Dahlia Mertens. Today on the Uprising Pod, the medicinal marijuana movement. There are many things we don’t know about this plant and one person in Colorado has her sights set on educating and informing as many citizens as possible. Many cultural movements happen and accelerate during societal shifts. The medicinal marijuana movement benefited Dahlia Mertens and her brand Mary Jane’s Medicinals. Dahlia has created portfolio of herbal body creams, salves, and massage oils, including the heavenly hash bath. She believes that these products help heal people and change lives. Find out more on this week’s Uprising Pod. Take a moment and rate us on iTunes. We are always looking for interesting movements to showcase please drop your ideas at http://scottgoodsonsuprising.com. For more ideas on Uprising and movements, cultural movements and movement marketing, follow Uprising!!! on Facebook. We’ll continue to publish brand-new columns on a regular basis. Hey, do us a favor and please give Uprising!!! a review on iTunes. Scott Goodson is the author of best-selling book ‘Uprising: how to build a brand and change the world by sparking cultural movements,’ available on Amazon.com. Scott has helped create and build some of the world’s most iconic brands. He is founder of StrawberryFrog the world’s first movement marketing agency.
Uprising Interview transcript
TEASE: We take different chemicals out of plants and create medications that way, but there’s a balance in plants–a natural wisdom that I think we have lost. I think we’ve gained so much in Western medicine, but I also think we’ve lost something.
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SCOTT: We are on the uprising pod. Today we have Dahlia Mertens who is the founder of Mary Jane’s Medicinals on the show. We are talking about marijuana, we are talking about medicinal marijuana, really innovative ways using marijuana on your skin topically. We are also talking about it in a bigger context. In today’s world, there are some places in the world, like Colorado, like Amsterdam, Washington–not the capital, though they probably would benefit from it–where you can smoke it and eat it and vape it and use topicals and other options. Rub it on your body–hopefully, with another person would be more fun. This is a movement that is obviously going to grow. The medicines we are taking are full of chemicals and toxins and god knows what’s in them and then we have this organic plant that provides some relief. This is a movement that going to grow that is going to be normal. In our society today, some people are on these anxiety medications. We are living in an urban environment. Urban life is stressful. I was reading an article the other day about how many people are on Xanax. Obviously, the previous generations were on other types of common drugs of valium and so forth. In your experience, how many people do you think could be helped to live a more fulfilling life with more medicinal marijuana versus these other drugs?
DAHLIA: I’m not a doctor, but I feel that people that feel the need to use these other drugs to calm down should try marijuana, should try cannabis. Cannabis doesn’t have the side effects that most of our pharmaceuticals have. It’s just such a safer alternative to so many other medications out there. It’s non-toxic. You physically can’t overdose on cannabis. Whereas with alcohol that’s fairly easy to do and some of these other prescription drugs it’s
quite easy to do. I feel like if this cannabis alternative was available to more people that–we already have seen it in these states that have legalized medical marijuana that the prescription drug deaths go down. I think it’s like 25% is the stat that I read recently.
SCOTT: It’s amazing. I always break it down. There’s marijuana–it has a very negative connotation and it has increasingly a more positive reputation. But, let’s break it down: what do your products actually do?
DAHLIA: I make cannabis-infused topical products. So I make pain relief salve, a body lotion, a massage oil, a lip balm, a bath soap and a muscle element. All my products are topical and when you use cannabis topically the THC actually does not enter into the bloodstream. It just interacts with the peripheral nervous system so you get medical aspects of the plant without experiencing psychoactive effects. Cannabis used topically has just a myriad of medicinal applications. We all have a system in our body called endocannabinoid system. This system is about balance and homeostasis. It is comprised of chemicals called endocannabinoids that our bodies naturally produce and it is comprised of receptors that interact with these receptors–the endocannabinoids. The cannabis plant makes phytocannabinoids which are very chemically similar to endocannabinoids. When our bodies are out of balance, our body will create more of these endocannabinoids which will bind to these receptors and promote the healing process and homeostasis. When you use a topical–let’s say you have an arthritic knee and you rub the sav directly on that knee, the phytocannabinoids from the cannabis plant will actually bind to the receptors to the layers of your skin and help anti-inflammatory, it will have analgesic effects. It will help the healing process in getting your body back in balance in general. Because the phytocannabinoids help your body’s own healing and homeostasis response, these products actually work for so many different conditions across the board. It’s not just one or two things. It promotes the body’s healing response so it helps for so many different things: burns, arthritis, general aches and pains, skin conditions, migraines, cramps, neuropathy. It’s really exciting.
SCOTT: How did you get into it? I can see how people get into recreational marijuana but how did you get into what you just described and how can the product be used in that way?
