It is incredibly important to me to raise awareness for the healing properties of this plant, and reach more people who can benefit from the plant medically. This is potentially one of the largest growing industries of our time. And it’s not just about money; it’s about wellness. We need more real-world research and like-minded, serious, professional pioneers. My company is now researching ways that we can use technology to make that growth and connection happen faster, and we plan to launch something exciting in that space soon.
I had the pleasure of interviewing Aryn Sieber. Thirteen years after volunteering as a first responder at ground-zero in New York on September 11, 2001, Aryn was diagnosed with stage IV inoperable throat and neck cancer. After six months of rigorous radiation, chemotherapy and concentrate treatments (from his now award-winning flower), Aryn’s doctors discovered that his cancer had disappeared, and he was in complete remission. Many consider Aryn’s recovery a miracle, and he attributes much of his healing to his own first-hand experience with treatments. Today, Aryn works as an educator and advocate for the responsible use of in medicinal therapy. Because this market has been largely undocumented and at times misunderstood, Aryn has taken a leadership role in working with the medical community and the public to provide responsible information. He also works closely with doctors to provide hundreds of patients with treatments. Aryn’s company CannaCauses collects evidence-based data with case studies that continue to prove product efficacy for symptom relief and the reduction of pharmaceutical medications (include the use of some opioids) for many different ailments. Some of the conditions his company tracks include: cancer, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, psoriasis, migraines, chronic pain and Huntington’s disease, as well as sports or active-lifestyle injuries in every category and age group. After two years of beta testing, Aryn also created Cannaisseur Brands and launched CBD Essentials, a proprietary line of premium CBD and terpene-infused topicals. In Aryn’s pioneering tradition, CBD Essentials was the first CBD brand to launch in the infused topical category. The company presented CBD education at major international aesthetician spa and wellness events in the U.S. and has won two industry awards for “Best CBD Product.” Having been invited to share his journey and expert opinion at Mayo Clinic and the Global Wellness Summit in Cesena, Italy in 2018, Aryn continues to provide independent consultations and host educational workshops for non-profits, patient support groups, medical professionals/symposiums, and cannabis industry conferences and political forums alike. Aryn also founded the non-profit organization CannaCauses Foundation, which allows him to give back to those in need of the treatment and therapy he is so grateful for having received during his own journey to recovery.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you share with the ‘backstory” about what brought you to the space?
Living in California, I’ve had a medical marijuana card for 15 of the 21 years that it’s been legal to use medicinal in this state. It wasn’t until I developed and survived inoperable stage IV throat and neck cancer, which was determined to be linked to my volunteer work as a first responder in New York on 9/11, that I realized that my second calling was to educate others about the responsible use of and its benefits. I was diagnosed on July 3, 2014 and my treatments began in August. I was told that I was in complete remission just six months later, on January 5, 2015. I purchased a collective in January 2015 and started publicly speaking, consulting with patients, and meeting with doctors who wanted a credible resource to whom they could refer their patients.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
Truly, my own recovery from stage IV cancer in 2014 is the most inspiring part of my life’s work. My treatments were rigorous; radiation five days a week for seven weeks and chemotherapy every Friday on top of that. I consider it a miracle to be alive today, and I am so grateful for the health benefits that my own medical treatments brought to me. Many people do not know that our bodies have a highly sophisticated Endocannabinoid System (ECS) which closely interfaces with our Autoimmune System. Cannabinoids naturally interface with our bodies, and the healing results for are far different than any other medicine on the market today. Some of my own devotion to education and treatment in this field is probably due to some survivor’s guilt, which I deal with daily. Sometimes it’s hard to believe that I survived and am able to do this work today.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting?
I can’t emphasize enough how important dosing and ratios matter as they relate to factors like metabolic rates, the conditions treated, etc. And we track all of those details very carefully now for patients. But when I first started doing this work, very little was documented in this field. And I gave one of my patients an edible product, instead of the alternative with which they were accustomed to being treated, and they had an experience of overwhelm (i.e. a panic attack). And while it wasn’t exactly a funny experience at the time. We do joke about this unexpected experience today. And more seriously, we’ve taken steps in our practice to prevent that from happening now.
Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
There is no way that the same treatment can be prescribed for everyone. Just because someone can benefit medically and remain balanced from one method of treatment, doesn’t mean they will have the same experience with an alternative method of therapy at the same dosage. That is one of the primary reasons that we require an intake form and collect data on all patients who receive our products.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
I’ve been blessed with so many opportunities. The three most exciting are:
1. Being invited to share my journey and experience with wellness communities around the world.
2. Helping to pioneer the oncology massage movement in the spa and wellness industries.
3. Working behind the scenes — doing research and educating doctors who are on the cutting edge of their respective fields, such as oncology, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
There are so many people who have inspired and continue to inspire me along the way. But I am reminded daily of those who I never met and perished on 9/11, who inspire me to make the best use of each day I have. I also draw strength from those in my cancer support group who are no longer with us. They always remind me of what a gift it is to be able to do the work that I do.
Can you share a story?
Survivor’s guilt is certainly difficult to deal with and even more difficult to share with others. But it’s also an incredible driver behind the success of my business and the motivation behind its mission to truly help every client that I work with to heal in the best way that they can. If others can benefit in any way from my healing journey, I want to make sure that I help them do that.
This industry is young dynamic and creative. Do you use any clever and innovative marketing strategies that you think large legacy companies should consider adopting?
I’ve always wanted to demystify the stigma surrounding. Most people do not know that our bodies have a highly sophisticated Endocannabinoid System (ECS) that closely interfaces with our Autoimmune System. In my opinion, using words like “pot,” “marijuana,” “weed,” etc., to refer to this medically beneficial plant isn’t useful. I strive to develop and trademark business names and taglines that show more respect for the healing benefits of this plant. Cannaisseur Brands has the tagline “Therapy Designed by Nature.” And my CannaCauses and Pay it Forward Foundations use the tagline “Everyone deserves the medicine they need.”
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the industry?
1. Helping others find relief and hope for themselves, and a better path to wellness is paramount for me.
2. Being a pioneer in this industry when it wasn’t so popular, I had no idea that I’d be doing what I get to do now, and I’m truly thrilled with the potential of what’s yet to come.
3. I am so proud to be a part of creating a naturally sustainable legacy of compassion and paying it forward.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you?
1. I think it is unfortunate that there is disproportional regulation and taxation for by local, state and federal governments, relatively speaking.
2. To be completely candid, it is disheartening to see what I would consider a dishonest mentality or business incompetence by some in this industry who are blinded by the hype of the “green-rush,” and sometimes not aware of the true potential of this plant, which I consider to have healing properties that are nothing short of miraculous.
3. There are individuals and companies who choose to use the stigma that this plant had received in its past and continue to create and perpetuate what I consider to be new misconceptions to make a profit for themselves.
Can you share your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started Leading a Business”? Please share a story or example for each.
1. I believe that nothing is impossible after surviving stage IV cancer. However, even as a seasoned serial entrepreneur, I had no idea how extremely difficult it would be to be a pioneer in a 10,000-year old industry that has had legal challenges that I believe are truly unfair.
2. While each of the arms of my business are incredibly important to me, it has been difficult to navigate and manage the financing, accounting and marketing of three different entities to accomplish a common set of goals and objectives.
3. It is an incredible challenge to cost-effectively transcend stigma and bring what was formerly a “black-market” industry back into the light so that those in need of medical assistance could truly benefit from it. The industry is not the same now, but there have certainly been some unethical characters in this business, and it can be hard to differentiate yourself from that professionally. Since starting my own journey in this space, I’ve helped dozens of others avoid those pitfalls, and start professional and ethical businesses in the topical space. And for that, I am grateful.
4. There were some things along this journey that hadn’t been done before. Being a pioneer in a burgeoning industry, we’ve carefully documented all of our work so that we can start to have better data surrounding the human experience with this plant.
5. Even though we’ve been positioning ourselves in this space for years, it would be helpful to have like-minded leadership in place to make it easier to work through the rough spots.
What advice would you give to other CEOs or founders to help their employees to thrive?
You have to trust the process, have faith, and let people choose their own paths to success. If you’ve been gifted with two ears, it’s advisable to listen to those you’ve entrusted twice as much as you speak. And breakdowns lead to breakthroughs; this can be very important to remember in the startup world.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
It is incredibly important to me to raise awareness for the healing properties of this plant, and reach more people who can benefit from the plant medically. This is potentially one of the largest growing industries of our time. And it’s not just about money; it’s about wellness. We need more real-world research and like-minded, serious, professional medicinal pioneers. My company is now researching ways that we can use technology to make that growth and connection happen faster, and we plan to launch something exciting in that space soon.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Facebook: Cannaisseur Brands; CannaCauses