkie. I do like to push myself to the next level to see how challenging something is, and not exercise-wise or outdoor wise, but mentally because sometimes it’s boring to exist and it’s fun to live and push it a little bit. As I was watching your talks and what you did, I had Erik Weihenmayer on the show a long time ago, and he was the first blind man to hike all the top peaks in the world. I remember watching him rock climb at their local rock gym here. He came to town one time. It’s impressive that a blind man would push himself to do this type of thing. My father was born nearly blind, so I saw my dad do something similar. As you talk about your father, your family, getting you into this adventure, what if people didn’t have that experience of a family that promoted this outside the box, push yourself thinking? How do we get that?
It’s a personal decision. Actually, the analogy you shared with the blind person is good. I love stories like that. People that don’t let their paths or even their current situation dictate their lives. I would call the victim mentality that a lot of people get into. There’s a lot but I enjoy reading about the types of people who have tough lives or if they’ve had a tough past, but they make that conscious decision and say, “That’s the past. What can I do in the current reality to make things a little bit better for myself and those around me?” They do whatever they can with their situation. I would say that’s the conscious decision people have to make. We’re dealt with different hands. Everyone in some way that victim mentality is comparing who hasn’t worked. There’s nothing good in that. Going down that path is not helpful. It’s better to say, “What can I do?” Start small.
I have some pretty ambitious goals, but I’m used to that. I’m used to pushing myself. I’m used to breaking it down into smaller steps. A lot of people, if you have a monumental goal, it seems unobtainable that you’d never do anything. You never start. Figuring out what part of that is small enough that do it and then go out there and do it. That’s built the momentum and that’s key. Everyone that I see that’s making an impact always uses that same approach. Even a lot of the stuff I’ve thought about, I can look at a book for anyone who’s written a book. It’s the same thing when you first start thinking about it, “How would you ever get through this?” You choose a chapter and choose a small little bit and chip away at it. Before you know it, a few years later turned into something.One of the ways you get positive emotion in life is by continuing to push yourself. Click To Tweet
I’ve worked as a doctoral chair and all my doctoral students would freak out thinking about writing a couple of hundred-page dissertations. I would tease them on how do you eat an elephant one bite a time. It’s such a dorky thing to say, but it is the reality if you could break things down into smaller pieces. I saw a quote from Reid Hoffman about that and I wish I’d kept it because it was on my Flourish app. He was saying, “You have to approach things in little steps or you become overwhelmed.” You say we all have our own Everest. How do you know what your Everest is?
Sometimes we were inadvertently thrown into these challenges and they become our Everest. You can also consciously choose the challenges. One of the reasons why one of my programs is interesting is because mountaineering is such an analogy for all of these challenges. There are ups and downs. You make a push but then you’re knocked down by some new challenge. You have to barely problem solve and figure out, “How am I going to pick myself up and deal with this current reality in order to move forward?” I like that aspect of mountaineering in particular. It’s such a volatile environment that it’s a perfect analogy for a lot of the challenges that life throws at us.
I’m working with a company where we’re looking at some of the work I’m doing and curiosity and we look at it as a mountain climb to get over some of these four paths of what holds people back from being curious, which is their fear, assumptions, technology and environment. It’s trying to reach that end goal, get over the fear, stop telling yourself whatever these assumptions are that you’re making. Don’t over or underutilize technology and realize the impact of your environment on everything you do. You deal with a lot of these things. You use this analogy and you talk about your mountain experience. I’m interested in the mountain experience because you were talking about how your symptoms got worse, your limbs shook, you couldn’t hold the rope and you thought you were going to die. We don’t give it to that level in the workplace, but how do you help people see how realistic our overreactions can be? We’re not going to die. If we let go of the rope nothing bad is going to happen.
It can sometimes seem like it. Some psychological things are pretty serious.
How do you keep yourself going when you were on the mountain and when that happened to you?
In some ways, it was fortunate that I studied the human mind already for a lot of my life and it’s because I went through my mental health challenges in my younger years. I have a lot of different strategies, and a lot of it was about how to control my focus. I had different times where it would take me ten minutes to get the length of a room. Sometimes you’re moving slowly because of the lack of available oxygen. I would play these focus games with myself, for example. At times, I would basically forget about the summit because it seemed unobtainable and I would choose my own summit. It’d be a little chunk of rock or a piece of ice.
