Recently, we sat down with Prescribd’s Charles Wu – who is a self-described “High-tech Cannabis Farmer” – to chat about craft CBD, trichomerization, and technology as a means of quality control in cannabis.
(The following has been edited for clarity.)
1. Well, to start off, what exactly is a “high-tech cannabis farmer”?
What that means (opposed to being a low-tech cannabis farmer) is that my background is in software tech and communications. When building our systems out, what we found was that there are a lot of artisans out there, great growers, and people who make incredible products. But the problem that always comes up is, “How do I make this product reproducible?” so that it is the same experience for the user.
When we talk about all this technology stuff, it’s not about bells and whistles, red light versus blue lights; it’s really about building systems, technology, and processes so that our plants and ultimately our flower comes out the same each time. That way we can provide that consistent experience for our customers each time.
2. What exactly is “Craft CBD Flower?”
We look at it as “Craft Cannabis”. We’re focusing on the 10% of the market that wants the benefits of cannabis without the high or couch-lock.
3. What sets Prescribd apart from other CBD cultivators and manufacturers?
The main thing is that we’re growers. We care a lot about craft. But more importantly, we’ve implemented a lot of technology around it. You have to start with the recipe. You get that artisanal craft recipe, which is pretty amazing, but the challenge always is — how do you recreate it and reproduce it on a regular basis?
What we have done is we’ve invested heavily in technology and AI. It allows us, once we get that great recipe, to completely replicate it and do it over and over again. It’s craft cultivation with consistency, not a surprise in every batch.
4. What are some technology tools that Prescribd uses in its growing process?
We have a complete software automation control system. It all starts with a recipe, a growth plan. We know a strain, and that strain might have a variety of tasks that go with it — Day One water it at this level, Day Two have the lighting level here, Day Three we want this level of CO2, this type of humidity. We take some time and figure out how to get the best results out of our plants.
From there what happens is that all of these things get programmed into the computer so that it will always reproduce it, efficiently and consistently. That way we don’t have things like human error, people losing track of things.
That’s the key to how we’re able to grow and consistently deliver high-quality craft CBD.
5. Prescribd’s website talks a lot about trichomerization. Can you explain what that is?
Ultimately, we’re in the business of producing trichomes — these little, white, mushroom-like appendages — what essentially looks like good-looking bud. Those actually are where all our terpenes, cannabinoids, and flavonoids are being held.
What we’ve done, specifically with CBD flower, we have developed the genetics, but we’ve also figured out the right combinations of nutrient mixing, temperature, humidity, and light levels so that we’re able to push the plant to new levels and produce these trichomes everywhere. We also keep in mind the Farm Bill regulations and staying as industrial hemp, versus higher THC cannabis.
6. Can you talk us through some of Prescribd’s plans over the next couple of months?
Right now, we’ve been focusing on our strains. We have other products coming along, outside of flower. Processed products like edibles, ingestibles, and such. Right now the hot thing is Delta-8 products. What we’ve found is that our flower manages to handle Delta-8 a lot better than a lot of the outdoor-grown products. So instead of getting this ugly purple thing that looks like it’s six months old, our flower is able to absorb the Delta-8 better, it holds it better, and still is a very positive user experience.
7. Who is an ideal customer for Prescribd?
Our customers are midweek cannabis users. It’s not like there is an ideal customer so much as it’s somebody who may want to save their high TCH strains for Friday or Saturday night because they want to have a good time. But maybe it’s Tuesday and they’ve got some anxiety or they are working professionals dealing with stress. They want that midweek relaxation but want to show up to work the next day. What we’re finding is that our users need different types of cannabis for different parts of their week or day.
Also, our products give more of a body high, than a mind high. Now that Covid has slowed down (in the US), and people are going to events again, a lot of people are using our products to enhance those experiences, like going to a concert. The last thing you want to be at a concert is really out of it.
8. Why should dispensaries include Prescribd in their product offerings?
A cannabis user is not only a TCH or CBD person or Delta 8 person. They are human beings with many different tastes. Let’s say you happen to be an alcohol connoisseur. Some days, I want to have my Jack Daniels, other days you may want some wine or to relax with a beer.
Likewise, with cannabis, you want to be able to cater to that variety of experiences that people want. Having our products alongside your other THC products gains customer loyalty because you are able to sell them more products and it keeps them from going somewhere else to look for CBD or Delta 8 products that you don’t have on your shelf right now.
9. Anything else you’d like to share?
We are a social equity enterprise — Black, Asian, Woman and Veteran Owned. As a minority-owned business, we’re just trying to make our way in the cannabis space.