I love that we are finally beginning to see mainstream patients turn to cannabis a legitimate option.
Cooking with cannabis is fun, enjoyable and many times, medically necessary, but how do you know you are doing it correctly? With weed science being something that not everyone is an expert in, we’re glad to see companies like Ardent filling the void. Keep reading to learn more about Shanel Lindsay, Founder and President of Ardent, and Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Northeast Cannabis Coalition.
What is your name and title?
Shanel Lindsay, Esq., Founder and President of Ardent
How / Why did you get into the cannabis industry?
I’ve been a medical marijuana patient for more than 15 years, and consistently struggled to dose accurately with my medicine. I eventually began testing my material in the laboratory, and was amazed to discover the loss that occurs when using kitchen tools to make cannabis medicine. I realized I could develop a technology to help any patients to consume cannabis in the right dosage and form they were seeking. That’s when I created the decarboxylator. It allows patients to transform the plant into an accurate therapy at the touch of a button. With a streamlined, precision device, the patient gets peace of mind knowing that this important has been done correctly and the ability to make any cannabis product at a fraction of the cost.
What do you like most about cannabis?
The positive health benefits of course; the fact that consuming cannabis helps people with both chronic and short term illnesses. I also love that we are finally beginning to see mainstream patients turn to cannabis a legitimate option.
We’ve heard great things about Ardent and your new decarboxylator. Can you tell us more about it? How does it work? Why is decarboxylation important for cannabis consumers?
Decarboxylation refers to the process of converting raw cannabis into its active bioavailable form, and it’s a critical step for administration. Done with imprecise tools (like the oven or the crockpot) wastes around 30% of the available medicine, costing patients a ton of money and making accurate dosing impossible. Our decarboxylator uses dual precision sensors, a fully encapsulating heating core and decarb algorithm to deliver precise, permeating heating cycles that perfectly activate flower, kief, trim, or concentrate. Patients save money and have a simple, discreet way to make any cannabis product, including edibles, topicals, and sublingual therapies.
Do you enjoy using cannabis? If so, what is your favorite strain?
Absolutely. On the uplifting, energetic side my favorites are Sour Tangie, Dream Queen, Clementine, Stardawg. For pain and inflammation I steer towards Kosher Kush, OG Kush and Cookies strains.
How do you like to customize your marijuana experience?
I like to incorporate my cannabis therapy into an overall health and wellness plan. I pair my medicine with different dietary elements in order to enhance the effects. I like fresh made edibles, so I often decarb flower or kief in the morning so I can blend mix it in with my meals throughout the day.
How has marijuana helped define who you are?
Cannabis, and really the fact that it has been illegal and so stigmatized has for sure shaped who I am. I saw early on that I was going to have to develop a thick skin and fighting spirit to defend my own freedom and push to change the perceptions around this amazing plant. Becoming a professional and parent, it was hurtful not only to be judged for cannabis use, but to see the devastating effects of the racially and socioeconomically biased war on drugs. But there is an overwhelming joy in this struggle, when that change is made, and you can see firsthand people taking control of their health, and for some, finding relief when there was no hope left. In a deeper sense, it has shown me the fallacy in judging or condemning things before fully understanding them.
What is the Northeast Cannabis Coalition? What part do you take in the group?
I am Co-Founder and Co-Chair of the Northeast Cannabis Coalition, and we are a group of cannabis business owners who are dedicated to ensuring that cannabis legalization rolls out the right way, both in Massachusetts and as adult use spreads across the Northeast. We are focused on empowering small business owners and entrepreneurs, providing them opportunities to network, expand their businesses, and connect with funding sources. Our Startup High entrepreneur and investor showcase was the first of its kind in Massachusetts and we are excited for this year’s event as well as focused development sessions we are hosting for entrepreneurs in the space.
How have you dealt with canna-bias throughout the years?
Science and data. People fear or ridicule cannabis most often because they are uninformed. You’d be surprised how quickly just one data point or study can begin to open a skeptic’s mind to the possibilities.
In your opinion, what is the biggest benefit to legalized marijuana?
Safety, access and equity. When cannabis is illegal, there are no protections for patients, many of whom are often already very sick. With legal cannabis comes standards and the ability to access the variety necessary to determine the right material and administration method for the patient or the person using for wellness. Legalizing cannabis begins to dismantle the biased enforcement mechanism, an important step toward true equality in civil rights.
Tell us a little about the Massachusetts Patients Advocacy Alliance.
MPAA is the primary stakeholder for the Massachusetts medical cannabis program. The MPAA represents a coalition of cannabis patients, providers, and organizations that worked to pass Question 3 to legalize medical marijuana in 2012. MPAA fights for implementation of MA’s medical marijuana program, and is on the front lines advocating for patient access both at the state and level. The executive leadership and our advisory board works with a base of over 15,000 supporters to impact safe access through educational endeavors and direct advocacy with elected officials and in cities and towns across the state.
In your opinion, how has the recent trends in the recreational cannabis industry affected medical marijuana patients?
We bear the huge responsibility of protecting medical patients and the medical program as we move towards adult use. The two programs (medical vs. adult use for health and wellness) absolutely need to remain separate. For patients, accessing tax-free medicine is critical, and there are certain strains and products that medical patients need that aren’t commercially popular. A safe space for patients will always be crucial, and we as an industry need to advocate for those protections.
What do you believe the future of marijuana holds?
While it’s tough to say what will happen on the federal level, there was an overwhelming and very public acceptance of cannabis last election day. More people are understanding the hypocrisy of prohibition and realizing the potential of cannabis and hemp. There is no going back once a person is personally impacted, so I expect we will continue to see a strong focus and interest on cannabis legalization and advocacy efforts throughout the nation.
What are you working on next?
We are expanding to better serve demand, both in the U.S. and abroad. Launching our line of consumables is also top priority. Patients are constantly contacting us, especially requesting the sublingual administration methods, which to me are one of our most exciting developments.
Learn more about Ardent here on their website.
Photos: Courtesy of Ardent