“We saw a really huge uptick in interest in our product when the COVID lockdown started to kick in, because everyone was really interested in protecting their lungs. So you saw a lot of people, you know, kind of leaving the inhalable products on the table for a little bit, especially vapes.”
— Josh Kirby
Humans have been using cannabis for thousands of years, but there’s still room for innovation. Like Kin Slips. These dissolvable strips are an under-the-tongue delivery system that contain 10 milligrams of cannabis each. Seniors, young moms, and creative professionals are among those who love this form factor, which quickly delivers a reliable dose, anytime, anywhere, says Kin Slips Chief Product Officer Josh Kirby, our guest for this episode.
If you’re interested in innovation in the cannabis space, listen and learn how:
- Kin Slips offer an attractive alternative to more traditional edibles.
- The pandemic led to a steeper adoption curve for Kin Slips.
- Sublinguals bypass the digestion system and take effect in about 10 minutes.
- Kin Slips supports several charities, including the Last Prisoner Project.
Transcript of Podcast with Josh Kirby, Kin Slips
Copyright Kannaboom © 2021
Remember Listerine breath strips? Pretty handy for when you can't brush your teeth or you just don't want a mint. But what if instead of a breath freshener, you could make those into a cannabis delivery system? That's what Josh Kirby and his team at Kin Slips have done. And they've got a big following. When you want a quick and reliable dose of cannabinoids and terpenes. Kin Slips can be a nice alternative to whipping out a joint or a vaporizer — very discreet and very effective, with an expanding choice of options for the state you want to achieve. I spoke with Josh about how he came up with the product, who his biggest fans are and why and how this product might really help people who are devoted to their wellness. If you're curious about your wellness or about product development, I think you'll enjoy this episode. If you like the podcast, please subscribe at Apple podcasts or Stitcher or your favorite podcast player. And please leave a review so we can help other people find the show. Thanks to our producer Danny in Milwaukee. And here is my interview with Josh Kirby. Cannabis is booming, and Kannaboom is on it. Welcome to the Kannaboom podcast where we interview experts on the changing story of humans, health and health from San Diego, here's your host, Tom Stacey. Hey, it's Tom. Welcome back to the Kannaboom podcast. Really excited today to have Josh Kirby, CEO of Kin Slips on Hey, Josh, how are you?
Josh Kirby 1:18
Hey, I'm doing great. How are you?
Very good. Thanks. You're in California, right?
Josh Kirby 1:22
Yeah, I'm in Oakland, California and our facilities in Richmond, which is a little further north on the bay.
Oh great. I'm done at the other end of the state. But thanks for joining us today. It's a big day everywhere. It's 4/20. So the high holiday, thank you for making time today.
Josh Kirby 1:40
Yeah, of course, I'm always happy to talk cannabis, especially on 4/20.
Kin Slips are very interesting. When I try to explain them to people, I always kind of fall back on the default of the little Listerine strips that people put in their mouth, refreshing your breath. You guys are kinda like that, right? In terms of the delivery mechanism.
Josh Kirby 1:58
Yeah, so the form factor is kind of fundamentally the same. It's a dissolvable strip, you know, that is designed to when it hits the moisture in your mouth completely disintegrate. The major difference is that our product is loaded with an active ingredient as opposed to a Listerine strip which just has a bunch of menthol in it to make your breath nice. And the major difference in terms of how you use the product is really what's key. So with a Listerine strip, obviously, you know, you melt those on top of your tongue. A kin slip is a sublingual product. So it's designed to interact with the membrane underneath your tongue, that kind of squishy part. And so when you use a Kin Slip the major difference is that you want to put it underneath your tongue and make sure that it completely dissolves before you kind of swallow the dissolved solution.
So obviously, it's discrete, it's portable, you can do it in places, you might not want to do a one hitter or right, that kind of thing.
Josh Kirby 2:50
Yeah, yeah, it's really, really discreet, you know, and we designed everything from, you know, the way the product looks to the way the product smells, to the packaging everything so that you can really feel comfortable, kind of taking it to places where you would need to use cannabis of your medical patient. And, you know, if you need to use cannabis while you're at the office and you don't really want to let everybody know that that's what you're doing, something like a Kin Slip is is really ideal for that.
Well, I'll tell you, boy, in my case, my mom was in a nursing home and we would have loved to have that product because nursing homes don't welcome cannabis in any form. And I know it would have done her some good
Josh Kirby 3:24
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.
Did you formulate this yourself? Is it one of those kitchen table products? And are you a chemist? How did you come upon this?
