Living the Dream: Ron Silver

Ron Silver

Chief creative officer

Azuca

New York City, NY

For those of us who’ve watched the internet develop from dial-up to broadband, and eventually from basic Wi-Fi to smart phones, watches and even refrigerators, it is undeniable that digital technology revolutionized our world. Thanks to tech innovators, it’s easy to take for granted the ease with which we log on. We expect a reliable experience as we browse — whether we’re doing our taxes or watching Netflix — and convenient, high-speed access has become second-nature.

Like the dot-com boom of the late ‘90s, the cannabis industry is sometimes compared to the Wild West, offering huge growth opportunities but with an unclear and convoluted regulatory landscape.

I had a passion for cannabis and an organic understanding of its benefits even before entering the industry. When I began to dream of starting my own brand, I knew that true accessibility and mainstream acceptance, especially for edible products, would only really follow technology that allowed for an easy, understandable and consistent experience. Edible products on the market run the gamut from effective and fast-acting to unreliable and sluggish — sometimes taking hours to kick in. Without consistent language to understand if a product will be helpful for them, many consumers are left in the dark, or worse, have an unpleasant experience that leaves them unlikely to try again.

However, taking cues from the past three decades of the internet’s growth, we can glimpse a future in which the cannabis experience is synonymous with fast, trusted and effective products, with no guesswork about dosage and onset.

In 2018, I co-founded Azuca, a line of cannabis and hemp derived-CBD infused products, as a solution for what I call “the edibles problem.” In order to get the benefits of CBD or THC you need to take a proper dose. Tailored delivery mechanisms and clear language empowers consumers to understand the differences between CBD and THC, and to choose to use cannabis in the way that’s right for them.

From dial-up to smartphones, I see this as a direct parallel to the cannabis industry—in order to reach consumers, our products need to be fast-acting.

I am constantly looking for ways we can continue to push the boundaries of edibles innovation. Azuca’s current commercial processes start with cannabis distillate and provide fast onset, great taste and shelf stability, while reducing manufacturing inefficiencies. And while these are important innovations for the cannabis consumer, simple distillate-based edibles lack the benefits of the broader terpenes and cannabinoids of the cannabis plant. Our next generation of infusion technology will take cannabis edibles even further, allowing true strain-specific, full entourage benefits that simply do not exist in today’s edible experience.

All edible products, whether CBD, THC or both, need to address the hurdles in the way of consumer experience, understanding and adoption. Rapid onset and consistent dosing will allow for a pleasurable consumer experience. Soon, like dial-up in the days of yore, products that do not utilize these advances in innovative technology will be left behind.

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