“One of the best things about cannabis is that it is a catalyst for conversation, right? As a catalyst for conversation around healthcare, around politics, around beliefs and faith.”
— Matt Lindsey
Charlotte's Web practically invented the CBD industry in 2012, when the Stanley brothers were on a mission to help a then five-year-old girl who was suffering from Dravet's Syndrome.
How did that focus lead to the development of one of the biggest CBD companies in the U.S.? Matt Lindsey was there and he shares the story. As director of social responsibility for Charlotte's Web, Matt knows the industry well and shares his insider's perspective on CBD / cannabis commerce, culture, science and politics.
SPECIAL BONUS: Kannaboomers listeners can get 15% off your purchase at Charlotte's Web by using coupon code KBOOM at check out.
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Kannaboomers (00:00): The opinions expressed in this podcast are those of Matt Lindsey and not Charlotte's Web official positions. Here's Tom, welcome back to the Kannaboomers Podcast. This week we have Matt Lindsey, director of social responsibility for Charlotte's Web, a CBD company based in Colorado. Listen to this and you'll understand why it's fitting that they have a director of social responsibility because their origin story is about solving a problem. A little girl named Charlotte was seizuring hundreds of times a week and they helped her resolve that and she's happily now a teenager. So we dive deep into that story. We talk also about the fact that Charlotte's Web is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, a industry body that I believe is pointing people to the best quality CBD, and I'm glad to feature companies who have been certified -- and a first ever special discount code for listeners. If you go to Charlotte's Web and put something in your cart look for the coupon code and enter 'KBOOM' -- K-B-O-O-M and you'll get 15% off on your order. Thanks to the folks at Charlotte's Web for making that possible. .
Kannaboomers (01:04): So this is, Let's Talk About Weed, the Kannaboomers Podcast: CBD, microdosing, and all things related to medical cannabis for baby boomers from San Diego. Here's your host, Thomas J. You will come back
Kannaboomers (01:18): Welcome back to the Kannaboomers podcast. Thomas here with Matt Lindsey of Charlotte's Web. Hey Matt.
Matt Lindsey (01:23): Hey there. Tom. Good to be here, man.
Kannaboomers (01:24): How are you doing today?
Matt Lindsey (01:25): Oh, doing really well. It's beautiful in Colorado. We're getting a, a beautiful streak of classic, a sunshine and blue bird days and you know, despite everything happening in the world around us, I'm just grateful to to be alive and to be a part of this industry and to be on this podcast. Thanks for the time. Thanks for giving us a chance to be here with you.
Kannaboomers (01:45): You are the director of social responsibility. There is.
Matt Lindsey (01:49): That's right. Yeah. It's a strange title, but that's what it is right now.
Kannaboomers (01:53): Tell me about that job. How, what do you do?
Matt Lindsey (01:56): Well, man, there's a lot to it. But in essence, being a corporate social responsibility you know, heading that department that that's in simple terms, it's managing philanthropy, it's managing some partnerships to the business. And it's helping, helping keep a through line from the mission of the company into the corporate activities and how we run the business kind of at multiple, multiple areas. But it's kind of a silly cut and maybe oxymoronic kinda term corporate social responsibility to me. So I'd be interested to hear what you, what you thought of that, but that's kind of my role in a nutshell. Then we can dig into more details on it if you'd like.
Kannaboomers (02:41): Sure. Well, it's great that there is that position and that you're sitting in that seat, but I guess we should back up a little and talk about Charlotte's Web. I know you guys have a great origin story. You were really there in the beginning of the whole CBD industry and maybe our listeners don't know about that. Could we start?
Matt Lindsey (02:59): Oh, absolutely, man. No, you know, it's, it's such an honor to be a part of an industry that is still making history. Right? I mean, I've been working with the Stanley brothers since 2012 I knew these fellows for many years before that and had just become friends with one of the brothers, Jesse Stanley back in around 2006 or so. And just stay connected with that family. Partially, partially was really fascinated by who they were based on the way I watched them live. And this is coming from a family of very super generous people, just some embedded principles into their lives that really resonated with me, but I jumped into the industry with them in 2012 and haven't looked back. It's a, it's been a, a burgeoning and fun ride in a scary and frustrating and difficult at, at many turns in the road. When I started in 2012 with these guys, they, they had been in cannabis since 2008 when their oldest brother Josh got into cannabis here in Colorado and helped with some legislation. Got one of the first dispensaries in the city of Denver opened and they had a focus around reaching out to cancer patients and people that were suffering real suffering. And it's kind of ironic cause the brothers don't really, they don't really use cannabis. They never really did when I knew him back in those days. And I think most of them probably use our products now on a daily basis. But it wasn't a, it wasn't a plant or, or substance that really agreed with them. But in 2012 when I jumped in that I jumped in, in August of that year, in February of that year, that's when Charlotte took her first dose of what we now call Charlotte's Web hemp extract. The brothers had connected with her and Paige and we can get into the deeper parts of that story if you'd like. But that was my beginning was touching the water and seeing that, wow, there's something significant go a significant and that's happening in people's lives here with this plant. And I knew it, I knew it from, you know, just general research and general experience myself being a cannabis user and just staying attuned to research into things that were happening around me, but I hadn't seen it have such a dramatic and powerful impact like we saw in Charlotte during that time. So when in August they had already had a few months underneath their belt of watching Charlotte her life changed and then tons and tons of more kids started coming into the fold. So that was my initial kind of touch through it. And we, we've just been trucking ever since. It's been a nonstop ride.
