Founded in 2017, Gossamer explores traditional pillars like travel, design, art, culture and food, all through a “green lens.” A magazine made for people who enjoy smoking (or ingesting) marijuana, the content aims to reflect that of a great high, be it humorous, curious, strange or simply entertaining via thoughtful articles, photo essays, interviews, activities and more. Ahead of their fifth volume, Gossamer launched the second of their own tinctures. Called Dusk (launched January 2019) and Dawn (out now), their one ounce cannabinoid-rich formulas are meant to quell what causes insomnia and usher users out of their morning fog.
“When we first launched Gossamer, we sort of knew out of the gate that we wanted to do something bigger than just ‘a publication,’” Gossamer co-founder Verena von Pfetten tells us. “I think David [Weiner] and I were just very excited about how inspired and creative we found ourselves as a result of our relationship to cannabis. And, then, thinking through how many sort of doors that opens—cannabis as a lens through which you could look at the rest of the world. I think once we started publishing content, working on the issues, starting to play around with the spaces that we saw opportunities in—and a lot of that was around education, and particularly around CBD—there was an entire conversation around CBD that had never been had before.”
In 2018, the same year they’d launched their first issue, the conversation around CBD was exploding. Still, many individuals across the US were unaware that CBD wasn’t prohibited by law or of the research around its ability to aid in sleep, relaxation, muscle soreness and stress relief. “People had never heard of it and did not realize it was something that was, at that point, federally legal and full of potential,” von Pfetten continues. “We spent a lot of time educating ourselves and trying to parse through a proliferation of bad products. In the market, whenever there’s something new and buzzy that gains a lot of traction, obviously, you’re going to also get a ton of bad actors who are just flooding the market with products purely for profit. And in doing that, we started getting a lot of questions and a lot of feedback from our audience that was centered around one thing, sleep: ‘What can I take for sleep?’ and ‘I would love for it to be something that is easily available to me,’ which was, in most cases, people asking for something that doesn’t have THC.” (THC being Tetrahydrocannabinol, the part of cannabis that offers the high.)
Gossamer saw an opportunity to take the research and data they’d been collecting, compare it with feedback from their cannabis-curious audience, and work with their science advisor and formulator, Dr. Alex Capano, who holds the first doctorate in comprehensive cannabinoid science, to produce a pair of tinctures that would meet real needs.
“People had been marketed CBD for sleep on and on and on, and we realized there was a real misnomer and a bit of—whether it was intentional or not—mis-marketing in that CBD can help with some of the things that might be preventing you from sleeping, whether that’s anxiety or muscle pain or whatever else, but it’s not actually a sedative,” she explains. “In our research, we were starting to look at some of these other cannabinoids. There are 100 other cannabinoids right behind CBD that we are just starting to scratch the surface on and CBN was one that we started to get excited about—because of its sedative properties.”
Their editorial background meant developing a product would be handled with a hyper-critical nature. “We set a pretty high bar because we had spent the past year and a half explaining exactly how someone should judge a CBD product,” von Pfetten says. “When it came to releasing our own, we had to make sure we checked every single one of those boxes—this has to be absolutely unassailable. And that was also a really exciting challenge.”
While some brands claim that their cannabinol (CBN) content is far higher than possible (some even claim a composition that’s 100% CBN), Gossamer is convinced that CBN is most effective in harmony with CBD. “The cannabinoids work best, and in many cases only work, when there is also CBD and THC present,” she says, explaining why their Dawn tincture boasts a high THCV (an anti-inflammatory analgesic) content and their Dusk tincture emphasizes CBD and CBN.
Weiner and von Pfetten remain aware that those interested in using CBD may not be interested in other components like THC. They’re careful to remain all-encompassing and not dominated by the specifics of a given strain or the potency of a given edible. Their efforts are much more educational, personal and approachable and their products emphasize these same core elements, whether the individual visiting the site or buying a tincture is well-versed in cannabis or not. This is partly why they chose more poetic names—Dawn and Dusk.
Perhaps most importantly, Gossamer wants to push the industry further in terms of accessibility and diversity—ensuring that those negatively impacted by the vilification of cannabis can still enjoy the benefits of CBD, a component that’s legal and largely accessible across the nation. “Because so many people have not been able to have access to it, because it’s been criminalized, because so many people have also been downright harmed by the criminal justice system and the policing of cannabis, we realized that we also wanted to make something that was welcoming, and we’re not at all trying to whitewash it, but trying to create something that was open and engaging and, if anything, also helped offer a platform for what the reality of cannabis looks like for so many people,” von Pfetten explains.
“What your relationship looks like often depends on the color of your skin. Our entire sort of brand world is our way of trying to address all those things: how do we make something that would be accessible to your mother while also hopefully helping change the conversation around who ‘gets’ to talk about cannabis or engage with it or buy it or smoke it or celebrate it.”
Images courtesy of Gossamer