This week we met with budding cannabis nutritionist Katrina Malmqvist, who is the brains (and beauty) behind Gräs (@grasgoods), for a very special Women in Cannabis feature. Katrina is a high vibing mom whose journey with cannabis began roughly 15 years ago. Here we share her story on becoming a cannabis nutritionist as a mompreneur, how cannabis plays a role in her self-care and how her Instagram @grasgoods is poised to break important ground from the voice of a conscious cannabis advocate.
Q. You say your journey with cannabis began many years ago, can you share some of that story with JADEO readers?
Absolutely. I’ve been a cannabis advocate for as long as I have used the plant and as a young woman, witnessed the profound physical, mental and emotional benefits cannabis had on my terminally ill Father. Throughout my studies in health and exercise sciences and holistic nutrition, I really started to understand the intricacies of the human body and the effects that diet, exercise, and lifestyle choices had on our overall health. I became fascinated with the medicinal qualities of cannabis and how it could help people with specific conditions, in conjunction with other lifestyle interventions. The research at this time was slim but what occurred to me is that cannabis was underutilized and over scrutinized alternative health modality that had so much potential when used appropriately and with conscious intention.
In truly believe that strain, dose and consumption type specific cannabis use, when used in combination with a healthy lifestyle (fitness + nutrition) is where the entourage effect of cannabis is multiplied.
Q. How did you become a cannabis nutritionist?
Fast forward to roughly 4 years ago and my close family friend was going through radiation for breast cancer. I had a few nutrition clients dealing with chronic diseases, and I had just experienced multiple miscarriages. I started to develop and make really healthy edibles for symptom relief. At that time I was making chocolates that were gluten, soy, dairy and refined sugar-free - so no matter what kind of dietary restrictions were present, everyone could enjoy them. I was infusing the edibles with strain-specific cannabis. Even though at that time my cannabis knowledge was minimal, I did as much research as I could to understand the strain used and their general effects on individuals. As a Registered Holistic Nutritionist, I was careful in how I took an integrated approach to knowing their health histories and their goals and chose specific strains accordingly. For example, for one it was for symptom relief from radiation, but other individuals had different goals and needs. That was where I started seeing the amazing effects of it in myself and others.
I had been working in the corporate world in organizational health and wellness for almost a decade at that time, and this little passion project sparked a realization within myself, that I was able to affect change on an individual level with two of my great loves- nutrition and cannabis.
Q. So how did you decide to create Gräs?
Since I am married to a Swede and Swedish is spoken in our household, it was only fitting to give a nod to that. Gräs in Swedish means cannabis, also straight up grass. It also embodies ‘natural’, exactly what my products are.
The backstory to how Gräs was born, as I described, was essentially out of the need in the market for microdosed, healthy edibles. I noticed a common dialogue with a few circles of mine which was that people wanted to introduce or reintroduce cannabis into their lifestyle for the health benefits but weren’t interested in smoking it and some were even hesitant to vape it. Edibles are discreet and tasty but there is also a fear associated with them as so many people have had a ‘bad trip’. I noticed the edibles that were illegally available in the market, were very sugar laden, and full of stabilizers, artificial colours and flavoring not to mention, dosed higher than the average user could handle. Also, for those individuals who were making their edibles as home, they typically had little knowledge on how to properly create the infusions and understand how to dose.
So many people care about the quality of their foods (organic, gluten-free, local, whole etc) on a daily basis, why would they want to ingest an edible that contained unhealthy and possibly harmful ingredients and an undesirable dose? I started the product development process, playing around with infusions, purchasing equipment, learning about dosing, about decarboxylation, and kept testing and testing. It was really important that each product came out the same through various forms of testing.
With the current framework of legalization, I’m not currently selling Gräs, but I have begun an Instagram account to educate and create awareness on cannabis and it’s possible role in a healthy lifestyle. Another reason is to participate in the conversation of breaking down the stigma of Cannabis use. Until legalization occurred, I found it to be hard as a professional who works in health and wellness, and as a mother, to be out in the open about cannabis without fear of judgment. There are such outdated and uneducated mentalities around cannabis use and I am so excited for the shift in this is the coming years.
I don’t want to say that Instagram has helped me “come out of the closet,” exactly, but seeing so many other amazing entrepreneurs, professionals, athletes, and parents starting to open up about their cannabis use has been incredible. People who use cannabis are no less productive than anyone else and in fact, cannabis can skyrocket creativity, productivity and focus when used with a little education and intention.
