The future of cannabis is female! December is DOPE Magazine’s Women’s Issue, and we wanted to continue to highlight women across the industry on all our platforms. We sent a questionnaire to outstanding women in cannabis — some familiar to us, some new — and will be showcasing their answers in individual blogs this month. Check out our December Mag for more profiles of the badass women you need to know!
Today’s story highlights Carolina Vasquez Mitchell, chief scientist and director of research and development at Kushy Punch.
Who are some of your greatest role models?
Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla. I admire the ingenuity of Tesla, the business mind of Edison and the morals of Benjamin Franklin.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced in your career?
I would say that it’s challenging working in the science field as a young woman of color, particularly coming from another country where English isn’t my first language. In some ways, cannabis is a lot more welcoming to women than other industries, but in the labs, it’s still a bit of a boy’s club.
What’s something someone would never guess about you?
I’m a bodybuilder. And I like to draw manga cartoons. I’m a dork at heart.
What’s your go-to self-care routine?
The gym and a healthy diet. I also have a daily dose of CBD to reduce inflammation and boost my immune system.
Favorite “guilty pleasure”?
Cooking and watching how much people enjoy my food!
Where do you see your career/business headed in five years? Twenty?
In five years, I want Kushy Punch to be the leading cannabis edibles company in the United States. In 20 years, I see myself as the leading expert in cannabis sciences, an author of several scientific books and conducting sound cannabis research.
How do you feel about the industry-wide assertion that cannabis is a female-friendly space?
Women seem to be better represented in the dispensaries and in the marketing departments, which is very promising. But as I mentioned, the cannabis science community is missing substantial female representation. I would like to be a big part of changing that and helping young women enter the labs and start leading this industry.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A geneticist! I was curious about what makes us humans and what makes us different from other organisms. I did research on genetics, but cannabis pharmacology is a lot more fun!
If you could talk to yourself five years ago, what advice would you give?
Don’t listen to anyone who says you aren’t good enough and never, ever give up.
What advice do you have for other women looking to get into the cannabis space?
Don’t be afraid to do what you love, become an expert in your field, work harder than everyone and let people know how much you are worth.
Recommend a book, album, and movie you think everyone should read/listen to/watch while stoned!
Warning: Long-winded technical answer incoming! It depends on the mode of administration, the concentration and the strain. Eating THC has a soporific effect when microdosed; higher doses may have strong psychoactivity. However, taking it together with CBD can reduce the mental high. Smoking effects vary a lot with strains: GDP would relax you and Jack Herer would be uplifting. But if I have one of our Private Reserve gummies (my favorite flavor), I would watch “Loving Vincent,” listen to “Everyday Chemistry” and read a Jules Verne book.
Best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Behave in such a way that even if people say lies about you, you’ll never feel bad about yourself. Or one from my father: 80 percent of the people are assholes, and you just have to deal with that, jaja.
What’s your favorite cannabis product? (And you can’t list one of your own, if you’re a grower/producer!)
I can’t list my own creations?! Wow, well I don’t eat anything that isn’t Kushy Punch. It’s the only one I trust.
What’s the one thing you would bring if you were stranded on a desert island?
An inverse osmosis device to purify the water to make sure I don’t die of dehydration.
What do you hope for the future of the cannabis industry?
I hope cannabis gets legalized federally so that we can finally conduct ample research and discover the full benefits of the plant, and provide solutions to many of the diseases and illness which we haven’t found cures or treatment for yet.
Fill in the blank: I could never live without ________
This is weird, but I couldn’t live without chemistry. I use chemistry to cook, to work — pretty much everywhere and all the time I’m noticing, acknowledging and thinking about chemistry.
What do you think needs to happen before we achieve federal legalization of cannabis?
Expanding and normalizing cannabis use is extremely important. We’re definitely starting to see an expansion on our ideas about who the cannabis user is and what they use the plant for. I think this new wave of older people using cannabis for pain and relief will initiate a major shift in how we perceive this medicine.
What’s your smoking/cannabis consumption ritual, if you do partake in cannabis?
I only take cannabis at night to help with my insomnia. I take a serving of Kushy Punch’s Recover, which is 60 percent THC and 30 percent CBD, and if I wake up in the middle of the night I smoke a little Grand Daddy Purple to put me right back to bed.