As marijuana legalization continues across the country, weed is becoming increasingly mainstream. However, as much as the stoner stereotype has evolved into a broader label that also encompasses CEOs, educated millennials, and the Spicolis of the world, it still has a negative connotation. Industry leaders have quickly learned that destigmatizing marijuana use begins with educating the public, but Adrian Sedlin of Canndescent has figured out that, as with anything, it's really all about branding.
Sedlin's luxury cannabis company offers premium flower alongside sophisticated packaging that no other company in the current market rivals. One look and I can almost guarantee that you'll be more inclined to spark one than ever before. What Sedlin and his team did first was identify the pain points of the consumer experience and make everything from the strain names to the aesthetic more approachable.
"I would describe most of the historical imagery associated with cannabis as being very countercultural," Sedlin told POPSUGAR. "It's a lot of bad imagery, bad design. Yeah, that appeals to a certain segment, but there are tons of users who are uncomfortable with the purchase experience. It's confusing and an intimidating space, so another problem to think about is do you really want to go in and buy a strain called Alaskan Thunder F*ck?"
Instead of traditional strain names like OG Kush and Green Crack, Canndescent simplified the classification system to five categories: Calm, Cruise, Create, Connect, and Charge. Each one is designed with proprietary genetics to perform exactly how it's labeled and is organically grown, cured, trimmed, and packaged in-house into childproof glass jars that include humidity packs to preserve quality. Sedlin said that half of its strains are genetically developed from scratch, making them completely unique to Canndescent, while others are comparable to more popular varieties.
While the rebrand is indeed friendlier, my biggest concern was whether the five categories were too broad for accuracy. For example, what's calm for me, may not be so calm for somebody else, especially the novice consumer who Canndescent is targeting. Sedlin and his team did take this into careful consideration when developing the product. Each bottle is labeled with the effects to expect, along with suggested activities, to give you an idea of the type of experience it may be more suited to. But in no way is Canndescent claiming that its strains are one size fits all.
"It's imperfect because you have a unique biochemistry, but it's a hell of an improvement," Sedlin told us. "Anything I can do to simplify it and make that user experience clearer and clearer for more users is something we'll adopt. When you're dealing with someone who has no category experience, all that type of thinking is fair. And at the end of the day, each person at some level has to figure out how cannabis hits them."
Image Source: Courtesy of Canndescent
To evaluate whether or not the actual effects of each strain were in the ballpark, I tested them all. I smoked each of the five categories on five separate days and paired them with the experience it was intended for. Spoiler: I'm f*cking sold.
Intended use: "For a restful sleep or relief from aches and pains, soothe yourself with Canndescent Calm."
When to consume: Before bed.
Verdict: One hit of Calm and the results were instant. I experienced immediate sleepiness and full-body relaxation. It felt heavy yet comforting and not at all anxiety-inducing.
Intended use: "Keep up the pace, relax your mind, and sail through the day with Canndescent Cruise."
When to consume: Before running errands or starting your day.
Verdict: Cruise is a fantastic daytime weed. I did feel a little tired, but not enough to knock me out. I smoked this one before tackling a day full of errands, and I was able to breeze through on cruise control without burning out.
Intended use: "When it's time to paint, jam, code, blog, or game, find your muse in Canndescent Create."
When to consume: Before tackling a project.
Verdict: If you need to crack down on some work, feel inspired, or simply focus, this one's for you. I smoked a couple hits of Create before catching up on some work at home, and I was pleasantly surprised how functional I was. Not only did I do laundry with laser focus, but I also didn't find myself struggling to think while writing a post. Weed typically makes my mind hazy and slow-thinking, but Create offered clarity and focus.
Intended use: "When it's time to laugh, go out with friends, or get intimate, invite Canndescent Connect."
When to consume: For social situations.
Verdict: I figured that a dinner party would be the perfect scenario to test out a couple joints of Connect. I had five experienced smokers, including myself, to note any differences in sociability and energy, and some of us reported being more present and alert than we typically are when smoking other brands. I personally found Connect to be the least distinct of all five strains, but it was a nice choice for this type of setting nonetheless.
Intended use: "To get off the couch, take a run, or go out for the night, power up with Canndescent Charge."
When to consume: Before going out.
Verdict: Charge was hands down my favorite strain of all. Ten minutes in, I was noticeably more alert and energized, which is rarely the case for me, even with sativas. I definitely didn't feel glued to the couch, and I'm glad I smoked Charge before heading out to a weeknight concert because I was surprised to find myself so awake the entire night.
Overall, I was very satisfied with Canndescent's products. At $60 for an eighth, this is one top-shelf brand I can justify splurging on. Its descriptions were true to the label, based on my experience, and it reminded me how drastically different quality weed is to the more affordable varieties I've been using. The stunning, limited-edition gift box I received from Canndescent (pictured above) is available for purchase at California dispensaries for $250 and comes with an eighth of all five strains, matches, rolling papers, and hemp wicks for each. They're also sold individually for $50 to $60 an eighth (depending on the dispensary). If you purchase the prepackaged version, you'll receive a glass jar along with a box of matches, a packet of premium rolling papers, and a roll of hemp wicks, as shown below.
At the end of unpackaging my gift box on Instagram Stories, I polled my followers and asked whether or not they'd be more likely to smoke weed if it was presented in this way. Ninety-three percent responded yes. The sample size was too small to actually yield significant results, but it does say something about branding. Sedlin describes Canndescent as "sexy, sophisticated, and simple." Based on the overwhelmingly positive reactions from friends and coworkers — including those who aren't regular cannabis users — and my own firsthand experience with Canndescent's product, I can absolutely see this company revolutionizing the industry and changing the way we approach weed.