Providing Self Care Experiences With Functional Cannabis

The various stresses and challenges of modern life drive an unmet need for selfcare products, with many people turning to a range of prescriptions and over-the-counter medicines, as well as alcohol, to provide relief. However, consumers are increasingly seeking a plant-based alternative for many of their wellness needs, with three out of four adults expressing interest in cannabis as a medicine to treat pain, anxiety, sleep problems, and other needs.

Despite the evidence showing the benefits of cannabis and the public interest in cannabis products, there is a lack of consistent, low-dose, cannabis products on the market that are properly designed to deliver positive experiences to the broader consumer population beyond more traditional heavy users. With its expanding line of functional oral solid dose (OSD) and edible cannabis products targeting specific user needs and providing unique experiences, 1906 is positioned to serve this growing market need.


A Familiar Resurfacing in Pharma

Before cannabis was stigmatized in 1906 with the Pure Food and Drug Act, it was one of the most widely used medicines in history, holding a prominent place in pharmacopoeia throughout the world. As one of the pioneering states in the legalization of medical and recreational cannabis, Colorado was the perfect starting point to evaluate the cannabis industry, which is why we made it the home base for 1906.

After  researching the market, we found that heavy users were targeted almost exclusively, with companies offering products that had the highest tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) potencies at the cheapest price. Any alternative, non-smoked dosage forms that we encountered were essentially just different flavors of cannabis in the form of low-quality gummies and repurposed candy. But what about users who weren’t looking to get “stoned?” — high-functioning adults looking to feel a particular way, without using alcohol or other pharmaceuticals, in an experience that is fast-acting, low-dose, consistently predictable, and highly accessible? Companies had seemingly ignored what we found to be a huge opportunity in the cannabis market.

To CBD, or not to CBD?

While the cannabidiol (CBD) market is exploding nationwide, with products ranging from topical ointments, to edibles, to lattes (to name only a few), the overall cannabis market offers very little in the form of a balanced product — most products on the market are formulated to be exclusively CBD or high THC with little to no CBD. With many people somewhat afraid of “getting high,” they opt for the THC-free CBD option, which promises a variety of benefits without the psychoactive effects. However, most CBD products are unable to deliver on all of their label claims, and the industry as a whole lacks the regulatory rigor to provide quality control and consistency of outcomes.

Conversely, THC-only products may come with undesired side effects for many people, including anxiety, paranoia, and “the munchies;” it is with all of this in mind that 1906 decided to take a more nuanced approach with its line of products, offering balanced experiences that specifically address the individual needs of its consumers, combining both the THC and CBD aspects of cannabis with other plant medicines to arrive at holistically pleasurable end products targeted to specific consumer experiences.

Generally, people are not satisfied with the array of selfcare products targeting fundamental wellness needs like insomnia, anxiety, and energy on the market today, including over-the-counter and prescription drugs. Recent studies have indicated that 76% of Americans report that they would be open to trying cannabis if it could help in some aspect of their lives, making the consideration of cannabis use exceptionally high. With the exception of our relaxation product, “Chill,” all 1906 products offer a balanced, 1:1 ratio of CBD to THC, maximizing the benefits of each to create satisfying outcomes. Our goal is to create a low-dose, functional product that can be incorporated into a consumer’s normal routine and provide an alternative for heavy-dose products that cause undesired side effects.

A Quality Lineup of Pleasurable Experiences

1906 is in the business of promoting health and happiness, in contrast to the typical pharmaceutical approach, which involves telling consumers that they are sick and providing a medication to help them, albeit with a set of undesired side effects. We are dedicated to providing the highest quality options to consumers in the form of confections and OSD tablets, with other delivery systems in R&D. We started with chocolate products because, ultimately, our experiences are about pleasure, and what better way to spark pleasure than to incorporate the most well-loved flavor in the world? However, we realize that confections are not for everyone, nor is it always possible to make a great-tasting chocolate edible with the required ingredients in our formulations. It also seemed peculiar that cannabis as a medicine was not available in the most widely prevalent medicinal format, so we decided to utilize the delivery system most common to people around the world — OSD pills, which we have affectionately renamed “Drops,” again, to position our products as supplements to promote well-being rather than treatments for illness. Vibrant packaging matches each accessibly shaped Drop, all designed to improve the traditional pill-taking experience and make it more accessible, even celebratory.

