Papa & Barkley
Think most potent means most effective? Think again.
One of the most common misconceptions about tinctures, according to Papa and Barkley’s founder, Adam Grossman, is the belief that the most potent tinctures are going to work the best. “Not all milligrams are created equal, so more doesn’t always mean better,” he says. “Papa & Barkley’s Releaf Tinctures are made using our self-developed, completely chemical-free lipid infusion process to ensure each milligram is infused with the plant’s full natural nutrient profile to maximize efficacy. In other words, since our Releaf Tinctures contain more of these plant compounds, each milligram of THC and CBD is more beneficial, which means you don’t necessarily need to consume as many.”
The takeaway: a product may tout high mgs but be made with isolates or distillates—possibly processed by chemicals and stripped of the other beneficial cannabinoids found in full spectrum, carefully crafted products. So more milligrams does not necessarily equal more therapeutic power.
Grossman’s tip: Shop according to ratio rather than milligram count, as it’s important to find a ratio that’s right for your needs. “For example, if you’re dealing with stress, but you don’t necessarily want to experience a high, a CBD-rich 30:1 ratio will best for you,” he says, “whereas, if you’re comfortable with THC and looking for a tincture to help with pain, a 1:3 THC-rich option makes more sense.”
Stop by your local urbn leaf and one of our budtenders can help match you up with a tincture or ratio right for your particular situation.
Five things you should know about Papa & Barkley products:
- They source only outdoor, sustainably grown plants from within Cali’s Emerald Triangle.
- All production is chemical free and artisanal quality—helping preserve the full spectrum of beneficial compounds while maintaining purity.
- Topicals are more versatile than you think: famous as a pain relief alternative but also used for menstrual cramps, joint TLC, bug bites, post exercise, before sleep, and more.
- Every product is triple tested for purity (think pesticides, heavy metals, microbials, and more) starting with the flower, then again as the infused base oils, then as the final packaged product—exceeding state & national testing requirements.
- The first ever batch of balm was made by founder Adam Grossman for his dad in a borrowed crockpot!
URBN LEAF X PAPA & BARKLEY INTERVIEW
Can you tell us a bit about where you source your cannabis from, and why? Looking for things that are unique to you, special to the plant and the way it’s grown, sustainability, etc. Anything that sets your ingredients apart.
We source outdoor, sustainably grown cannabis from over 200 farmers in the Emerald Triangle in Northern California, mostly from Humboldt County, where we’re based.
Humboldt County is widely known to have the most experienced (multigenerational) farmers and the largest diversity of top cannabis strains in the world. Our farmers use regenerative growing techniques and organic principles to grow these amazing plants.
Perhaps Papa & Barkley’s most important difference as a company is how we make our products. I made the company’s first product in a crockpot – cooking ground cannabis flowers in coconut oil gently infuses the oil with the full range of cannabinoids, plant fats and phytonutrients found in the flower, resulting in whole plant full spectrum products. All of our processes are like that – artisanal processes that use no chemicals, thus preserving the full spectrum of beneficial compounds found in the plant – what we create is true plant medicine. We want to make the purest products possible.
What are the benefits of topicals over other forms of cannabis consumption?
For people that might be nervous about getting high from a cannabis product, topicals are a great way to have a first experience with a cannabis product that helps them feel better. Seniors in particular love this approach. Our first product was a topical pain relief balm that I made for my dad – it changed our lives and that balm is now the top selling cannabis topical in California. It is our hero product and is a great way to have a compelling first conversation with a new cannabis consumer. It’s hard to argue with a topical that takes away your or your loved one’s pain and doesn’t get you high.
Topicals also can be extremely versatile. We hear stories of people using our Releaf Body Oil and Balm for exercise recovery, relief from menstrual cramps, joint care, bug bites, burns, and pain relief; new uses come up all the time. My sister rubs the balm on her temples to help her sleep. The topicals smell great too.