Q. Tell us why the edibles you developed are known as “fat bombs”?
The reason I developed the fat bombs is that personally, fat is my macronutrient of choice. We as modern day humans are in general not getting the right amount of healthy essential fats and people are still shying away from fat and opting for low-fat foods, which is unfortunate. The decades-old low fat craze is still ingrained in many people’s minds as a way to keep weight down and stay healthy. When in fact healthy saturated fats such as organic grass fed butter and coconut oil, provide us with incredible dietary and health benefits. ‘Fat Bombs’ are not a new creation and are big in the Keto world.
As as a nursing mother, I began to realize that I needed more fats and calories that I was naturally eating to keep my supply up, so I started making fat bombs after my second baby was born. They were delicious, quick fuel providing me with the nutrition I needed, but I started to think - why don’t I infuse these with a microdose? Since cannabinoids are fat soluble, I began infusing cannabis into organic coconut oil, which I found to be the best carrier. What I discovered was what we call the entourage effect; a microdose with full flower infusion of just 3mg was giving such a beautiful, layered effect. It is long lasting and delivers this slow, wonderful elevation that I found really helped me deal with some postpartum anxiety I was experiencing.
As I spoke openly about the everyday stressors of parenting, many of my friends could relate, so I began sharing microdosed fat bombs with friends, family, and neighbours.
Gräs goods kind of caught fire within my own circle fast. I was so intrigued by the response I continued innovating and making batches of different flavour profiles of fat bombs and dropping them off to my network with a list of ingredients, strain type, and suggested use and in exchange wanted to know, ‘how does this help you if at all, what is the effect?’ The verdict was my product was more than just a cannabis edible, it was a nutrition product with benefits. In fact, the fat alone has profound positive effects. Essential fats play a role in hormone and blood sugar regulation, musculoskeletal health, digestive functioning, and the list goes on. This product takes into account the principles of holistic nutrition and whole foods by using the whole cannabis flower and real, organic ingredients. Like the tagline, it’s macronutrients with micro elevation.
Q. How do you incorporate cannabis edibles into self-care?
I like to incorporate microdosed cannabis in everyday life. My life is very active, and a microdose of sativa, for example, is a trusty companion for long hikes, waterfront walks, pre-workout or just cleaning the whole house and loving it versus feeling like it’s a big chore. The way I feel will determine the strain - for example, I’ll choose an Indica fat bomb, do a little yoga, and run a hot bath when I really need to shut my brain off and feel frazzled from the day of toddler meltdowns etc.
What’s really cool is I find that when I have a healthy edible, once the effects come on, I am able to tap into my body’s wisdom better. The choices I proceed to make come from a place where I am so in tune with what my body needs now, it’s undeniable: “I need this green juice,” or “I gotta get down and stretch out my psoas.” I think that is the entourage effect coming from the full flower combined with the high-fat ingredients- an elevated entourage effect of sorts.
I think it’s also important to note, sometimes it’s just not the right time for an edible or cannabis in general, even a microdose. I’m lucky in the fact I live in an amazing and walkable Toronto neighbourhood (Roncesvalles), so I don’t drive often and am on Maternity leave. Obviously, if you are driving the day of, you would never take even a microdosed edible. It’s about responsible and conscious use and I believe that I have a role as a budding influencer in the space to model this.
Q. What will keep you busy in advance of edibles becoming legal in the marketplace?
As a registered holistic nutritionist I am focused on holistic health, and I can see my place as a cannabis edibles startup filling a much-needed niche. A non-combustible, microdosed and healthy nutritional edible free of typical dietary offenders. The way I see it, Gräs is foundationally a nutrition product. Health practices and cannabis shouldn’t be separate and in my mind, the future of cannabis will be integrated into other health modalities. It can be incorporated into a healthy lifestyle so well if you’re using the right product and you have a bit of education on this wonderful plant.
I’m busy currently getting a Cannabis Science Education through Sativa Science Club’s six-month certification program and look forward to continue backing Gras with the latest cannabis research.
I think eventually, I’ll be producing the fat bombs in partnership with an LP, but for now, I want to focus on consumer education and product development. I strongly believe people need to learn how to dose accordingly if they are making their own edibles and I plan on starting up a series of workshops on healthy edibles in the near future.
I view myself as a conscious cannabis advocate. It’s not about getting high, it’s about elevating your natural self, connecting with yourself and others on a different level, experiencing relief and gaining a new perspective. That is the beauty of microdosed cannabis edibles and I’m excited to play a leadership role in this fast-growing industry.
Follow Katrina on Instagram to find out when she’ll be offering any upcoming edibles workshops @grasgoods.