There are six products and seven use cases in the product line, including “Go” for energy, “Chill” for relaxation, “Love” for arousal, “Bliss” for euphoria, “Midnight” for sleep and pain management, and “Genius” for cognitive focus. Each product is available in Drop form, and all Drops are vegan and gluten-free with zero calories. They activate in 20 minutes or less, making them the fastest-acting edibles on the market. Beyond Drops, all of the other products (with the exception of Genius) are available in one or more other edible forms, including peanut butter cups and chocolate “gems” and “beans,” allowing consumers to choose the solution that best suits their lifestyle and preferences. With a line of beverage versions currently in R&D, and a propensity for innovation, the sky is the limit for consumer choice in the future.

Products at A Glance

Genius is the first cannabis edible developed specifically to enhance focus. It contains the lowest dose of THC of all 1906 products, at 2.5mg. It is formulated with herbal extracts, including Rhodiola to optimize brain function, Bacopa to help improve memory and reduce stress, galangal for sustained alertness, and a combination of l-theanine, theobromine, and caffeine for sustained energy and lucid thinking. Genius is available as a Drop.

Midnight is an all-natural sleep aid and 1906’s best-selling product. Its key ingredient, an extract of the herb corydalis, has been used for millennia and contains sedative properties to help users fall asleep. It also targets pain and tension to help one stay asleep without grogginess, dizziness, or vertigo. Midnight is available in Drops as well as dark milk chocolate gems.

Go is an all-natural performance enhancer for brain and body to boost and sustain energy. By combining an optimal blend of plant medicines, caffeine, and cannabis, users enjoy a boost to mental and physical energy without the crash, jitters, or increased blood pressure of alternative energy products. Go is available in Drops, dark chocolate beans, and dark chocolate gems.

Love combines optimal doses of five herbal aphrodisiacs and sense-enhancing cannabis to create an equal-opportunity product that works well across genders. It increases blood flow to the pelvic area, boosting sensation while simultaneously helping one relax. Love is available in Drops, dark milk chocolate beans, and dark milk chocolate gems.

Chill is the perfect mix of single-strain THC and a high dose of CBD. Unique among our products, it is formulated in a 5 mg THC to 25 mg CBD ratio, as well as magnolia and l-theanine, two stress-reducing plant medicines known for their relaxing properties. It’s great for unwinding and soothing anxiety and is a great replacement for traditional anxiety medications. Chill is available in Drops and dark milk chocolate gems.

Bliss is a euphoric blend of plant medicines and cannabis that promotes happiness and well-being. It includes an extract of Sceletium tortuosum, or “Kanna”, an African succulent plant that has been used for centuries to elevate mood, reduce anxiety and stress, and increase energy, all while enhancing the euphoric effects of cannabis. Bliss is available in Drops, milk chocolate peanut butter cups, and dark milk chocolate peanut butter cups.

Formulation and Manufacturing

We have two fundamental beliefs at 1906 — cannabis is an amazing plant medicine, but there are other plant medicines for which people should have access; and cannabis alone cannot provide sufficiently distinct, predictable, and consistent effects across people, owing to the variability of the plant itself and users’ experiences, necessitating formulations that also include other plant medicines. After years of R&D and an understanding that, although traditional medicinal approaches are usually single-molecule, this is not how we interact with medicine in practice. Doctors routinely prescribe a variety of medications to treat the same conditions, and it is in that spirit that our formulations incorporate multiple plant ingredients to achieve the desired outcomes.