Kannaboomers (05:40): That's awesome. For listeners who aren't familiar, I guess, I think Josh did a Ted Talk where he talked about they had a strain that was called Hippie's Disappointment because it didn't have a lot of THC and then they discovered that it helped Charlotte. Is that Dravet syndrome that she had?
Matt Lindsey (05:55): Yeah, she has Dravet's, yeah. When I met her, she was having a, well, she was down to zero seizures when I actually met her. But earlier that year, 2012, she was having three to 400 seizures a week with Dravet's syndrome on, in fact, when Joel first met Paige in 2012 earlier that year and they just started talking, Joel went over to Paige's house and saw he saw his first grand mal seizure ever in Charlotte, if five-year-old girl at the time. And that in and of itself galvanized something in Joel this resolve to, to find a solution to find help and, and at least to say yes to Paige in the audacity of, of her and her family to say, 'Hey, we are going to try this for our five year old daughter.' It hadn't, hadn't happened before. Nobody in the state of Colorado, there was no children with red cards at that time.
Matt Lindsey (06:44): In fact, the state through the medical marijuana enforcement division and the medical marijuana program that, that, as you might imagine, there was a many delays in getting Charlotte an official red card during that time. So it was a, it was a very very tenuous, very kind of tricky situation and put the brothers and really the industry, you might imagine it in a risky position if something didn't really work out with Charlotte. You know, what, what could have that done to the industry at that time? It would have been catastrophic if something went wrong with Charlotte. Thankfully. as the story goes, we saw immediate success in Charlotte in to this day, she has not been to back to a hospital for a seizure or anything else. In fact, she's been completely off of all pharmaceutical drugs for the last seven years. She's only taking him extract at this point.
Kannaboomers (07:41): That's amazing. And so she's a teenager by now.
Matt Lindsey (07:45): Yeah, 13 years old. Her and her sister Chase, her twin sister celebrated their 13th birthday of just this last year. And they actually came up to headquarters up in Boulder. We started the company down in Colorado Springs when, when everything kind of kicked off and Paige's family, Charlotte and the rest of the family lived down in Black Forest, which is just north of Colorado Springs. Uanyhow, they came up to Boulder,useveral months back,uthe end of the summer, this last year, and celebrated birthdays and,ushared cupcakes around the office and started introducing her to people in the company that hadn 't met her yet.
Kannaboomers (08:23): What a happy outcome and an incredible legacy that's gonna follow her all her life. What an amazing story, I guess, as you say, it could have gone other ways. Obviously the, the plant worked and it continues to work for people. Beautiful.
Matt Lindsey (08:37): Yeah, that's a true, it's an Inn. I was just gonna add that. It was, it was a remarkable statement for the industry this past year when Charlotte was recognized in the female 50 High Times Female 50 award words that they gave out this past year to, to recognize the top 50 female entrepreneurs and shakers, movers and shakers within the cannabis industry. And Charlotte was right there at the top. In fact, she was the first child to ever grace the cover of High Times magazine. And there's a beautiful picture of Charlotte, the either,
Kannaboomers (09:10): I mean, I guess he had to hopscotch over clinical trials and all that stuff. But the great thing is it worked.
Matt Lindsey (09:15): Yeah. Yeah. That, that is the thing in the interim, you know, we do need, we need the science to catch up as quickly as possible. And I think we're on a great path from what I, from hearing and observing within the industry. But yeah, at that time there was zero, zero, zero things to lean on. Thankfully, we have thousands of anecdotes to lean on now. But yeah, there's, there was a gap there at that time.
Kannaboomers (09:36): Yeah. You know, you mentioned that the brothers, Stanley brothers aren't really into cannabis, so I know most of our listeners are up to speed on it, but there's cannabis and there's hemp.
Matt Lindsey (09:45): That's right. Yeah. And it's a tricky, you know, it's, it's, it's really kind of arbitrary all, all this talk between cannabis and hemp and I understand, or, you know, general cannabis, medical marijuana and hemp. And I, I think it's important for readers to know that these are all the same plants and they just kind of vary in ratios in, in, in those ratios vary based on agricultural practices too, right? And environmental practices. And you know, how much CBD or THC or other compounds are going to be in a given plant. All that, all that is subject to the environment, to the soils, to genetics, et cetera, et cetera. But this arbitrary line of 0.3% THC, if it's greater than 0.3%, then it's considered cannabis or medical marijuana depending on how you, how you're phrasing it. And then if it's less than 0.3% THC in the plant before it's harvested, then it's considered hemp. In some countries have a higher threshold than 0.3%. Some countries are up to 1% THC for it to be considered hemp. For medical marijuana,
Kannaboomers (10:48): It truly is arbitrary. I mean, there's not a scientific basis for saying 0.03%.
