HelloMD sat down to chat with Jill Amen, co founder of House of Jane - Jane's Brew, to learn about her company’s fast and furious rise within the cannabis-infused edibles market. House of Jane offers a variety of high-end gourmet coffees, teas, hot chocolates & edibles to a wide variety of cannabis consumers. To date, Jane's Brew is offered in 127 dispensaries across the state of California and has been a trending brand since winning their first award at the Hempcon conference in 2014. Jill is upbeat and passionate about the Jane’s Brew product line and is a strong believer in and advocate for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.
What was the inspiration for starting Jane’s Brew?
My grown son Trey and I were in Amsterdam a few years ago and I was very inspired by the coffee houses there and the array of cannabis products that were offered. However, I don’t like to smoke pot. So what I really wanted was to find a method of ingestion that made sense to me. I don’t have a sweet tooth as I don’t eat sugar, so I thought, ‘What do I drink every day?’. That’s when it hit me, I drink coffee and tea and that this could be a great vehicle for a cannabis-infused product. When we came back to the States I started to do R&D for our product line and to get back into the industry and well, here we are today! We started out in 2014 and did a very soft launch that year with a small group of clubs in the Orange County area. Afterwards, we did our actual launch in January 2015.
Soon after you launched, Jane’s Brew won an award at Hempcon. You have been going through the stratosphere ever since that happened, right?
Yes, thank goodness! One of the products we entered into Hempcon was our creamer; everyone loves our French vanilla creamer. I think it was the regular hot chocolate that won. We invested so much time and energy in creating our products right before we even launched and we continue to make adjustments along the way. This is an interesting industry and an interesting time. There are a lot of little things that happen in our industry every day. I believe the saying is ‘every 3 weeks in this industry is 6 months [in any other]’.
Do you feel that your product is a good introduction for people who are trying cannabis for the first time?
Yes, absolutely. We are conversing with patients all of the time. They want to know and understand the benefits of cannabis, especially those who are trying it for the first time. Many people are intrigued by the consumption of cannabis through our coffees and teas because it seems like a very natural way to take medication. We do get a lot of feedback from people who have tried our products who say, “Oh my goodness, I am so glad you are here.” It makes me feel really good to hear the positive feedback.
Since you have started, whom have you found to be your target demographic?
Our core demographic is people like you and me, people in the forty plus market. We are professionals, we are busy with some stress in our life, and we have families: that is our target market. Also, a lot of our target market hasn’t even tried cannabis yet, or doesn’t even know what CBD (cannabidiol) is. Our goal is to educate people and let them know what the positive effects of CBD may be for them. Many of our products are CBD-focused without any psycho-activity at all. Many people do not realize that you can take cannabis for medicinal reasons and not get high or stoned. When we launched, I knew that we would hit a slightly older demographic because of interest in wellness as well as experience with illness. The one thing that did surprise us is that people in their 20s also seem to really appreciate and seek out our products.
Do you associate your products as being helpful for any specific illnesses?
We have stayed away from all claims. I believe that as more people are educated about cannabis they will absolutely understand how our products can be helpful to them and their condition specifically. In terms of education, we want to teach people about the benefits of consuming edibles verses inhalation, but we don’t talk about specific illnesses.
A lot of your products have a high CBD component, with that I’m assuming some of your products may have higher levels of THC as well. How do you go about dosing a tea or coffee beverage practically?
Our products come in multiple doses. For example, our chamomile tea comes in 20mg tea bags. The first time, someone may want to share a glass of that 20mg, or put half of it away for the next day. You can also brew the tea in a communal format. Say, I am having a 420 evening with other medical patients, I may brew a 200mg container of tea, but I’ll make 12-20 servings out of that when I add ice and dilute it some.
Our new bottled beverages are coming out dosed at 80mgs. In the future we want to include a small dosing cup in the package so people can actually measure out a unit to try it before they continue to drink the rest of the bottle. Secondly, we have a CBD version of the bottled product that will come out soon, as well as a 20mg bottle. We introduce by market demand, 80mgs is not a very high dose for most of the market we are serving at the present time.
There is a lot of negative media these days surrounding the edibles market and the potential problems with dosing. Do you find that putting yourself in the category of edibles is beneficial to Jane’s brew?
The truth is that we are classified under edibles because our cannabis products are consumed orally. I have often thought about coining my own name for our beverages as a new category in the market. I have a few ideas, but I haven’t done anything with it yet. So at this point in time, our goal is to best educate people regarding the benefits of our edibles and how to dose appropriately.
The most important thing I think we do is to educate the bud masters who are responsible for selling our products in the dispensaries. We do not want our product abused or for people to have a bad experience. In everything we publish, we talk about beginning with doses as small as 5-10mgs per serving, waiting at least an hour, then evaluating if dosing needs to be adjusted. Our Jane’s Brew Oath is really our philosophy that encompasses all of these ideas.
Could you explain the Jane’s Brew Oath philosophy for us?
I think there is an element about who Jane is; Jane is a very free, but responsible, spirit. We ask that people, if they choose, to take an oath for responsible consumption of cannabis. We believe people should have a right to do what they choose, as long as it is not harming others. They should have an opportunity to be inspired, creative, energized, and strive for wellness. They should also be very responsible when communicating this message with others. Essentially, I would say that is a lot of what the message is about. It is all to enjoy the benefits of cannabis.
Do you do laboratory testing on the products you bring to market? How do you manage the consistency of your products?
We triple lab test our products using three different labs because it is very important to us to make sure that all lab results are consistent with one another. We test at our oil stage to make sure the product is calibrated for what we understand the percentage of components to be and for microbes and other additives. Our second level of testing is at powder stage, we convert all of our oils to a powder form for the manufacturing of our product, where we test for similar components as the first stage. Lastly, we test at the finished product level. We post lab results every month--not all of them, however, because we have far too many--on our website so people can look at the results and feel secure that our products are free of pesticides or microbial issues.
Do you feel that rigorous lab testing sets you apart from some of the other product companies out there?
Yes and no. I think the industry is changing quite a bit. I think that anyone who wants to be taken seriously in the market will lab test. The dispensaries that we work with require lab testing and will lab test independently themselves. It’s important for the health and safety of our consumers.
What are your favorite products from Jane’s Brew?
I love our bottled products, especially the unsweetened ones because I don’t drink sweetened tea. For the evening, my favorite beverage is our chamomile tea. Every night I drink a cup of chamomile tea and watch some TV, then I head to bed and I am ready for a good night’s sleep. The tea is very natural and herbal; there is never a hangover when you wake up after drinking cannabis tea like there is with some sleeping pills.
Where can people buy Jane’s Brew products?
We have our products in127 different dispensaries, as far north as Shasta and all the way down to San Diego, and everywhere in between. We also work with a delivery service that distributes to individual patients in California regardless of their location. So if you go through our website it will take you to an online ordering page.
Wrapping up, is there anything else you would like to say?
I really think people need to educate themselves. They can go on our site or a number of quality sources online to learn more about cannabis. It is not only about Jane’s Brew products, patients should know what products are and understand them before medicating.