This financier left Wall Street to start a marijuana chocolate company

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peter barsoom 1906

Peter Barsoom.
Courtesy of
1906


Peter Barsoom made his way up and down Wall Street over the last
19 years in his job overseeing consumer banking. His résumé
includes turns at Merrill Lynch, American Express, and Morgan
Stanley.

More recently, Barsoom added cannabis connoisseur to the list.

In 2014, the former financier saw a business opportunity in the
Denver area, where marijuana-infused foods were increasing in
popularity — in spite of usability issues. His startup, 1906, brings together
scientists, chocolatiers, and cannabis experts to create a
premium line of low-dose chocolate edibles.

“What I found when we first came out here about two years
ago was there was a big gap between what consumers’ needs are and
what was on the market today, particularly in the edibles
market,” Barsoom told Business Insider.

Less than 10 years ago, unlabeled pot brownies dominated
shelves at dispensaries. Patients rarely knew how much of the
drug they were eating until the high hit. Today, buyers can
choose from hundreds of brands and find dosage on the packaging.
However, the market continues to serve heavy users by stocking a
disproportionate number of high-dose edibles.

“For the rest of who can’t afford to lose our mind for the
next six hours, and are looking for a product that’s consistent
and safe … there’s much to be desired,” Barsoom said.

1906 — named for the year Congress passed a
law
that required food and drug products containing
“addictive” or “dangerous” substances, from alcohol to cannabis,
be labeled as such — tackles edibles’ usability problem on three
fronts: taste, effect, and delivery.

Barsoom assembled a team of botanists and a chemist, who had
years of experience working in dietary supplements, to figure out
which organic plant materials could be added to chocolate. They
had to mask the taste of cannabis and also complement the drug’s
intended effect.

“We used all of our friends as guinea pigs,” said Barsoom, who
also helps make the edibles.

They came up with a suite of marijuana-infused chocolates that
can supposedly produce different moods and energy levels.


1906 marijuana chocolate peter barsoom
Courtesy of
1906

In a formulation aimed at helping users fall asleep, dark
chocolate is mixed with 10 milligrams of cannabis and Corydalis,
a herb used in traditional Chinese medicine to treat
insomnia. The bite-sized edible helps “turn off a long day
and the stress with it,” according to the
website.

A chocolate purported to energize the body and mind
contains 10 milligrams of cannabis, caffeine, and L-Theanine,
an amino acid found in green tea that
some research suggests
could cancel out the anxiety often
associated with a caffeine buzz.

There are more chocolates in the works, according to the
website.

Weed-laced treats offer a different experience than a joint or a
bong hit. When eaten, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the
psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, undergoes a transformation
in the liver that turns it into a substance
that’s twice as strong and lasts twice as long
as when it’s
inhaled. A user’s high might not peak until
one to three hours
after eating.

Because it takes so long to process, people often overdo it.
While there are
no recorded cases
of people fatally overdosing on marijuana,
it can make patients incredibly uncomfortable.

Barsoom thinks he’s found a way around this.


1906 marijuana chocolate peter barsoom

1906 uses molds that turn their marijuana-infused
chocolate into confectionery gems.

Courtesy of 1906

1906 uses a technique called lipid encapsulation that takes
the THC and other key chemical compounds from marijuana and coats
the molecules in fat. It allows the drug’s psychoactive
ingredients to bypass the gut and enter the bloodstream more
quickly.

Lipid-based drug delivery systems
are not uncommon
in the pharmaceutical industry, though
there’s little research on how this
technique works with cannabis
.

A double-blind study conducted in-house asked 50 adults to
test the onset time and effectiveness of the company’s edible
formulations. The results suggested that users start to feel the
effects in as little as 15 minutes, Baroom said.

The lipid encapsulation technique may also amplify the
chocolate’s potency, which is why the team starts with a small
dose of five milligrams of THC.

1906 products are sold in select dispensaries in Colorado, where
Barsoom hopes to change people’s minds about the usability of
edibles.

“Everybody has a bad story about edibles. It doesn’t need to be
this way. People don’t have a bad story about taking Tylenol,”
Barsoom said. “This can be done better.”

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