DAHLIA: So I’ve always been into natural healing and herbal medicine. I was a massage therapist and I was asked to go out California to help trim weed on my friend’s medical farm. When I was out there, I got to see the plants growing outside for the first time in my life. It was really awe inspiring. I was kind of struck by the beauty and power of these plants. I started really respecting the cannabis plant more at that time. There was a girlfriend of mine at the camp that infused grapeseed oil and asked if she could rub it on my neck. I had never heard of cannabis being used topically, but I’m not going to say no to a neck massage. So she rubs it on my neck and right away I feel my muscles relax. I feel an increase in circulation and that got the wheels spinning in my head. I was still living in Colorado at the
time and it was right when the medical marijuana movement was really starting to gain momentum here in Colorado. So when I got back to Colorado after my six weeks or so in Northern California, I just started mixing this stuff up in my kitchen and using it on my clients. At first, I thought I was just going to make for a more relaxing massage but then my clients kept coming back to me with chronic issues going away, chronic hip pains that they had since childbirth or circulation issues that they had for years, neuropathy, nerve damage all kinds of stuff. I didn’t know how or why it was working, but I knew that it was. I got very excited about the potential of this product at that time.
SCOTT: What’s interesting is that it’s an area that’s been taboo for so long. I mean, obviously centuries ago marijuana was just much more and hemp was used much more. At some point, it was demonized and sort of shelved out of society and anyone who touched it was slapped on the hand or thrown in jail. Now that is has come back full circle, it seems as though people are starting to innovate and find uses for it that probably 300 years ago, 400 years ago were common.
DAHLIA: Even just a 100 years ago, up until about the 1920s, it was pretty much the most common medications that doctors prescribed. Then it was demonized and illegalized. There were all kinds of propaganda spread about it. Even I believed it was a dangerous drug up until my early thirties.
SCOTT: I use to have those black light posters in my room. It was like “marijuana rots your mind” and it had “homework rots your mind.” I wasn’t sure which one was true. Isn’t medicinal marijuana just a nice legal term for–let’s just be realistic. It’s marijuana. What’s the big deal? Whether it’s medical or recreational, let’s just open it up and make it a business and regulate it. Doesn’t that sound like a smarter idea?
DAHLIA: It’s a plant. It’s good for everything. Medical marijuana is no different than recreational marijuana. I think that’s just a way for us to get people to accept it more–introduce it first on the medical arena to show people in can be purely medicinal.
SCOTT: The devil doesn’t come and burn you up on the spot. Life will go on. DAHLIA: Exactly.
SCOTT: Being one of the leaders in this field, Dahlia, do you feel that there’s still a lot of skepticism among the younger generation that are there with you?
DAHLIA: In the younger generation?
SCOTT: Millennials, people of this generation. Not youth, people above the age of 21, of course. Do you think they’re more in line with your versus let’s say people who are born in the 1960s, 1970s?
DAHLIA: I would say so. I think each generation gets a little bit more open-minded about this. The propaganda through the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s and then as the hippie generation embraced this plant more, there was more acceptance but still on the conservative side. There was a lot of negativity towards this plant. I feel like as we get further away from the war on drugs. It was a more political agenda that cannabis was illegalized. As we get further away from that, accurate information is more available to people. So, yeah, I think younger generations are seeing instead of getting inundated with propaganda, they have access to real information. People’s minds are getting opened about this, especially the younger generations.
SCOTT: Are there bigger businesses that are behind this medicinal movement that helps substantiate this is a true shift that is going to happen or is it still very much moms and pops shops?
DAHLIA: Well, now that big money is seeing that this is going to be big business most likely, there is definitely more money coming into this arena. I’ve been in it since 2009 and it was really just mom and pop shops for the first several years. But, now there are more investment firms and private equity firms that want to get into this because they see the potential. There’s definitely more money coming into the cannabis industry now and I think big corporations coming into this field are inevitable. I haven’t seen any massive corporations get into the field just yet because there is still risk involved and I think smaller operations are less risk averse than huge corporations. But, yeah, I think it’s inevitable that big business is going to get into the arena.
SCOTT: How did the medicinal marijuana movement benefit your business?
DAHLIA: My business wouldn’t be possible if there had been no medical marijuana movement. I didn’t get into the cannabis realm until it was legal. I was never on the black market, so I would’ve never started creating these products unless the laws had changed.
SCOTT: How could people who are interested in knowing more about medicinal marijuana but just don’t know how to go about it, how could they find out accurate information and also be inspired by the different uses that you talked about earlier?
DAHLIA: I think going online and googling it. there are a lot of online education sources that I think are doing a good job at putting out accurate, honest information. I just partook in an online seminar last weekend called “The Cannabis Health Summit.” They are going to air
that this weekend and I think they got together 20 industry experts to speak on panels and different subjects about cannabis, used medically and recreationally and the business aspects of it as well. I think that would be a good source, “The Cannabis Health Summit.” People can Google that or they just get online and Google medical marijuana and cannabis and topicals and edibles and juicing raw cannabis. That’s very exciting too. I read a lot of amazing stories about that.
SCOTT: What is juicing raw cannabis?
DAHLIA: You can take cannabis leaves and run it through a juicer and drink it. It has an incredible amount of antioxidants. It has those phytocannabinoids in there. When the cannabis plant is in its fresh from before it’s dried and smoked, the THC in the plant is actually in the form of THCA, which is non-psychoactive. So you can juice raw cannabis and adjust and just get the health benefits as well without getting high.