Matt Lindsey (10:54): That's correct. Yeah. I think it's well I won't speak to it, but there there's some assumptions about why some of these thresholds are, are are chosen. And I think a lot of that shifts based on toxicity or you know, being intoxicated rather with THC.
Kannaboomers (11:12): If you spend some time researching this, we all have different tolerances for, for cannabinoids, right? So you and I might have a very different effect from the same cultivar, but yet to say that 0.03 is the line. Again, it's an arbitrary distinction.
Matt Lindsey (11:28): I think that's true.
Kannaboomers (11:30): So one reason I wanted to talk with you guys is I'm focusing on brands that have earned U.S. Hemp Authority certification, which to me is a big deal in lieu of FDA certification. Here's an industry group that is actually doing some policing of standards and you guys have earned that badge. Is that a big deal to you?
Matt Lindsey (11:50): Oh, it's, it's a tremendous it's tremendous deal to us. You know, we from the get go and when Charlotte came into our lives the brothers are already keen on quality and safety of products. And that was, that was a given, and I shouldn't say it was a given, it was something that they focused on. It was something that concerned them that they were aware of and they wanted to do. And ultimately in terms of creating products, growing cannabis that was safe and good for the consumers. And, but when Charlotte came into our lives that elevated and escalated every, everything, it highlighted what we needed to do. In fact, Paige sat Joel down and Jessie down at that time and said, 'Hey guys, here's, here's what I need.' And she was taking basic, basic protocols from, you know, supplements and other things that she had been given Charlotte to help treat her, her situation. And the, the protocol she gave Joel was, 'This has to be organic, this has to be tested. These things have, these, certain measures have to be within the, the certificate of analysis that I want to see before we give my daughter any taste of this extract.' And we took that, we took Paige's, lead and, and those kind of templates. If you, if you could, you could say on how to make these types of products and what, what we need to do and that she needed to understand the milligrams, you know, of, of every cannabinoid within that that extract and it had to be done well and in a safe environment, a clean environment. So the brothers assumed that and they, they took on all the responsibility to do it right and to do it thoroughly and to do it in such a way that this little girl's life wouldn't be compromised.
Matt Lindsey (13:30): Her immune system was already trashed. Right. The last thing we wanted to do was exacerbate that and to put her at risk. And so everything we did from the time we put the seeds into the soil and the smart pots at that time up and up in fluorescent where our our, our grow house was to the time that it actually went into her feeding tube. Every step of the way was monitored, was measured and it was written down. And that was, that was the spirit in which we started the company when we knew we had to scale. I mean, that's the reason we're in Boulder today, long story short, was we said, where are the best labs in Colorado and where are the smartest minds to run those labs? And, and, and that's all, you know, located close to university up in Boulder where there's a ton of pharmaceutical companies and otherwise great laboratories for product manufacturers of all types.
Matt Lindsey (14:23): And so that's what really brought us there. But to get the U.S. Hemp Authority also, you know, that's just the spirit of which we've always gone, is to do it right, to take the slow road, to invest our money where it matters. And at that time it really mattered mostly in our laboratory and make sure that we had the equipment, the place, and the people to run it. And you know, U.S. Hemp Authority fits right into that model, fits right into that that essence of what a good brand in a smart brand should be doing. And that is you know, I guess you could boil it all down the way I see the U.S Hemp Authority as an accountability partner, right? They, they help leverage transparency and help build trust in the marketplace without certifying bodies like the U.S. Hemp Roundtable and the U.S. Hemp Authority and others, what's a consumer to do? This is a dietary supplement world and there's a lot of, a lot of pitfalls just within the dietary supplement industry as a whole with or without cannabis.
Kannaboomers (15:20): Right? And we see a lot of companies rushing into this space. I mean, there are hundreds of brands out there now, but there's a line on your website, and I think I may have it wrong, but I think it's something like 'we started as a mission, not as a company.' So the profit motive came later, I'm sure. But you guys started out trying to save this little girl's life.
Matt Lindsey (15:39): It's kind of funny looking back in time in fact, Paige and Matt Figi sat Joel down. This was sometime around 2000 -- would have been 2012. And they were like, in essence, like, dude, 'You got to make this thing sustainable.' If you don't, if you don't make this sustainable and start, you know, actually charging some money, a little bit of money for this, then Whoa, what are you guys going to do? How are you going to keep your company going? How are you going to you know, serve the families?' I keep coming to you. And that was, that was the aha moment of, 'Oh, we probably should do a business around this. Or, or at least put some structure around this that we hadn't had before.' But it took that kind of sitting Joel the brothers down because for a lot of us at that time, I think a lot of people still within the company, we lead with our heart first.
