A New Look at Cannabis Customersby Jacqueline Bull June 28, 2019
Seemingly overnight, cannabis changed from a taboo secret to dominating billboards all over town. You can even get it delivered to your door. One of the biggest growing demographics for new cannabis customers is retirees. For Jewish brothers Mark and Brian Davis who co-founded Mozen, Jewish seniors make up a significant portion of their customers.
“When I was working in LA, I met my wife Melissa who was from San Diego and we got engaged and moved down here seventeen years ago, got married at Congregation Beth Am. And three kids later, we are pretty involved in the Jewish community here,” Brian Davis said.
Brian was a casual cannabis smoker in college and felt he knew a little bit about it, but when he went into a dispensary here in San Diego, he felt overwhelmed.
“I didn’t understand what the terminologies were or understand what these strains were and I thought I knew a little bit about cannabis, but I just found it really confusing. And most of the brands seem to speak more to the “Cheech and Chong” Bob Marley kind of demographic or was very high-end medical and there was nobody speaking in a real simple way to people like me who is an adult professional, a parent with kids, that had real issues. I have sleep issues, I deal with stress and anxiety, I’m dealing with pain and there was nobody communicating that in a real simple way in a brand,” he said.
And how does it reduce pain?
“Pain is caused by inflammation and cannabis reduces inflammation. Every cell in your body has a cannabis receptor because the body naturally makes molecules that are very similar to cannabinoids that are released in the runner’s high. When you use cannabis, that’s why you see these effects,” Cat Goldberg, Director of Community Engagement said.
“Runner’s high” is one of the more well-known examples of an endorphin creating a sense of calm and euphoria. New findings suggest it may not be the endorphins that are causing that result, but actually something in the body called endocannabinoids. Endocannabinoids are involved in pregnancy, appetite, pain-sensation, mood, memory and in the facilitation of cannabis from smoking, consuming, etc.
“We know that cannabis isn’t going to cure your insomnia, it is not going to cure your anxiety, but it is one tool that we can use to deal with those real issues in a healthier way than a prescription drug or alcohol or things that people that I know in my community were using on a daily basis–a prescription of Xanax or a prescription of Ambien. We saw cannabis as a much healthier option, but do it in a way that was simple and easy for them to understand,” Brian said.
Brian and his brother came up with the name Mozen which is the Hebrew name for balance. And helping others find their balance is the root of their philosophy.
They designed their vaporizers to have simple names that could clearly communicate the effect each would have. They have two sativa dominant vapes that are more energetic and uplifting: Seize the Day, and Power Up. And they have two indica-focused vapes that are more relaxing: Rest & Chill and Goodnight.
“And so one of the first questions we ask people is ‘What’s your challenge? What’s your issue?’ And we created those four SKU’s to really clearly help them with those specific issues,” Brian said.
Starting from the standpoint of what are you dealing with and what effect do you want is a much different approach to a dispensary that has numerous options.
“You walk in, there is a million different products, there is like eleven varieties of vaporizers, there is just so much and if you are starting out, it can be really overwhelming. And the people who tend to work in dispensaries are on the younger side. And people of a certain age may not really want to open up about the issues they are having like menopause or sexual health or things like that,” Cat said.
“Brian and Mark figured out a really good solution to that problem which is basically go into people’s homes and do tupperware-esque parties where we call them ‘A Conversation About Cannabis’ and we come in and educate them about things like how the pain cream works and how it doesn’t get you high or figuring out the right vaporizer for what you are trying to do that day. We also serve hemp CBD water, so that’s non-psychoactive entirely, but it is just to kind of get people’s feet wet and they have been really well-received. It is just a way for especially women to kind of open up and ask these questions. And there is usually a lot of laughter and you know they smoked in the ‘60s and ‘70s and they just don’t know what the deal is today.”
“[Brian and Mark’s] mom has been really helpful and hosted a couple of these parties. We’ve had a big Jewish crowd come through. And they complain about their aches and pains more than–I mean we’re Jewish, it is what we do–to hear the sense of relief that these people are finding…And it is just that they have been suffering and they don’t know there is a solution.”
Cat emphasized the parties are not just a Mozen sales pitch. They aim to open up discussions about what may be right for their attendees and that may not be one of their products. They offer help to customize a routine for them.
“Not everybody wants to inhale cannabis smoke, they might want to use a topical for their joint pain or drink the beverage or they might want to eat something and everyone has their different preferences,” Brian said.
And these other non-vaporizer products are where they expect to expand the business. Brian explained that he sees Mozen as more of a lifestyle brand than a strictly vaporizer business. Staying focused on serving their demographic has informed their decisions like offering mild dosages and including how-to instructions with their product.
“They are searching for alternatives to what their doctors are prescribing them and they read a lot and they look at the news and see the health benefits of CBD and CBD really mixed with THC,” Brian said.
They have designed the products and included a card with directions on how to inhale, how long they should wait for the effects and it will even shut off if the user continues to keep inhaling to control the dosage.
“People thought we were crazy because we were taking this THC percentage down to 40% from 80%. They were like, ‘People will hit it half as hard,’ and I’m like, ‘No you don’t understand, these are parents, they have real lives and they don’t want to be sitting on the couch watching ‘The Big Lebowski,’ and eating chips all night,” Brian said.
“I think that people are so surprised to learn that you can use cannabis during the day and still have energy and be focused and alert and clear-headed, so it is just about debunking some of those myths and I think by having these conversations, it really does start to remove the stigma. I think starting in the Jewish community is who we are, it is the best place to start,” Cat said.