Wana Brands is, to put it lightly, one of the most well-known and highly-respected edibles companies in the cannabis industry. The company has been dedicated to excellence, innovation, and impact since its inception in Colorado in 2010. It has made a name for itself by testing its products for quality and potency, using premium vegan, gluten-free ingredients, and organic sweeteners to ensure that its gummies are suitable for most diets. Wana Brands also ensures that its manufacturing partners produce consistent products, regardless of the state in which they are sold - and they are currently in fifteen states, plus Canada and Puerto Rico.
CEO Nancy Whiteman co-founded Wana Brands in 2010. She and her partners started the company in a small commercial kitchen in Boulder, Colorado - a humble beginning for the respected power house it is today. Whiteman became a strong advocate for the healing power of cannabis after hearing stories from consumers who used Wana's products to manage lifelong pain, mental health challenges, and other conditions.
Says Content Director Kaitlin Mackenzie, “our mission is to enhance lives by unlocking the full potential of the plant. This means our industry-leading innovation team is constantly looking for new ways to improve existing products, AND developing new formulations for a range of recreational and wellness effects.” As an example, Wana Brands works with leading terpene research company Abstrax to create proprietary blends of 30+ terpenes, which are reintroduced into their THC distillate during the cooking process. This way, customers can choose the kind of effects they want to experience.
One of Wana's revolutionary innovations is its fast-acting technology. The company partnered with another industry thought leader, Azuca, to harness a technique known as Thermodynamic individual Molecular Encapsulation (TiME). This technology encapsulates each individual cannabinoid/terpene molecule in a water-soluble layer, making it easier and faster for the cannabis to enter the system, which is often a challenge for edibles. With TiME, users can feel the effects of the medicine much more quickly. Says Mackenzie, “Wana Quick Gummies have a 5-15 minute onset and deliver lighter, Delta-9 effects that feel like smoking. This makes them a great alcohol alternative for happy hours, BBQs, parties, and other social occasions. A shorter 2-4 hour offset is ideal for concerts, parties, and other time limited events… you don’t have to build your whole day around that long-lasting, intense edibles high.”
The other great thing about TiME has to do with the way the effects can be felt. “When you inhale cannabis, you’re consuming a molecule called Delta-9-THC, which delivers that lighter ‘head high’ most people associate with smoking. When you consume traditional edibles, the Delta-9-THC inside of them passes through your liver, where it undergoes first-pass metabolism and converts to something called 11-Hydroxy-THC. This delivers a typically more potent, more intense, longer lasting body high. Now, because the molecules in Wana Quick are able to be absorbed so quickly and directly into your bloodstream, you feel the effects of that Delta-9-THC before that metabolism occurs. The result is a lighter, more cerebral Delta-9 high that feels similar to smoking and lasts about 2-4 hours. We like to say Wana Quick is a great edible for people who think they don’t like edibles.”
Wana Brands' Optimals line is a relatively new offering that currently contains formulations for sleep and stress relief, powered not just by THC and CBD, but by calibrated blends of rare cannabinoids, terpenes, and other functional ingredients to help consumers achieve specific wellness effects. Wana gummies also won’t melt, which makes them perfect for the scorching summer days we all know so well in Phoenix. Made using only fruit-derived pectin, these gummies can withstand temperatures up to 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Gummies made with gelatin typically get gooey around 90 degrees, which can make for a hot mess on a pool day.
Wana's culture places social responsibility at the forefront, focusing on social justice and equity within the industry, as well as causes including LGBTQIA+ rights, food security, housing and domestic violence relief, and many more. They engage in company-sponsored volunteer opportunities for employees, and reinvest in their community through donations, mentorship, and activism. Just this year, Nancy Whiteman established the Wana Brands Foundation, a $50 million charitable organization. You can learn more about the WBF’s work at wanabrandsfoundation.org. Additionally, their leadership team is very involved in advocating for fair, common sense cannabis regulations. VP of Innovation Mike Hennesy was a key member of Colorado’s Intoxicating Hemp Task Force, and has also worked with the Colorado Department of Transportation to educate law enforcement about cannabis and its impact on safe driving.
Wana Brands has a revolutionary commitment to distinction, dependability, and consistency, while never becoming static or boring. Together, these have made Wana products a respected household name for cannabis users from around the world. Says Mackenzie, “to briefly touch on how Wana became such a revered name in the industry, I think it comes back to trust. Of course, our innovation, ability to stay ahead of the curve, and Nancy’s business acumen have helped us grow, but ultimately I think Wana’s longevity comes down to the fact that budtenders and consumers know they can always trust Wana to deliver a premium taste and experience, no matter what.”
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