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Digging Deeper with Alleh Lindquist, CEO of FloraWorks

Digging Deeper with Alleh Lindquist, CEO of FloraWorks

cannabis world news medicine image of FloraWorks Vials

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I’m fascinated by the medical and homeopathic applications of cannabis and cannabinoids. Although I may not be a researcher nor a doctor- I have written books on the early apothecary, namely Apothecary Cocktails and my more recent, Cannabis Cocktails. With the applications of certain “herbal” substances into the art and science of healing, these practices date back millennia. The function of ‘healing’ does include the use of cannabis. I know implicitly because I use cannabis to lower my eye pressure from glaucoma. The use of low THC and high CBD strains makes my eye pressure melt away. Well proven by my ophthalmologist. When intellectual individuals and the legalization of cannabis intersect, that’s what gathers my attention. And with not a minute to spare either. My generation is not getting any younger! There is a myriad of applications in the human body for cannabis and cannabis-derived treatments. I’m personally excited about this research.

cannabis world news medi cine picture of Alleh Lindquist, CEO of FloraWorks working in lab with extraction tubes

Warren Bobrow: Please tell me about your path. Why cannabis? What sets you apart from your competition?

Alleh Lindquist: When I was in Oregon back in 2012, I noticed a trend of growing interest in cannabis legalization. I took this opportunity to dive deeper into the emerging industry and learn as much as I could. As we approached legalization in Oregon, I focused on extraction and branded products. My partners and I obtained the first cannabis extraction license in Oregon and founded Swell Companies, which at the time was one of the largest and most well-recognized operations in the state.

In 2019, after four years of running the company, we were acquired by a publicly traded cannabis company, a fundamentally important process in my development as an entrepreneur.

I’m now leading FloraWorks, where we are diving deep into life sciences and focusing on rare and novel cannabinoids for therapeutic use. Our current research focuses on transformative treatments for sleep issues and dementia-related diseases. Cannabinoids may have been around for a long time, but federal illegality limited the research, leaving a wide-open opportunity. In the long run, we believe cannabinoid therapeutics will displace existing pharmaceutical options and offer new hope for unmet medical needs.

cannabis world news medicine small blue capped vials in a mechanical sorting machine

Following the completion of our Series A, we announced the results of the first-ever double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial. It analyzed the effects of our flagship product, TruCBN™ – a pure form of Cannabinol (“CBN”) and one of more than 120 known cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant – on sleep. Working with Radicle Science, we were able to independently conduct the trial and compare the effects of CBN against melatonin and a placebo. The findings of this study offer the first-ever clinically validated claims for a cannabinoid in the treatment of sleep disturbances. This is just the first step in our research on TruCBN and sleep.

Overall, I am extremely passionate about the hemp and cannabis markets, from recreational to medicinal to industrial, and have dedicated myself to driving the innovation needed for this plant to have a positive impact globally in my lifetime.

WB: Do you have a mentor? Who? How did you first discover the plant?

AL: I have had several mentors throughout my entrepreneurship journey. Building and maintaining relationships has been key for my experience, and I have been impacted by different voices and people that I’ve been able to learn from and get support from. One caveat about mentors is that valuable insight can come from who you least expect, so it is always important to listen to all the people around you. You never know what little piece of data or perspective might lead to a breakthrough in your own thinking and process.

Two people that I wanted to highlight are Michael Thale, a co-founder of FloraWorks and longtime business partner, and Karyn Barsa, who has led vibrant premium-brand corporations as a CEO, COO, CFO, and a member of the Board of Directors for public and private companies like Patagonia, Smith & Hawken and Deckers. Both have played a significant role in my personal and entrepreneurship journey.

cannabis world news medicine clear plexiglass beacon with amber liquid inside

WB: What obstacles do you face? How do you anticipate removing the obstacles?

AL: The primary obstacle facing FloraWorks, and indeed all companies venturing into cannabinoid medicine, is the pervasive conflation of recreational cannabis and medicinal cannabinoids. Although they share a plant origin, the businesses surrounding these two applications are vastly different in terms of their regulatory requirements, capital investments, and success metrics.

For instance, while the federal legality of cannabis may be a hot topic in media and public discourse, it has little bearing on our journey to get a cannabinoid treatment approved. The drug approval process remains uniform, whether the substance in question is a cannabinoid or any other potential medication.

Addressing this misconception is crucial. The global market potential for cannabinoid therapeutics could very well surpass that of recreational cannabis. Therefore, our foremost priority is to differentiate our narrative and educate stakeholders about the distinct nature and enormous potential of cannabinoid medicine.

WB: What are your six and twelve-month goals?

AL: In the world of science, and particularly drug development, progress often unfolds far beyond a 6–12-month timeframe. However, we are currently engaged in comprehensive research focused on neurodegenerative disease therapies, with early animal model results looking very promising, results of which we hope to be ready for peer-review publication within the next year. Additionally, we will look to further our sleep research on TruCBN and expand on our commercialization efforts.

WB: What is your passion?

AL: My passion is building within this industry and gaining the knowledge and experience to support my endeavors. That being said, there are aspects in one’s life that can significantly contribute directly and indirectly to entrepreneurship success. The two biggest for me are personal relationships – in my case, my wife and health. Nothing will contribute more to your success than a supportive partner, and nothing will contribute more to your failure than an unhealthy lifestyle.

Personal health is key to optimizing for the challenges that come in our lives. When it’s compromised, it negatively affects all aspects of life. It’s important to prioritize personal time for self-improvement, building resilience, and preparing ourselves to bounce back and consistently perform at our best. I hope to inspire more people to prioritize their personal well-being, creating a healthy space for self-improvement.

Photos Courtesy: FloraWorks

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