Matt Lindsey (16:30): That's why we brought in this smart people to run our company and, and keep elevating. The, the types of type of business acumen that we bring in is so we know how to grow and scale out the proper at, at a proper rate with strategic measures involved. But in those early days it was, it was this a matter of, Hey, there's a bunch of hurting people here. We have some something of a solution. We have something to offer. Let's get it out there and into their hands. And I got to tell you, when you, when you're holding a child that is seizing or you're carrying kids around at your grow and introducing the families to plants, or you're walking with the news crew from Ohio, that's, you know, following a family whose child is, is devastated by epilepsy or something crazy, then those, those types of experiences shaky to your core, right? And, and in a lot of other things, a life kind of just fall to the wayside when you're dealing with trauma, where you're dealing with somebody that's suffering in a great way, you narrow your focus down to what matters and not that not that smart business doesn't matter. That's, that's why Paige and Matt sat Joel down. But in those days it was a matter of 'let's help, let's help, help, help.' And we, you know, that, that, that waiting list that we had in 2013 at around five, 600 people drew to, to over 10,000 people, close to 14,000 people were on a waiting list for this before we were able to really figure out how we would serve that large group.
Kannaboomers (18:00): 14,000 people is a lot of people, but still it's a small window when you think about one condition like Dravet syndrome. But what we've learned is that the plant has something for, I think almost everybody there. There's a lot of conditions for which cannabidiol, CBD can help.
Matt Lindsey (18:16): No, that's, that's what we're seeing. Absolutely. you know, I think you start scratching the surface at some customer data and things that they industry's looking at. Yeah, epilepsy, Dravet's syndrome, those kinds of things have, if you kinda look at us at a category list of consumers, that is a lot further down than it was when this whole thing first started. Nobody knew. In fact, in the, in that time, all of us that were helping build the company 99% of us had never even tasted the extract. We never had it. We never, we didn't, it was that precious of a, of a resource for us for these families that we knew that we, there was not even samples given out. Right. Nobody could even touch it. Every last drop was, was given to this community of people. But as time has gone on, yeah, absolutely. We're seeing, we're seeing all sorts of, of, of folks finding value in this, in this supplement. And, and that's a, that blows my mind and gives me chills every day when I see somebody's life better. The quality of life that's better for whatever reason, whatever they're facing because of a, a natural botanical extract, right. That people have been doing for a long, long time in our world.
Kannaboomers (19:26): Well, and it's an amazing story. And for those like me who want to help evangelize and be advocates for it, we have to be careful where we step. We can't make claims about the medical efficacy of CBD. Can you talk your way around that in a way that the lawyers will be okay with?
Matt Lindsey (19:44): That a tricky one. Yeah, I'll steer clear. I'll still pretty far clear from, from making any claims, that's for sure. You know, I think one thing that we can look into and that we don't have to make any claims on is just it start reading the stories that hundreds of thousands of stories now globally of, of lives impacted and, and lives being changed. I think some of those testaments to that where we don't have to point to a claim is, is seeing, you know, seeing large, large groups of, of individual individuals being sponsored by CBD companies. And I look to the athletes that we're seeing in, in our in our world today where you've it seems like everybody in the PGA is sponsored by a CBD or a hemp company. You look beyond to the other side of the sports spectrum and see the mixed martial arts community completely embrace these types of things. Whereas like you know, us hemp sorry, the USADA the anti-doping U S anti-doping as an agency has taken cannabis off of their, of their list of substances they even test for. Why is because so many athletes have said, Hey, I use this on a daily basis for X, Y, and Z and it's helping me and I'm going to keep using this because now it's a part of my daily regimen. I think. I think that's a good analogy to see like, yeah, from Dravet's syndrome to what's, you know, athletes might be using this for. There's a broad spectrum of uses here and that's a really fascinating thing. And now you're seeing companies like Sephora in the cosmetics industry go in and start making their own, just very similar to what other governing bodies another certifying bodies like the U.S. Hemp Authority are doing.
Matt Lindsey (21:27): They're going in and saying, Hey, we're going to regulate self-regulate these types of ingredients into the products that consumers are now demanding. So we're, we're seeing it at a, on a wide scale from, from heavy situations, traumatic situations to everyday uses. And the reason is because it's actually working. It's hard thing for people. Otherwise we put a sniff this out. You know, we're going now almost seven, eight years almost into what we know now as the CBD industry. You're obviously back in 2012, it was quite nascent and nobody could even pronounce cannabidiol back in those days. We still struggled to pronounce these, these these cannabinoids. And I think a lot of people don't even know what the hell these cannabinoids, what is it, cannabinoid. I mean, there's a lot to learn here, but from 2012 to today, we've seen a massive shift and I think we're going to continue to see some great responses physiologically to, to to cannabis in general. We're gonna, we're all gonna learn a lot, especially as the scientific community gets deeper and deeper into researching this. And then we're gonna start seeing some, and I think we start seeing some new products coming online too.
