Lorne Gertner | Chairman, CannaGlobal Wellness
August 12, 2020
Lorne Gertner | Chairman, CannaGlobal Wellness
You have been a serial entrepreneur your entire life and have been ahead of many trends. Where is the functional mushroom and psychedelic opportunity at currently, from your view?
We're in the early days of this opportunity, which I'm unbelievably excited about. Since the psychedelic industry will be much more skewed towards therapeutic usage versus the cannabis industry, we're just scratching the surface of pharmaceutical and therapy development. Our understanding of the brain and its interconnectivity with other systems in the body has increased exponentially over the past couple decades, allowing us to target our approaches more specifically and efficiently. There are a few companies and institutions taking different approaches to help overcome specific indications, including Sansero Life Sciences, which is why I believe we're on the cusp of creating a seismic shift in the way we approach treating mental illness.
As for functional mushrooms, consumer consciousness of the health benefits is picking up momentum as we become more aware of how ancient societies have been using them as medicinal ingredients for millenia. The early adopters' voices are beginning to be heard, which I believe is leading us towards a tipping point in the near future of these products being viewed and used by consumers as commonly as vitamin supplements are today.
Was there a particular moment or experience that made you feel compelled to make a move into the psychedelic space?
Over the past couple years, the fires of interest have been stoked by a variety of experiences. From hearing the buzz, to reading Michael Pollan's book, to furthering my personal research and connecting with some of the top experts in the field. When I saw the potential of these therapies to help millions, coupled with how close to home mental illness hits my family, I realized that I had to pursue this path as part of my journey of making the world a better place.
What are you most excited for at CannaGlobal Wellness? What problems is the company working to solve and what do you believe separates the company from others pursuing the space?
I'm most excited by the sheer number of people we're set up to help become healthier beings. The pressures of this world we are navigating are not getting any less complex, and there is an imminent echo-pandemic of depression and anxiety that will follow COVID-19, Cannaglobal Wellness has set itself up to help those in need in the short term through our functional mushrooms offerings, be it through our soon-to-be-opening cafe or our retail experiences, and in the long-run with psilocybin-based pharmaceuticals designed to replace current antidepressants. We play across a variety of verticals with the capability to delight consumers and patients with healthier and safer options to help them achieve their wellness goals.
You have deep roots in real estate, design and architecture. With Tokyo Smoke, you created a first of its kind storefront. What do you envision for the retail spaces of ByMinistry?
This space is being repurposed and reimagined to highlight the benefits of functional mushrooms, while educating the community about psilocybin as this conversation gains traction in the social consciousness. We will have announcements very soon regarding the opening of two spaces in Toronto. Stay tuned.
You were a co founder of PharmaCan Capital, which became Cronos. The mission of PharmaCan was to be a merchant bank for the cannabis space. Obviously, you saw a lot of early stage companies while a part of that business. How have those experiences informed how you go about bringing an early stage company like CannaGlobal Wellness to the public markets?
My experience in disruptive industries, especially cannabis, does inform the approach we're taking with Cannaglobal. We've been able to bring together a variety of assets that set us up for both near-term and long-term success. We realize that having access to the public markets increases our agility and financial capabilities. This will be extremely helpful as we aim to scale rapidly and bring our needed offerings to a larger audience.
What do you think there are some of the biggest misconceptions around functional mushrooms and psychedelics that you hear in conversations with people?
At this point, many people simply are uniformed and trying to gain a better understanding of the products, therapies and emerging industry. The stigma attached to these substances that often stems from 1960's hippie culture is real, however I'm finding that when challenged with the enormous amount of legitimate research, it is relatively easy to overcome. We owe it to ourselves and the world to continue to pursue the development of these therapies as I do believe we have rediscovered a means to a mental health treatment watershed moment.
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