That will allow me to fill my mind. I’ve used that same strategy in other areas of my life as well when I’m not mountaineering. That gets back to what we were talking about breaking it down. Controlling the focus is important. In my younger years, I would say I was a professional ruminator. I would be playing these mental movies of past disasters or envisioning future disasters and it’s lost energy in many ways. I’m pretty careful about when I need to think about something that’s going to be exhausting to work through, I call it time block. I decide, “This is what I’m going to do it.” Other times I’m going to focus on whatever I’m engaged in. That saves a lot of wasted energy.
You bring up a couple of important things, creating milestones and avoiding rumination. Those are things that make sense that people have a hard time doing it. How do you keep people focused on the milestones? How do you keep yourself from ruminating? I know you deal a lot with a lot of this when you train people. I want to get some of your best tips.
I don’t know if anyone has ever answered that question. Part of it is that there’s a motivation aspect to it. Find out what you’re passionate about and make sure that your goals are your own. A lot of us, we have goals that we’ve adopted because either our parents, teachers or whoever influenced us when we were growing up wanted us to go in that direction. You have to take a step back and say, “Is this my goal in the end?” There’s a motivational piece to it, but then there’s a self-discipline piece. I don’t know if I’ve put my finger on yet. It seems some people have the self-discipline and some don’t. When you aren’t personally motivated, you’re not going to do it if there’s not some motivation. It’s doing things that you don’t want to do or you’d rather do something else, but you know you need to because you realize that that’s the way you’re going to improve your life or whatever you’re trying to accomplish.
There are two pieces to that. You build a muscle of self-discipline. Although it’s not a muscle, it acts in that way to some degree. You start small and you try to discipline yourself in small areas. I’ve had silly ones that I’ve done to convince myself. If I make a personal commitment because I’m conscious of my internal dialogue as well. I was doing a blog series. We know the statistics on how well those work for people. It’s gone out the window within a few days. You can train yourself to believe that you’re the type of person that when you make personal commitments that it doesn’t matter. I’m careful about making the commitment and following through with it. There’s a self-discipline aspect to that. That’s a strategy. Start small and learn to follow through with those things that are important.
It’s important to do that. We talk about having goals our own, and you talk about some of the things that I wrote about in my book on curiosity in terms of making assumptions. Somebody else’s goals, your family has influenced you and different things like that. When you’re in a working world, sometimes your goals can’t be your own, they’re assigned to you. Self-discipline is easier if you do the worse things first. At least for me, I do the things I hate first. A lot of people don’t do that. They save the things they hate for last. Would you have any tips for what you do if the goals aren’t your own and how do you get yourself to do the bad stuff first?
That is a good strategy. I’m not always super disciplined with it, but I try to do those things you don’t want to do first. Otherwise, you never get to them. There’s always something else. That’s a good point when the goals aren’t your own. If we could go back to motivation, none of us will do anything we don’t want to do. We tend to think, “I do all kinds of things I don’t want to do.” In our mind, we’re comparing and this is often subconscious, but we’re saying, “What’s the alternative?” I have two young kids, “Do I want to change my child’s diaper?” Of course, I don’t know.
My mind has already looked at the alternative. Everything horrible is going to happen if I don’t. There’s no limit to that. They could die if you completely neglect them. I’ve weighed them, so in some ways, I’m doing something I don’t want to, but I want to do it more than I want to experience the alternative. That’s, in my view, it works in the workplace but that’s not a great type of motivation. That’s where people are driven by someone else. Ideally, you align yourself with an organization that has a similar vision and goals as you do. I used to work as an engineer and I know there were projects where I reached this point.