Josh Kirby 3:33
So originally, yes, I did formulate it myself. At this point, there's been a number of people who've kind of been involved. But you know, we're eight or nine years at this point from the original conception of the product. But the way we arrived at it, honestly, was a little bit of an accident. It wasn't something that we intentionally sought out to do at first. So the first thing that we did well, this was around 2012 we were kind of just looking at what was going on and specifically the Washington State cannabis industry at the time. And we noticed that there was a real lack of CPG products, you know, you would, you know, you'd find all this information online and all over the national news that CBD was amazing for all these different things. You know, Sanjay Gupta was out there talking about it. And then you would go into a dispensary and you would see brownies like Saran wrapped with Sharpie written on them. And that was what they were selling to cancer patients and people who really needed this medicine. So we really thought there was an opportunity to create a product that was more trustworthy, and hopefully bring some more people into utilizing these products, people, especially people who can really benefit from them. So the first product we set out to make was a gum. We thought that would be, you know, a real obvious, you know, unique cannabis product that would kind of be indistinguishable from something people are used to getting from like CVS or Walgreens. Did a whole bunch of R&D on how to make, which I had no business doing at the time. I'm not a chemist by training, I eventually figured out how to make it, figured out what equipment was needed, what ingredients were needed. I got cannabis infused into a gum, and then I realized that gum is just fat molecules, or a lot of it is fat and cannabis sticks to fat. So it never actually comes out of the gum, you can sit there and chew it all day, and you're never actually going to get the cannabis back out into your system. So my solution to that was, what if I try to put a candy coating on the gum, and I put all the cannabis in the candy coating, maybe then when you bite it, it'll fall off and dissolve, you'll have your cannabis that way. And in the process of doing that, I never actually figured out how to get those coatings to work. But I did figure out how to make really thin, fast-dissolving candy. And that was kind of the spark for this product was, oh this this should just be rapidly disintegrating film. And then we started to develop more purposefully towards that. And initially, we kind of launched it as you know, like a Listerine strip, like this is a breath strip. with cannabis in it, it was really more of a novelty product than a true medicinal cannabis product. And then, you know, over the years, as we've developed it, we started to really understand things more clearly like how sublingual absorption works, why that's so important. How we can kind of reformulate the product to better work as a sublingual, how do we add terpene profiles to this for specific effects, you know, all the different advancements we've made over the years. So it's really been an interesting product development journey, for sure. But it didn't start out, pointed at oral dissolving films.
What a journey. That's a great story and the sublingual aspect of it. A lot of people don't appreciate it's almost instantaneous, right?
Josh Kirby 6:48
It's fast. I wouldn't say it's instantaneous, but our average onset time is somewhere around 10 minutes. It's a little different person to person, because everybody's you know, physical and chemical makeup is a little bit different. And that, you know, has an impact. But for the most part, it's about 10 minutes.
OK, you know, for people who want to protect their lungs, it's a nice option.
Josh Kirby 7:10
Yeah, absolutely. We saw a really huge uptick in interest in our product when the COVID lockdown started to kick in, because everyone was really interested in protecting their lungs. So you saw a lot of people, you know, kind of leaving the inhalable products on the table for a little bit, especially vapes after you know, vape crisis going into COVID. You know, when a public health issue is happening, that is lungs-related, we do see a pretty huge increase in interest in our product.
I've interviewed some CEOs from gummy manufacturers who tell a similar story that people maybe don't want to be drinking as much. And there's less stigma all the time around cannabis, the gummy people are talking about nanoparticles. And you know, there's always going to be a longer onset when you have to really digest it as opposed to the molecules going right into your bloodstream. Right?
Josh Kirby 8:07
Yeah, absolutely. That you know, there's always going to be there's there's a lot of interesting advancements that are happening in the edibles world, specifically in the gummy world. And you're seeing a lot of this like fast-acting, gummy technology being marketed and nano emulsions, and all those things. And they're great. And there are some things that are legitimately kind of, you know, pushing the envelope which is necessary, but at the end of the day, your body still has to digest those compounds, whether they're big or small, in order to kind of release them from the actual gummy, right? Like if you have a nanoparticle, and you're surrounding it in a glob of gelatin or glob of pectin, you know, your body still has to put in a lot of work to get that to release and that is going to affect your onset time. So our philosophy is, you know, why kind of put all that extra, you know, tech into something if you don't really need to do that? And we've kind of gone the sublingual route instead of trying to fix the gummy.
And sublingual really does work. It's directly into your bloodstream without digestion without the liver.
