White Fox Medicinals produces strain specific topicals and tinctures that blends CBD and THC with other healing herbs. Reaching into the heart of alchemy, their approach to cannabis and wellness is through preventative medicine and overall health and vitality. Scarlet Ravin is the maven behind the spirit-driven medicine company. We caught up with her ahead of their new product launch party to talk cultivation, holistic healing and Ayurvedic extraction.
Cannabis Aficionado: When did you get the idea for White Fox Medicinals? When did you start that journey?
Scarlet Ravin: I started White Fox Medicinals about maybe ten years ago, twelve years ago, as a holistic health practice. It was called White Fox Holistic and the White Fox is a shapeshifter to me so it’s able to be hidden or seen and as a medicine person then I can shapeshift into what my client needs as medicine that day. So I saw that as that symbolism.
When I moved into cultivating cannabis I transferred that into my topicals and tinctures that I was making for my clients. Which was the birth of White Fox Medicinals, the first cannabis topical tincture line for White Fox.
When you say that it started as a holistic medicine company…?
Oh, holistic health practice. I’m a certified CMT, certified in Shiatzu, acupressure, yoga teacher, Kundalini teacher and I would facilitate massages, but they were also more spirit driven. Physical touch, yes. Psychic stuff too, also, was present. And then tuning into people and making specific herbal remedies for them and then blending that into an oil and then applying that oil during their treatment and then making custom tinctures for their internal situation.
When I found the profound, incredible ability that cannabis has to touch on the mental and spiritual levels where other herbs focus more on the physical. So, when I started adding cannabis I saw a change happen in my clients a lot quicker and a lot more profound than without the cannabis herb inside.
So it was sort of by accident?
Yeah, it was definitely an experiment. I had a couple of patients that were using me consistently and I had always been using herbs and the ones that were open to cannabis. I offered that to them and they received it. Their transformations happened in a completely different manner with their mind being affected and their spirits being affected, having the issues that they’re facing turn around so much more quickly.
And then when the cannabis laws went into legal then I knew I needed another way to pay my income other than growing because that was going to be a null and void option due to legalities. So I created a brand and started promoting the brand to enter into the legal market.
You’re going to come out on the legal market. It seems like you have an expanded idea of these lines, like, there’s more coming, more Ayurvedic formulas. What’s next for White Fox Medicinals?
There’s an amazing famous artist that I’m collaborating with right now who advocates for plant spirit awareness and honoring plants in that realm — him and his wife. I am working directly with Jason Edwards currently and I’m telling him what I want in this blend — all the herbs are to be from India directly and native and my awareness is mostly around native herb in this area. He’s helping me formulate a blend specifically for creativity and mind stamina. So there will be a nice piece of artwork that you can hold in your vape battery and then the formulation will be to boost and enhance creativity with the packaging being designed by him as well. So there will be a really cool artistic pen coming out that’s going to blow peoples’ minds for sure.
That’s awesome. When do you think that’s going to happen?
I think we will have the design prepared and the formulations prepared by end of March which is probably looking at June/July launch into the market.
When you launch your products where are you going to be available initially?
Every dispensary in California! Haha! I don’t know. So my work right now is to gain those preorders.
In general, are you going to be all over California?
I’m working closely to get into MenMen. I’d like to license the brand in New York. I’d like to have it be a national thing and follow the MenMen trail of Las Vegas. So I’m working with a PR guy for that. We’re definitely going to start in the hub. San Francisco will get hit pretty hard. Los Angeles will get hit pretty hard and then we’ll slowly expand out. This area for sure, the Sonoma County area, they’ll all be carrying the product lines.
We have a big launch party [planned]. White Fox is working with Jason [Edwards] has an ancient Ayurvedic extraction facility in India and he’s got a, his business platform is that he goes into these really desolate locations in India where people don’t have jobs or food or money and he gives them the herbs to grow for him and then they grow that and then he pays them to buy that back and extracts them. The formulations for these specific effects in the new vape pen line are directly from ancient Ayruvedic traditions.
I purchase that organic, CO2-extracted oil from him, I bring it back here and add CBD and THC, and then that’s what birthed the vape line which is going to be released on the market at the end of November. And then we’re going to have a White Fox Medicinals launch into legal celebration November 18th at the Great Northern in San Francisco and we’re going to screen a music video that we built as a marketing campaign for the vape line.