I was excited about making the project work that I’d achieved that intrinsic motivation, then it’s not work anymore. I was in custom machine design, so often there was no off the shelf solution. We were designing something from the ground up. I’d be up all night at home thinking through these things because it was exciting for me to do that. That’s what that intrinsic motivation is. You get to that point when you have aligned yourself with an organization or a cause that you also agree with to some degree. Obviously, we all have to work. If it’s all uphill and you could care less about the bigger picture, then it’s not an enjoyable place to work. Certainly, you’re not going to be engaged.Find out what you're passionate about, and make sure your goals are your own. Click To Tweet
That’s such a huge part of what companies are working with. I have a lot of experts on my show. I’ve interviewed everybody from Albert Bandura to people from Harvard, like Francesca Gino. All these people are into understanding motivation, drive and what motivates us. It kept coming back to curiosity comes first. If you have this sense of curiosity, it helps to improve your motivation and it improves all these things. I know from writing my dissertation on emotional intelligence that interpersonal skills are a huge part of all of that area. If we could develop our sense of curiosity, we’re more likely to ask the questions of other people to understand them and develop empathy. We have great interpersonal skills. I know you teach a lot of that in your training, why do you think people struggle so much with interpersonal skills?
We all have different personalities. I guess it comes down to that. Many of us have done the Myers-Briggs or many different personality things. Those are great to do because they shed light on why it is so difficult for us to see things through another person’s lens. That’s the main thing that it comes down to. The more you understand that, the more you can try to see things through another person lens. In my own life, I’ve done some work there. It’s from studying personality. It helps with relationships as well. My wife and I have a lot of similarities, but we’re different. Usually, in a relationship, those are the areas where there’s some friction. There’s a positive element to that as well because that other person where you’re lacking, they can see it through that other lens.
If you have a good working relationship, then you can complement each other in that way. I think that’s the main thing. There are certainly some of the social pressures. In my younger years, I suffered from social anxiety. I would say in the workplace it does cause interpersonal issues. People aren’t willing to say what they feel or are even willing to portray themselves to who they are because we create this persona or a mask based on the group we’re in and that doesn’t help. The studies on developing trust have shown that to some degree. If you want to build trust quickly, you open up so that you can connect at a deeper level. That’s why companies go for bowling, wings, beer and stuff like that, that takes you a little bit out of the daily grind.
You mentioned you had social anxiety, which is interesting because you’re an international speaker. How did you do that? Did you have a hard time going from one issue to being able to be an international speaker?
For sure, in some ways, I stumbled into this. This is back in high school when I developed all that. It’s what they call generalized anxiety disorder gap combined with the social phobia. I’d adopted a lot of avoidance strategies, but the problem with these avoidance strategies and I go out of my way to confront things that cause me a little bit of anxiety. What ends up happening is you think, “I’ve avoided that.” Not really. Your mind reflected it as a threat and that will morph and affect other areas of your life as it did in my case. Eventually, it’s having all kinds of Holter monitors. I was having heart palpitations and all those negative things logical from anxiety and depression.
Eventually, it’s living in your own mind and hating that part of you. That’s where I was. I wasn’t doing any speaking in respect per se, I would avoid it like the plague. I started saying, “Enough is enough. I’m going to figure this out.” That’s when I started studying the human mind and getting my hands on the books that talked about what I was going through. It became quite a passion of mine. That’s what led me eventually to get my Master’s in Psychology, which is a little bit strange given that I have a technical engineering degree. It became a passion of mine. I worked through those challenges. In that whole process, I also put myself through the journey I thought I needed to go through.
It involved forcing myself to do speaking engagements and the other things that I’d been avoiding for years. At some point, there was this wrestle circumplex model of emotion where they plot different emotions. If you look at the emotional valence and emotional arousal, something on a negative emotional valence like anxiety or terror has both the same emotional arousal as excitement. That’s exactly what happened in my case. What used to be anxiety and terror turned into excitement and I started to enjoy it. I would go into my way even more to work through that. There’s also an element when you have an Everest in life or something that’s been a challenge and you’re able to overcome it, then there’s a feeling of elation and satisfaction every time you go through that. That’s why I enjoy what I do so much.
It’s interesting how you tied outdoors, nature and all of that into what you strive for. I don’t know if you’ve read the book Against Medical Advice by James Patterson. He usually writes about novels, but this was a nonfiction book about a kid with Tourette’s who went through many different treatments and nothing helped him until he got into the outdoor nature aspect of things. It’s funny how healing it can be in the most unlikely ways that you can try every drug in the world, but sometimes it takes a mindset change to make all the difference. You mentioned it was unusual to have a Master’s in Psychology when you were an engineer, but I think adding psychology to about any other degree can help many people because we’re working on many teams.