Josh Kirby 9:10
Yeah, exactly. So it avoids in the medical language. It's this concept of first-pass metabolism. Basically, your liver is always processing everything and the place of action for a lot of drugs and specifically cannabinoids and some terpenes is within your bloodstream. So you need the active compounds kind of floating around in your bloodstream, bumping off of all the different receptors and sending signals throughout your body. The route to getting to your bloodstream with sublinguals is really direct right underneath your tongue. It pulls it directly into the bloodstream and then you're off to the races with an edible product or with any sort of swallowed pill. This is true of, you know, cannabis products. This is true of Tylenol. This is true of you know, any sort of pharmaceutical drug that you swallow is a pill. It has to go through your digestive system first, and then it gets removed from your digestive system, goes through your liver and then is released into your bloodstream. So because your liver is always there processing drugs and turning them into metabolites, basically metabolizing things into other forms, you are kind of having this first wash of potency reduction through your liver. When you are using an edible, that's totally unavoidable. And when you go sublingually, you completely miss that. So eventually you do get to the liver, and it does start to process things. And that's why you feel less and less high over time. But skipping that first pass is really important, because what can happen on that first pass is you can convert a lot of the Delta nine THC, which is kind of the traditional version of the THC molecule that you would get when you maybe smoke a vape or hit a joint or something like that. That gets converted in your liver and in your digestive system to this other molecule called 11 hydroxy THC, which can be a lot more psychoactive, especially for some people, and the conversion from Delta nine to delta 11 through that process is really, really hard to predict. So you can end up with a big conversion and a lot of the stuff or almost no conversion and a very small amount of the stuff. And that can dramatically swing the type of experience that you're going to have. And that can cause sort of that edible freakout that a lot of people experience. So skipping that entirely something that we really focus on and just going directly into the bloodstream the first time.
So that's really interesting. There's a couple of aspects to that, that when you mentioned, the increase in psycho activity, when it does convert to 11 hydroxy THC and the aspect of potency reduction. So is a two point, say a 2.5 milligram dose of a Kin Slip equal to a 2.5 milligram dose of a gummy?
Josh Kirby 11:59
No, so they're not equal. But it's really difficult to say in exactly what way they're not equal, because the process of first pass metabolism, especially with cannabis is, like I said, extremely hard to predict. So you know, that conversion from Delta nine to delta 11 is dependent on what you ate that day, you know, what your, what your microbiome is doing, how much exercise you've been getting lately, a whole host of other factors. So it's just really difficult to say. But one of the things that we really, you know, hear from our customers and a lot of people in the industry is that what consumers are really looking for at the end of the day is something that's consistent, you know, you see this with the kind of proliferation of these beverages right now and with other sublingual products is that people are really looking for a consistent experience and that's something that's really difficult to deliver with something like a gummy.
Over and over on this show we've talked about as you say, it varies from individual to individual, there's there's no one thing you can say about cannabis that is really true because we've got different genetics and like you said, different — maybe you ate something that day. So it's often a test-and-learn kind of scenario. Do you hear anything from your customers qualitatively about how the Kin Slip is different from a gummy?
Josh Kirby 13:19
Yeah, we hear the biggest thing that we hear is that the experience that they feel from sublingual products and Kin Slips specifically is more like a smoking or vaping experience. You know, it's more of kind of like a heady, if you're if you're looking for THC type of experience, it's more of kind of like a heavy, controllable, kind of uplifted experience, as opposed to something that's taken orally like a, an edible, that tends to be more kind of in your body and heavy and low GI. So that's the big difference we see. And then the other difference that people report to us is that there is a bigger swing in the different types of effects that people are getting from a Kin Slip. So the not not only are the cannabinoids more bioavailable, and something like it Kin Slip, you know, you're actually getting more of what you take, being active in, in your bloodstream, but the terpenes are more bioavailable as well. So, you know, when you take terpenes orally, those are also metabolized and digested by your digestive system before they get to your bloodstream, which is where some of them are therapeutically beneficial. So there is a bigger opportunity and something like a sublingual for us to be able to deliver kind of a bigger variety and a more complicated set of terpene-based experiences because we can actually make more of them active within the body.
OK, what you're hearing is less of a body high more of a head high, less psycho activity, I guess because it's not converting.
Josh Kirby 14:56
Yeah, yeah, sort of less psycho activity, but less I would say specifically, it's less unwanted psycho activity. You know, very few people want to kind of like, 'Oh, crap, my edible just kicked my butt.'
