Adam D. Grossman is the Founder and Executive Chairman of the Board of Papa & Barkley, a leading California wellness company selling cannabis-based pain and wellness products including topical balms and transdermal patches, along with consumables including tinctures and capsules.
Prior to Papa & Barkley, Adam was the Chief Operating Officer of Northeast Dental Management, a multi-state private equity sponsored multi-brand operator of dental offices. Grossman is an active investor and serves on the board of several privately held companies.
He received his undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Massachusetts and his JD and MBA degrees from Georgetown University. He is active in charitable organizations and community development projects in Dallas, New York City, and Buenos Aires, Argentina.
In this interview, Adam shares with us his background, how he founded Papa & Barkley, and their new stress-relief products. More importantly, he educates us on safe and responsible cannabis consumption and the risks of buying cannabis on the black market. He also talks about correct dosing practices as well as tips for first-time consumers. Read the full interview below.
Ganjly: What was your inspiration behind your decision to co-found Papa & Barkley?
Adam D. Grossman: Papa & Barkley emerged from a life-changing experience I had with my father back in 2014. He was hospitalized then placed in at-home hospice care in Massachusetts, bedridden with severe back pain from spinal stenosis.
None of the prescription medicine was working. At the suggestion of a friend in California, I researched cannabis-based pain balm formulas on YouTube, then borrowed a neighbor’s crockpot and, using cannabis from a friend, created a powerful pain balm that made it possible for me to get my dad out of bed and ultimately off hospice. It was incredibly inspiring and I began giving samples of the balm to friends and family with amazing results. I wanted to find a way to share the power of the plant with others in need, so I launched Papa & Barkley, naming it after my father (whose grandchildren called him Papa) and his loyal rescued pit bull, Barkley, who was constantly by his side offering warmth, love, and support. Our first product was the Releaf Balm – made with a nearly identical formula to the one I used for my dad.
What makes Papa & Barkley products different from other cannabis products on the market?
Papa & Barkley makes all-natural products, without using chemicals. The company follows a Solventless Whole Plant philosophy – our brand mission is to create products that are better for you, your family, and all your loved ones. Our formulations are always handcrafted using solventless whole plant infusion processes. Solventless means chemicals are never introduced at any point in our manufacturing process. Whole plant means we keep the plant whole or intact, preserving its full natural nutrient profile. Unlike harsh chemical extraction processes that break the plant apart, our unique approach maintains the integrity of the plant’s natural cannabinoids, terpenes, and phytonutrients because that’s how the plant works best – a phenomenon known as the Entourage Effect. Our methods ensure that all Papa & Barkley products provide maximum efficacy and without harmful chemicals or residual solvents.
What are some of the main consumer safety risks that exist in the market today when it comes to cannabis consumption? What are the risks associated with buying unregulated cannabis in the black market?
The main consumer safety risk associated with buying cannabis from the unregulated “traditional” market is a lack of testing. Cannabis is a bioaccumulator, which means it uptakes any pesticides, microbials, or heavy metals in the soil it’s grown in. it’s important to only use flower or products that are tested by a qualified lab. If you’re buying flower, it’s also good to know the farm the flower was grown on, so you can ensure the farmer is using organic principles.
Most cannabis you buy in dispensaries is clean due to California testing requirements, but it’s always a good idea to ask to see the COA (certificate of analysis) associated with a product. Papa & Barkley makes all COAs available via QR codes on our products – just scan the QR code on any product to review a digital copy. We test our products at three different stages (flower, extract, final product) to certify there are no pesticides, mycotoxins, heavy metals, microbials, or residual solvents.
We already know we shouldn’t operate a motor vehicle or other dangerous machinery while impaired by cannabis. How can one consume cannabis responsibly?
Many of our products are non-psychoactive topicals or CBD-rich formulations that don’t get you high. My advice would be not to consume a THC-rich ingestible, like tincture or edibles, or inhale flower or oil before operating a vehicle of any kind. If you’re experiencing discomfort and know you’ll be driving, opt for a topical product instead like our 1:3 Releaf Balm. With topicals, cannabinoids don’t enter into the bloodstream, so there is no risk of psychoactive effects.