We’re dealing with many different cultures. I agree with you also on personality assessment. It’s helpful to shed light. We know what we are, but we don’t understand the opposing opposite end of what the dichotomy is. Myers-Briggs was good for that for me too. I don’t buy these to put a lot of weight behind it, but I was an ESTJ. As you’re talking to the opposite of what you are and you go, “That’s why you want that. That’s why that’s good for you.” It’s important for companies to do that. Do you give assessments as part of what you do with organizations?
No, I haven’t got into that so much. In my programs, something that refers to it, especially the big five personalities, which I think all of these are a variation of the big five.
Openness to experience is a big part of my research in curiosity. It’s interesting because there was nothing out there that determined that. Things like openness to experience and other curiosity assessments all told you if you’re curious or not, but they didn’t tell you what was stopping you. I’m like, “What if I’m not? What do I do?” That’s why I did my research because I wanted to fix it. What you’re doing is helping people get to the next part of their summit and to overcome big obstacles. I know you have a lot of speaking, writing and performance coaching. I’m sure a lot of people would want to know how to reach you if they wanted to hire you or see some of your work. How could they do that?
Probably the best is to check out my website. It’s AlanMallory.com. There are some short videos on there and a lot of other information. We haven’t gotten a lot of detail about our expedition, especially from the family aspect, because this was my father, brother, sister and I. We’re the only family in the world to reach the summit. That added some interesting dynamic to it. In the end, it ended up being to our advantage. The percentage of summiters is quite low, so the odds of one of us making it were very low.
Being a family and we were a close-knit family, we’d already built the trust and we knew how to overcome a lot of the conflicts and interpersonal challenges that destroyed the majority of the team. When you’re in a volatile extreme environment like that, you have to be well connected in order to convince yourself to put in the extra effort when you’re completely exhausted. The last thing you want to do is put in the extra effort in order to help your teammates. That ended up being crucial because you’re almost always in the state of delirium and exhaustion. In the final days, we were climbing for 30 hours straight. Your body’s drop, but your mind is exhausted.
Congratulations on making it and setting the world record. Thank you so much for being on my show.Anxiety and terror can turn into excitement and enjoyment. Click To Tweet
It’s my pleasure. That was fun.
California Cannabis With Micah Anderson
I am here with Micah Anderson, who has been a leader and visionary in the California cannabis industry for more than two decades as a manufacturer, distributor, brand creator, organic grower, farm owner, collective organizer, hydroponic and nursery store operator. The list goes on and on. He’s an advocate for responsible cannabis practices and he’s built more than two dozen successful commercial businesses along with founding the non-profit California Responsible Growers Council. It’s nice to have you here, Micah.
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it.
It was nice of you. Bob Daugherty introduced us. He’s been a guest of the show. I know you’re doing some amazing work in California, which has been at the forefront in this industry. I like to get a little background on you and what made you interested in getting into cannabis.
I’ve been at it for a long time. It’s been over many years. To start with a little bit of history of legal cannabis in California, California passed a bill called Proposition 215 in 1996. I was eighteen at the time. Long story short, I was living in Fiji at the time and there were a couple of guys that I was working with on this island that was talking about how this bill is passed and that they were getting into cannabis cultivation and I could come up. This is on Mendocino, where they live and I’m from San Diego. When I got back from Fiji, I ended up moving up there and taking a job. This is a ranch and working for one of the guys and I absolutely fell in love with it.
Everything about it, the lifestyle and the geographically where I was at. I ended up staying for a handful of years and learning how to cultivate. I find my own farm and then scaling from there and bought another one. Back then under Proposition 215, the laws were different than what we’re under right now, which is Proposition 64. It was a nonprofit industry, which went to a ton of confusing laws. We were able to start. Back then, it was one license type and the state dissected into a bunch of different types of licenses. We used to have to do everything to be successful. We had dispensaries and delivery services in Southern California. All of our cultivation and distribution was done in Northern California.
I started a couple of nurseries with some friends, and we got into organic farming practices and sold the kicks and shovels to the farmers. That’s how I got into it. Fast forward into where we’re at, the legal landscapes changed quite a bit. I and some of my founding partners started teaching us how to get licenses about several years ago. Proposition 64 failed the first time. We knew it was going to pass the second bill. It was that it was a poorly written bill. In the interim between the 64 passing, we figured out how to go out and lobby for different municipalities to allow for licensing. Now we’re at where we’re at. We’re a real company making products and built a big facility in Northern California. It’s been a long crazy ride, but we’re still here.