Do they present any unique challenges in dosing, manufacturing, use, etc?
Papa & Barkley Releaf topicals like our Body Oil, Balm, Body Lotion and Repair Cream are easy to use; you simply apply the product to the targeted area, as needed throughout the day. Topicals can be used liberally, and like all cannabis products (and plant medicine in general) need to be dialed into one’s personal situation. It’s hard to use too much of a topical if it is helping. Our different blends and ratios of CBD:THC account for the variety of intended uses and people’s personal body chemistry.
From a manufacturing perspective we use clean natural processes to gently infuse our base oils, so we have some manufacturing efficiencies there. Sourcing supporting ingredients for our topicals can be challenging because we only use the cleanest natural ingredients. Inputs like organic beeswax can be difficult to find! Our team goes to great lengths to find the best ingredients to honor the plant and keep our consumers safe.
What’s the most common misconception about tinctures?
The most common misconception about tinctures is the belief that the most potent tinctures are going to be the most effective. Not all milligrams are created equal, so more doesn’t always mean better. Look for “full spectrum” products, where all the cannabinoids and terpenes are included. Research (and our experience) show that the plant interacts best with the body when kept intact, a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect – the beneficial interaction of all of the plant’s healthy compounds; it’s essentially the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Papa & Barkley’s Releaf Tinctures are made using our self-developed, completely chemical-free lipid infusion process to ensure each milligram is infused with the plant’s full natural nutrient profile to maximize efficacy. In other words, since our Releaf Tinctures contain more of these plant compounds, each milligram of THC and CBD is more beneficial, which means you don’t necessarily need to consume as many.
By contrast, many high milligram tinctures are made with isolate or distillate, only containing THC or CBD, without the plant’s natural full spectrum of other cannabinoids and nutrients. Isolates are made by chemically stripping away plant nutrients to get a single cannabinoid. Some manufacturers re-engineer that plant profiles by adding plant components back into their final products, but these products are not truly full spectrum. You can’t replicate nature!
While these tinctures may contain more milligrams of cannabinoids per bottle, each milligram doesn’t contain the full suite of beneficial plant compounds. In this case, more milligrams does not necessarily equal more therapeutic power.
When you’re at the dispensary, shop according to ratio rather than milligram count, as it’s important to find a ratio that’s right for your needs. For example, if you’re dealing with stress, but you don’t necessarily want to experience a high, a CBD-rich 30:1 ratio will best for you, whereas, if you’re comfortable with THC and looking for a tincture to help with pain, a 1:3 THC-rich option makes more sense.
What do you think is the number 1 question/issue your customer service is always answering?
I would have to say questions pertaining to dosing are the most frequent. How to correctly take CBD is probably the biggest question. More broadly, questions about how many milligrams of CBD:THC are best for a specific condition come up frequently. Ratios can be confusing for people, especially new entrants to the cannabis world, which is why education is key.
Cannabis has an incredible range of therapeutic benefits and we make products in a wide variety of delivery forms and ratios, so it’s natural for people to want to learn more. We even have products, like our Sleep Releaf offerings, that are infused with minor cannabinoids like CBN. Our team is always available to help individuals find the right product and ratio for their unique situation, as we know it’s a process.
Do you have any insider usage tips and/or pairing-type advice to pass on?
Back to our most common question: with CBD, the key to success is consuming it daily, as you would a vitamin, in sufficient dosage. CBD has a cumulative effect, it is stored in the body and needs to be taken daily and will work better over time. If you’re starting a new CBD regimen, take 30mg to 60mg per day and wait 7 to 10 days to assess your results. It often takes about a week of consistent use for the CBD to build up in your body to the point where you experience benefits. This is the starting point that we often recommend to folks looking for help with managing symptoms of chronic pain and normal inflammation. Our CBD-rich 30:1 Releaf Tinctures and Releaf Capsules are great options.
The beauty of our products is they can help come at a specific problem like pain with solutions from multiple angles. One might use an ingestible like a capsule, tincture, or edible in combination with topicals. For instance, you could take our 30:1 Releaf Tincture daily for wellness and use a higher THC-rich edible for an instance of extreme pain. Meanwhile, you could target the pain externally using a topical product like balm or body oil applied directly to the problem area.
We believe a healthy lifestyle should include taking care of your external self through exercise and good hygiene habits, as well as taking care of your internal body by eating well. How you incorporate cannabis into your wellness routine is no different. Going back to our example, if you have an old injury causing discomfort, it’s likely due to normal inflammation. In that case I’d recommend taking a CBD-rich 30:1 Releaf tincture daily and pairing it with a CBD-rich 3:1 Releaf Balm applied directly to the point of injury as needed.
Your process includes three tests at different stages of production. Can you tell us why you test three times and what this means, compared to other cannabis products on the market?
Testing is key to ensuring the products are consistently produced to be the best quality possible. We test the flower for purity and pesticides, then the infused base oils, as well as the final packaged product.
At Papa & Barkley we strive to consistently raise the bar on quality. As an industry leader, we acknowledge our responsibility to set high standards for the safety of cannabis products. We developed a rigorous testing protocol, well beyond what’s required by California and national regulations, to certify there are no pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals, microbials, and residual solvents in our products.
To ensure transparency and to educate our consumers we make our Certificates of Analysis easy and accessible – just scan the QR code on any product to view. This shows our products are verified to be chemical-free, natural, and safe.
Let’s talk about whole plant vs. isolates. What do you get when you use a product that’s been crafted from whole plant infusions?
Unlike other brands that use chemicals to break the plant apart and re-engineer it, Papa & Barkley’s processes are all solventless – completely chemical-free – and keep the plant intact in its natural form to guarantee no harmful ingredients ever touch our products. The plant works best when kept whole. Our solventless whole plant infusion process ensures all our products are infused with the plant’s full natural nutrient profile to maximize efficacy. No re-engineering here!
No chemicals or solvents in your process and you call it proprietary—can you talk about how it was developed and what your process offers that others don’t?
When I made my first batch of balm to relieve my father’s back pain, I bought some of the best cannabis I could find and cooked it in coconut oil in a borrowed crockpot to infuse the plant medicine into the base oil. Papa & Barkley’s solventless whole plant lipid infusion process is essentially the same process but on a larger scale, with the addition of water, pressure and heat sequencing. These additions make the process even more efficient and pure. Our lipid infusion process is completely chemical-free from start to finish, so our products are clean and natural all the way from seed to shelf. This method also ensures all of our products are infused with the plant’s whole nutrient profile to maximize therapeutic power.
What are your feelings about the state of the cannabis industry and/or legality?
It is very challenging for cannabis companies to comply with the rigorous tax and regulatory requirements of the current fragmented national system. Federal legislation would help smaller companies and farmers compete in the industry. It would also help address the social inequity suffered by people still incarcerated unfairly for harmless cannabis related offenses.
Legalization would dramatically accelerate the scientific community’s ability to perform cannabis clinical trials without a special DEA authorization, which is very difficult to obtain. Ultimately, the more we know about the plant and how it interacts with our bodies, the safer we are. With more knowledge, we’ll be better equipped to recommend the right products to consumers and unlock the plant’s potential to improve lives – Papa & Barkley’s mission.
What makes me nervous is the spread of misinformation about cannabis
What frightens or makes you nervous as a brand as we figure out this new frontier of cannabis?
What makes me nervous is the spread of misinformation about cannabis and cannabis-infused products. Cannabis is plant-medicine, and for consumers to find the right products to suit their health and wellness needs, they need to be educated. It’s the responsibility of brands like Papa & Barkley to educate consumers on the plant, so individuals are informed enough to choose the right products for them and use the products in a way that will deliver them the most benefit possible.
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