Take our energy product, “Go” for instance — we realize that caffeine is the best central nervous stimulant in the world, but it has a number of negative side effects, such as crash, jitters, and increased blood pressure. To counteract these undesired effects, Go contains Alpinia galangal, which is known to impede the caffeine crash and improve sustained attention. Go also contains l-theanine to counteract jitters, and theobromine to keep blood pressure stable, further offsetting issues associated with caffeine. The entire product line was created with the best user experience in mind, so combining other beneficial plant medicines with cannabis to achieve desired effects and adding other ingredients to manage side effects is paramount in our formulation process.

Another key aspect of our formulation process is our holistic approach; while many cannabis products sacrifice taste for potency, this would be an egregious misstep in a methodology designed to elicit a positive and pleasurable experience from beginning to end. Our formulation for Genius serves as a prime example. In earlier iterations, we tried to combine ingredients like Rhodiola, Bacopa, galangal, L-theanine, theobromine, caffeine, THC and CBD into chocolate form — but determined that the results were less than delicious. As such, we pivoted to a Drop-only iteration of Genius that ensured the user experience would be as delightful as it is functional. 

All manufacturing is done in-house, as it is the only way we can ensure our products meet our quality standards. 1906 products are predictable and fast-acting, creating peace of mind for users in knowing they can expect an onset effect of 15–25 minutes and a duration of 2–2.5 hours (such predictability is almost unheard of in the edibles industry). Beyond quality control, there is a dearth of contract development and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) with experience with cannabis products, at least in part because the final formulation (specifically the addition of THC) must take place in the state where the final product will be sold. However, due to our adeptness and GMP-certified processes, we have emerged as an industry leader and have begun to provide contract development and manufacturing services for other cannabis companies.

A Nutraceutical Company with “High” Internal Standards

Since cannabis legalization began, the broadest range of product options have centered around smokables, but carcinogens and lung damage should not be the price of entry for the benefits of cannabis. With this in mind, 1906’s product line features non-smokable products. We deliver edible solutions designed with the consumer in mind because, at our core, we are a dietary supplement company aiming to revolutionize selfcare one edible at a time.

All of our products undergo rigorous potency testing, and although cannabis products are not regulated by the FDA (given that THC is still not legal under federal legislation), we aim to be transparent in everything we do; we operate at a much higher bar than what state regulations currently require. For each of the various experiences, we employ a disciplined screening criterion, evaluating the safety and toxicity profile to ensure all products are completely safe, and each product must be sufficiently potent that it works in a single dose and can fit in the Drops and confections. We also collect consumer feedback to account for and make adjustments to our products to serve the needs of some of the more anomalous negative experiences, ensuring that the product works for everyone.

1906 is also committed to conducting clinical research in the big pharma model to show the benefits of our products in a traditional scientific manner. We are currently awaiting IRB approval to study the effects of our Midnight product to measure its effect on sleep onset, sleep duration, sleep architecture, and how one feels in the morning based on the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index. Recognizing that insomnia is an epidemic, we are committed to providing a solution to help the 70% of Americans who suffer from it at least once per month, and this science-based approach is inherent across the entire product line.

Final Thoughts

1906 is on a mission to create amazing self care experiences through low-dose functional cannabis consumption. Our rigorous standards combine with a deep understanding of our target demographic, which generally includes refined, sophisticated individuals who are looking for a functional outcome rather than a psychoactive recreational experience. Our goals are ambitious, but we are well-positioned to become the most recognized cannabis company in the country as an everyday product. With manufacturing sites set to open in Massachusetts, Michigan, and Illinois in early 2020 and New Jersey in early 2021, we believe we are poised to become the future of cannabis and more importantly, the future of selfcare.

Peter Barsoom

Prior to founding 1906, Peter Barsoom had an extensive career in finance and business strategy, holding a variety of senior management positions at leading institutions including American Express, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley, BlueMountain Capital, and Intercontinental Exchange. In September of 2018, Barsoom was recognized by “Entrepreneur” magazine as one of the Top 100 Leaders in Cannabis. He serves on the board of numerous leading cannabis industry associations including: the Marijuana Industry Group, the Cannabis Trade Federation, Colorado Leads, the New Jersey Cannabis Industry Association, and the Florida Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee