The Science of Extraction // Ask Vitalis #2

The Science of Extraction // Ask Vitalis #2

We get interesting questions from our customers every day, so we thought we’d turn the most frequently asked and interesting ones into an info-sharing opportunity, by coming at you with our newest series, ‘Ask Vitalis.’ We’ll be bringing our experts online to answer those burning questions and pepper in a few stories while we’re at it.

This week, we've got the help of our Science & Engineering team to talk the science of CO2 extraction, the confusion with yields, and whether or not quality input means quality product output.

Innovation of Extraction // Ask Vitalis #3

Innovation of Extraction // Ask Vitalis #3


We get interesting questions from our customers every day, so we thought we’d turn the most frequently asked and interesting ones into an info-sharing opportunity, by coming at you with our newest series, ‘Ask Vitalis.’ We’ll be bringing our experts online to answer those burning questions and pepper in a few stories while we’re at it.

This week, we have the brains behind Vitalis, Chief Technology Officer, James Seabrook. He's giving us a quick walk down memory lane of the early days of cannabis extraction, shares what makes Vitalis systems so unique, and hints at the novel innovation the company has in the works that is set to disrupt the future of the industry.

The Business of Extraction // Ask Vitalis #1

The Business of Extraction // Ask Vitalis #1

We get interesting questions from our customers every day, so we thought we’d turn the most frequently asked and interesting ones into an info-sharing opportunity, by coming at you with our newest series, ‘Ask Vitalis.’ We’ll be bringing our experts online to answer those burning questions and pepper in a few stories while we’re at it.

This week , we’ve got Vitalis CEO, Joel Sherlock and Director of Sales and Business Development, Jason Laronde take on the Business of Extraction...with scotch in hand.

Somewhere between psychedelics and tech // #4 – Natasha Raey

'Somewhere between psychedelics & tech' // #4 - Natasha Raey // The Extraction Insiders

“We need more of that...more communities so people can share and learn because I think that’s a missing piece. Even going into psychedelics, that’s one piece where a lot of people don’t have information or education. If you think of your average housewife who is all of a sudden hearing about how great micro dosing is for anxiety, that’s exciting for her but then the buck stops there, where does she get it. I think building communities and teaching people more about products and how to access them is something that’s needed.” - Natasha Raey


Connect with Natasha Raey





Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:


Lift Expo

Skye Cannabis Co.

Lorne Gertner

Leafly Canada


Look for Natasha’s new online social platform resource in the first quarter of 2021!


[0:43] Jason and Joel welcome their next guest to the Extraction Insider studio, Natasha Raey.

[1:05] Stumbling toward cannabis. How Natasha got started in the cannabis industry 10 years ago. 

[2:03] As one of the creators of Lift & Co, Natasha has instant recall of sore feet and hard work, reminiscing about the Lift & Co Expo in Toronto and Vancouver. A ton of work with a huge payoff both in personal reward and forward movement in the industry. What started from an online resource and review site evolved into an internationally recognized tradeshow.

[4:45] Natasha talks about some of her new adventures: one in West Kelowna, a newly opened, beautiful, cannabis retail store with her brother, another in the wellness industry and the third, raising capital for a tech company she co-founded.

[5:54] Natasha expands on her new tech venture that is bridging the gap for the fashion industry, particularly in Canada, in addition to wellness. Weed, fashion & wellness.

[6:50] So what IS in fashion at Skye Cannabis Co.? 

[7:48] The addressable market change. Natasha describes the diversity of their retail customers, from fresh 19-year old customers buying their first joints to the 70 & 80-year old customers purchasing products for sleep and pain and everyone in between. The stigma is shifting but there is still lingering apprehension.

[9:58] Natasha walks through the experience of helping people navigate their product choice as it relates to their needs.

[11:29] Sex and cannabis. With no shortage of entrepreneurial endeavours, Natasha is also part of a company called Bast that sells cannabis infused sex products and is now being sold to help bring the products to a different market.

[12:15] Natasha outlines the vetting processes for their inventory and store shelves at Skye Cannabis Co. With one of the largest product varieties in the area, they look at what is selling, online ratings through Lift and Leafly as well as customer feedback and recommendations.

[15:17] Research and education is an important component of what Natasha does within the cannabis community: shifting stereotypes, more education and research, writing articles, and a focus on wellness and verifiable information.

[17:47] Fortuity in a time of unpredictability. As familiar constructs erode, it is an ideal opportunity for entrepreneurs to identify what is lacking in any market and how they can step in to fill the need.

[20:43] Natasha talks about her experience both as a consumer and retailer in the space of retail and e-tail. Cannabis product sales are still widely done in-store, partly due to tight shipping regulations unlike many other industries. Natasha feels overregulation around cannabis was intentional with the idea of loosening rules over time. Easier to peel off the onion layers then put them on!

[24:42] Advice from an industry pioneer. Blowhards with placards will not constructively keep the ball rolling. Organized, elegant advocacy is the way to continue moving the industry forward in a positive direction.

[26:15] Cannabis vs. alcohol – will it ever surpass? And is it the same consumer or are they targeting a different crowd? In a similar vein, with big pharma/big beauty/food & beverage folding cannabis into their product lines, Natasha talks about where that could land for the smaller players and repurposing marketing messages.

[30:18] Understanding and accessibility is a real gap Natasha sees the need to bridge. As an example, take an average person who hears about micro-dosing with psychedelics to relieve anxiety. They get excited about it but with limited information out there, where can they go? Build more communities to teach, learn and share credible information about the product to connect those dots.

[31:13] Learning from the cannabis industry, what are some of the pitfalls learned, that the psychedelic start-up market can skip? The psilocybin industry is remarkably different than cannabis – there is no space for a collaboration! The current legal mushroom market is more like a mafia than a community.

[34:59] Natasha offers her perspective and advice for a start-up or new product launch. Research, ask, listen, absorb, and self-fund as much as you can. Profit is the challenge, as with any new business, but consider the added layers of stigma and regulatory barriers, and overnight success is unlikely. The sex trade for self-fund – oops that went right off the rails!

[39:45] They have been in the trenches! Speaking as well-versed entrepreneurs, Natasha and Joel share their view of their biggest failures in business with some sage advice sprinkled in.

[42:29] In a new industry like cannabis or psychedelics, who are those people Natasha can reach out to for business advice and mentorship? At the end of the day, cannabis is a business and talking with people who have found success in other areas is equally as valuable because learnings are learnings.

[44:34] The future of cannabis: crystal ball, preach! More consumer-packaged goods, collaboration and culling, eradicating stigmas through education and conversation. Natasha shares the rewards and the challenges that come with being a pioneer and champion of the cannabis culture.

[48:24] The downstream of patient data capture and furthering plant science will continue to inform industries from medicine, to extraction, to retail. Ideally it will soften the resistance to prescribing cannabis in the medical community while it also informs the extraction arena, in equipment innovation and end-user needs and demand. 

[51:10] Almost everyone comes into the cannabis and hemp space with a story. What is Natasha’s?

[53:29] An endnote in India. It will be an interesting place to watch when cannabis regulations start to loosen. Who knows when that will be? But given the country’s history of natural medicine and beauty obsession, the fit seems natural.

[54:25] Finding Natasha on the social machine – check out the show notes above.


Listen to this episode of  'The Extraction Insiders' at


There’s just something about Mary // #3 – Mary Babitz

'There's just something about Mary' // #3 - Mary Babitz // The Extraction Insiders

“I do smile when I see new equipment and like a non-cannabis sort of traditional sales effort into the cannabis space. You have to know your’re out in front of them, you’re talking to them, you’re going to their facilities and because we were early adopters we were fortunate to have that exposure early on to really be able to fine-tune our marketing message and to ask those customers what they want rather than someone with the latest lab toy telling cannabis this is what you need.”


Connect with Mary Babitz and Cascade Sciences:







Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:

Cascade Sciences

Cascade Sciences Google Reviews

Vitalis YouTube channel

ASTM Cannabis Committee

CFR 111 & 211 (US)


[1:07] Jason and Joel welcome their next guest Mary Babitz, with a quick jog on her path with the company where she hangs her hat as President.

[4:03] Jumping further into that story Mary talks about the origins of Cascade Sciences from rocket scientists, big pharma, and aerospace up to about six years ago when cannabis came calling. Once they were able to understand the needs of these clients, Cascade was able to dial in and tailor their products for the industry. Mary’s favourite Google review “Whether you buy or not, these folks will educate you.”

[11:22] With a change in their business practices, banking, and accepting cash payment, Cascade found that the rock-solid business relationships they counted on, began to become more complicated. Mary started to hear things like “reputational risk” which hurt when they had spent so much time mindfully creating a responsible, community-minded business. As with Joel’s experience, it can sometimes be the cost of pioneering.

[16:50] As legalization becomes a reality in more jurisdictions across the U.S., Mary explains some of the changes they are seeing through the lens of Cascade Sciences, including a shift in industrial farming to get on the hemp wagon. Joel and Jason talk about the market in Canada from the extraction lens and the excitement from all botanical producing industries to have a first-rate extraction system. Mindset changes are becoming very apparent.

[22:27] Mary describes what Cascade Sciences does and how they walk through the process with their clients. As early adopters they had the luxury of crafting the tweaks and optimizations that the equipment needed for processors to excel in the cannabis space. Thankfully, their experience to that point had already geared them to produce equipment with the highest degree of reliability for a demanding environment. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as putting the cannabis on one side and a gummy bear pops out the other, but it may have produced a great tagline for them! #getyoutothegummy

[26:19] With a lot of information out in social media, but little knowledge or good science to back it up, Mary and her team have worked to close the gap and educate people which sometimes means having to disagree with some popular influencers in the industry. To check out Cascade on social see the links above.

[28:35] Mary shares a story about how the high quality education on Cascade’s YouTube channel is having a positive impact on manufacturers who can’t otherwise find the good technical information they need as it relates to the cannabis industry.

[31:18] Building a team at Cascade is less about the degree you have and more about the fit. As a collaborative leader, Mary loves to have someone creatively catch her attention and then find a place for them in the company which isn’t always what they’ve applied for. As Joel will agree, hiring is all about people first. Attention all MacGyvers – this may be a good fit for you.

[35:40] Mary describes the journey of Cascade Sciences as a small business that has grown into a dominant player. The emerging cannabis market has helped to propel and broaden their growth substantially.

[41:12] What is Mary most excited about both for the future of their business along with the future for other small businesses in the cannabis market? In a developing industry, it is an incredible time for people to showcase what they have already been doing plus introduce new products and make improvements on existing ones. The prospects feel deeply rewarding.

[47:15] Mary sees that we’re at that game changing point where people are starting to see the science behind this industry and she is engaging with the same calibre of people in conversations about pharmaceuticals and aerospace alongside cannabis and botanicals. Their end game is the same – to have consistency and reliability of input as well as output.

[51:25] With an increase in FDA regulations as the industry grows, Mary discusses the spectrum on which regulations sit from the positive side of safety standards and consistency to the work that needs to be done in institutions like banking and tax structures. Plus, the role that GMP will inevitably play in the United States and is already playing in Canada. Businesses are going to have to be nimble and flex to the increasingly higher standards being pushed out. “The most expensive piece of equipment that you can buy, is the one you have to buy twice. Mary Babitz”

[57:37] Innovations in industry equipment. Mary offers her perspective on the top three areas research and development needs to go: improved automated controls, better batch data collection, and increased rigorous testing. Jason also talks about selling the “Unicorn.”

[61:47] Having been in the industry for a time, Mary talks about mistakes, teachable moments and having a heart in business. 

[65:47] Post-processing equipment: Mary walks through the experience a potential customer can expect when they come to Cascade Sciences to purchase equipment. It is very much aligned with the philosophy of Vitalis Extraction Technologies. Honesty and integrity.

[72:12] When it comes to companies like Cascade or Vitalis, treat them like a part of the infrastructure vs. a vendor of equipment. Engage early, decide what equipment makes sense, map it out and build in fail-safes. 

[74:22] Wrapping things up, how to reach Mary, and her appreciation for Vitalis Extraction Technologies!

Listen to this episode of  'The Extraction Insiders' at

Knowing when to Hold your Tongue // #2 – Kayla Mann

'Knowing when to Hold your Tongue' // #2 - Kayla Mann // The Extraction Insiders

"Camaraderie is the biggest thing. People trying to do this shit on their own - yeah you have the luck-ability to succeed. I think we're in this today, growing this industry and flying the plane while building it. The biggest thing for me is our relationships; they are everything….. "The people that are going to succeed in this industry, you hope it's all the ones that care and that we can all do it together." – Kayla Mann


Connect with Kayla Mann:






Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:

Extracted Podcast

The Valens Company

Habitat Life

Habitat Life on Twitter and Instagram


[0:08] Jason and Joel welcome their next guest Kayla Mann as they chat a bit about how they know each other.