Kannaboomers (22:38): Sure. You know, again, you can't make claims, but I can say that people are taking it for insomnia. People were taking it for anxiety. People are taking it as an anti inflammatory that can help with pain. My contention has been for all of us, there's someone in our family for whom this medicine could have made a big difference. If you go back beyond eight years ago to 10 or 15 years ago, people with serious conditions for whom cannabis and or CBD could have made a big difference. [
Matt Lindsey (23:05): Oh yeah. That's, that's very true. That, that's, I think that's something that page and had their Jackson, Heather Jackson, who started the the, an amazing nonprofit called the Realm of Caring. They're, they're the ones that are affording some of the best research working with institutions like Johns Hopkins and Harvard and SUNY Sullivan and University of Pennsylvania and in other institutions. Looking at these cannabinoids, but you know, you've got these, these mothers and fathers who look back at their children and said, 'Hey why didn't we have a choice? Why didn't we get to choose what we put into our bodies?' And this could have mitigated brain damage in my daughter or son. As Heather and Paige have both publicly stated. And, and I think that's something to consider. That's not just something to consider. It's something to really grapple with. It's really important for society, our culture for legislators and beyond to grapple with that concept of what are, what are we holding back from, from people in giving, giving them or not giving them the ability to choose what they put inside their own bodies so long as it's not harmful to society or to others and giving people the right to choose, which I think cannabis is a basic human right. Um and I think a lot of us could, could say that. And you know, that's, that's, that's kind of a shame to look backwards. But thankfully we're, we're, we're on a new, a new wave in for, for people on the future, this'll be this will be a under the water under the bridge, thankfully.
Kannaboomers (24:39): Right. Well, and do you think that cannabis sets a template for sort of reversing the model of pharmaceutical development where a lab has a patent, there are clinical trials that can take years and years and then at the end of that, this company holds a single patent and they can charge an astronomical fee for one pill. In the case of CBD, all of that got turned on its head and you guys rushed this thing more to a person than into the market in order to save a life, many lives. So there was an urgency behind it. And to this day, we still can't claim the medical efficacy of it. But where I started with this question was, do you think that establishes a new template? I know there's people who are pushing psilocybin and other plant-based medicines. Is there a different path to the market now?
Matt Lindsey (25:30): Yeah, I think we did set a precedent, you know, and I think it's easy to say that that a psilocybin and some of the other plant medicines that are being studied and looked at and considered right now in many multiple states in our, in our, in our nation are following that cannabis path for sure. And I think that's a good thing. It does. It does set a new tone for, for how we as a society embrace what, what could be. It does give us, I think one of the best things about cannabis is that it is a catalyst for conversation, right? As a catalyst for conversation around healthcare, around politics, around beliefs and faith. It's a catalyst for a number of issues that we all, like I said earlier, need to grapple with. And so is there a new path that I could, I, I'd say probably, yeah. There there's a, there's a new path created I think, you know, coming down from the pharmaceutical you know, traditional path, this opens up a gateway for us to have two streams, right? I think there should. And I think a lot of people within the medical community and cannabis community argue for both. They, we want synthetic drugs made that the pharmaceutical companies can work with and develop. And and I, I fear that a lot of people throw the pharmaceutical industry completely under the bus when we're talking about healthcare. But let's face it, pharmaceuticals have saved us, right? They've changed the society for the better. And in many ways I think the rub is how do you educate society on how to stay healthy and how to get healthy as before pharmaceuticals are chosen or, or if farmers suitables could be avoided and, and they then what can you choose? What can you look at? What kind of natural remedies are there? And I think cannabis is showing us a new way to look into not just plant medicine, but again, to start asking bigger questions around around how we do life together.
Kannaboomers (27:28): Right. Well, and I've talked with other guests, medical doctors about this, but the nature of it is you tend to have to listen closely to your body, which is a good thing when you're talking about your health in that respect. Often it can lead to changes in diet or more exercise. But again, you and I might have an absolutely different response to the same cultivar. So there is a need to listen to your body and, and maybe the plant gets in between a health practitioner and the patient and together they work towards better wellness.
Matt Lindsey (28:00): Oh yeah. Can you imagine a society like that? Absolutely. Where you can go to your doctor and, and get some, some solid nutritional advice where you can go to your doctor and get some, some, some solid direction on, on natural remedies and functional health. I think that's a, that's a beautiful trend that we're headed towards is just this blending of both and, and paying attention. And you're right. Everybody is unique. Everybody's endocannabinoid system is unique. Everybody's body and physiology is unique. So it takes intuition and it takes time. And that's what I think we're lacking in a lot of healthcare is just the time given, right? I mean, how many times do you go to your doctor and you get a five or three brief minutes with the person before they have to rush off into the next room? That's a common story. And I think you know, what's, what's beautiful here about cannabis again, is that we're now seeing the medical community lean in, ask questions, make recommendations to their patients. And their minds have been opened up to the possibilities of what these types of supplements could do for their patients. And, and that's a great, that's a great thing.
Kannaboomers (29:05): Well, and you guys are right in the middle of it. So sometimes we talk about these ideal states in the future as if they're a dream, but what do you see in practicality in five years, 10 years? What changes could we possibly see in our healthcare system that are effected by greater acceptance of CBD and cannabis?
