A short history lesson in “weed”.
Cannabis, or “weed”, has been around for thousands of years. The earliest known reference was in 2900BC by Chinese Emperor Fu Hsi when marijuana was being used as popular medicine. Next, it is referenced as being used for several diseases in Egypt, in India as an anesthetic, in the Middle East as well as ancient Greece. Fast forward a few thousand years, to the 1840’s when marijuana would become mainstream medicine in the west, and was added to the US pharmacopeia. In the 1900’s it was subsequently deemed illegal and even though cannabis use was on the rise, laws became stricter. Jumping to present day - 2015 cannabis becomes legal in multiple countries as well as a few U.S. states including Washington. No longer are people forced to buy weed in dark alleys from shady dealers, they are now walking into stores and purchasing their favorite product just as they would anything else.
The need for information.
Now that weed is legal, how do you know what’s good and where to start? The avid users know their favorite strains, but for most people the multitude of options has become overwhelming. There are multiple ways to consume the hundreds of different strains and products - so you retreat, to the safety of the internet, where you can find any information at your fingertips without running the risk of sounding silly. This is where Leafly comes in to save the day. They strive to be the world’s largest cannabis information resource complete with detailed descriptions and photos.
It doesn’t matter who you are, a seasoned consumer, or brand new to cannabis, Leafly strives to help you find the right strains, stores, and products fast and simple. Whether you are looking for cannabis flowers, topicals, edibles or concentrates, Leafly provides users with tools to navigate the ever-expanding world of weed. The concept of Leafly started from the same dilemma, that of a new cannabis user. Scott, one of the original founders got a doctor’s recommendation and went to a dispensary. He was presented with an overwhelming selection of cannabis products and he did not understand the various nuances and effects of different strains. Along with two other founders, they decided to build a platform that would help people distinguish and understand all the different options and post their own reviews and experiences, as well as connecting people with local businesses.
How does it work and what makes it so great?
Leafly has become an encyclopedia filled with vast amounts of knowledge. They give you, the cannabis consumer, the reigns to your experience. First, there are the strains. You can explore their list of popular strains, a complete list of A-Z for finding that exact strain your grandpa used to smoke. For those that are curious about the next big thing, you could venture to try new cannabis strains from the “newest strains” list.
Once you start exploring strains, the list automatically filters by your location. This is a great feature that will save you time as you look for strains that you can actually purchase near your location. When you have found a strain you want to try, you can look more in-depth and find out lineage, availability, highlights, read hundreds of reviews and look at photos. Also Leafly provides a guideline for the effects describing mood, medical and negative aspects. Furthermore you can sort through the reviews and find the perfect strain for the experience or activity you want.
If you don’t want to spend hours looking at individual strains and reading reviews, Leafly has also categorized strains by “Moods and Activities” as well as “Medical” uses. We find this particularly helpful for users that are exploring options in their area based on the effects they want to experience. In a way, Leafly is curating your experience, by making sure that you have the right product. We particularly love this breakdown, by effects, as there is so much information about each strain. We feel that there isn’t enough written about pairing marijuana with different activities and experiences, so we are glad that Leafly made that a part of their website.
Leafly also provides blogs and videos to teach you how to dab, vape, smoke, or eat your cannabis products. There are articles published daily on a variety of subjects that cover growing weed, the effects and science of it, as well as weed tech and news. We love the fact that Leafly has put together such great information and empowered and educated the users.
Where to buy.
Now that you know what you need, where to find it becomes the next step on the agenda. Going into a weed store is not like grocery shopping, it’s more akin to learning how to pair a certain wine with a meal. Leafly wants you to have a great buying experience so they have made it easy for you to find a great store. Leafly has the added feature of searching by the latest deals, because who doesn’t love a great deal. Once you have found a store you like, you can check their menu online, write a review or follow them for their latest updates. All these features once more ensure that when you go into the shop you will have a great experience. If you are still unsure of which store to visit, you can browse their list of top locations in the US, which offers context as to which locations are generating the most positive buzz and pushing the cannabis industry forward through exceptional service.
Leafly has done a great job staying ahead of the curve by working with shops and providing tools to empower the consumer. They provide businesses with menu plugins for both their website and Facebook pages that gives consistency and familiarity. They also have an easy to use app so you can do all your researching on the go.
To wrap things up.
Here are the top 5 features and reasons that we love Leafly:
- Empower the consumer and aim to educate
- Reviews – being able to hear from regular people what products
and/or stores they love
- Easy to figure out what product to try by categorizing products by their effects
- Extensive information about every strain you can imagine
- Plugins and Apps that make life easier for consumers to connect with shops
Leafly’s efforts do not go unnoticed, as this month they took home the Dope Magazine Industry Award for “Best Tech Product”. Congratulations! Keep doing what you are doing Leafly! We appreciate and support the work you are putting in to become the Yelp of the cannabis industry.