Right. Like, you know, people might remember Maureen Dowd, The New York Times columnist who went to Colorado, right. And I think she ate half a chocolate bar and ended up in the closet thinking she was dead or something.
Josh Kirby 15:22
Yep, yeah, she didn't read the instructions, and then got mad at weed for making her too high. So that was fun.
Well, that is the classic thing with edibles, and I think most people have gotten the message by now. But some maybe haven't. But you eat something and you wait half an hour, nothing happened. And then you double down and then you end up way more high than you wanted.
Josh Kirby 15:42
Yeah, and a lot of times, you can get bad information about, you know, what type of dose you should be taking. We have this anecdote that we use sometimes when we were first starting this company, you know, we're obviously a pretty low-dose product, you know, even in the marketplace now, but especially compared to where the market was on the medicinal side, like four or five years ago. And we would go into dispensaries and we would, we would say, 'OK, let's try to figure out what bud tenders are saying to customers who've never used cannabis before.' So we can kind of understand how they might recommend something like Kin Slip, we would go in and as I had never used cannabis before, I'm really curious, like, you know, I don't really want to smoke, what types of products are out there? And what would you recommend, and they would hand you like a Kiva black bar, you know, which is 1000 milligrams of THC. And they'd be like, you know, you take a small dose of this, take like a quarter of it, or something, which is 250 milligrams of THC. So you can get, through no fault of your own really, if you're just trusting kind of the information that's provided to you, from people selling some of these products, sometimes, then you can get some really bad information.
I mean, that's the whole thing about cannabis is we had all this bad information from prohibition. And now there's sort of a pendulum has swung to the other side where there's people making crazy claims. Yeah, so it's really hard to get good information.
Josh Kirby 17:02
Yeah, and there's nobody really policing these claims, you know, there's enough anecdotal evidence, I would say, for some of these things to start to proliferate. But there's nobody out there who is really focusing on studying these claims and evaluating these claims and trying to see if they're legitimate or not, which I think is pretty interesting. And ultimately, it's going to be up to consumers to figure out, you know, whether they think this thing that is being said about a particular product actually turns out to be true.
And it's a minefield from a marketing aspect, you want to be careful about making claims. And let me ask you, who are the customers who really love Kin Slips?
Josh Kirby 17:41
So we see three buckets of people who really tend to connect to Kin Slips. The first one is kind of what you touched on earlier, as the older demographic, people who are kind of aging out of, you know, a lot of the responsibilities in their life and a lot of the work that they have to do on a day-to-day basis, but they're aging into a bunch of different ailments, you know, specifically chronic body pain and fatigue and things like that, a lot of things that cannabis can really help with, without a lot of side effects. And now that that, you know, this crowd is starting to retire and have a little bit more freedom and the stigma around cannabis is going down and the availability is going up, they're really starting to try some of these other form factors. And what they really like about Kin Slips is that you can have this very precisely dosed, reliable experience without having to smoke anything, you know, as then that's a big driver for that demographic is sort of a health-conscious, lung-conscious product types. One of the other demographics we see is kind of like the young mom crowd, people who have a large set of responsibilities between what they're doing professionally and what they're doing at home, to take care of their kids and raise their kids. So they're, you know, generally looking for ways to reduce stress, maybe unwind sometimes. But they really need to have reliable experiences, you know, you can't risk taking something that might make you feel, you know, three or four times higher than you were expecting to feel for three or four times longer. Just in case an emergency happens, you know, you need to keep your wits about you, you need to understand where this particular product is going to take you. And what they really like about Kin Slips is the consistent kind of reliable onset time, and kind of intensity and duration of the experience. And then the third group that we're really starting to see adopt the product are people who kind of work professionally in creative settings. So maybe someone who's a graphic designer at a large tech company, you know, you in in a job like that you need to be creative, you need to be responsive, you need to be able to kind of think of things quickly on the fly and a lot of people in those positions will use cannabis to kind of get in the right mindset to do these careers, of activities. But you can't really like, you know, smoke a joint at work, or like pull the bong out to your desk to get in the zone. So having something like a Kin Slip that can bring you exactly where you need to be so that you can still function within the, you know, the infrastructure of your, your job, but still getting you to kind of that creative headspace that you're looking for. Those people really connect with Kin Slips as well.
They're almost would you say microdosing kind of scenarios or a little more than a micro dose?