Another option is to use a CBD-rich ingestible like our 30:1 Releaf Tincture since CBD does not produce a high as THC does. If you’re going to go this route, make sure you have tried the product before and you know how the dose affects you. Even though CBD does not cause a high, it can occasionally make people feel drowsy, which is not ideal if you’re driving.
What advice can you give to those that want to try cannabis for the first time?
My advice for those trying cannabis for the first time is to start with a non-psychoactive topical like our 1:3 Releaf Balm or a CBD-rich ingestible like our 30:1 Releaf Tincture since those won’t produce a high. When taking a CBD-rich Capsule or Tincture, make sure you’re using it consistently in the same dosage for at least 7 days to assess how you feel. CBD has cumulative effects, which means it takes about a week for the CBD to store up in your fat cells and then produce benefits. It also helps to eat avocado or other healthy, fatty food while taking our tinctures – it makes them more bioavailable.
Another tip for those new to cannabis is to purchase Whole Plant Full Spectrum products made with chemical-free solventless infusion since those methods ensure the products are clean and full of beneficial plant matter. Sometimes I hear from people that CBD hasn’t worked for them and oftentimes they either haven’t taken it consistently or they’re using a product made with CBD isolate, which lacks the other beneficial compounds of the plant.
What is a safe and unsafe amount of THC to consume? Can you share dosing best practices?
THC and CBD dosing are highly personal since all of our bodies, and thus, all our endocannabinoid systems are unique. If you’re new to THC, I recommend starting low and slow. I find our Releaf Tinctures are a great entry product since they come with measured droppers that make it easy to personalize your dose. A quarter dropper (.25ml) of our 1:3 Releaf Tincture has about 1-2mg of CBD and 5-6mg of THC, so a few drops is a great starting point. You can take them sublingually (under the tongue), wait about 30 minutes, and then see how you feel.
For those more experienced with THC, it’s important to think about the purpose of your consumption. If you’re using THC for intense pain, you’ll likely need a higher dose to get your body to a state of equilibrium than if you’re using THC for milder pain. If you’re using THC for dull pain or for stress, you may need fewer milligrams than you think, especially if you’re using a high-quality, Whole Plant Full Spectrum product full of the plant’s beneficial plant matter.
My advice here is the same as it is for newbies – start low and slow and see how you feel. You can always increase your dose as needed or graduate to stronger products. For example, if you’re loving the 1:3 Releaf Tincture, which has about 23mg of THC per full dropper, you can try our THC25 Releaf Capsules, which have about 25mg of THC per Capsule.
Can you share with us the new stress-relief products that Papa & Barkley just released just in time for the holidays?
On the California dispensary side, we recently launched our new Sleep Releaf Collection – consisting of Capsules, Tincture, Blackberry Elderberry Gummies, and Pomegranate Dark Chocolate. All the products are infused with a powerful balance of CBD for relaxation, THC for comfort, and CBN for sedative effects. We conducted the first in-home use test on a CB-infused product in California, with 90 participants using the product for two weeks, and participants reported the Sleep Releaf products helped them sleep one more hour per night.*
They also helped participants fall asleep 20 minutes faster, and wake up refreshed with little to no side effects, including grogginess.*
Under our national CBD product line, we recently launched 4 holiday gift sets, the Bliss Set, Ultimate Bliss Set, Sleep Set, and Recovery Set. All are available on www.papaandbarkleycbd.com. The Bliss Set and Ultimate Bliss Set are the perfect gifts for you and your loved ones who deserve some Releaf and relaxation. The Bliss Set delivers ultimate comfort and calm, making it easier to be present and enjoy this holiday season to its fullest. It includes Releaf Drops to ease stress and help the body recover from within, Releaf Balm to offer deep targeted relief for aching areas and sore muscles, and a candle to provide an extra touch of relaxation. The Ultimate Bliss Set is filled with our CBD fan-favorites, including the Releaf Drops and Releaf Balm, along with Releaf Softgels to help the body recover and recharge from within, Releaf Body Oil to provide head-to-toe relaxation and skin hydration, and a tote bag to carry your wellness essentials.
*Based on the average self-reported experience of over 90 participants, who used The Sleep Tincture for two weeks at one full dropper per night. The cannabinoid ratio is the same for all Papa & Barkley CBN Sleep Releaf products, individual results may vary.
Thank you, Adam, for taking the time to do the interview. For more information about Adam and his company, head on over to PapaandBarkleyCBD.com.