Julianna Carella founded Auntie Dolores, The Every Day Edible in 2008, bringing 20+ years of culinary work with cannabis and entrepreneurship in the health space. In 2013, Julianna developed Treatibles CBD-infused pet products, which were introduced under the Auntie Dolores line of products. Julianna is an avid proponent of health freedom, a visionary, and an activist in the MMJ community. As a health food enthusiast, Julianna began incorporating cannabinoids into her own diet and sharing the benefits with friends and family members who later encouraged her to turn her passion into a business. The Auntie Dolores mission is to provide safe access to cannabinoids for all sectors of society, including animals. Today, Auntie Dolores healthy gourmet edibles and pet products are sold throughout California and the brand will launch in additional states in 2015.
Hello everybody. How are you today? I’m Caryn Hartglass and it’s time for It’s All About Food. I’ve really been looking forward to this particular program. I think it’s going to be fascinating, both parts actually. In the top portion of the program in just a moment we’re going to be talking about medical cannabis and lots of wonderful edible treats related to that and then in the second part of the program I’m bringing back my old friend Dr. Michael Greger. His new book is out today and it’s called How Not To Die, Discover the Foods Scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. We’ll be talking to Dr. Greger at 4:30 in about a half hour. First, I want to bring on Julianna Carella who founded Auntie Dolores and The Every Day Edible in 2008, bringing 20+ years of culinary work with cannabis and entrepreneurship in the health space. In 2013 Julianna developed Treatibles CBD-infused pet products, which were introduced under the Auntie Dolores line of products. Julianna is an avid proponent of health freedom, a visionary, and an activist in the Medical Marijuana community. As a health food enthusiast, Julianna began incorporating cannabinoids into her own diet and sharing the benefits with friends and family members who later encouraged her to turn her passion into a business. Welcome to It’s All About Food Julianna.
Julianna Carella: Thank you, thank you very much.
Caryn Hartglass: How are you doing today?
Julianna Carella: I’m great. How are you?
Caryn Hartglass: I’m good. I’m actually getting ready for a trip. We’re heading out to the Bay Area tomorrow. I was reading about your company Auntie Dolores and as I was stumbling over the words in your introduction, I remembered reading where the name Auntie Dolores came from and maybe that’s why I said “Anti” instead of “Auntie”, I don’t know but why don’t you tell us about that.
Julianna Carella: Not many people know the meaning of the name but it is a double entendre that means “anti-pain”. Dolores means pain in Spanish. Auntie Dolores is your anti-pain remedy.
Caryn Hartglass: I love it. I’m very familiar with the park, Dolores Park. You mentioned that that was also part of the name.
Julianna Carella: Absolutely.
Caryn Hartglass: It’s a great park. I’m not someone who has any companion animals but I have some friends in San Francisco and I was made to walk their dogs in Dolores Park numerous times. It’s a fun place.
Julianna Carella: Definitely.
Caryn Hartglass: I have to tell you I am a virgin when it comes to cannabis. I have never smoked marijuana and I have not inhaled. But I appreciate its value. I have read a little bit about what it can do to many people who are going through pain and medical issues. One time in my life, when I was being treated for advanced ovarian cancer and had to go through chemotherapy, somebody that I highly respected recommended having some on hand just in case I got really nauseous through chemotherapy. Fortunately I never did get too sick from that. I actually did very well through chemotherapy but I understand it can help a lot of people. So, tell me how you got started with it and what it can do for us.
Julianna Carella: We did get our start in San Francisco as you mentioned mostly to address a lot of similar stories to yours actually. San Francisco is the birthplace of medical cannabis. It was born out of the AIDS epidemic actually. So back in the ‘90s when those laws were established they were put in place to help the people. Fast forward twenty years later we now have this industry but when we got our start in 2008 it was still sort of unfolding before our eyes and a lot has really happened in the last eight years but when we got our start…we thought it was really important to introduce some products that just weren’t in the market yet at all. Those products in our minds reflect the community in San Francisco, which is a community that’s really savvy when it comes to cannabis but also very sophisticated palates and people that love gourmet food. So our product line is really all about health and wellness but it’s also about flavor and ingredients that mask the flavor of cannabis but ingredients that are also super foods that help or maybe even have a lot of the same health benefits that cannabis has. That’s sort of the concept behind our menu offerings.
Caryn Hartglass: I want to talk more about your products in a moment but tell us what cannabis can be used for—for people with illnesses and for those who don’t have illnesses but still want to use it.