It’s an interesting industry. I remember when Weeds came out, they showed all the different kinds of products and things. I would never have ever thought of all the million things and ways to deliver marijuana and what people are doing to consume it. Is that a realistic way of what you see when you go to one of these shops that sell the products? Is it cookies and different things, or is that just Hollywood?
It is, keep in mind it’s early stages of the industry. Early on, it was the old school that was several years ago is literally cooking with the plant and making butter and then taking that butter and putting it into different types of baked goods. Fast forward, you’ve got confection companies coming into it and you’ve got some fancy well thought out of edible products in the market. The industry coming out of prohibition, you’re going to see a whole bunch of new types of products, new types of delivery methods over the next decade. For now, it is that way. In California you’ve got the two best-selling products in the market, the vapable products and then you’ve got a flower or smokable products. Within those, you’ve got different types of pre-rolls, different strains, and different offerings. Those two, they make up about 40% each of the market share and the other 20% is made up of edibles and other different types of concentrated products.
Do you deal with the CBD oil and all that? What do we need to know about that? How is that connected to cannabis?
Leef is positioned but we started off as a cannabis company. That’s where my background came from as well as the partners. There’s a farm bill that was passed and signed in December of 2019. What that did is that it took hemp-derived CBD off of being a schedule one drug and allowed for interstate commerce with the product. One of the brands that we have Leef Organics is positioned both in the cannabis space as well as a wellness space. We’ve seen a lot of traction and gained a lot of movement on that side. Similar products, the creation of the products, the ethos, everything around the product is the same. It’s the licensing that makes the difference. We pull hemp-derived CBD off of licensed hemp farms in California. For the cannabis dryers’ products that have to be sold in the California dispensaries, we pull that material off of cannabis license forms here in the state. That side of the business has been going very well. We launched in Nordstrom’s and we’re in a bunch of the Marriott’s now at Four Seasons. It’s going well.
I am curious how this impacts the economy. I remember when a friend of mine from Denver said that it was chaotic at first when they first legalized marijuana in Denver. She said that the housing prices went up and she had voted for it, but then she wasn’t thrilled with what it did to the city. Did you have any issues in California with all that?
California did a funky thing with their laws when they passed 64. Although it passed overwhelmingly at the state level when they wrote the regs, they made it so that the local municipalities have the right to say yes or no to it. We’ll take San Diego County, voted yes for it. The unincorporated areas have put a moratorium on it and abandoned it. When it comes to the real estate side of it, everyone calls it the green rush. If you were fortunate enough to get one of these properties that were in the right zone and the right municipality, there was definitely a spike in the pricing. Adversely what would happen is that everything around it would end up going down because then it’s like, “That property is worthless,” because you can’t get one of these licenses on it. I have seen some of that, it is unfortunate. The state’s working on how to fix that and open it up a little bit more so more of these licenses are attainable. The legalities around the cannabis industry are nothing short of a Rubik’s Cube. It’s confusing.The legal landscapes for cannabis have changed quite a bit. Click To Tweet
People have ideas about cannabis in general. What do you think are the biggest misconceptions that people have about what it’s used for, if it’s safe, should people be driving, all of the things that you hear. What do you hear the most?
Several years ago, when I was doing a lot of traveling around the state and going into a lot of the city council meetings in different areas that I thought we would be able to achieve licensing. You would get the opposition, the people that were against it. Most of the time in the crowds, what you hear is that they want to protect kids and good reasons. It’s things that we’re all for. I’m a father myself, so it’s all important stuff to us as well. One of the biggest misconceptions is that people that use this plant are “losers” or it’s a gateway drug and other things.
You can make that argument for any other recreational drug, whether that’s alcohol or wine, I’m being one of them. People are still having that old mindset that this is a drug. They compare it to heroin or something. I personally don’t see it that way. Being in the industry for as long as I truly believe that this is a medicinal plant that has recreational attributes to it. Like anything, being a responsible person, it doesn’t matter what you do in your personal life and what you’d like to wind down with at the end of the night. You have to be responsible for it.