Matt Lindsey (29:26): That's a great question. You know I think, I think what we're, we're looking at is innovation at, at, at its core innovation for what this plant really could be and do, right? If you look at him, for example 75,000, 80,000, 100,000 different uses or, or you're looking at the the uses of CBD online, if you just start Googling those people are using it for so many different things in the, the hope that we have is as an industry is for science and innovators and manufacturers to come together and start looking at how do we look at this plant and build products that that actually make a difference that are actually good for your body and that are built well. And I think that's what the next five years we're going to start seeing. We're gonna start seeing a consolidation within the industry of, of businesses, you know, that just aren't going to be able to make it through the tumultuous waters that we're currently in. The market is, is very tumultuous. And if a organization is not sound and fit to to, you know, to be able to last through such times, then, you know, unfortunately they're not gonna make it. And that's, that is a sad situation. I hate for any business to, to collapse and see people lose money on investments. That's not fun at all. But what I look forward to for our consumers is a sense of safety and a network of companies like Charlotte's Web that are efficacious and transparent. And that's what the next five years brings to us is through, through the stability of companies that are able to last or these times. And given the fact that we have science coupling with this industry right now we will have research papers coming out in the next few years from places like Johns Hopkins and others. When I say we, I don't mean Charlotte's Web. I mean the industry where we're looking into and leaning on these research groups to bring some, some stability to the confusion and to the questions that we have. All have together. With that, with, with some answers and with some strong and innovative companies, we're going to start seeing products in the marketplace. I imagine that are going to be way better than what we're seeing today. Maybe, maybe, maybe some of these products will remain the same. Like, I feel our original formula, which is such a strong product. It's our, our best product is the product we found in this company on products like that might stay the same and, and in perpetuity for the people that rely on that. But we're gonna also start seeing new opportunities, new modalities, new ways to understand these cannabinoids.
Matt Lindsey (32:05): I think one thing that we hope for is to have an endocannabinologist at some point, right? And I don't know if that's going to be a doctor and official title or if you could graduate from medical school as an endocannabiniologist, but we envision a place where you can go get a, get a test and understand the deficiencies or the imbalances or whatever you might call it in your own endocannabinoid system and have some you know, some, some real strong recommendations based on science from a doctor on how to use some of these things.
Kannaboomers (32:37): That's the first time I've heard endocannabinoidologist and it doesn't roll off the tongue, but it's a great term and I think obviously there's a need for it. You touched on a lot right there and I, I want to kind of circle around and say, you know, we know there are, I don't know, there's a hundred or more cannabinoids. There's a hundred or more terpines there's this crazy matrix of possibilities, medicinal possibilities and big companies, big organizations aren't always the best at innovation. I mean, it's crazy too that we're talking about this plant substance that humans have been interacting with for literally thousands of years. So to think that it's innovative, yeah, we have electron microscopes now. We can look at the molecules and we can see what's going on and drill in far deeper than we could just a hundred years ago. But the possibilities are almost endless, which is pretty exciting.
Matt Lindsey (33:27): No, yeah, I'm eager to see it all, all kind of come to fruition and, and again, be a part of that process. And I think for you too, Tom, it's, it's really important to cover what is happening today. Like I said towards the beginning of our conversation, we're all kind of making history together, right? And that comes with loads, in my mind, it comes with loads of responsibility to be a history maker. If you're at the forefront of something like this, then then embracing it with a sense of responsibility and humility is paramount for, for society to really understand and learn. Right? We, we learned from the past when dealing with things like marijuana, what not to do, whether it was the way the, that we talked about at what or whether it was the way it was regulated by the federal government or the way it was used or the way that people use. I think there's a new a new availability on education, on just how to use cannabis in general. And these are all new things to us. We're all brand new to this industry and the world as far as we know, it has never had a hemp industry before. Right? There's never been a CBD industry until 2012-ish. There's never been a cannabis industry like we'd seen it today before. And, and so we have a lot to learn. We have a lot to learn.
Kannaboomers (34:45): Well, and that kind of brings us full circle back to where we started with your job description as the social responsibility guy. And you know, we've talked about this very complex scenario and environment out there. It seems to me some of what you're saying is while it's very complex, it's also simple. You've got to do the right thing.
Matt Lindsey (35:03): Yeah, that's, that's, that's exactly it. You know, I think here, so here's some interesting that I, I think the consumers of our world today are really, and I, and I consider myself part of that. You are part of that we're all part of this, you know, consumer body. But what we're all saying for companies today is, 'Hey, get your act together. Show us that you're doing it right. Prove it. Show us how you're, how you're doing. Good. In your world around you, how are you treating your stakeholders in your community? How are you treating your vendors? How are you treating your employees? What's going on the depths of your company?' As a consumer, I want to know that. And the more I know, the more I'm able to vote with my dollar, the more I'm available to buy a product with a sense of trust and confidence in it based on the actions of the company and the actions of their operators, their actions of their directors. Uh the way that the stakeholders in the community look at that company and the kind of comments that you read, the kinds of reviews that you see that you can look into what is going on in this company. And that's what's really fascinating to me is to see a whole new, a whole new epoch before us in the sense that, you know, 15 years ago, not even that long ago, you couldn't look at, you couldn't really eat it, really know what was going inside the four walls of the business, right? It's only until recently where you've seen companies get exposed to the way that they are doing business. And I'm seeing the traps that they've set for consumers are seeing what they've done wrong against the environment, how they've treated people, where they're sourcing their products, where the factories are located and what's going on inside those factories and with the humans that are making the products overseas.