Josh Kirby 20:31
I think it depends on the person. You know, microdose has such a huge range to such a huge number of people. But I would say that generally that's the type of consumption that tends to click well with Kin Slips. Some people for sure, you know, they like to kind of use it as like an end-of-the-day kind of wine replacement or, you know, instead of going out and drinking, maybe they'll have a Kin Slip or two. And that is more like macro consumption. But for people who are kind of utilizing it to integrate it with their day-to-day lives, either on a psychoactive basis or non-psychoactive basis, it does tend to be kind of more like titrated, low doses, where maybe they'll even take it a Kin Slip and rip it in half or use a quarter of it to kind of build their to build their dosage throughout the day.
Do you guys have a standard dose? Is it two and a half? Or is it five milligrams, or...?
Josh Kirby 21:27
Our standard dose is 10. So most of the strips, we sell our 10 milligram THC strips, and then we have a microdose option too, which is five milligrams, we don't really go lower than that only because it's not really economical for us to make a product that has a lower dose than five, it tends to use a lot of different packaging. And from a labor perspective, getting all those strips packaged is pretty intense. So because the product is homogenous, and because it's just kind of this little film, you can, you know, easily rip it in half ribbon and a quarter. So if you have a specific dose that you like, you can pretty easily achieve that just by trimming the product up.
Is it scored? Or do you need a pair of scissors or?
Josh Kirby 22:10
You can actually just kind of fold it. And then it kind of comes right apart.
Josh Kirby 22:16
You know, I'm looking at your, your website, and you have, they're all functionally named: Sleep and Serenity, Creativity and Focus, Balance and Tranquility, Comfort and Relief. So they're all sort of aimed at a certain function. Is that to say, sort of indicas and sativa? Or how do you formulate these?
Josh Kirby 22:34
Yes, so in terms of, you know, kind of how we position our blends, we don't really talk about them as like indica and sativa, because at least to me, as a cannabis consumer, indicates sativa signifies a kind of a source of an original plant. And that's not really how we build our profiles, what we do is we take individual cannabinoids and terpenes in their most isolated forms that we can, and we recombine those to kind of build our own strains, essentially. So our Cloud Buster strain, or our Cloud Buster blend, for example, is based on a hybrid of a bunch of really great sativa strains. You know, we pulled the chemical profile of all those strains, and then we kind of rebuilt the most important fractions of those profiles into our Cloud Buster strip. So that we could directly make it a blend for kind of creativity and focus. And that's really how we do our product formulation, we really look for ways that we can kind of combine isolated, isolated components so that we can create really consistent experience profiles. One of the things we try to avoid is we you know, when you talk about kind of taking cannabis and putting it directly into a product as a strain, right. So say I'm working with something like Granddaddy Purple, and I want to make it Granddaddy Purple strip, as a single stream product, that's cool. But if you're going to be producing batches and batches of something like that, you're eventually if your whole if your only formulation is to take something called a strain called that extract that and put it into a product. Over time, you know, from batch to batch, you're going to have different different profiles within there, even from the same batch, you might end up with a different chemical profile that's inside your end product because different terpenes express themselves in different quantities, you know, on different parts of the plant in different parts of the harvest that different times of the year, depending on when you're when you're harvesting, and even, you know, especially between different growers. So what we really try to focus on is going back to those really consistent, reliable experiences, is making sure that what we do kind of present as a formulation is molecularly identical from batch to batch to batch.
That makes sense and would require you to really understand what's in a strain. You know, I've heard the same thing from other companies that, yeah, even on the same bud at the tip of the button, there might be more THC than then down at the base. So yeah, the challenge over time is to produce a consistent product. So that's a great way to do it, if you know what your cannabinoids are in the terpenes, and combine that into an almost proprietary blend.
Josh Kirby 25:34
Yeah, exactly. You know, and that's really how we, you know, we look at one of the things that we're building here is we're trying to build a portfolio of different proprietary effect profiles. You know, some of them are complicated, some of them are pretty simple and easy to figure out. But what's really fun about it for me is that I get to kind of dive into a lot of this scientific research about, you know, how has linalool been studied in, in human subjects for aromatherapy, and for you know, all different kinds of things? And how can I apply something like that to what we're doing it Kin Slips, and provide a novel and useful experience for for cannabis consumers
And that research is kind of exploding, isn't it?