Julianna Carella: I think the most important thing to remember about cannabis is that there’s more than just TCH involved. Sometimes when we talk about cannabis we immediately think of TCH, which is the psychoactive component, but there’s many strains that have levels of other cannabinoids, some of them psychoactive, many of them not. One of them is CBD, cannabidiol, it’s not psychoactive and it has a long, long list of health benefits. TCH also has health benefits but the difference is CBD is non psychoactive and TCH is psychoactive. So depending on the patient and what they’re interested in—because we know patients that use one or the other or both every day in their health regimen. In terms of what cannabis can address there is a long, long list. That is anything from anxiety and depression to arthritis and immobility, pain of all kinds, cancer, epilepsy, Parkinson’s, some really, really advanced disease. At every stage cannabis can be helpful for palliative reasons or, in some cases, for curative reasons. There’s a real wide range of benefits to the cannabis and the hemp plants. It really does come down to which cannabinoid you’re talking about.
Caryn Hartglass: Now our government could use an education on a lot of subjects and issues. They tend to lump everything related to cannabis into one thing and made everything illegal until some states started to make some things legal. You mentioned hemp just for a moment and here is something that we still can’t grow in this country and yet it’s an excellent product for fabrics and food and so many different things.
Julianna Carella: Yeah, sadly hemp and cannabis have been sort of strategically suppressed from the public and because of that it’s really set us back on research. We’re about a hundred years behind schedule here on researching cannabis because of prohibition and all of the industries that gain from hemp and cannabis staying illegal. That’s a very real thing that’s in the way of this moving forward. Until they de-schedule cannabis and take it off the controlled substance act list altogether, it’s going to be like that—where we can’t research it to the extent that we need to because it’s classified as the most dangerous drug. It’s in a more serious category than cocaine, which everybody knows, is disjointed and just completely wrong. So that’s the first big thing that’s getting in the way and yes, our government does need an education but interestingly the U.S. government does hold a patent on cannabidiol. So right there’s a real paradox that on one hand it’s a Schedule 1 narcotic yet the government does hold a patent on cannabidiol, because they know, like the rest of us, just how profound this plant medicine actually is.
Caryn Hartglass: You developed Treatibles, CBD-infused pet products. What can these do for animals?
Julianna Carella: Same long list of health benefits that CBD has for humans. It’s the same for all animals, really. All animals do have an endocannabinoid system except for insects. We can sort of deduce that their response is going to be very similar and dogs do tend to have a lot of the same issues and then some other ones that humans don’t have such as hip dysplasia. As far as arthritis and anxiety and depression and cancer and epilepsy and all those same diseases…those are all the same diseases that dogs using Treatibles are actually having great success with. Most of the dogs that are using our products are using it for separation anxiety. We included a feedback postcard with the first 2500 bags that were sold and then we got a lot of those postcards back. We’ve been compiling the data. The main reasons that people do turn to Treatibles for their pet is for separation anxiety and anxiety of all kinds but also things like immobility and aging and arthritis. That’s a big, big reason that pets are going to be using this product. It really is phenomenal to watch an animal that’s limping because they’ve got a bad leg or they’ve got hip dysplasia or something and then they take their dose of Treatibles and within a half hour they’re moving more freely. There’s just visible evidence that the product’s working. We get a lot of testimonials like that all the time and then the word just sort of spreads. Now we’ve got customers all over the world that are using the products for their animals.
Caryn Hartglass: Can anyone in the United States buy these?
Julianna Carella: Yes.
Caryn Hartglass: Because they’re CBD-infused or because they’re for pets?
Julianna Carella: Because it’s the CBD that is extracted from the hemp plant in a very specific way. It’s really confined to a certain process that’s legal for importing hemp. That’s the main reason, otherwise our THC products are products that we can only make in California and distribute in California. It’s quite different from our Dolores product line because that’s a specific California product, whereas Treatibles being that the product is derived from hemp and it’s a specific extraction method and specific parts of the plant that are legal. It’s a little bit crazy that it’s like this but it is what it is and we just work within those boundaries because we just want to make this incredible medicine available to animals everywhere.
Caryn Hartglass: I remember reading an incredible story, of course I don’t remember all the details, but it was about some young child. I think he might have had epilepsy and his mom made him marijuana brownies and it had a tremendous effect and he was able to go to school and live a pretty normal life. I wish I could remember the whole story because I don’t know if there was a happy ending because I don’t think it was legal or maybe she was fighting for it to be ok for him to use them. It’s just incredible what it can do and how we’re just dragging our feet with being able to help so many people.