The vape lines are for dreams. So, you can smoke the dream pen before bed or actually any time in the day. It will relax you because the THC-to-CBD ratio is for relaxation. And then the herbs, once you fall asleep, the herbs will give you multiple dreams and you’ll be able to remember them when you wake which has been something that people speak to with cannabis, when smoking cannabis before bed is that they don’t dream anymore. So this was the remedy to be able to maintain that insight from those realms, still satiate yourself with the cannabis spirit and then have that come into your waking life
And then we have two sex pens, one formulated for men specifically, enhance stamina, increase sexual desire and increase sensitivity, both for men and women. Sidecar Tommy who’s a friend – he’s the drummer and producer of beats antique – he wrote a song called White Fox and we filmed a music video to it smoking the pens, and we showed you our dream world and our sexy nightlife world and we’re showing that for the first time at that party.
I’m interested in this nexus point between the spiritual and the medicine and the way that you talk about this word medicine that is not the normal Western way of using the word ‘medicine’. I want to know where that comes from and what, for you, that nexus point really is, besides the fact that you saw it in other people and were able to practice it. What is your personal experience and what are you trying to share?
My goal, my end goal for this life is to be the medicine. So, me showing up in a room is that vibrational medicine that people need to change their life or to have a healing shift. That is my goal. What I see when I say medicine – and I’m talking about the cannabis topical tincture line or the vape line – to me, those are external tools that can bring us to those points in awareness where we see deeper layers of ourselves. We can release past traumas, we can step into our greater power. Through utilizing that practice over and over again, going deeper and deeper and deeper into our own layers the more know ourselves truly and enter into love, truly, and enter into happy thoughts truly then we are the medicine ourselves. Our actions are benefiting in healing the planet.
I honor and love all of these external processes of “let’s heal the planet, let’s clean the ocean”. Yeah, let’s all do that but I believe it starts inside of our own bodies. If you’re truly in love with yourself, and you truly know yourself and know your heart and your soul, you’re not going to litter. You’re not going to not recycle. You’re going to treat the planet with respect because you treat yourself with respect. To me, that’s the healing of absolutely everything in this world, is that we all strive to become medicine.
Working with cannabis and the spirit of cannabis to me, her inside and all the different perspectives she shares with me has led me deeper into knowing myself and deeper into feeling that greater pull to be the medicine myself. I feel that all kinds of external herbal spirits have that ability. Psilocybin, Ibogaine, and Iboga, ayahuasca and peyote – they all have these psychoactive remedies that go into our brain and will actually change thought patterns.
My understanding of life and reality is that our thought patterns are the trajectory of our external life and what we’re seeing and living. So the core seed of how to change your life is in your mind. If we’re having perpetual negative thoughts we’re in a depressed, sad state. If we’re having perpetual happy positive thoughts, we’re in a happy, elated, high spiritual vibration state. It’s rewriting those click-click-click, over and over monkey mind thoughts stopping the negative thoughts because you’re starting to understand how powerful you are. You’re starting to understand nothing external can touch you. You can be whatever you want to be at any moment.
Once you have that realization in your awareness, it’s in your awareness and it’s you. And then you live from that space. That awareness can come from reading a book, it can come from smoking a joint with a friend by the ocean where you get an insight into what that feels like – then you can anchor that insight into your system and it’s a part of you. That’s it, that’s the shift, that’s the healing: you just became a deeper sense of the medicine.
For me, it’s a daily practice of honoring cannabis because I’ve definitely been initiated by her where I’ve over-used her for numbing out and used her to be away from myself.
There are two ways to approach it. We can say we’re using this medicine to go deeper into ourselves. But to get to that space where we are obtaining the insight and the awareness, it’s how we enter into working with the medicine: why are we smoking it today, why are we eating an edible today? Are we numbing out? Then be conscious and aware and real with yourself. I choose to numb out today – that’s OK. It’s here for that, it’s not a negative thing if you’re aware of it.
But if you’re in an unconscious cycle of using and using, then you’re abusing the spirit of the medicine and that’s when she’ll have a backlash in your life. That’s when you’ll have over-eating, that’s when you’ll have laziness, that’s when you’ll have a foggy mind and you’ll get these things because that’s how you’re showing up. She’s going to be that mirror of how you’re showing up to her. If you show up aware and awake and asking for insight and you’re truly honoring her.
