High Country: Stillwater Brands is here to change your cannabis consumption game
May 24, 2018
Whether you're a seasoned smoker or weighing an overwhelming number of product options during your first dispensary visit, sometimes inhaling before venturing out at altitude just doesn't feel right (tackling a lung-busting ascent up Ajax is tough enough).
But thanks to the growing awareness about the benefits of consuming CBD and/or THC before, during and after workouts, the cannabis industry has quickly adapted to offer inventive new delivery methods — from topicals and tinctures to capsules and coffee.
One such company that's changing the consumption game is Stillwater Brands, launched in 2016 and has experienced exponential growth in Colorado over the past two years. I discovered their products early on when the sleek, metal tin packaging of its infused Whitewater teas first caught my eye (they've even nabbed a coveted Cannabist Award for "Best Retail Packaging") and have had a sound night's sleep ever since.
Earlier this spring, I headed down to Denver for a behind-the-scenes tour of Stillwater Brands' Commerce City production facility to learn how each product is developed and made. Upon arrival, I was greeted by brand director and co-founder Missy Bradley and research and development director Keith Woelfel.
Bradley, along with co-founders Justin Singer and Jeremy Goldstein, enlisted Woelfel from the beginning after a lawyer they were working with recommended him. With nearly 20 years under his belt as a food scientist in product development at Mars Inc. (cue the "Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory" music) Woelfel is leading a revolution in the low-dose edibles market with the creation of water-soluble cannabis.
Officially coined Ripple, Stillwater's precise powder packets are calorie-, sugar-, flavor- and gluten-free and are formulated with a patent-pending technology to absorb instantly into the bloodstream (traditional edibles can take up to 90 minutes to feel an effect). The result? A more controlled experience that can last up to four hours with a slim chance of ever overdoing it. Easy to pop into a water bottle, green juice, smoothie or even atop a breakfast bowl, Ripple is so discreet, it's also judgement-free.
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"We believe that microdosed cannabinoids can provide a more functional means for people to alleviate the everyday stressors of life — pain, anxiety, insomnia — without the mind-numbing effects of being too high. Plenty of other companies are focused on getting people stoned. We want to help people feel better," Bradley explains.
The duo walked me (and my hairnet) through their four-step process in the Stillwater Brands test kitchen: emulsification, drying, dosing and packaging. After more than a year of research and development and efficacy testing, while continually streamlining its assembly line, Stillwater is now stamping out hundreds of thousands of packets of Ripple per month to supply 230 recreational retailers across the state.
Bradley credits Ripple's popularity in part for its usage among the active set and with a clear focus on health and wellness, Stillwater stands out among the cluttered cannabis-infused product market. And as the trend continues to explode, it's only the beginning.
Dr. Joseph Cohen, medical director for Holos Health and Journey 2 Life In Boulder explains, "CBD can enhance exercise, and since it is known to be a powerful anti-inflammatory, pain reliever and anti-spasm medicine, it may actually reduce recovery time after workouts, and following sports-related injuries. THC, on the other hand, can increase focus, while enhancing one's workout experience. THC may also open airways to provide increased oxygen to our tissues."
Reminder: CBD is short for cannabidiol — one of at least 113 cannabinoids identified in cannabis. A major phytocannabinoid, it accounts for up to 40 percent of the plant's extract and has zero psychoactive effect (that's what THC is for).
Cohen adds, "CBD and THC, when combined, provide a symbiosis that can be extremely useful to athletes. CBD has significant therapeutic value, and should be considered as part of one's daily supplementation."
You can find Ripple locally at Silverpeak, Best Day Ever, Native Roots, Roots Rx, Tumbleweed, High Q and Rocky Mountain High in three different dosages ($24 for 10 packets):
Dose: 5 mg of THC / 5 mg of CBD
Effect: A combination of the smooth, clear-headed high of pure THC paired with CBD pain and
inflammation relief resulting in a pleasant and lucid mindset
Activity: Workouts, game nights, and even weekend errands
Dose: 10mg CBD / 0.5mg THC
Effect: A non-psychoactive wellness supplement and exercise enhancer
Activity: Anything and everything
Dose: 10mg of THC
Effect: A smooth, comfortable and clear-headed traditional psychoactive experience that's quick to arrive and slow to depart
Activity: Concerts, parties and nightcaps
During your next hike out on the trail, training sesh at the gym or yoga class in the studio, add a packet of Ripple to your Nalgene … it's the healthiest high you'll have yet.
Editor's note: Be mindful of local laws and the environment when you're out on the trail.
Katie Shapiro is looking forward to an even higher hiking season this year. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed around high country @kshapiromedia.
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