We are super excited to launch our Ignite Webinar, monthly educational programming where cannabis professionals can learn and connect. For our inaugural episode, we spoke with Scott Bittner of The Native Hemp. Based in Maryland, The Native Hemp specializes in type 3 cannabis, that is, non-psychoactive CBD, CBG, and CBN dominant cannabis strains.
The Native Hemp offers CBD flower, gummies, and nicotine-free cigarettes (for folks trying to quit smoking or who want the familiarity of cigarettes). Their sister brand, Zen Hemp Infusions offers CBD infused beverages such as iced tea and lemonade.
Ignite’s host and Leaf Trade Client Development Representative – East, Candace Weitzman spoke with Scott about the types of cannabis, consumer demand for type 3 cannabis, the importance of holding CBD to the same quality standards as THC, educating CBD consumers, and the future cannabis. To hear the full replay, click here. To see the five takeaways, scroll down. Note, some of the quotations below have been edited for clarity.
1. Whole Plant Medicine – More than THC and CBD
Type 1 cannabis is the familiar, THC dominant variety that most people think of when thinking about marijuana. Type 3 is often thought of as CBD dominant strains, but other non-dominant chemical compounds are often found in this type including CBG and CBN. CBG can actually enhance the quality of a THC high, while CBN can help with sleep and pain management.
Type 2 cannabis is a hybrid of THC and CBD dominant strains (as well as the other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN).
2. The demand for type 3 cannabis is growing
Native began as a smoke shop in Maryland. After the passage of the Farm Bill by Congress in 2018, which greatly expanded national laws around Hemp cultivation, research, and commerce; they saw a huge spike in consumer interest in CBD. Unfortunately, they quickly found that consumers had wildly varying experiences with the CBD brands they offered in the shop.
Their research into the issue of CBD quality is what launched the Native Hemp brand. Dedication to CBD quality is the mission that continues to drive their business today. Their entire business model is derived from the simple idea of holding CBD products to the same high standards that THC-based products are held to. That’s what they call the “Native Standard”.
“That’s what really sets us apart from other cannabis companies, we’re an open book, we’re transparent because we can be,” – Scott
3. Quality cannabis starts at the farm
Native’s research into quality type 3 cannabis led the team to build relationships with cannabis farmers. “We had to go into the community to connect directly with farmers. You need a farmer who has experience with cannabis to ensure the highest quality product,” Scott related. “The problem was, a lot of farmers didn’t come at it from an educated approach… After the rush of the Farm Bill, people were just trying to cash in. That’s why there was a lot of bad product on the market and a lot of [consumers] really got screwed.”
In order to ensure that high quality, Native has partnered with a lab certified by the Maryland Medicinal Cannabis Commission (MMCC). Each product is tested and issued its own Certificate of Authenticity (COA), which is rare among CBD brands. The COA’s printed on each package, with a QR code that consumers can scan and view the full lab report.
4. Education is important in Cannabis, especially with type 3
Education is a vital component in building community, marketing, and retaining customers of all types of cannabis, especially type 3. “We’re adamant about educating people in this market… We’re really doing boots on the ground and doing educational events for patients and really helping them to understand their endocannabinoid systems.”
Native’s customers can rely on continued support after stocking their brand. Native prepares presentations that train budtenders when their products come online at new dispensaries.
“It doesn’t stop after the buy, we’re there at least once a month making sure everyone is informed and educated – because that’s just how this industry is going to grow. That’s how we get more people involved, by educating them.”
5. The future of cannabis is in type 2 and endocannabinoid ratios
Scott firmly believes that the future of the cannabis market will be built on Type 2 cannabis — strains that combine CDB (as well as CBG and CBN) with THC.
“People aren’t going to be smoking for a blanket THC high anymore. It’s going to be today I’m smoking this strain because i have a stomach ache and I know that this strain is going to help me out.”