Not only that, you’re showing up how you want to be treated I’m guessing in your heart of hearts, you want people to show up in your life where they honor you, they’re not just taking from you. They’re seeing you for your own greatness, they’re not just asking you to do things for them. There’s an energy exchange with everything.
Talk about how the expression of art integrates with that medicine and why music and art are such an important part of this brand for you and why that expression matters.
My packaging is coded with animal symbolism. To me, the powers of the animals that I’m working with are powerful portals into different vibrational places. When I’m sitting with the spirit of the owl it’s a very powerful, poignant, deep psychic spirit that can go in and grab stuff and take it away.
As humans, we have pain, we have ailments we have these things going on that we don’t necessarily like. If we focus on what we don’t like we’re amplifying that. If we focus on the medicine we’re bringing that in. For me, animals came in because I was trying to learn how to – if I have an ailment that’s hurting me and I want to heal that, I didn’t understand how to not focus on that.
Having a spirit animal come in and me focusing on that vibration and knowing that that is coming into my system to cleanse or bring me awareness around that, I’m able to go through the process of sitting with what’s going on and then have a new vibration come in and have that be the shift. They became these portals to me where I could sit in what I wasn’t comfortable with and then feel like I was being supported by spirit.
As a child, I had a really intense father and kind of a mentally absent mom and I was very sensitive. They didn’t understand my sensitivities. When I was a child, sounds physically hurt my body. If something was too loud or a voice or certain tones, I had a lot of physical pain in my head and my body and that was hard to relate to parents. They were like, “Stop being so sensitive, shut up! Stop crying.” So I turned to nature and animals. I had a horse, I connected with my horse. I started talking to the animals. The animals would share love and compassion with me and held space for me, so that when it became time for me to do packaging and thinking about how I wanted to present this to the world my greatest teachers and space holders were animals, my whole life. They always hold this really pure cosmic intuitive knowledge to me that’s so untainted in any facet that it like a fail-proof portal.
Each package will have that on there to resonate with you and for you to sit with while you’re looking at it – sit with the medicine. I give you a presentation of what that animal means to me and why I put it on the package but for me, it’s totally up to creative interpretation. Sit with that animal spirit, sit with that vibration of what that means to you. Close your eyes and then feel what your body feels like when you’re being held by them and you’ll know. You’ll create a knowing that that’s a real thing. Just because you can’t see the animal in front of you with your eyes the symbol is enough, it’s an imprint.
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The way I move through the company is by setting a goal and then following my heart. The connection with Sidecar Tommy was that. Siobhan Danger Darwish is a good friend of mine. She invited me to a festival. I had never been to a festival. I was going through a lot of emotional trauma at the time and so a weekend with a girlfriend felt like an amazing idea. I went to the Enchanted Forest festival. Her guide Sidecar Tommy was the headliner and so we got to go backstage before they went on. I met him and I felt who he was and I felt what he was doing with his music and it was totally in alignment with our message. He is here to create a new world with his music and to free peoples’ spirits with the beats. I feel that when I listen to his albums.
Ideas? I don’t know where they’re coming from, I call them Universe. Universe is shooting me an idea and the universe says, “Here’s your collaboration for the vape line”, and so I just asked him, “Hey, you want to sit with me, you want to make a song with me for White Fox Medicinals, for the vape line?” At that point, I didn’t know it was going to be a music video but that was the first step. I went down to his recording studio in Oakland, and we sit and started formulating the song and I started getting visions of how we’re going to use the song.
I didn’t even have the foresight when I initiated the song creation but when I started thinking about how we could use the song I started seeing it would be a portal for people to be able to see our world: how are we using the pens, what does it feel like, what does it look like, what happens to you? Music and vibrations from tunes can go in and take you from any state into another state. I know people feel it. They have their upbeat mix and then they have their calm-down mix.
Vibrations – we’re all energy. Music is focused energy. Effect-driven energy. The vape pens are effect-driven energy. We’re amplifying that.
With White Fox Medicinals, you’re taking the essence of the ancient tradition of true medicine, defining it as a spirit and a state being rather than a thing, like, you take or a thing that you do even. It’s a thing that you be. And then you stack all of the layers of what that is all together and it’s really cohesive and thought out.
