It was in the desert of San Louis Potosí in Mexico, while on a retreat learning shamanic healing and traditional herbal medicine, that the idea of founding a company to provide herbal botanical products to medical cannabis users first came to Cara Long.
The idea was helped along when Long become acquainted with the healing powers of cannabis after suffering a bout of tendonitis.
“A dear friend gave me a cannabis balm—it worked the first night trying it. I didn’t wake up at 3 a.m. with pins and needles and it began to heal my inflammation from the inside out,” says Long.
“At the time, there were no dispensaries, and when I tried to purchase it I could not find the creator. So, I began the research and development of my own recipe tuning into the healing properties of many herbs and essential oils that worked in synergy with the cannabis.”
With a goal of connecting people to “nature’s medicine” to support the healing process while “honoring ancient herbal remedies and age-old traditions,” Long launched Cannalife Botanicals.
“The first batches of Cannalife Botanicals were made in my apartment in Vancouver alongside supportive friends and family who loved the result,” she says. The first product was a cannabis salve, the categorization of which is a tricky grey area, as legislation tends to omit topicals and the landscape is forever changing, says Long.
“We are all women and traditionally, men have dominated this industry. We are a team comprised of working mothers who try to foster our careers into a nine-to-five box whilst raising our families,” says Long.
“We often end up working late at night while our babes sleep so we can keep up with our growing company. We aren’t complaining, it is very rewarding work to help so many people. But as with any business, the more we grow the busier we get—we like to call them growing pains.”
The company’s product line soon expanded beyond salves, and now also includes a range of cannabis-infused topicals: arthritis balm, bath soaks, CBC nourishing face oil, massage oil, and an aphrodisiac, Pleasure Oil. They also carry medicinal tinctures, olive oil, and coconut oil, which can be used topically or ingested.
Cannalife utilizes heat and cold to extract the medicine from premium flowers, shake, and trim, and they don’t use any chemicals in their process whatsoever.
“We work with plants in collaboration with one another to provide optimum results. We use locally sourced and organic ingredients as much as possible. We believe in transparency and therefore identify all our products’ ingredients on our labels,” says Long.
“We handmake all our products in craft batches to ensure quality control and consistency. We test our feature cannabis ingredients before using them and we test our products by a third-party laboratory before they go to market.”
As the company expanded—they have now been in business for six years—Cannalife moved operations from Vancouver to Squamish and the company employs between five to seven employees, depending on the time of year and what needs to be made.
Production shifted from their kitchens and evolved into a large commercial space that houses their headquarters. HQ consists of their corporate offices, laboratory for research and development, an industrial kitchen, and their warehouse, which serves as both storage for inventory and a distribution hub for shipping and receiving.
Dispensaries across Canada now carry Cannalife products, primarily in Vancouver and Toronto.
“Our sales division spends quality time with our dispensary clients’ staff training them and educating them with the knowledge base about our products and its ingredients to help them best serve their clientele,” says Long, who adds that some of her proudest moments are reading their testimonials and getting hugs from patients whose lives have changed for the positive by using their products.
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