Grower Stories #59: Melinda Bloch

Tia Moskalenko
Tia Moskalenko

Tia Moskalenko, author of the AskGrowers blog, brings a unique blend of content to her readers. She is known for conducting insightful interviews with key figures in the cannabis industry, including brand representatives, manufacturers, and experts. In addition to her interview skills, Tia has a keen focus on CBD. She expertly curates product selections and reviews, offering her readers detailed insights into the various effects and benefits of CBD. Tia's ability to combine in-depth interviews with comprehensive CBD analysis makes her a valuable asset to the cannabis community, offering a well-rounded perspective on the industry.

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Grower Stories #59: Melinda Bloch

Discover Healthy Living: An Interview With Melinda, Founder of Colorado-Based Discover CBD

It’s fair to say that the CBD industry has absolutely exploded over the last few years. Since 2018, we've seen legal CBD turn into a multi-billion dollar industry. That’s where a brand like Discover CBD comes in. AskGrowers talked with Melinda, the franchise director, about the brand, the CBD industry, and what the future holds for them. #growerstories


My name is Melinda. I started with Discover CBD as a customer service representative in our first store, and I now help manage our franchise and vending machine programs. I have had an interest in cannabis for over half my life and am fascinated by the biological mechanisms that enable cannabis plants to produce the myriad of benefits they provide. When I am not working, I prefer to be hiking the peaceful mountain meadows and thrilling peaks around Colorado.


Tia (AskGrowers) : Share with us your brand story. How did it all get started?

Melinda Bloch : Back in 2015, the company’s founder noticed the need for access to the natural benefits of cannabidiol. Seeing cannabis refugees flock to Colorado, the founder became determined to increase the availability of CBD across the country. He started with a small linen closet-sized shelf worth of inventory, created from knowledge of the medical marijuana market, and started to fulfill mail orders with the help of his family at home. The first employee was hired to work in a small shipping center in 2016.

After locals started showing up to buy products at this ill-equipped office space used to take phone orders paid by check and package shipments, the first Discover CBD retail location was opened in Colorado Springs, CO in 2017. At that time, we could not even accept cards for payment, and we ran as a cash-only business until the 2018 Farm Bill when interest in the CBD industry really blossomed.


Discover CBD product picture
Tia : What do you think is the key to success in the cannabis industry?

Melinda : A passion for the cannabis plant should be the first requirement to be involved in the industry, and I think it is necessary for success. By sharing a connection with the plant, it drives you to create higher quality products. To overcome all the difficulties encountered in the industry, and helps you relate to your customers and the rest of the cannabis community.


Tia : Tell us about your CBD Oils, how do they differ from others on the market?

Melinda : Honestly, a high-quality CBD oil from one brand should be very close to a quality oil from another brand. The industry needs more consistency so consumers can develop trust in CBD products. That being said, there are numerous products that have unique features that help bring out the full potential effectiveness of the CBD or other cannabinoids, such as CBG or CBN. We manufacture the brand Active CBD Oil in Colorado Springs and offer a full range of options for different routes of administration which really determine how the CBD will interact with the system. Swallowing a supplement or medication is extremely common for the benefits of long duration, such as with vitamins or an NSAID.

However, we know fat-soluble cannabinoids are absorbed very poorly and inconsistently when swallowed. My favorite products are our water-soluble CBD, CBG, and CBN options, because they overcome this drawback to swallowing cannabinoids. Our water-soluble formula consistently produces significantly increased CBD absorption compared to oil-based delivery. I have seen data from a double-blind pharmacokinetic study in humans for our formula, which I cannot say for many other formulas on the market.


Tia : Right now you have eight locations in the U.S.. How much time have you spent to achieve these results?

Melinda : We currently have 14 Discover CBD locations throughout the U.S.. Our first store opened in August of 2017, which feels like both yesterday and forever ago… It has been a significant amount of time and effort for everyone involved, but the time has also zipped by. The first stores to open were located in Colorado as we expanded to three stores in Colorado Springs and two in Denver by the end of 2019. Our first franchised location opened in Grapevine, Texas in June of 2019 and since then we have quickly added to our family of operators. We now also have three stores in Minneapolis, as well as stores in New York City, Buffalo, Miami, and Wisconsin.


Tia : Were there any difficulties in opening up new locations throughout the U.S.?

Melinda : The cannabis industry is a challenge from the very beginning! There are substantial hurdles in the cannabis industry throughout the process of opening a store. One of the main roadblocks for the cannabis industry, even for us on the hemp side, is banking.

The 2018 Farm Bill helped the situation but significant issues still exist. Landlords often refuse to rent to CBD businesses. Many people don’t fully understand the difference between hemp and high-THC cannabis, so more education is necessary for many parts of the country. Also, since there is no consistent federal regulation for the industry, each state or even city is left to interpret the farm bill differently, which has added to the difficulty of operating stores throughout the country as laws swiftly change.