[0:47] Kayla recounts her journey from accounting to artistry in photography, from nude female models to bison models, cannabis start up to bison and back to corporate finance.

[4:05] Marketing in the cannabis space, where it’s been and where it’s heading. It can be risky, but it is a risk Kayla and her team were willing to take for their passion.

[6:42] Navigating uncharted territory, Kayla describes the process of creating from scratch Habitat Life, with no benchmark and no comparison. 

[9:15] Kayla explains the three components of the aquaponics system they are using, including a process unique to Habitat Life all while breaking a stigma or two along the way. Kayla also takes a quick dive into nutrient costs and Habitat Life’s current position at a zero cost.

[13:26] What are two distinct qualities Kayla has observed that can make one cannabis operation more successful than another? 

[17:23] Given the infancy stages in which this industry exists, one can also count on the fact that change is a guarantee.  Just ask the “Vape Queen!”

[19:18] Unpacking the vape topic. What the industry thought it knew, then what it learned from Kayla and her research and education. Kayla shares her hardware preference from a consumer standpoint.

[22:17] Using technology experts to cross-pollinate industries. Take tried and true technology from say a world-class vacuum company and apply it to vape technology – this could be a game changer. 

[23:18] Kayla, Jason and Joel talk about talent acquisition from big corporate pharma, tobacco or food and beverage over to the cannabis industry. It’s not a shift everyone can make where the consumer needs are so varied and particular profiles of end-use have to be considered.

[26:50] Furthering the consumer conversation, they discuss how similar industries like alcohol are going to need to adapt to keep their market share as cannabis demand grows and the industry moves into mainstream marketing for recreational use.

[30:12] Let’s talk regulations and the challenges pre-existing dispensaries now face as a result of the new legislation is 2018.

[32:00] Kayla explains the micro-cultivator licensing process and the relative ease with which they obtained theirs, plus a bit about getting their product out in the market and the basics needs for getting started in the cultivation business.

[35:49] With a niche, organic product in a relatively small-scale environment, Kayla describes how she sees scaling Habitat Life’s operation for expansion while retaining high quality standards. Low and slow.

[38:12] Funding and financial support. Kayla, Joel, and Jason have a robust conversation about current realities, investor confidence, integrity, and chutzpah.

[41:27] The Godfather of purchasing, Kayla’s edible of choice and hey! Why not market cannabis beverages that also taste terrific?

[47:31] US Federal Legalization: how it could change and affect the game globally and how the climate of the cannabis industry is changing overall. If you are a start up now, there are considerably more elements to factor in and having one or two seasoned players on your team is critical.

[55:18] Kayla’s scars and bruises: she talks about the environment within which she has received the most, learning and personal development plus the importance of establishing timelines that cultivate a space for success for all players.

[59:36] Kayla expands on the challenges that come with the journey she has chosen so far and how it has contributed to her personal growth.

[60:44] Looking forward, Kayla offers her take on what’s next in the industry over the next 24-36 months, plus the frustrations with current regulations for people whose lives have significantly improved with the use of cannabis for medical purposes.

[64:33] The missing opportunity for education in the physician community and the need for more data and research on how different strains and consumption of cannabis can be successful in treatment of illness and injury. 

[68:23] Working together to make a difference.

[70:10] Find Kayla on the social machine!


Listen to this episode of  'The Extraction Insiders' at

You’re Going to Need Clever Humans // #1 – Kiran Dayaram


'You're Going to Need Clever Humans' // #1 - Kiran Dayaram // The Extraction Insiders

“What GMP brings is confidence in the manufacturing process because you’ve got so many checks and balances along the the long term you actually save money because you have less non-conformances to deal with because you’ve got so many systems in place to catch things as soon as they happen.” –
Kiran Dayaram


Connect with Kiran Dayaram:

GMP Systems @ Vitalis


Selected Links and People Mentioned from this episode:

Vitalis Extraction Technologies 

Gastropod Podcast – creation of the U.S. Federal Food & Drug Administration (FDA)

CFR 111 & 211 (US)

GMP Intro Video from Vitalis

GMP Overview Part 1 and Part 2


[00:05] Joel and Jason get right to it and welcome their first guest Kiran Dayaram.