You said wind down and that’s an interesting thing because in my time, I grew up in the ‘60s. I have been around with plenty of people who have experimented. We thought of potheads as that’s a word we would use for anybody who smoked pot as somebody who lacked ambition. They made them wind down. Do you look at this as something that’s different because you have all these different options that you can get more hyper from one kind and sleepier from another? Can you pick what you want to have to happen based on all the options that you have?
There’s definitely more research out there and that will continue over the next handful of years where you can. You can go in and get something that’s more tailored to you. It will take a little bit. If you’re a new cannabis user like, “I don’t know what to take.” You can go in and talk to some other shops. The shops have gotten good with bringing in knowledgeable people. They call them budtenders here in the state of California. They’ll have people that understand. They can walk you through the differences between strains and what usually happens. It is a personal thing. My body is going to react differently to the way that I metabolize cannabis, whether it’s your edibles or smokables will be different than the way that your body does.
There’s got to be a little bit of fine-tuning like drinking. If you drink five vodka sodas at the end of the night, you’re going to end up hungover and the same thing goes with cannabis. The other cool thing that I see happening is you have a cannabis light. It came out of prohibition with alcohol. You had moonshine like distilled alcohol, that’s all it was. You could run your car off of it if you needed to do it. Fast forward to where we’re at, you have all these fine wines, spirits and there’s a lot of these “light alcohols” out there. The same thing is happening and will continue to happen in the cannabis industry where you’re going to be able to go in and get something that’s 1 milligram or 2 milligrams in an edible. It’s something that’s very light and more of a metered-dose than what we’ve had in the past.
When you talk about the dosage, I was in pharmaceutical sales for a long time. In terms of half-life, as I recall, cannabis has a long half-life. Doesn’t it stay with you for a long time? If you don’t do well on it, is there an antidote if you don’t like the sensation?
This is interesting. Most people don’t know this. CBD is an antidote for THC. If you smoke too much THC and which is the psychoactive compound within the plant. When you get high, you can counter that by either smoking CBD or taking it in the form of CBD and it will bring you back down to normal. There is a bit of an antidote there as far as the life cycle of how long it’s in your body. Edibles for me especially, and I hear this from a lot of people, you’ve got to be careful with that. Everybody’s body reacts differently to edible. I would tread lightly there for anyone that’s reading that wants to try edibles. You’ll have a good four-hour life cycle when you’re eating edibles. When it’s more of a smokable product, it’s less than that. As far as it is in your system from 20 to 30 days and it’s out of your system completely.
If somebody comes to California and they want to try some cannabis, then they go back to their state, do they have to worry about being drug tested? If they took a hair off their head, it’s going to be in there for a while.
I always tell people, we have a lot of police officers, firefighters and people that have to do random drug tests that use our CBD products. My recommendation to them is if your job relies on you passing this test, truthfully, I recommend they don’t take it because, why put your career at risk? As far as the average person has to worry about it being in their system, no. Unless you have one of those types of jobs, I don’t think you have anything to worry about. If you’re traveling overseas and you live in Singapore, that might be a different story, but here in the United States, I think that those days are over.
We hear about the CBD oils uses for different things. What health benefits do people not know about?
The rules around the cannabis industry limit us to making claims about the benefits of using cannabis. I usually like to speak of it for my use, what I’ve personally found and seen. On the packaging, you can’t say that this helps with epilepsy or because at a federal level, this drug is still illegal. In my life, I used CBD every day and I use it as general wellness and anti-inflammatory. I’m active in my lifestyle, so I use it as a way to wind down at nighttime. It helps me with my sleep and it helps with recovery time on workouts that I do. I’ve seen different studies done, especially with kids that have epilepsy and some of these different types of seizures. I always tell people, “I don’t think it works the same with every single person,” but I’ve seen some miraculous stuff where kids that have hundreds of seizures a day and as soon as you give them CBD, they completely stop having the seizures. It drastically reduces the amount of them that they’re having a day.
I’m wondering what the mechanism of action is. Is it working on the nerves? Do you know anything about it?
I’m not a doctor. What I’ve been explained and what I can regurgitate what I’ve read and what I’ve learned is that the body has these two receptors, CB1 and CB2 that react to cannabis or your endocannabinoid system. The CBD paired with a little bit of THC will go in and it affects your nervous system and allows for your body to use it in a medicinal way. That’s the simplest way that I could describe it.Cannabis shops have gotten very good at bringing in knowledgeable 'budtenders.' Click To Tweet
A lot of things work with receptors like that. In pharmaceuticals, I used to sell a lot of blood pressure medications and you’d block certain receptors, so that makes some sense. I understand what you’re saying. I think that a lot of people are using the CBD oil for sleep and for pain that keeps them awake. Is that what you hear a lot of for that type of use?
