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Weed Wellness 101 With Papa & Barkley

With whole-plant extraction methods and a story to melt your heart, Papa & Barkley is a leading topicals brand for a reason.

A little background: Papa & Barkley is a Humboldt County, California-based manufacturer of cannabis-infused topical products, including pain-relieving patches, soaking solutions, and soothing balms and lotions. Founder Adam Grossman was initially drawn to topical cannabis treatments while caring for his critically ill father, Morton. As his father's condition deteriorated, Grossman was inspired by a friend in California who’d benefited from pain-relief products purchased in a medical marijuana dispensary. From there, Grossman doggedly began researching and mixing cannabis pain-relief formulas, ultimately concocting his first balm.

To the delight of both father and son, the concoction provided immediate physical comfort to the elder Grossman. He regained mobility and within months was off hospice care and back at home, at last reunited with his beloved dog, Barkley.

Here’s what Papa & Barkley COO Boris Shcharansky had to say about the company's guiding light and grounded principles.



Some people ask why we chose to focus on topical oils and balms rather than combustible products, and to me the answer is pretty simple. One of the unique identifiers of Papa & Barkley is that we were founded by caring for the ones we love. Adam's journey with his father led him to many other people in his circle who were also dealing with chronic aches and pains, but who were hesitant or fearful to try THC-based combustible cannabis. Because of the incredible results experienced with his father, Adam set the foundation for Papa & Barkley to be a wellness brand focused on bringing pain relief to users who were initially hesitant to try cannabis. We focus on high-potency topicals. We saw too many novelty products in the market offering as little as 1 mg/mL of potency, which is just not enough for transdermal pain relief.

We are believers in and beneficiaries of the power of medical cannabis.

Recognizing there was a gap in quality in the topicals market, we felt strongly that our first go-to-market product line should be wellness-focused and non-psychoactive. We are believers in and beneficiaries of the power of medical cannabis, so naturally our mission at Papa & Barkley is to unlock the potential for cannabis to improve people’s lives. We felt that having a topical, non-psychoactive wellness line that was efficacious for new and old cannabis users alike was the proper way to convey our mission and stay true to our foundation.

We want people to achieve the benefits of cannabis without being scared away by psychoactivity. Applying THC transdermally will achieve that end: It avoids being a CBD-only product and is whole-plant while maintaining non-psychoactivity.

That said, we’ve had our challenges with cultivation and manufacturing. To give you a little perspective, with flower, many people are looking to achieve only psychoactivity. If that is the goal, then a $35 eighth will do the trick. In our case, we want people to spend $60 on a product, and that involves more patient education to understand the power of transdermal cannabis. It’s a much harder sell. To help remedy that, our brand ambassadors spend hours speaking with patients about our process, formulation, and the efficacy of our products.

Cannabis is not a panacea that cures all ills.

All of our products are medical wellness products with a focus on different types of pain relief. Our balm, which can be applied directly to pain-afflicted areas, is the signature product. Our patch allows for micro-dosing of cannabinoids over a 12-hour period, achieving an absorption of 2.5mg of cannabinoids per hour. Our Releaf Soakis a whole-body relaxant for end-of-day baths. We have found that if you exfoliate with it prior to entering a hot bath, the salts help the cannabinoids absorb into the dermis and, thereafter, the hot water helps the solution penetrate deep into pain centers. Finally, the massage oil is meant to be used as part of massage therapy. A patient can bring it to a licensed therapist to improve the pain-relief elements of the massage.

We firmly believe we must approach cannabis use for wellness from a holistic angle. Cannabis is not a panacea that cures all ills, and therefore must be used as part of a healthy and active lifestyle. Our products are meant to go hand-in-hand with such a lifestyle. Use the balm before and after your workout. Use the patch for all-day cannabinoid absorption. Use the soaking salts at the end of a long day of work. Use the massage oil with your therapist. There are different options for different lifestyles.

1:3 CBD:THC Releaf Balm

This philosophy comes into play with our manufacturing process, too. We have committed ourselves to using all-natural processes that are solvent-free. Our topicals are created using a patented pressurized coconut cooking process for cannabinoid infusion as well as heat-pressed cannabis resin. We also use bubble hash and dry sieve to extract cannabinoid and terpene-filled trichomes. When we say we’re “artisanal,” that means we’re using processes defined over millennia of cannabis use rather than industrial processes such as CO2 extraction. At the end of the day, we want to preserve terpenes and utilize the whole plant throughout our products because it helps our patients benefit from cannabis the most.

You can find all of Papa & Barkley's products here.

Photos by Anthony Tripoli.


About the Author

Stories and advice from the Proper staff as we go about testing every legal cannabis product in the country to find you the best products for every situation.

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