I was happily retired. And I mean: happily!

I was happily retired. And I mean: happily!

Ten years ago, Mara Gordon was a retired process engineer. Today, she’s the co-founder of Aunt Zelda’s: a data-driven developer of cannabis-based medicines such as extracts, tinctures and salves. By applying the experience she gained from her former career, she and co-founder/husband Stewart Smith were able to create a detailed and scientific approach to medical cannabis, treating patients all over the world. 

Mara, her husband Stewart and their dogs at home in Sonoma County.

Mara, her husband Stewart and their dogs at home in Sonoma County.

Not many retired process engineers end up having a successful second career in the cannabis industry. Still, Mara is doing just that. Even though it was far from planned, as Mara explains: “I was happily retired. And I mean: happily! But both Stewart and I had very poor health. I was on 26 pharmaceuticals at the time and I lived in excruciating pain. I had just learned to live with this reality when a friend of mine came to see me from Oregon. She introduced me to the term ‘wake and bake’: waking up and taking a little ‘puffy’ as she called it. At the time I knew nothing about cannabis and I was making her go out in the garage to smoke because I didn’t want that ‘nasty stuff’ in my house. One morning I came out to talk to her while she was doing her thing and I said: ‘you know what, let me have a puff.’ I took two, and when it took effect, my pain level dropped from an 8 to about a 2. My first reaction was one of anger, because why had nobody told me about this? Why am I living my live with so much suffering and so much pain when there is something as simple as this to treat it with?”  

From not liking "that stuff" to an impressive personal supply.

From not liking "that stuff" to an impressive personal supply.

Mara’s wake and bake experience kick started a period of personal research into cannabis medicines. After seeing a doctor she and Stewart visited a dispensary to try edibles such as rice crispy treats, caramel popcorns and brownies. But they soon discovered that the medical industry wasn’t very evolved yet when it came to proper dosage. “The rice crispy treats were wrapped in cellophane plastic”, Mara recollects, “it had a masking tape across it that said: 5 to 20 doses. That was it! I thought, what the hell does that mean? How do they know what my dose is versus my husband’s dose? I decided to keep track of everything I tried and started writing everything down. I weighed each piece I ate, wrote down the time I took it, how long it took to take effect, what the side effects were, how I felt. But still, it was no way to live because it was completely inconsistent. I couldn’t predict if I was going to be sluggish the whole next day or if I’d be fine. In the end I thought, why not just try making it myself. So I bought 2 ounces of XXX Chem Dog for ‘a granny price’ from an old lady who lived on top of a mountain in Oregon and made some infused oil out if it. I used that to bake a carrot cake. My aunt Zelda’s carrot cake because it has a lot of oil in it. I then weighed each piece, measured it and discovered: this works! And it works the same every time. And the rest is history, that was the very beginning of Aunt Zelda’s.” 

Aunt Zelda's collection

Aunt Zelda's collection

Today, after years of research and in consultation with physicians and renowned researchers, Mara and Stewart have developed cannabis medicines using an ancient extraction process improved with modern technology. They treat patients all over the world that suffer from various diseases, ranging from chronic pain, PTSD, OCD, ADHD to cancer. They use a scientific, detailed approach to offer organic medicines that are precisely measured in potency and purity and correctly dosed for each individual patient. Want to know more about Aunt Zelda’s? Check out there website at: http://azcannaoil.com/

For her supply Mara depends on local growers because "I don't speak the language of the culture." Joaquin is one of her growers. His story will come up soon too. 

For her supply Mara depends on local growers because "I don't speak the language of the culture." Joaquin is one of her growers. His story will come up soon too. 

Looking at what will become their own little green house

Looking at what will become their own little green house

"Puffragette"

"Puffragette"

Dutch Newspaper Parool Article (in Dutch)

Dutch Newspaper Parool Article (in Dutch)