Yeah. I want to create multiple pathways for people to get to that place within themselves.
White Fox Medicinals is available online.
5 Tips for Owning and Operating Successful Cannabis Dispensaries
The cannabis retail landscape has changed. Once regarded as somewhat of a novelty, legalization has allowed cannabis dispensaries to evolve into modern and innovative retail storefronts more akin to an Apple Store than the dark, secretive spaces they used to be. Some, like Shiny Bud, are proving to be leaders in the space, setting an exemplary standard of a contemporary cannabis retail experience.
Shiny Bud is one of Canada’s most successful dispensary chains. They pride themselves on offering customers a premium experience from the moment they enter, from a contemporary and inviting store design to highly trained staff, and of course, premium products.
Co-founder Alex Ledesma joined the cannabis industry when the Canadian government passed the Cannabis Act in 2018. She comes from a forward-thinking family of entrepreneurs, so the move to cannabis was an obvious next step.
“I saw an opportunity to be part of something big in Canada’s history, so we started following the industry, and applied for an application,” said Ledesma.
Shiny Bud opened its first dispensary in Toronto on February 14. Fast forward only a few months, and the company has opened the doors to its fifth location in a small town called Orleans, just outside of Ottawa.
“We have a pretty aggressive rollout,” said Ledesma. “Coming from a quick-service industry, we’re quite comfortable with builds and finding locations. We took our expertise from that and put it into cannabis. And it’s all completely within the family.”
Shiny Bud was awarded 75 dispensary licenses by the Canadian government. The company’s expansion plans include two more Ontario store openings this year, bringing the total number of store openings to seven. And they have no plans to slow down.
“We should be hitting 30 stores by the end of 2021. And we’re planning on maxing out to 75 stores allocated. When we stop to think about it, it can take our breath away.”
The constant march forward of legalization has created an ever-growing interest in dispensary ownership. Below, Ledesma offers up five pieces of advice for those looking to enter the cannabis game.
1. Have a Well-Trained Team That’s Focused on Customer Experience
As the industry is still so young, formal education in cannabis is still relatively scarce amongst prospective employees. For Shiny Bud, this presents an opportunity to reinforce one of their most important business objectives: provide cannabis education and training for their budtenders to pass on to their customers.
“Education is everything because the industry’s so new,” Ledesma said. “We truly believe that we’re an industry where we need to listen to our guests. This is one of the first things we teach our budtenders, along with providing a safe and educational experience for our customers in-store.”
For many customers, the biggest value in going to a dispensary is learning which products are best suited for a specific condition or effect, whether they’re seasoned cannabis consumers or newly curious.
“The goal for budtenders at Shiny Bud is to ensure customers are choosing the right product for them to provide a safe experience both in-store and at home,” Ledesma said.
2. Create a Guest Centric Environment
This goes without saying, but customer service is critical to the success of any retail operation. Ledesma attributes Shiny Bud’s success to the brand’s core vision of providing a “fast and friendly cannabis retail destination.”
“We strive to offer our customers a unique and memorable experience — this has stayed with us since day one,” Ledesma said. “When you walk into any of our Shiny Bud cannabis dispensaries, they’re bright, they’re big, and there’s a lot of education. The budtenders are dressed uniformly, and there’s personality — it’s not what people expect.”
Watching the change in customer demographic has been encouraging to Ledesma, who notes the increase in the 60+ demographic looking to add cannabis to their health and wellness, whether it be recreational, or to aid with a specific ailment.
“As a disclaimer, we always have to tell them that we’re not doctors and we can’t give them medical advice, so to start low and go slow,” Ledesma said. “It’s nice to see people like my mom, my dad, and grandparents come through the door, because you also know you’re helping break down the stigma.”
3. Stock the Best Inventory
With so many quality products now available, choosing which ones to bring to Shiny Bud is quite a lengthy process.
“We carry out a lot of research in terms of what’s new or trending, and what our customers are looking for in each location,” Ledesma said. “I wish I knew consumers’ buying preferences before our initial order was placed. We ended up buying too much!”
“We also use recommendations from our team members, our budtenders, and our customers. A lot of times we bring in representatives of the licensed producers to educate our budtenders about the products we’re selling.”
The three most popular purchases across three Shiny Bud locations are dried flower, vapes, and pre-rolls. “Our most frequently asked question is, ‘what is your highest THC or CBD?’” Ledesma said.