Josh Kirby 26:18
Yeah, well, what's really, what I find really fascinating is a lot of research to do with terpenes. And those types of compounds have been around for a long time; we've been studying, you know, what's more traditionally called aroma therapy for decades. And that is essentially research on terpene profiles and the effects that they can have in the human body. When you talk about, you know, aroma therapy with rose oil, what you're talking about is geraniol. And you know, some other really popular terpenes that are used in a lot of strains, and a lot of different, you know, formulations and blends. And so kind of taking that research and trying to apply it to cannabis formulations is really fun, and really, and really interesting, and there's a lot of it out there from over the years. But what is really just starting to happen, and we don't have a lot of good information, unfortunately, is that research, specifically tying it to cannabinoids and how it works within the context of the greater cannabis ecosystem. That is kind of the next frontier. And hopefully, as we start to see some federal easing on, you know, maybe the scheduling of cannabis or funding for research of cannabis, we're gonna start to see more and more cool useful data about you know, how all these things interact together within a cannabis context, not just within an aroma therapy context, devoid of cannabinoids.
That is kind of a fascinating linkage. Because, you know, it wasn't too long ago, people, when they heard the word aroma therapy, they basically thought about bath products. And you know, it's nice that you can have lavender, and maybe it relaxes you, but you're talking about real medical efficacy that's documented, and that can make a difference.
Josh Kirby 28:08
Yeah, absolutely. And, you know, there's, I think one of the things that, fortunately, is happening right now with with kind of our collective understanding of what health is, is, you know, a few years ago, you would hear something like, 'Oh, yeah, I put lavender oil in my bath, and it helps me relax.' And that feels like, you know, luxury and kind of opulence and a little unnecessary, but we're starting to understand now is that a lot of, you know, what we consider health problems are really at their root caused by some systemic issues that we have within our society, like this chronic over-stress. And so something that can help you de-stress like, you know, lavender oil, or linalool, specifically, goes from being kind of this like, you know, foofy little like, "Oh, look at you, with your aromatherapy with lavender oil, aren't you so chill?' to a legitimate, you know, wellness routine that that really kind of ties in with, you know, our understanding of how we interact with our medical system.
Right, the word wellness, even that, you know, used to have some connotations of Frou Frou stuff, but you're actually keeping disease at bay through sort of these routines, that counts as efficacy.
Josh Kirby 29:23
Yeah, absolutely. And we tend to think especially in the Western world, about, you know, medicine, purely on the kind of treatment side of it. So you know, something bad has happened, or you've developed something, and now you need to treat it and that's kind of where we have traditionally put all of our medicine and what you start to break into when you look at it from a wellness perspective, and the way we look at it within cannabis and cannabis medicines is you can't just look at what you're doing from a treatment perspective. You also have to look at the prevention side. So we know that there's all these indicators that lead to the development of certain diseases and certain conditions. We should be proactively all working to prevent those things in ourselves and the people around us as well. And I think that's where we start to kind of open up to these, you know, more wellness-based therapies as a mode of prevention, not just as a mode of treatment, right.
And I've put that idea out there myself, and it is subject to ridicule. But what if cannabis was seen as a vitamin and you had your minimum direct requirement?
Josh Kirby 30:28
I think that it's, I think we're a long way off from that. But I do think that that's something that's likely to happen. And I think that starts to become more and more realistic. As we start to better understand how some of these minor cannabinoids function, you know, you have compounds, you know, when you when I think the reason people push back on something like that is you say, "Yeah, cannabis is this daily vitamin, we're all gonna use it." And people who don't really understand what you're talking about, think this guy wants to get high all day, right. But what you know, what you can start to unlock when you get to things like THCa, and CBG. And even CBD to some extent, is you have these non psychoactive compounds or these incredibly mildly psychoactive compounds, that that can help you know, improve your mood, they can help kind of just generally de-stress you throughout the day without making you low-gee, without harming any sort of intellectual function. And I think once people, once the idea of those and the understanding of those proliferates a little bit more, we'll start to see more acceptance of this kind of cannabis as a vitamin, because it really can act that way. You know, I'm fortunate enough to have access to our entire R&D arsenal. And so I'm always making weird little strips just to see what would it be like to have 20 milligrams of THCa in the morning? Or what would it be like to you know, have this or that or this combination of things. And there's so many useful formulations that really aren't that complicated, that really do make a major impact in how you feel from you know, the moment you get up to how you feel after you eat a big meal to how you can feel if you accidentally overdose on caffeine, which, you know, I would argue is kind of a more harmful compound that a lot of cannabinoids are. So I think there is a big opportunity to develop things that are useful in the way that we consider vitamins useful.
Yeah, long term, we know that there are some anti-inflammatory properties, and inflammation is coming for all of us. So a good thing if you can take something every day that helps quell that that's a neuro-protectant. There's a lot of reasons to look at this plant and try to work it into your life every day.
