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Perfect is a California-based cannabis brand with an innovative strategy. Instead of marketing by strain, Perfect sells three blends of flower that are infused with the plant’s natural oils and monoterpenes, and engineered to deliver consistent and specific results: Happy Camper to elevate mood, Pick Me Up to energize and Night Cap for relaxation. As co-founder Mo Isern explains, “Our goal has been to break through the confusion that comes with buying cannabis, and have the brand speak to the experience people are seeking. We’ve really looked at what makes the product lovable, fun and something that connects to our everyday life, and the moments when we feel like life is perfect.”

Michael Backes

“I’ve learned that misconceptions about cannabis could fill the Rose Bowl.”

As a technical and scientific consultant in the film industry, co-founder Michael Backes worked on a greatest hits list of blockbuster action films, including Iron Man. But his interest in cannabis lured him to greener pastures. Here the author of Cannabis Pharmacy talks about his journey with cannabis science and his industry predictions.

What drew you to the industry?

In 2000 my neurologist recommended that I try cannabis for a migraine headache. I had a kind of migraine that didn’t respond to typical medication, and my doctor said that cannabis might be an option. When I tried cannabis, at first just small doses a few times a week, the frequency of my headaches went from twice a week to twice a year. I wanted to find out how this worked. But no one knew. So I started to research. I had no idea that so little was known about cannabis. My research led me to co-found the first evidence-based medical cannabis dispensary in California. Fifteen years later, there’s still plenty for me to learn.

Has your perception of cannabis changed over the years? If so, how?

My perception of cannabis has changed dramatically over the last 15 years. At first, I looked at cannabis as being principally a medicine and a euphoriant. Today, I think it holds the possibility of becoming the safest social drug, once we better understand what’s in it and where it works in the body.

What project are you currently the most excited about?

Blending cannabis for effect is an incredibly exciting endeavor. As I tune my company’s blends, the effects get clearer, more pronounced and more easily distinguished. There are so many possibilities that I can easily see doing this work for the rest of my career.

Do you have a go-to product for personal use? If so, what and why?

I think my favorite product by far is our Happy Camper product. It is an exceptional euphoriant and makes the world both a lot more fun and a lot more funny.

What new industry developments are you currently excited about?

I’m really excited about the increasing availability of the minor cannabinoids such as CBDV.  These cannabinoids have very interesting synergies with THC and CBD and open up the possibility for a variety of new effects.

What industry achievement are you most proud of?

Writing my book, Cannabis Pharmacy. Each edition enables me to update and expand my knowledge of the cannabis plant and its pharmacology. The third edition should be out in Fall 2021.

Stepping away from strains is a bold move. What led you to that decision?

Well, I really haven’t stepped away from strains. Instead I am selecting strains and blending them together to broaden the range of available effects.

What are your industry predictions for the coming year?

I hope that our infused flower category captures significant market share between flowers and concentrates. I think that researchers are going to find hard evidence that supports the concept of the entourage effect: synergies between cannabinoids and terpenes.

What should we be doing to promote diversity in the cannabis industry?

Improving hiring practices, understanding that there’s a lot of indigenous knowledge that could inform our industry, but mostly listening better and hearing what we really need to do to make this industry more equitable.

Who do you look to for inspiration?

Vincenzo Di Marzo, Heather Bradshaw, Andrew Weil, Jurg Gertsch, Ethan Russo, Mark Lewis among many… And Christopher Alexander, the architect who introduced the concept of pattern languages. I want to develop a pattern language for cannabis entourages.

What’s a key point you’ve learned during your time in the industry?

I’ve learned that misconceptions about cannabis could fill the Rose Bowl.

If you could go back to the drawing board with your current experience, what would you do differently? 

Get a doctorate in pharmacology.

What advice would you give to a newcomer to the industry?

Get a doctorate in pharmacology.

Is there anything you’d like to say that we haven’t covered?

Nope, except, try Perfect’s blends. They represent fifteen years of work to find the finest quality high.

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