Matt Lindsey (36:48): I mean there's so many different scenarios that we've seen more recently we've seen how corporate culture in lack of running a good business can really harm you in a massive way. Like, look at Boeing, look at Wells Fargo, look at we work, look at Uber, right? There's so many recently in the last year or two where we've seen companies who weren't mindful to the, to what mattered most. When you're talking about caring for society or people the planet around you when you're not being mindful of those types of things, then what, what it could cost you in reputational value in our world today matters a great deal. I mean you mess up once. Well, once is enough. Cause there's Twitter and there's Facebook and there's Instagram and there's all these others, social media platforms where that gets shouted out over the, over the internet within milliseconds, virtually, right in the world knows. And so what do you do? You, you stay accountable. You stay, you stay in a position where I think I mentioned earlier too, you gotta you've got to be humble enough. A company has to be humble enough. And the, of course that that's exuded and exemplified by the by the operators and directors of that company and the employees of that company. But you got to stay in a position where you're humble enough to make the right choice, the right decision at every step in the road. You know, you look at companies like Patagonia who a lot of people look at that company is as a premier example of transparency and doing it right. And they are in a lot of ways doing it right and they are transparent, but they're not a hundred percent perfect. And you know, what, what are they doing about that? They're being very honest with society about their supply chain and about where they're getting products and how the gaps in their own system and how that's impeding them from being their ultimate best in at least they're honest with it. And they can show me as a consumer how they're trying to crack those, those nuts, so to speak, of supply chain and sourcing and fair trade and some of these bigger concepts. But I think if a company is not trying their hardest and not seeking help and not asking their employees and not asking their consumers or what they could be doing better, then they're, they're losing ground quickly. Because the future of being a consumer is being able to buy a product, whatever that product might be, a car or a CBD tincture or anything, you're going to be able to understand the kind of company you're getting it from, and then you're going to be able to vote with your dollar much more. Um you know, honestly. And so I'm proud of Charlotte's Web to be able to put that forward. And in 2017 we officially made a social responsibility division at Charlotte's where we were always a social responsible company. We were in fact our first DBA, her first business name was Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises, which doesn't really come off the tongue very well either like endocannabinologist. It's is like what? What is the Stanley Brothers Social Enterprise is what does that even mean? And business advisors at the time, a good friend, Lynn Keller and others were like, wait guys, that doesn't really resonate. What does it even mean? And it's, those are good questions when it comes to marketability of a business, but what that show is is the heartbeat of the Stanley brothers in the family. They, they knew like, 'Hey, if we're going to build a business around this, then it's going to be a social enterprise.' We're going to, we're going to charge the least amount possible for these families. We're going to keep them in mind first. We want to try to get them in a position where they can continually have this in an affordable way. And so, you know, being a social socially minded team at that time, we've just continued on that. And for a lot of years we weren't doing it really well in the sense of, of capturing a strategic or a strategy around how to do that. Well. That's why in 2017 after giving away millions of dollars, giving away millions of dollars also in product for free doing a lot of philanthropy just shooting from the hip just because Joel Stanley and Jesse and Jared Stanley, that's the way they wanted to do it. Like, 'Hey, that person needs some product, send it to them. This organization needs some help, let's jump in and help them.' At times even to the detriment of the business. And as a P and L and that's where things change. In 2017 when we said, 'Hey, who is managing our philanthropy? Who's, what are we doing with all this stuff we're giving away and money, we're giving away. What, how are we doing it? Why are we doing it? What's our focus? What's our mission around it?' Umnd that was an aha moment for the board of directors at the time and for the management team at the time. And for myself.
Kannaboomers (41:30): Well you gave us a lot to chew on there, but you talk about transparency and you talked earlier about innovation and you know, radical transparency is an innovation that maybe it's time for that to be embraced and it's like a perfect storm for it because again, you talk about a plant that's ancient in its relationship with people, but now we have new ways to find out, okay it's got CBG, it's got CBN, it's got all these other things that have applications and how do we go about bringing that to our customers? You know, I think what you described is a scenario where you're in a partnership with your customers and you want to hear from them and you want to know, does this work? Did we say the right thing? Is this working for you? Radical transparency I think is a concept whose time has come in business.
Matt Lindsey (42:18): Yeah, yeah. 100%. And you know, that's something every business is going to have to grow through individually and it looks a little bit different inside each business in the context, you know, might, might cause a business to do it one way or another. But yes, you're right. I agree with you. Transparency is key.
