3 Questions: The Yield Growth Corp. CEO Penny Green on cannabis-infused sex, pot stocks, and lifestyle brands

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Yaletown lawyer Penny Green likes to call herself a "serial entrepreneur". 

She's president and CEO of Vancouver-based The Yield Growth Corp., which has three brands under its wing.

They include cannabis sativa–infused cosmetics and therapeutic products under the Urban Juve label, a tech and marketing arm called Thrive Activations, and a data-collection division called Loop Insights.

We asked Green three questions in advance of her Saturday (September 8) speaking engagement at TEDx Vancouver, which takes place at UBC's Chan Centre for the Performing Arts. Her talk is being promoted as a way to learn how cannabis can make you richer and sexier, so that's where the interview began.

Straight Cannabis: How can cannabis improve a person’s sex life?

Penny Green: Cannabis can be a powerful aphrodisiac. Depending on the strains, it can heighten emotional and physical sensitivity, improve stamina and creativity, and can lead to sensory ecstasy. Smoking or vaping cannabis can intensity feelings of closeness with a partner. Using a sexual lubricant with THC has been known to yield more intense and more frequent orgasms for women.

How cannabis can affect the sexual experience depends on the strain and the person. Sativa-dominant strains often increase arousal, creativity, and passion, while indica-dominant strains can be relaxing and increase sensitivity to touch. Each person responds differently, depending on their unique cannabinoid system. Experts recommend taking only one or two hits before sex to deepen the experience.

Urban Juve, a company I cofounded, is launching cannabis-infused topicals, including a sex line for women. One of the products we are most excited about is our Sexual Lubricant which includes Ashwagandha oil, hemp root oil, and THC; we have filed a provisional patent on how the combination of these ingredients improve orgasmic activity for women.

Topicals with THC, such as sexual lubricant, cannot yet be legally sold in Canada.

Straight Cannabis: Cannabis stocks like Tilray, Canopy Growth, and Cronos Group have registered tremendous gains. Where do you see the shares going for companies that already have billion-dollar valuations?

Penny Green: It depends how they execute. There are big opportunities internationally and to continue to build value. These companies will need to establish themselves as leaders in other countries and to compete or partner with Big Pharma and Big Booze. There is still huge room for growth as cannabis sales are expected to rise by 20 percent per year for the next five years. Also, there are no dominant leaders in edibles and topicals, as these markets are just opening up. Big alcohol companies may serve as major competition or they may align with or acquire existing cannabis companies, as in the recent investment by Constellation Brands that will invest $5 billion in Canopy Growth Corp.

Constellation Brands, with access to a ton of consumer data, deemed it a good investment to acquire 38 percent of Canopy for $5 billion. This is a good indicator that there is still plenty of room for cannabis stocks to grow. But still, it might to be easier for investors to make money on stocks that are earlier on in their life cycle, like more than 40 companies listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange. For example, look at Crop Infrastructure Corp. (CSE: CORP), which has a market capitalization of $27 million but is building cannabis-related properties in Italy, Jamaica, California, Nevada and Washington. There is still plenty of room for that stock to grow in value.

Straight Cannabis: What does the future hold for cannabis-related lifestyle brands?

Penny Green: As the cannabis market matures, this is going to be a huge.

Cannabis is in a cultural renaissance. Its use is going mainstream and consumers are no longer restricted to black market supply. Consumers will start to look for recognized brands they can trust. Quality and improved brand experience as well as great customer service will all become more important.

Some experts say the next growing market within the cannabis market could be beauty products. In 2015, the beauty and personal care market was worth $76 billion in the U.S.—that is more than the entire estimated U.S. demand for cannabis.

Some also say there will be a competition between retails brands (dispensaries), product brands, and device brands. Marketing cannabis based on lifestyle has been successful. But branding for other product categories may not translate well. Many marketing professionals may be tempted to use strategies that were effective for tobacco and alcohol. But cannabis is unique and will require an entirely new way of branding. In this way, cannabis lifestyle brands could be disruptive to several sectors, including the wellness industry, makeup, and leisure.

However, there are tremendous restrictions around marketing, which will make it challenging for cannabis brands to evolve.

It is an uphill battle, but surely one that is exciting and will be impactful as new research and brands unfold.

Discuss