Primarily for us, it’s pain management. We get a lot of people that reach out to us for that. Sleep is another big one. Anxiety is another one. People that are trying to get off of opioid use. We get a lot of people that reach out to us and ask questions and testimonials saying that, “This helped me. I was using a lot of these Oxycontin type of drugs and take it off of it.” I’m not claiming that it works and doesn’t work, but we have had people reach out and tell us that it did help them get off of that.
Have you thought of having connections with top celebrities or anybody to endorse what you’re doing? Are they tied into this industry? Can you get Cheech or Chong or somebody that was known in my time to be the face of making it be the cool thing? Doesn’t Chong have his own industry?
Yes, I was going to say he’s taken. He’s got his own brand and he’s an influencer for a whole bunch of different brands. There’s a ton of celebrities. Snoop Dogg’s got a brand, B-Real’s got a brand. There are a lot of people that have been long-time advocates of cannabis that are definitely in the industry. In full transparency, we haven’t been able to afford any endorsement like that, so it’s been a little bit more of a grassroots movement for us, but there are tons of people out there that are endorsing products and starting their own companies. We’ve been reached out to by a handful of people that are “celebrities,” but it hasn’t worked out so far.
Your company is called Leef Holdings or is it Leef Organics?
Leef Holdings is the holding company. The state turned it into a bunch of different license types, so we focused on going after what’s called a Type 7 manufacturing license, which allows us to do solvents, non-volatile. It’s the most sought-after manufacturing license you can get in the state. We went after a distribution license. We’ve got a lab called Leef Labs, and then we have Leef Organics which is the brand. We have three brands that we do our own distribution on Leef Organics being one of them. Paleo Paw is a pet line that we do, both CBD-infused pet treats. Paleo Paw and Leef are both in the cannabis space and they’re both in the wellness space. Leef started off, we did both THC products and CBD products early on and it morphed into more of a wellness CBD brand.
As we were trying to get into a lot of these bigger accounts that we’re in, there’s not too much, but there was a little bit of pushback. If they went onto our social media pages and saw that there was a bunch of cannabis stuff on there as well. We decided to split the brands and keep Leef more on the wellness side, focused on minor cannabinoids, things that are more tailored towards the non-psychoactive elements of the plant. We created another brand called Heady Flower Co., which is the opposite. It’s more for the THC recreational user. We do pre-packaged flower, pre-rolls, concentrates, edibles, and all those types of things. We built a facility up in Mendocino County, where it all started for me, which is one of the more sophisticated extraction facilities definitely in the state. I’d say probably in the United States, along with a large distribution facility. We have an office in San Diego. It allows us to blanket the state with our distribution.
Are you trying to grow and get funding? Seed funding takes on a new term. Are you getting to Series A and B? Where is this going?
We’ve definitely gone through a bit of money-raising to be able to do all of that. It’s not to be in this industry. It’s very expensive. The outsiders always think like, “The weed industry, everyone’s making millions of dollars.” It’s quite the opposite. With taxation, competition, and the black market, it’s very difficult to be successful and make money. On the money-raising side, early on it was easy. There are many people that wanted to get into this industry and they were willing without knowing anything about it at all, they would throw money at it. You saw a big correction in the investor mindset around the cannabis industry in 2019, especially towards the end of the year where it dried up. I feel like evaluations are crazy and there’s been a huge reset on all of that, so it’s been more difficult to raise money. If you’re one of the companies that can survive and get through this, there is a big shakeout that’s taking place here in California. Colorado went through that early on because they had their laws set up prior to California, but that’s where we’re at.
Are you getting most of your funding from within California investors or are they coming to you from outside of California?
I’d say it’s 75% California, and then the rest of it is coming through different areas. We’re all over the place.
It’s going to be interesting to see what happens in this market since it’s new and you guys are of course at the forefront of all of this. I was looking forward to talking to you about it to see what you guys are doing to expand in this area. It sounds like you’re doing a lot. It’s fourteen acres, is that what you have at your park?