Josh Kirby 32:43
Yeah, absolutely. I completely agree.
Well, I also wanted to ask you about, you guys do some charity work. Can you tell us about that?
Josh Kirby 32:48
Yeah. So thank you for bringing this up. I always really like to shout out to some of these organizations. So we work with three groups at the moment, we donate financially to two groups. One is called the Last Prisoner Project, their major goal is to see a world with zero cannabis prisoners. And the kind of genesis for their work was, hey, we have this brand-new industry that has come out of something that has been illegal for a long time, we've had this incredibly unjust war on drugs, that has locked up a huge, huge percentage of the black and brown population of this country completely unfairly. What can we do as the people in this industry who are attempting to profit off of this thing that has caused so much damage to a lot of people? How do we work to help to undo some of that damage and free some of these people? And they do a lot of really, really amazing work for free. People who've been locked up for cannabis for a long time. So big shout out to Last Prisoner Project. The other organization that we donate to is called the Floret Coalition. This was put together by the group who runs Broccoli magazine. And what they do is a little bit different. They focus on one charity every single month, but they deploy basically their whole kind of organization of supporters to that one charity every month. So it's usually a fairly small, locally focused charity, you know, it's not usually like a big national or global thing. And every month, they send out a link and they say, this is the charity we're donating to. This is the cause. And you know, you give them your money. And I think right now, the total donation on a monthly basis from the group is somewhere around like $11,000, which is massively impactful for some of these, the smaller organizations, so Floret Coalition is another one to definitely check out. And then we also work with a group in California that's a compassionate giving group called Sweet Leaf Collective and what they do, they first of all, they were big proponents of the compassionate giving law in California. So when the adult use cannabis law came into effect, there was no room in it to give cannabis to, to sick people, right. And that was what started the whole cannabis industry 24, 25 years ago in California was, hey, we have all these really sick people who really really need cannabis. Because they're either terminally ill and a huge amount of pain or cannabis literally saves their lives. You know, that was the genesis of the medical cannabis industry in California and largely in the world. And so when this adult use law came and kind of shut all that down, there was a huge lack of safe access to regulated cannabis products. And so what Sweetleaf Collective did was they put together a group of industry stakeholders to lobby the government to allow for compassionate giving, which they ultimately were successful and, and now they have programs where they work with licensed dispensaries to give free cannabis products to people who are who, who really need them, people who are sick, people who can't afford that type of cannabis therapy and that type of cannabis medicine. So they do really amazing work. And, you know, we do our part in donating some products to them. But we're really, really grateful that they're out there putting in the actual hard work of kind of making these laws happen, and running the logistics of getting all these products to people. So huge shout out to them.
Thanks for sharing all that. I was familiar with the Last Prisoner Project, but not with Floret or Sweetleaf. And like you said, it all begins with medicine, with the medicinal aspects of it. I mean, that's where the industry began, people forget that it is a legitimate medicine that's making a difference for people.
Josh Kirby 36:53
Yeah, absolutely. And we're all here, you know, everybody who's here working in this industry every day, you know, whatever your motivations are, you're here because of those people. And they really, really need, they need help right now. Because this industry is not set up to support those types of groups. And none of us would be doing this if those groups hadn't hadn't put in the work initially, and taken the risk initially to do what they did.
I think, at the top of the show, I identified you as CEO, and I'm looking at my notes, and it says Chief Product Officer. Just for accuracy, what is your title?
Josh Kirby 37:25
I am the Chief Product Officer. Yeah, but I used to be the CEO. So it is something that gets confused quite a bit.
What a dream job to be Chief Product Officer at a company that's doing what you guys are doing.
Josh Kirby 37:36
Yeah, really great, you know, my job spans from kind of overseeing all manufacturing, and making sure that, you know, what we're putting out is what we're planning to put out. And then also focusing on developing new products, and you know, getting to just kind of dive into research and understand what's going on, you know, at the cutting edge of cannabis. So it's really, really rewarding work. And a quick shout out to the team who actually does all of the manufacturing at our facility. Without what they do, you know, I really wouldn't be able to focus on developing new products and getting to do the fun part of the job that I really enjoy. So big shout out to them.
When you say new products, is it going to be something different than the sublingual strip? Or are you continually refining that?