SCOTT: Do you think the movement for, let’s say healthier, more organic brands like the Burt’s Bees of the world and the Honest Teas and those sorts of brands–do you think that they almost help spread the curiosity of what medical marijuana could represent? Or are they really just a statement of where people are in America in a sense that people are seeking or curious alternatives the established corporate brands?
DAHLIA: I think that’s a good way to put it. We are getting more open to herbal alternatives and our mindsets have changed that our Western medicine isn’t always the way to go. So I think those kinds of brands help open people’s eyes up to different alternatives, more natural alternatives. That did help the cannabis movement.
SCOTT: Do you feel like the movement has a lot more legs? Where do you see yourself going in the future?
DAHLIA: Yeah, I definitely feel the momentum have increased a lot in the last six or seven years since I’ve been in the industry. There’s a lot more information out there, studies coming out, Sanjay Gupta jumped on board, so there’s a lot more mainstream acceptance of the plant now. That enables us to have more momentum and grow as an industry.
SCOTT: Do you think that as more and more places put marijuana online–not online in terms of the internet, but comes online in the sense it becomes legalized or decriminalized– do you think that movement is stoppable or unstoppable now?
DAHLIA: I think it’s unstoppable. I’m an optimist, but I can’t see the federal government and the states…I can’t talk for Canada but it sounds like Canada has even more of an open mind to cannabis. In the states, there are so many people getting so many health benefits
from this plant. Also in Colorado, the tax revenue that we’ve seen is huge and that is going towards schools, and bettering our state. As we see more information come out and how the tax revenue is so helpful and that as I said before, violent crimes, prescription drug deaths have gone down, people have this great alternative that is effective and gentle and nontoxic. How can we take that away from the people? More people have to have access to it. The more people that have access to it, the better everything is going to be in my opinion. I can’t see us turning around at this point and going back.
SCOTT: What did your parents say when you said to them you’re going to get in this business?
DAHLIA: That’s a good question. I was a little hesitant to tell them, but my parents are actually pretty open minded. They don’t smoke pot. They don’t intoxicate themselves really in anyway, but they are open minded about herbal medicine. So when I called them up, I said, “I’m thinking about starting this line and I’m going to make cannabis-infused massage oil.” Surprisingly, they were really open to it right away. I explained to them that it was non-psychoactive and that it’s just utilizing the medicinal aspects of the plant. I showed them the products and they started trying it and seeing the benefits for themselves. They were actually very supportive from the beginning which was a blessing for me.
SCOTT: The way you talk about medicinal it reminds me as a child, I grew up in Montreal, Canada and across the St. Lawrence was the community of cardinal dargile. At the time, there was the chief of that community, a very well-known man named Chief Poking Fire. He was a very good friend of my dad’s, and my dad would go over there and have chats with him. He was really a worldly man, had traveled the world, and his house was filled with vials. If you can imagine a wall, of the house with little shelves and on each of the shelves would be a glass vile. In that vile, was a plant that was dried from the forest and he had thousands of these bottles. People would write him from all over the globe, telling him about their illnesses. He would send them medicinal medicine through the mail. It was literally the world’s first direct mail medicinal program, which was mushrooms, plants, and trees. All of that’s gone. The learning of those generations, what they knew about the natural world and today that whole culture, that whole world is gone. I could just feel when I hear your speak is that you’re bringing back a little bit of that, which to me feels really exciting.
DAHLIA: I think there was so much wisdom in the past when we had to rely on plants as our medications and now in our modern world, we take different chemicals out of plants and create medications that way. But, there’s a balance in plants, a natural wisdom that I think we have lost. I think we gained so much in Western medicine but I also think we lost something. I think the cannabis plant has so much wisdom in the plant itself. If we can bring back that whole plant medicine a little bit, I think that is a really exciting thing.
SCOTT: This has been a fascinating discussion. I learned a lot myself. I think the idea of putting medicinal marijuana into salves, into tubes and using it as a way of relieving pain and solving other types of ailments like burns that you suggested. This is something that I never thought about, and it’s very interesting. You got a new member of your movement. I’m very interested in learning more. Dahlia, thank you so much for joining us today. It’s been very interesting. If people want to know more about you and about your Mary Jane’s Medicinals, where can they find that information?
DAHLIA: My website is maryjanesmedicinals.com. There’s more information on the site about our products. There’s also links to different articles. I think just to add one more thing. I think topicals are really exciting because they could be an ambassador for this plant. People as a whole, we’ve been subjected to so much propaganda that it takes a little a bit of work to get people to open up about this plant again. Since the topicals are purely medicinal and you’re not experiencing the psychoactive effects, pretty much anybody can use the topicals. I feel like this form of the plant can really help open up people’s minds again towards this really medicinal, amazing plant that as I said everybody should have access to.
SCOTT: I, for one, totally agree. Thank you so much for joining us today. it’s been a pleasure for you to be on the uprising podcast. Have a wonderful day.
DAHLIA: Thank you so much, Scott. I really enjoyed this, and thank you for helping get the word out.
SCOTT: Absolutely. Keep on trucking. DAHLIA: Alright. I sure will.
SCOTT: Take care. Bye, bye.