Through her deep expertise as a pharmacist, chemist, botanist and aromatherapist, Sharon Christie has established herself as a pioneer in her field, devoted to natural wellness and beauty. Sharon’s wellness empire began in 1985 when she founded Aromafloria, the women-owned leader in natural and eco-friendly personal care and aromatherapy products. Her expertise in sensory sciences paired with her passion for the benefits of Cannabis Terpenes led to the launch of Cannafloria Essentials, the game-changing body care and scent therapy line centered on the application of THT™ or Thera-Hemp Terpenes ™.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the cannabis industry?
My early work as an Herbalist included studies of various psychotropics, so I was not new to the benefits of Cannabis for relieving stress and inflammation. I was inspired by a mission to ease my husband’s anxiety and stress resulting from the lung disease pulmonary fibrosis. Wanting to avoid pharmaceutical intervention, I started exploring Cannabis with all its possible benefits – and there are many. But one problem became clear – there was no clean, tested herbal flower product to be found to make medicine. So, delivery became a focal point of my research and I started extracting and testing the Terpenes of Cannabis via inhalation to clear the pathways (alpha pinene), reduce anxiety (linalool), relieve pain (myrcene) and support healthy sleep (humulene). These, along with the phytocannabinoids other than THC, helped in calming the nerves and the breathing rate, thereby resulting in reduced anxiety.
This is what led to the “Thera Hemp Terpenes” THT™ mood modulating blends. Like cannabinoids, terpenes bind to receptors in the brain and give rise to various effects. Today, we are a team of caregivers, scientists, researchers, educators and professionals with a common mission: unlocking the power of Cannabis to improve people’s lives. Natural high-quality solutions you can trust from a company with a 30-year legacy of wellness and transparency.
Cannafloria all-natural whole plant ingredients meet our strictest scientific standards for GreenGredients™.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
When you receive letters and phone calls on how you have improved a person’s quality of life, there is not much more to say. This is why we get up in the morning with PURPOSE!
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
It is more my “funniest moment” or what I refer to as my “Da” Moment. I had moved to NYC in the 70’s from California and I needed to make ends meet. My career was in the Essential Oil, Fragrance and Flavor industry where I was a Natural Formulation Chemist and barely making enough money to pay the rent. So, what does any girl do in a situation like that – I took to the street corner, hold on…dirty mind…no I took to the street corner to sell my essential oils.
What was pretty impressive was all the people I met and their interest in getting a little relief with just one whiff. My best seller was patchouli and I wondered why…the Da moment… of course, if you were ever in Haight Ashbury, that is all you smelled- it was to cover up the pot smell.
That little street corner business went on to create a distribution outlet for immigrants and refugees from Africa to set up, all over Ney York City, tables with essential oils, incense and other novelty items. I supplied the essential oils and fragrances.
What did I learn? That distribution is key for volume opportunities! I also learned that one helping hand helps another. There is value in natural health, especially for everyday people looking to reduce stress and boost immunity.
Do you have a funny story about how someone you knew reacted when they first heard you were getting into the cannabis industry?
Yes, Shock and Awe!!! “Oh my god… we cannot have any direct contact because we could be raided or locked up.” The prohibition attitude was thick in the air and I was the only one who understood the paradigm shift that this little female plant was about to unleash into the wellness world.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
I was raised by a strong female who taught me to never give up, that defeat is today but tomorrow brings another chance! Make the best of it! So, I keep trying…
There are different people at different chapters on the journey that inspire us…Margaret Mead- I had the good fortune to live in New York on West 76th street and CPW – one block from the Natural History Museum where she appeared and lectured frequently. Her studies of Indigenous peoples were not only fascinating, but rewarding to the very core of my beliefs. That is why it is important to protect the past from the future. We are all different and travel on our journeys at different speeds. We should feel privileged to walk upon this Earth and share our experiences we call culture. We have all learned from observation and should never let it go- it is who we are.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world: indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.
— Margaret Mead
Are you working on any new or exciting projects now? How do you think that will help people?
Yes- a non-combustible means of delivering Cannabis.
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. Despite great progress that has been made we still have a lot more work to do to achieve gender parity in this industry. According to this report in Entrepreneur, less than 25 percent of cannabis businesses are run by women. In your opinion or experience, what 3 things can be done by a) individuals b) companies and/or c) society to support greater gender parity moving forward?
You are a “Cannabis Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the cannabis industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the cannabis industry?
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
What are your thoughts about federal legalization of cannabis? If you could speak to your Senator, what would be your most persuasive argument regarding why they should or should not pursue federal legalization?
Well, this is a tricky slope. One needs to be careful of what she wishes for- the probability for unintended consequences for many is high.
I feel “we the people” doing the right thing to self-regulate and following standards for the CPG business will allow small business to flourish and make a difference. Once regulated, there will be confusion because the interpretation of the law will be left to plaintiff attorneys who will seize the day to do what they do best. This could send shock and awe through an already fragile industry that has grown exponentially with a lot of fast movers.
Today, cigarettes are legal, but they are heavily regulated, highly taxed, and they are somewhat socially marginalized. Would you like cannabis to have a similar status to cigarettes or different? Can you explain?
No, absolutely not! Cannabis should be viewed as a therapeutic tool, like many other plant-based resources on the market.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
I have a plaque in my office that my assistant made for me that says “there is no accounting for human behavior.”
There will always be egotistical, self-centered people in this world. They lack mindfulness and self-awareness – which gives them the ability to negatively impact those around them, sometimes without even noticing.
I look at it this way – why should I lose my self-esteem over someone I have no control over and give them the power to take from me…so I just say “there is no accounting for human behavior.” It really neutralizes the moment without spiking our cortisol levels. Let them do them, and I’ll do me.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
I inspired a green movement by pushing boundaries with the supply chain. We make healthier choices with the catalysts and source materials we use to make our ingredients. This has given me great pleasure to see it finally coming into its own and embraced by the consumer, who wants to do more on her part to choose less-toxic, more sustainable products. The consumer demands and the retailers and MFG have to listen and respond in kind or they leave us.
Today I am heartbroken over the many women suffering from BII- Breast Implant Illness. Breast Cancer is no stranger to men as well, and our transgender community. Women and men of all ages have become victims of our healthcare system because it is not recognized as a disease state and therefore insurance does not pay for the recovery. This is just one example of how healthcare doesn’t care for the people.
With power and influence, I would humanize healthcare and put the CARE back into the system. And I like to think that’s exactly what we’re doing with hemp and cannabis.
Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you only continued success!