10 Questions With Brittany Carbone

10 Questions With Brittany Carbone

 Written By: Lisa Marie

Raquel’s Room is known for creating and showcasing some of the freshest clothing and accessories for cannabis enthusiasts, with a heavy focus on our New York roots. By highlighting our favorite NY-based creators and brands, we strive to expand the culture and community of The Cannabis Capital of the World far beyond the 5 boroughs. 

The Grower's Club Collection was born from a mutual admiration between innovative female business owners and a bond over Tonic’s unique take on an iconic logo. Our latest exclusive merch drop featuring luxe hoodies and a sick short-sleeved tee is a one-stop shop for your wardrobe refresh this season. 

Recently, we caught up with Brittany Carbone, the CEO of TONIC and Co-Founder of Tricolla Farms. She’s an entrepreneur, the subject of a recent Rolling Stone article, and a steadfast advocate for sustainably sourced plant medicine. Read on to see why our collaboration was a match made in Hemp Heaven.

Was cannabis a part of your family's life growing up, or did you discover it on your own later in life?

No, not at all, really. I knew that my mom “preferred pot” over drinking when she was younger (big 1970s hippy vibes), but she would also say that stopped after my sister and I were born. 

Cut to her catching me smoking with a friend before 1st period in my junior year of high school, waiting til I got home to search my car, finding a whole lot of weed (and dutches), and proceeding to drug test me for THC for the next 6 months or so. My dad would joke around quoting the movie, Meet The Parents– “Are you a pot head, Focker?”

I speak lightly of the whole thing now, but it was actually a pretty fucked up time in my life. Whether I fully realized it or not, I was using cannabis as medicine to help with my anxiety and depression. But my parents/counselors/therapists all said,  “Stop the weed. Start taking these pills…” 

And that’s when I experienced firsthand that people are so misinformed. While I admit I was probably consuming too much for a teenager, I really wish there was more of an understanding of cannabis so that it could have been a conversation about moderation and responsible use rather than what went down.

That said, I wouldn’t label my mom as a “narc.” Once I got into a good college and proved that I wasn’t fucking up my life, the drug testing stopped. And by freshman year, my mom and I were ripping bongs together before going to an Eagles concert. 

Now, my mom and I consume together regularly. She works for TONIC, lives on a weed farm, and is no doubt the biggest supporter of my adventures in the world of weed. 

What is your preferred way to consume- smoke, vape, edibles, tincture? Do you have a favorite strain?

Smoking joints is my go-to for sure. I have been getting into edibles for sleep more lately. But most of the time, you’ll catch me with a j. 

My favorite strain is probably Tropicana Cookies, but you know it’s tough to choose just one!

I've read that personal experiences drove you to create your own CBD products to manage anxiety and depression. From your perspective, are most people in 2024 open to using plant medicine as an alternative to pharmaceuticals, or is there more work to be done to overcome resistance and stigma?

It is so different now than it was 16 years ago when I was going through all of that. There is no doubt more work to be done and a long way to go before we really overcome the stigma, but the progress is happening exponentially at this point. I think that rescheduling can do even more to push things in the right direction especially with the impacts that it would have on research (which has been extremely limited due to weed’s schedule 1 status). 

I always wonder what it would have been like to know about CBD when I was going through all of that in high school. If my parents or ‘adults in the room’ knew there was a way to get the benefits of cannabis without getting high– that there is more to the plant than that– that could have been a game changer and saved everybody a lot of trouble. Now, we get parents reaching out to us all the time to ask about CBD for their young children, many of whom are neurodivergent, seeking a natural way to help them function in school, etc. 

What sets TONIC products apart from similar products available today?

We make unique, proprietary blends using herbs, adaptogens, and other complementary ingredients to enhance the effects of cannabinoids and create a more integrative, targeted wellness solution for the mind and body. This was incredibly unique when I first started TONIC back in 2017. We were the first brand (to my knowledge) to commercialize the combination of CBD and ashwagandha– something that is now fairly ubiquitous. 

What continues to set us apart, though, is the fact that we make our herbal extracts in-house. We use traditional herbalism techniques to extract a full spectrum of compounds from the herbs, and then we process them to create a super-concentrate. This is done so consumers can achieve an effective dose in every serving without affecting the taste of the product and creating a more stable emulsion without having to utilize synthetic ingredients. 

We source all of our cannabis, whether THC or CBD, from our farm and make all of our CBD products in-house in small batches with an incredibly strong focus on quality and intention.

Do you have any new TONIC products dropping soon? 

We just dropped a new strain, Cosmic Crasher, in NY’s recreational market. It is available in our Sessions half-gram 5-pack. Learn more about Cosmic Crasher and where to get it here! 

We also launched a Limited-Edition intimacy oil in February 2024, which is really amazing. Since it is a CBD product, it is available on our website and ships nationwide. 

You've said that you once thought of CBD as being "fake weed." What happened to change your mind about the healing power of CBD?

A friend of mine told me about CBD when he was working in the cannabis space out west. He gave a brief explanation that this was a compound not found in any meaningful amount in the weed I was smoking every day and that CBD had some different benefits than THC and could be really helpful for the issues I was having with my mental health. 

Once I tried CBD and experienced the benefits firsthand, I was honestly shocked, and I had to understand how it was doing what it was doing. I began to do some research, and once I started to really understand the endocannabinoid system, everything changed for me. I couldn’t believe that, as somebody who was consuming regularly for about 10 years, I had no idea what the endocannabinoid system was, how it worked, or that there was so much more to weed than just THC.

What are some common misconceptions about CBD and plant medicine that you wish people would stop believing? 

I wish that stoners wouldn’t be so quick to dismiss CBD just because it doesn’t get you high. I think a more balanced consumption of cannabinoids is going to yield the best results when it comes to taking care of your endocannabinoid system. I also hope that more non-cannabis consumers understand that this plant is about so much more than getting high! The CBD boom has definitely progressed that idea a lot, but there is still a long way to go.

What was the creative force and process behind this collaboration with Raquel's Room?

First of all, I am a big fan of Raquel and her brand. So, any opportunity to work together I’d welcome with open arms! A while back, I dropped a NY Grown hoodie with the Sparks and Recreation design. Raquel and I connected after that, and she shared an idea she was working on to create a collection that highlights and supports NY growers. 

We were definitely riding the same wavelength because her concepts were super aligned with the TONIC hoodie design. So, we figured we would combine forces, take elements of both of our ideas and brands and create something really dope to show love to NY cannabis. That’s something we both hold near and dear to our hearts. 

Which clothing piece from the collab is your favorite?

So hard to choose just one! I have a soft spot for the NY Grown hoodie, but all the pieces are special in their own way. Also, these are some HIGH QUALITY goods. They’re giving wardrobe staples for sure.

As a woman in the cannabis industry, what is one change you’d like to see in the future to make the industry more inclusive?

Make it easier for women to access capital. Until we start to get funded at the same rate as men, we will never be able to tip the scales toward a balanced distribution of ownership in cannabis.

We need to support each other more, lean on each other’s strengths, and find opportunities for collaboration to complement each other rather than compete with each other. This collaboration with Raquel’s Room is the perfect example. Rather than each of us putting out similar stuff, we recognized ways that we could work together to share costs, share audiences, and ultimately share revenue. We need to support each other whenever possible, but ultimately, we need more funding opportunities to really make a meaningful impact.

Want more TONIC?

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