Ana Hory: CEO, Interview
Responses from Ana Hory, CEO, Chil (www.chil.com)
Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell of your path to the plant? Why did you take it in the first place? Are you a Scientist? Alchemist? Both?
Ana Hory=AH: As a resident of California, I have had the fortune of taking cannabis medicinally for aches, pains, and relaxation for many years. A few years ago, when the industry was beginning to move from medical to recreational (in California), I thought, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to combine my passion for cannabis with my consumer product development knowledge to help others appreciate and benefit from it as well. My desire was to come up with unique, effective innovative products people could enjoy.
Additionally, my co-founder once had a bad experience with a (cannabis) cookie, mostly because edibles at the time were not tested and dosed correctly to the label (you can guess the rest of the story). We thought there must be a better way. That’s when Chil was born.
We started looking at how to produce cannabis products that would be all-natural, dosed perfectly every time, and allow you to feel the effects from an edible in as little as 15-20 minutes. In that regard, that’s why I’d say I’m an alchemist. I look at the products currently on the market and talk to consumers to learn more about what they would like to see improved. Additionally, I ask what experience they are hoping to have and how they would like to consume it. It was after several years of research, experimentation, and testing, we found a group of experts who possessed the technology and solution we needed to realize our goals. Through this exclusive relationship, we were able to create Chil Mixers, a fast-acting, highly water-soluble all-natural powder-based cannabis infusion that you can instantly mix into any drink, whether hot or cold.
As we further refined the product, we realized three things: that it was a great edible product for consumers who wanted an edible; it helped them relieve pain quickly, but it’s also a great alcohol replacement. It gives a similar buzz and relaxation effect, without the calories or a hangover normally associated with an alcoholic beverage.
WB: Please tell me about your company? What is your six and twelve-month goals? How do you see stigmas in cannabis? What do you anticipate will happen with legalization?
AH: Chil is an LA-based brand of innovative cannabis products that deliver a consistently enjoyable experience. It is the result of several years of hard work to produce high-quality all-natural products that fit into healthy lifestyles – Live Resins, Cartridges, Edibles/Mixers and CBD products.
In the short-term, our goal is to get our new Chil Mixers product line into as many (adults 21+) hands as possible not because this will translate into sales, but for two reasons: we strongly believe it’ll help many people who look to have a good time without any of the side-effects of alcohol (hangover, calories, headache) and it’s a convenient format for people using cannabis as medication. In twelve months, we hope to have our new manufacturing facility up and running, so that we can continue to expand the Chil edibles line with even greater innovative executions.
As far as the stigmas I see in cannabis, every time I mention that I work in the cannabis industry, people usually give me the ‘I didn’t take you for a pothead’ look. After the initial surprise wears off, the vast majority of them know someone who is successfully consuming or personally have consumed cannabis to treat an ailment. I love hearing the stories they share. That is inspiring to me.
Consumers who are either trying cannabis for the first time or who haven’t consumed it in a long time will start shifting the current stigma that cannabis is for ‘lazy people’. It’s getting better, but the number of ‘in-the-closet’ users is still quite high, no pun intended. In social situations a lot of people still don’t like to disclose that they use cannabis until I share that I’m in the industry. Then they open up and usually have a lot of questions. I think the negative stigma will be greatly reduced as more people feel comfortable sharing their positive experiences with cannabis and others see that they’re just like them.
The more education and legalization in the industry the better. Because of legalization in California and other states, we now have safer products for consumers. Testing for dangerous chemicals and the right dosing are critical steps to making cannabis a legitimate product. As legalization at the Federal level becomes a reality, I believe consumers will have even more products to choose from. This will bring more and more people into the legal market and out of the illicit market. Everyone benefits: Consumers will have access to safe, tested and quality products and governments — at the local, state and federal levels — will gain from the revenue generated via taxes and enforcement.
WB: What about flavor? Sweet? Acerbic? What is your direction in this regard? What makes your product more agile than your competition?
AH: Oddly enough, in our testing, the flavor people liked the most is Bud Naked (10mg THC), our unflavored mix. With Bud Naked, you have the freedom to mix it into any favorite beverage of your choice or use it as an ingredient in cooking. Our two current flavored packets are Lemon (10mg THC) and Watermelon (5mg CBD; 5mg THC). We launched these first because they are popular as stand-alone flavors and are also easily mixed into mocktails and other drinks. We have three additional flavors coming out by year end and more to come in 2021. The new flavors will include both sweet and sour flavor profiles.
Our product is much more agile than traditional cannabis-infused beverages currently on the market. With the easy portability of our Mixers, you have the freedom to use the packet in your favorite drink any time, anywhere, just slip them into your pocket and you are good to go. They mix easily into any drink, do not taste like cannabis, and are fast-acting. Most people feel the effects in 15-20 minutes. Our Mixers are all-natural and have less than 10 calories with just 2 grams of sugar. When you compare the price of a bottle or canned cannabis beverage at a dispensary, our mixers are half the cost with a lot more versatility. Just Rip, Mix and Chil.
WB: Do you have a favorite food memory you’d like to share?
AH: My favorite food memory is barbeque. Growing up (and to this day), it has always been about the social aspect of eating. The slowness of (cooking) it, savoring bits and pieces as they became ready, sipping a favorite beverage, and sharing stories. Whenever possible, that’s what I seek out, meals with friends and family!
WB: What is your passion?
AH: My passion, and determination, is to create all-natural cannabis products and help raise awareness of its health and wellness benefits to as many people that could benefit from it as possible.
Let’s face it, cannabis is more than just an industry, it’s a movement. Lots of people have found this medicinal herb to be an alternative to pharmaceutical drugs, not only for its natural healing properties, but also for its very limited side-effects. However, there’s still a lot of misinformation about it. Due to its lingering status as a Schedule I narcotic, the Federal government does not fund any research on it, and though this is slowly (very slowly) changing, there is still not a lot of scientific data on its benefits and any implications that are widely accepted. This is holding back the industry and the plant’s potential to naturally heal in numerous ways.