4. Have a Great Location
The age-old proverb of “location, location, location” rings true in the cannabis industry, too. Finding the right real estate is arguably the most important part of retail success. Plus, because of the industry’s prohibition history and the nature of the products being sold, it’s important to find understanding landlords.
“Initially, landlords have said to us, ‘absolutely not, we will not entertain the idea of having a cannabis retailer here,’ so I invite them to take a look at one of our dispensaries so they can see the vision of what and who we are as a company and as an industry.”
5. Ensure Your Cannabis Dispensaries Connect with the Community
Dispensaries are already major focal points in their communities. For Ledesma, giving back and helping break down old stigmas related to cannabis is a top priority.
Shiny Bud is in the process of launching a collaboration with Tsaichedelic to create a line of tie-dyed tees and other merchandise. The proceeds will go towards supporting Cannabis Amnesty projects, like providing legal counsel to get those with criminal records over minor cannabis charges expunged.
“Being a woman and a person of color in the cannabis space, I really believe in the fact that it needs to be the same playing fields for everybody,” Ledesma said. “Teaming up with Cannabis Amnesty just felt right.”
With the regulated cannabis market still so new, it’s important that business owners are able to adapt to changes and weather the ever-changing landscape of cannabis and the regulations.
“It’s ever-changing, so we’re constantly learning and growing from it,” Ledesma said. “Regulations are always changing, so being fluid helps a lot.”
Look for Shiny Bud cannabis dispensaries in Canada and keep an eye out for their expansion into America in 2021.
Gwyneth Paltrow and a Slew of Celebs Invest in ‘Social Tonic’ Brand, Cann
Gwyneth Paltrow is one of several high-profile celebrities investing in cannabis-infused beverage company, Cann.
Rebel Wilson, Ruby Rose, Darren Criss, Tove Lo, Casey Neistat, former NBA star Baron Davis and Bre-Z have also invested in the company.
The actress and Goop CEO and founder calls cannabis a “hero ingredient of the future” for wellness and says she was drawn to Cann’s drinks, which are infused with small doses of THC and CBD, as an appealing alternative to alcohol.
“There’s a whole sober-curious movement that’s going on and the cannabis-curious movement that’s going on, this is kind of at the intersection of those things in a way,” said Paltrow.
Cann is not the health and wellness moguls’ first cannabis investment. Paltrow admitted that while she’s not a big cannabis user personally, she acknowledges its “amazing medicinal qualities.”
“There’s no reason why alcohol should be so much easier to purchase than Cann, and I’m confident the founders will lead the charge in finding ways to integrate it into the same purchasing channels and drinking environments,” she said via a news release.
Cann founder Luke Anderson called the comments made by Gwyneth Paltrow “a sign that Cann (and microdose beverages more broadly) are a viable answer to that very common consumer pain point.”
He added that when people think of Paltrow, “they don’t think of ‘weed’ – they think of cutting-edge solutions for today’s health and wellness needs.”
Cann has positioned itself as a “healthy” and hangover-free alternative to alcohol. Most of Cann’s “social tonics” contain roughly 30 calories and are “microdosed” with 2 milligrams of THC and 4 milligrams of CBD. A recently introduced Pineapple Jalapeño flavor contains 50 calories and 5 milligrams of THC.
Earlier this year, Cann secured $5 million in funding as part of the company’s 2020 production and distribution expansion plans for 2020.
According to TechCrunch, the beverage startup has sold 150,000 cans, which retail for $4 each, since last May. Cann products are available at just 60 dispensaries in California, and online via the Eaze cannabis marketplace, making the $600,000 in revenue the company generated in less than a year even more impressive.
Miss Marijuana: Canadian Beauty Queen Alyssa Boston Is on a Mission to End Stigmas
Alyssa Boston is a woman on a mission. The 24-year-old Canadian beauty queen is using her platform to start a conversation on ending stigmas around mental illness, competing in pageants — and cannabis.
While she doesn’t actually smoke weed, Canada’s crowned Miss Universe caused a media uproar when she wore a sparkling cannabis-inspired look during the 2019 Miss Universe competition in Atlanta, Georgia.
Cannabis Aficionado spoke to her about breaking stigmas, social media and of course, that costume.
CA: How was your Miss Universe experience?