[00:10] Seeing the opportunity that exists in the cannabis industry, Kiran and his fiancée embarked on an adventure that brought them from New Zealand to Canada. 

[01:06] Kiran explains his role as the Guru of GMP (Good Manufacturing Practice), what GMP aims to achieve and why it is important for all consumers. Mishap breeds necessity.

[04:32] GMP compliance. Kiran sheds light on what is driving the current push and considerations for pivoting a non-compliant facility to compliant.

[06:55] Kiran’s advice for someone getting into the game of turning an existing manufacturing facility into a GMP compliant manufacturing facility. As with most undertakings, learn from the experience of others and engage the experts to guide you through the process.

[09:08] In the space of GMP compliance the importance of quality control and the integrity of each step in the process, from the origin to the end-product of the manufacturing chain, cannot be understated. From a risk perspective is it easiest to simply start from scratch vs. retrofit?

[11:00] Kiran gives examples of way to assess suppliers for GMP compliance and questions to ask in the important due diligence process.

[13:16] The thread of the GMP compliant manufacturer doesn’t rest with one, it weaves through every piece of the company and is reliant on the whole.

[15:30] Kiran explains the various levels of GMP and what products they apply to. A broad capability and forward-thinking facility generates opportunity to respond to evolving market demand.

[18:33] Expanding on the point of agility, Kiran, Joel & Jason talk about why setting up a one-horse facility that meets the minimum current standards won’t allow manufacturers to be nimble for the inevitable dance of changing rules and regulations.

[19:24] Ultimately GMP compliance inspires confidence in the integrity of the product for your customers. The checks and balances integral in the process from the raw material forward allow for the highest standard of quality control.

[23:24] Kiran provides examples of how hazardous it is without those process controls in place. Once those risks are attached to a product or brand, they may not be in business much longer!

[25:59] Consistent output proves far more difficult when the input material (in this case botanicals) is never the same. Kiran talks about automation in the hemp and cannabis space and the variance that needs to exist. Good news for clever humans, they are still vital in the process of extraction. 

[30:25] Hear Kiran’s thoughts on implementing GMP for a small-scale operation.

[31:16] Global cannabis laws, how it relates to GMP regulations and accreditation and the critical importance of knowing where you will be selling your product. Cannabis is a growing, evolving industry still in its infancy and there is so much more to do and learn.

[34:25] As the extraction industry expands, Kiran identifies some of the key questions people should be considering and asking themselves as they get into the business. Having a market focus will be far more efficient for the bottom line.

[36:08] Kiran offers his insights into where the industry is headed, guidance to those entering the extraction space and the role that the extraction method may play in the ease of getting GMP certification. It goes back to being nimble and flexible. 

[40:27] From the GMP perspective, Kiran shares the full-service experience a Vitalis customer can expect. The Vitalis GMP program is designed to educate their customers and offer a tailored experience based on their knowledge and user requirement specifications (URS).

[41:55] Providing tools like a URS template to give customers a head start and simpler equipment customization process for their particular extraction needs, is one way Vitalis strives to set their customers up for success.

[44:21] Kiran flips from interviewee to interviewer to talk about when Jason and Joel first heard about GMP, the difference in customer profiles from North America to Europe, the quality of questions improving with time and Vitalis’ forward-thinking approach.

[49:25] Ask Kiran! Reach out to him through the Vitalis website and check out not one, but two of Kiran’s GMP webinars.

Listen to this episode of  'The Extraction Insiders' at

MedCann World Forum Interview ft. Joel Sherlock – Vitalis Co-founder & Chairman

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MedCann World Forum Interview ft. Joel Sherlock - Vitalis Co-founder & Chairman

Medcann is the Mediterranean’s premier medical cannabis conference in Malta, bringing together industry players from around the globe. To learn more, visit Medcann online.

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Mingle with Stringile | Digipath Labs Part 2 | Episode 25



In Episode 25 of our Ancillary Extraction Equipment video series, our Ancillary Sales Manager, Mike Stringile picks up where we left off following cannabinoid potency testing in Part 1 at DigiPath, Inc. cannabis testing facility. Join Stringile as he walks you through the process of quantifying and qualifying your cannabis samples, as well as contamination testing.

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