Kannaboomers (42:34): You know, there's the blockchain that comes into this and being able to trace the origin of things maybe that becomes a part of it down the road too. Yeah.
Matt Lindsey (42:44): Oh, that would be interesting. I wouldn't doubt it if it does.
Kannaboomers (42:47): Matt, I want to ask you, what excites you most about this business?
Matt Lindsey (42:51): Well, for Charlotte's Web we have, we have so much going for us, man, we, you know, the, the pressure on this industry currently on March 9, 2020 is pretty heavy, right? There's a lot going on in our world today to put pressure against us. But what we see and what I'm excited about is a continual growth of business so that we can help more people. Our, our mission is to democratize CBD and to get it to the hands into the hands of everyone that relies upon it. That's always been our mission. That'll continue to be our mission. We're going to continue to do that with innovative products and to refine processes and re refine our strategy and to be a resilient enterprise. That's, that's the goal so that we can continue to help people. We, we started off with you know, with, with all heart and now we've coupled heart with mind and strategy with, with a great community of people and a tribe of people within the, within Charlotte's Web that all want to do the right thing for society and for our customers. Um and that excites me because that says to me, the sky is the limit. There are, there is nothing stopping us if we stay in lock step as a team, which we're doing really, really well at Charlotte's web. We've had our ups and downs as any business does, especially when a business is going through such exponential growth. There's no way around. It doesn't matter what industry you're in, it's going to be tough. It's gonna be hard. But we've, we've made it through some really difficult times. And as you know, Tom, this industry is rife with roadblocks, right? It always has been. So I think a lot of us are, we're all tough skinned now. I think a lot of people, not just in Charlotte's Web but in other businesses are they're tough-skinned to the matters at hand. Meaning that, Hey, yeah, we've, we've been here, done that. We can, we can make it, it's another fight. But here we are. We're, we're bad already. And we're gonna we're here till the end. And so for Charlotte's Web, I'm excited about the future because we have such a strong team, bright minds, heartfelt individuals, passionate individuals, and we're going to do some great work out in the future for the industry. Maybe, maybe some of the same stuff. I think we're going to see consolidation, which is going to be helpful for your consumers. There's over 3,000 CBD companies that popped up out of nowhere. We need to trim that down to an understanding of which companies are doing it right and give consumers you know, the hand that they need to make the decisions when it comes to purchasing CBD and hemp products and cannabis products in general, and give them the help they need to, to know where to get it, how to get it, what the company's about, et cetera. So I'm excited to see the industry evolve in that way. And then I'm excited to see the industry partner with research institutions. I think that's one of the biggest gaps in the industry beyond education. That would be the third thing I would add, but research so that we can understand science and what's happening in our bodies and an education to the general consumer. There's a, a massive gap in education out there. People don't understand necessarily what's going on with these products or how it could help them or or, or, or where to get it or which one to buy. 'Do I buy the one off the, you know, the, the shelf at 7/11 or do I do I order one from a company that's, you know, online?' How does, how does a consumer decide these things? It's a really sad situation for consumers right now with education, so I'm excited to see education come forward in a unified way. Hopefully we can do some industry community education announcements. Maybe we can, we can do some shared initiatives as an industry. And you know, going back to my role at Charlotte's web as a, the head of social responsibility that is actually one of my 2020 goals is to partner with other hemp and cannabis companies to do good work in Colorado and beyond.
Kannaboomers (46:47): Wow, that's a long list of things, but it's exciting to have definite work in front of you that's going to make a positive impact as we go forward. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to be with us. Is there anything we haven't covered that we should?
Matt Lindsey (46:59): No, this is, this has been great. No, I feel like if, if your listeners can walk away knowing that Charlotte's Web is on the right path, both in the way that we're, we're building products but also in the way that we're using our profits for good. I think that that's, that's what I, that's what I was really hoping for is to be able to get that out to consumers and hopefully they understand us a little bit more as a business, maybe understand little bit more of the heartbeat. Your, your podcast is covering so many great areas of topics within the industry. So thank you for, for sussing it out, for bringing this out to so many people that need it. I think when I look at that educational gap, you're, you're helping fill that gap. So so thank you so much for your work.
Kannaboomers (47:44): Well, thank you. We can find you at Charlotte's Web.com and I assume on Twitter and Facebook and all the usual places.
Matt Lindsey (47:50): That's exactly right. Yup.
Kannaboomers (47:52): And I do want to mention again that we do have a special discount code for our listeners. That's Kboom, K, B, O, O, M. Go to Charlotte's Web.com and include that when your order and you'll get a special discount of 15% thanks, Matt for being here. Really appreciate it. Great show, and thanks for sharing your passion and expertise with all of our listeners,
Matt Lindsey (48:12): Right. Oh, I know that you're so very welcome and thanks for opportunity.
Speaker 2 (48:15): You've been listening to, Let's Talk About Weed, the Kannaboomers podcast with Thomas J for more on medicinal cannabis for baby boomers. Visit us at Kannaboomers dot com.