We have been huge fans of Papa & Barkley for a while now. We love their backstory, we love their products and we love what they stand for as a brand and we thought you would too. So, we reached out to Guy Rocourt, the Co-Founder/Chief Products Officer at Papa & Barkley to learn more about what makes them so unique in this space and stand out amongst other cannabis brands.
1. Can you give us a little background on how Papa & Barkley came about? Also, what is the significance of the artwork that is associated with the brand?
Our CEO and Co-Founder, Adam Grossman’s father was suffering from spinal stenosis, which left him bedridden and ultimately on hospice care. Medications weren’t working and Adam was desperate to help his father. At the time he was exploring investments in the Cannabis space and a good friend recommended he give Cannabis a try. He bought the best weed he could find from a buddy, borrowed a crockpot from a neighbor, and cooked up his first pain relief balm in his kitchen. He applied the balm to his Dad’s back and it worked! He was able to get out of bed and off of hospice care! Throughout this journey, the family dog, Barkley was constantly by Adam’s father’s side offering comfort and love. Our artwork is based on a photo of Adam’s father, Papa, sitting with Barkley. The duo not only inspires our packaging, but also our mission to unlock the power of the plant to improve people’s lives.
2. Papa & Barkley started out making THC dominant wellness products and recently moved into CBD dominant wellness products as well. Can you talk about some of the benefits of having both THC and CBD in your wellness products?
At Papa & Barkley we believe strongly in the Entourage Effect, which states that Cannabis works best when all of the plant’s terpenes, flavonoids, and cannabinoids can work together. We use a unique infusion method to create our products in order to ensure all of the plant material stays intact and makes its way into our products.
3. Papa & Barkley manufactures and distributes their own products. Why is this so important to the brand?
It’s important we manufacture our own products because it gives us control over their quality and safety. Since we create products that never touch solvents we cannot purchase isolate from wholesalers. We must use our own infusion process to make our products. We also triple-test our products before they go to shops, meaning we test them internally before we send them to external testing. Controlling the manufacturing process allows us to take this extra step to ensure our products are clean. Distributing our own products is key because we see all of our employees as brand advocates. Distributing our own products gives us another touchpoint with California dispensaries. The shop owners get to know our drivers and build relationships with our team while our drivers have the opportunity to answer any questions the shops may have. Controlling the distribution process lets our team stay as connected as possible to our retailers.
4. We love to see that you are one of the few cannabis brands that offers a 401K to their employees. What are some other things that set P&B apart in the cannabis space?
Aside from our 401K & healthcare plans, we also offer employees lots of teaming events and volunteering opportunities. We feel it’s important for our team to view us as one big family, so we try our best to make sure our members have the chance to get to know each other. Since our company is founded on a mission of caring for others, we prioritize doing good in our local communities, so we plan community service events near all of our major hubs. These serve as another chance for our employees to spend time together and engage in local activities. Additionally, we pay for employees to attend various conferences and cups they’re interested in, so they’re continuously learning and developing new skills.
5. Papa & Barkley uses a different extraction process than most companies. Can you explain what that is and why it is so beneficial?
We use direct lipid infusion and other forms of mechanical separation to infuse and extract cannabis into our products. These processes are gentle and ensures the plant material stays intact with all of the terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids stays intact, which enables our products to work best as medicine due to the Entourage Effect. It also ensures are products never touch solvents, so they’re clean, which is important for people using our products to combat symptoms of diseases, since they need to be extra careful about ingesting or putting on their skin.
6. What are some of your favorite Papa & Barkley products and why?
One of my favorite products is our 1:3 tincture because I’ve seen it work really well for patients going through chemotherapy, much better than the current opioid-based medicines prescribed.
THC manages pain not only on the physical side, but also on the mental side. (Most people don’t know that opioid medicines are most often paired with a antidepressants). THC also increases the appetite and reduces nausea, allowing the patient to eat -- unlike opioids -- which usually lead to constipation.
It’s my feeling that our 1:3 tincture could be a significant force in helping people manage their way through chemotherapy and better deal with symptoms while fighting cancer.
7. Where do you see Hemp as it relates to wellness in five years?
We really look at Cannabis as one plant and there are different varietals. Varietals known as hemp are marked by a legal definition that notes the type of Cannabis has less than .03% THC. However, the real way to distinguish the different varietals of the Cannabis plant is in their use.
The plants that are grown for stalk, fiber, or seed production for seed oil in foodstuffs contain very trace amount of CBD and therefore should not be harvested for that ingredient/cannabinoid. These agricultural varietals still need to be used to offset our carbon footprint as it relates to plastic, cotton, and fuel production.
The varietals that are rich in resin glands and produce more than 20% resin by weight can be bred to either have high THC or high CBD. These varietals are grown with the appropriate oil glands to give us a full spectrum oil and not just trace amounts of CBD, which need to be boiled down into isolate. The full-spectrum, CBD-rich oil we get from these varietals is what possesses the medicinal potential. I think in 5 years, with proper study and what’s already happening in the zeitgeist around holistic and alternative medicine, this type of CBD will be used more and more as a preventative measure and a daily dietary supplement, especially for veterans and the elderly.