Josh Kirby 38:25
Yeah, so our focus as a company is solely on sublingual strips, we consider ourselves you know, we are a cannabis brand as Kin Slips but really what we are is a drug delivery system. And one of the ways you can kind of think about what we do is, you can imagine a Kin Slip like a vape pen cartridge, you know, it's a platform that is designed to specifically deliver compounds through the sublingual pathway underneath your tongue. But we can put whatever we want in it up to a you know, whatever the limits of the legal regulations are and then whatever the physical limitations of the dosage loading capacity of the product are. So what most of my work is, these days is developing, you know, different combinations of active ingredients that can be best utilized through a sublingual strip. And so we're working on a number of different things. One thing that we're working on developing is a line of kind of single strip, single-strain based products. So single-origin strains that go into kind of these limited-edition batches, so that you can have kind of a strain-type experience with a Kin Slip, without ever having to smoke anything, without ever having to inhale and while getting kind of the full breadth of the experience that you're not able to get in like a strain-specific animal, for example. And then we're also working on developing a number of other kinds of novel formulations and blends around the main experience product line. So we're working on all kinds of things from pain relief to more deeper focus, and then exploring all of the new kind of minor cannabinoids that are coming out to the market right now and trying to figure out how can we utilize these new and interesting and novel things in a in a very useful way for people.
Do you ever see yourself bringing in other ingredients like say, turmeric or like an adaptogen mushroom or something?
Josh Kirby 40:27
Yeah, we were limited a little bit in what we could do in California. And that's the only place that we have in our own manufacturing facility right now. But one of the things that I really like, in terms of kind of my R&D work is exploring the relationship between kind of more traditional nutraceutical products, or even nootropic products, and cannabinoids and terpenes, and trying to figure out, you know, how can you combine some of the more effective of that world with cannabis to create something that is completely unique and completely experiential, and, and, and ultimately, very useful for people?
You said you're not a chemist, but obviously, you've got a brain for this. What is your training and background?
Josh Kirby 41:16
So my background is mostly in music and audio engineering. So I do have a little bit of a technical background in just kind of like, you know, in audio engineering and setting up those types of systems. But my, I guess, kind of maybe my number-one overarching skill is that I am just really able to kind of learn things fairly quickly, by doing a lot of research. And that's really been what has driven the R&D side of Kin Slips so far, is just just kind of diving in and doing the dirty work. So you know, you dive into a study that talks about how cannabinoids and terpenes interact together, and then you make sure you Google all the words you don't understand. So you understand what everybody's talking about. And then you just keep building on the knowledge from there. You know, when I started working on this, it was almost 10 years ago. So I've had, you know, quite an education in not just cannabis, but in organic chemistry and in material sciences to develop the actual film formulations. But yeah, it just takes a lot of reading, you know.
Well, and curiosity and, boy, the blue ocean of we humans have been using this planet for 1000s of years. But because of the freakish circumstances of prohibition, there was no science on it, and now there's just an explosion. So it's got to be like a kid in a candy store.
Josh Kirby 42:41
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It's great.
I always ask people, what's your favorite cannabis product? And I suspect it might be a Kin Slip, but I'm not sure.
Josh Kirby 42:50
Yeah, I really love Kin Slips, you know, not to kind of toot our own horn or anything, but it is the product that I use most of the time. A lot of the reasons that I use it most of the time are because I'm always testing, you know, new stuff that I'm working on. But it is genuinely like one of my favorite cannabis products. And the one that I specifically like the most is our blend Cloud Buster. I do a lot of creative work outside of what we do at Kin Slips. And when I'm working on things like that, you know, having some sort of like, reliable creativity boosters is just something that I absolutely love. Yeah, but I also really like some other products in the cannabis space one that I find super fun is the cannabis-infused Serato from Potli. First of all, it's a really, really tasty Serato. So it's pretty dangerous because you just want to keep putting it on everything. But it has this really great effect on it too. Yeah, that's probably one of my favorite products.
That is quite an endorsement. I'll look for that. Josh, is there anything we haven't covered that we should?
Josh Kirby 43:55
That is a great question. I don't think I can think of anything. This has been really really thorough.
Yeah we rambled all over but I think we covered some great stuff. We can find you at KinSlips.com I take it in or you guys on Twitter or anywhere else.
Josh Kirby 44:10
Yeah, we're on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, we're just at Kin Slips everywhere, everywhere.
Yep. It's a great name. And I will definitely be checking you out all over online and urge our listeners to as well.
Josh Kirby 44:21
Awesome. Tom, thank you so much for having me on. I really appreciate that.
You've been listening to the Kannaboom podcast with host Tom Stacey. If you like the show and want to know more, please check us out at Kannaboom with a k.com. And please leave us a review at Apple podcasts or wherever you listen. See you next week.
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