Discover CBD interview quote
Tia : Do you have any specific approaches to producing your CBD products?

Melinda : We strive for transparency, which in my opinion should be more common in the industry. We label our products as clearly as possible, so the customer has no questions about what they are receiving. The customer can easily find the total cannabinoid content and the concentration per dosage. Each product batch contains a unique identifier that links to a third-party lab report for that batch. Customers can easily find and access lab reports with a QR code on the bottle or via our website.

Along with our goals of producing the highest quality product possible, we utilize an ISO 7 certified cleanroom for making products. We also happen to be lucky to be based in a state that is willing to support the hemp industry, so we have a distinction unavailable in some states thanks to our facilities being certified for food-grade manufacturing by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.


Tia : Edibles are a huge part of the rise in microdosing. What would it mean for the cannabis industry as it gets more mainstream?

Melinda : I think people are realizing only recently that there can be benefits, such as focus, energy, creativity, and stress relief, from using cannabis below the doses required for significant intoxication. Products designed with lower dosages are an easier option for those interested in trying cannabis for the first time, like wading into the shallow end of a pool rather than jumping right in. For too long all the focus on cannabis was higher levels of THC and stronger intoxication, but thankfully now we are looking at more complete and balanced uses of cannabis, like microdosing, which help expand the industry to those who were previously hesitant to try cannabis.


Tia : What is your view on nutrients/chemicals used in growing and extraction?

Melinda : We like to see zero chemicals used and if that's not possible then we like to see things minimally processed and solvents purged as low as physically possible. Clearly no chemicals in any concentration that could cause bodily harm should be contained within any product a human is meant to ingest.


Tia : If you could have a chance to ask your competitors in the industry any questions, what are your top three?

Melinda :

  1. What is your favorite testimonial about the benefits of cannabis?
  2. What are you striving toward to better serve CBD customers and to benefit the industry?
  3. The main one I always seem to end up asking: “Why can’t I access a lab report for this product batch on your site?”

Discover CBD interview quote
Tia : Are there any brands you appreciate and follow in your state?

Melinda : We partnered with a new brand, Strain Snobs, that provides hemp flower and delta-8-THC products. Customer feedback has been very positive, and we are excited to have the opportunity to offer these rare products. I am always looking forward to their new product releases, which have recently included delta8 chocolate, flower, and tinctures. We also follow Patsy’s Candies, a local Colorado Springs company who we partnered with to make our CBD dark chocolate. They have been making chocolate and other candies for over a century, and it is always a special treat to visit them.


Tia : If you could smoke with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be and why?

Melinda : We would all love to have a chance to sit down with [tooltip title="Brownie Mary" content="American hospital volunteer and cannabis rights activist"]Mary Jane Rathbun[/tooltip]. Lovingly known as “Brownie Mary,” she was an inspiring cannabis activist and hospital volunteer who we appreciate for her role to initiate changes in cannabis law across the country. In the 1980s, Mary Jane became known for baking hundreds of pot brownies each day which she would then provide for free to patients suffering from AIDS.

Multiple arrests of this grandmotherly figure due to producing the brownies into the early 90s were highly publicized and highlighted the benefits of cannabis and the plight those trying to access relief faced. Fortunately, all charges were eventually dropped and the public attention helped garner momentum supporting the first laws allowing medical marijuana in California in 1992 and 1996. Rathbun was driven to increase access to the benefits of cannabis in order to help others regardless of the risk to herself, and we continue to be inspired by her legacy.


Tia : What’s your attitude to THC? Do you think people should thrive on products with high THC percentages? Why?

Melinda : I am really grateful for THC. It was the first cannabinoid I learned about and had the opportunity to try, and THC still remains the cannabinoid I use most frequently. Nothing I have found helps nausea and appetite like THC. However, THC also has unfortunately overshadowed the other components of the cannabis plant for the entirety of its modern usage, and it is very exciting that other cannabinoids are now available such as CBD, CBG, and CBN.

THC has some concerning potential side effects when used in high doses (such as anxiety, seizures, memory loss, and psychotic effects), but amazingly CBD may reduce these same concerns based on preliminary research. I’d go so far as to say if you are using very high doses of THC, it might be worthwhile to consider balancing it with a small ratio of CBD, such as 20:1 or 10:1 THC:CBD. Products containing THC that also have other components of cannabis, such as minor cannabinoids and terpenes, are often better-balanced products with broader benefits due to an interaction known as the entourage effect. As a personal example, I prefer strains that have 15-20 percent THC, up to 1 percent CBD, and a distinct terpene profile, rather than a strain that was selected to produce 30 percent THC at the expense of other desirable traits.


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Thank you so much, Discover CBD, for taking the time to do the interview. To learn more about them, head on over to their website.

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