The Canna Park facility is a fourteen-acre piece of property. I worked for a few years with the city to get the ordinance passed. We finally got it passed. The idea of the concept is to co-located a bunch of different license types together to create an ecosystem that they all in one way, shape or another complement the next license, help the next company and the next building be successful. We started off with extraction and distribution. We won a dispensary license that we’re going to build out, which will have a tasting room component to it. We’re planning on hosting events and having the tissue culture facility within a third-party testing company. Which is the state of California, if you have any ownership in any of the other license types you can’t touch testing, which for obvious reasons, they don’t want the wolf watching the hen house.
We’re bringing in a third-party company to be on-site. There are tons of menacing full of cannabis licenses and we don’t have a testing company up there yet. It will be a company that services all the different licenses around our area. We’ll do some cultivation in the back and a lot of genetic work. Our Chief Science Officer, we’ve got this guy Del Potter, he’s amazing. His background has been in rare botanical extractions over the past 30 years working with governments on finding different ways of curing different types of diseases. We spent a ton of time in Brazil and South America trying to do extractions on rare plants to find benefits within all of these different plants.Everybody's bodies react differently to edibles. Click To Tweet
We were able to bring him in and we were lucky he lived in Mendocino already. He’s been focused on getting the facility GMP-certified or gone through our ISO certification process and working on FDA. It’s difficult to get it, but we were confident we’re going to get one where it’s a schedule one FDA, DEA license. We’ll be able to work on different medical APIs to do clinical research with. The first one that we started with is this compound called CBN. We’ve created a new entity that’s going to solely focus on that and be doing a clinical study here towards the end of February. There’s real anecdotal evidence like five milligrams of this compound that can work as a sleep aid. Think of something like a plant-based medicine that can compete with something like Ambien.
I know how much fun it is to work at the FDA. It’s a lot of work as I recall. I hope everything is a success and your trials and this was interesting. I think a lot of people would like to know more about your company and anything you’re working on. How can they find out more about your work?
A good place is to either go to LeefHoldings.net. LeefOrganics.com is another one. Those are good spots. We’re on Instagram. You can learn quite a bit about what we do online, but because of the legalities about what we can post and what we can’t. It’s unfortunate we can’t post a lot of what we do, but you can at least get the general sense of what we’re doing. If anyone has any questions, reach out.
Thank you for being on the show, Micah, this is interesting.
Thanks. I appreciate you having me on.
I’d like to thank both Alan and Micah for being my guests. We get so many great guests. If you’ve missed any past episodes, please go to DrDianeHamilton.com, and you can find out more about Curiosity there. I hope you do that, and I hope you join us for the next episode of Take The Lead Radio.
- Alan Mallory
- Micah Anderson
- Erik Weihenmayer – past episode
- Albert Bandura – past episode
- Francesca Gino – past episode
- Against Medical Advice
- Bob Daugherty – past episode
- Paleo Paw
- Heady Flower Co.
- Instagram – Leef Organics
About Alan Mallory
Alan Mallory is an international speaker, author and performance coach who is passionate about leadership and reaching new heights in all that we do! His unique philosophy of life revolves around empowering people and embracing an agile mentality focused on goals and results. By understanding what drives and motivates us, we are able to cultivate more innovative and effective ways of thinking and taking action. Alan holds a degree in Engineering from Queen’s University and a Masters in Psychology from Adler University, giving him a well-balanced approach to the outer and inner challenges we all face.
Alan has worked internationally with large organizations as a professional engineer and project manager developing patents and solutions to complex challenges in the mining and metals industry. Living and working abroad has given him the opportunity to deepen his understanding of individual and team challenges, better appreciate cultural diversity and successfully adapt to different organizational structures. Building experience through a lifestyle of adventure and challenge, in the spring of 2008 Alan embarked on the journey of a lifetime and set a world record on Mount Everest along with three members of his immediate family.
About Micah Anderson
Micah Anderson has been a leader and visionary in the California cannabis industry for over two decades as a manufacturer, distributor, brand creator, organic grower, farm owner, collective organizer, hydroponic and nursery store operator, dispensary owner, and advocate for responsible cannabis practices.
He has built more than two dozen successful commercial businesses along with founding the non-profit California Responsible Growers’ Council.
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