Julianna Carella: It is a shame. I’m happy to see that so many states have come on board with medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis laws but we still have a long way to go. And it’s still illegal on the federal level. As absurd as it is, it’s something that’s very real. It’s the kind of thing that means…if you’re the parent of an epileptic child you’re faced with: Do I move to a state where I can get my hands on this to give it to my kid or do I risk trying to get somebody to send it across state lines and they could end up in jail? These are the kinds of decisions that parents with epileptic children have to make. It’s horrible. But there have been numerous families that have moved to Colorado for that very reason, so that they can legally give this to their children. It’s fairly easy to get CBD products anywhere now so that’s the good news.
Caryn Hartglass: Let’s talk about some of your products. You’ve got Savory Pretzels and Glazed Pecans and Caramel Corn and cookies and some of them are vegan and gluten-free which I’m interested in. My question is…I remember reading recently one of the challenges of having these THC products is the dosage and how to keep people from getting too much.
Julianna Carella: Yes, the common story we hear every day. It’s the kind of thing here in California we’ve got patients who have this incredibly high tolerance so many of our products do address that market but most of our products have multiple pieces within the package. The Savory Pretzels, for instance, the package comes with 120 milligrams but there are over 30 pretzels in there so you can take what your dosage is and maintain a really manageable dose that’s not going to send you this crazy psychotic roller coaster ride that people find themselves on when they consume 50 milligrams at a time because their friends are like “Yeah I always use 50, I’m good.” Well, 50 milligrams is like five doses, most people only need 5-10 milligrams at a time. With our products you can take a 10-milligram portion and just eat that and then you still have multiple portions to consume later. The products can go in the fridge or freezer. We don’t put any preservatives in our products so we urge customers to store it properly. You really end up having a product that’s going to be in your pantry or refrigerator for a few months and serve you quite well for the price point that you spent.
Caryn Hartglass: Are there any downsides or side effects that people might experience from consuming THC?
Julianna Carella: Absolutely. THC toxicity can certainly lead to some really uncomfortable physical and mental emotional states. Physically you can actually become sick from it. Many people end up vomiting and feeling horrible. It can make you really dizzy and nauseous and just overall it’s almost like a horrible flu just hit you out of the blue at the same time you’re on this almost psychedelic like mind trip that doesn’t ever end and only seems to get more and more intense. Yet none of these things have ever killed anybody but you sure feel like you’re going to die when you’re in that situation. Because of how the cannabinoids respond in our GI tract…THC becomes about four or five times stronger in that process because it’s converting and that doesn’t happen when you smoke or vaporize it. Oftentimes people are starting off with a manageable dose but not recognizing that this is something that’s going to build on its own or it’s going to last a lot longer than smoking. Those are the things to think about but if you can some how manage your dose and start with 5-10 milligrams the effects can be great.
Caryn Hartglass: Is there a benefit to using a little bit of these products even if you don’t have any particular issues?
Julianna Carella: Sure. I think we’re meant to consume this plant. Our whole endocannabinoid system seems to need it and want it. I think even if you don’t have clearly defined diseases or disorders you can still gain from using cannabis. It’s almost like a nutrient that is good for your body no matter what. If you’re not interested in being high then it’s a great opportunity to enjoy CBD.
Caryn Hartglass: I think it would be better to consume these products in food rather than to smoke it from a health standpoint, right?
Julianna Carella: Absolutely. Edibles are certainly the healthiest way to consume cannabis. Patients can mix and match. They can do a little bit of edibles, maybe some vaporizing as well if they need the immediate relief but in terms of the duration of the effects edibles is always going to give you the best and the longest duration of effects.
Caryn Hartglass: I’m looking at your website auntiedolores.com. Those brownies and peanut butter brownie bites look pretty good.
Julianna Carella: They are delicious. Our brownies…we sweeten everything with coconut sugar because we wanted to take all the white sugar out of our products. We changed our products about a year ago. Now all of our sweet products have coconut sugar. Most of our products have coconut oil and other super foods, turmeric and cacao nibs, all that kind of thing.
Caryn Hartglass: Lovely. I learned a lot. Thank you for speaking with me about Auntie Dolores and your products. Have a great day. Thank you Julianna Carella for joining me on It’s All About Food.
Julianna Carella: Thanks so much, take care.
Caryn Hartglass: That was Julianna Carella, the founder of Auntie Dolores and you can check out the products at auntiedolores.com.
Transcribed by Suzanne Kelly, 12/25/2015