Cannabis Power Players: the products that made Papa & Barkley
This article by Dante Jordan originally appeared on Weedmaps and appears here with permission.
West Coast topical brand Papa & Barkley was founded by Adam Grossman and Guy Rocourt in the summer of 2016. Known for its infused creams, balms and tinctures, it has been a hit since day one.
I recently hopped on a Zoom with Rocourt, the brand’s co-founder, president and chief product officer, to discuss the history of Papa & Barkley and the products that made its name in California.
Papa & Barkley’s origin story
When Grossman’s father was diagnosed with spinal stenosis in early 2015, it left him bedridden and completely unable to move. At one point, doctors told Grossman that if his father didn’t move out soon, he could be bedridden for the rest of his life.
The drugs he was prescribed hadn’t helped, so Grossman took matters into his own hands. He had researched the benefits of cannabis, and after watching a YouTube video on homemade topics, he did his own thing in order to save his father’s life. Immediately Grossman became a believer in the healing powers of cannabis and started working on Papa & Barkley’s idea to help anyone else in need of relief. “It worked out pretty quickly on his dad. From there, Adam kept doing it, giving it to friends and received a lot of positive feedback, ”Rocourt explained.
Shortly after his father’s experience with cannabis topicals, Grossman was in Los Angeles. It was here that he met Guy Rocourt, who had just returned to California after years of growing weed in the Colorado market. Rocourt had the experience in growing weed to create high-quality products, while Grossman had experience in setting up businesses and raising capital. So the two started creating wellness products under the names Papa & Barkley – “Papa” for Adam’s father and “Barkley” for the dog that never left his father.
The success was almost instantaneous as Papa & Barkley started winning Cannabis Cups within a year of being active; and honestly, they haven’t stopped winning since. Today, Papa & Barkley is the premier wellness brand in California, with a comprehensive portfolio of different companies and products under its umbrella.
These are the products that made Papa & Barkley.
2015: Releaf Papa & Barkley Balm
Before Papa & Barkley were on the shelves at the dispensary, it was underground in a basement where Grossman was making pain relieving balm for his father’s back problems. He used a slow cooker to create the balm, with ingredients he bought from Whole Foods and an how-to video he found on YouTube. This would become the first official Papa & Barkley product and its flagship news item: the Papa & Barkley Releaf Balm.
“Our very first product was the balm. By the time we hit the market, we were already doing the dyes too. Tinctures and topicals are what we went to at the first High Times [Cannabis Cup] with, ”said Rocourt.
2016-2017: Papa & Barkley Releaf Dyes, Releaf Patches
Once they saw how effective the Slow Cooker Balm was, the guys at P&B knew they had something special. In 2016, the company entered the medical cannabis market with its first series of products: Papa & Barkley Releaf Balm, as well as Releaf tinctures and patches in various 3: 1 and 1: 3 ratios THC: CBD .
Topicals and tinctures were immediately popular. So popular that in 2017, the brand’s 1: 3 CBD relief balm won the “Best Topical” award at the NorCal Cannabis Cup. Rocourt recalled: “We had the first-come advantage and we had the right products, the sticky products. All of these starter products that I literally handcrafted with Adam and the team as they grew.
This first success pushes Grossman and Rocourt to continue the rapid innovation of the brand. At the end of 2017, Papa & Barkley improved their ratio game by launching the 30: 1 CBD: THC and 1: 3 CBD: THC Releaf tinctures.
In September 2018, Papa & Barkley launched the Papa’s Select Living Extracts brand of concentrates. “We were already making bubble hash since day one. Papa’s Select was launched in September 2018. It was aimed at cannaseurs who appreciate the ritual of consumption, high quality cannabis, a balanced high and a clean inhalation.
Like the topicals, the success was instantaneous. A few months after its launch, Papa’s Select crushed the concentrate categories at the 2019 Northern California Emerald Cup, winning first through third place in Ice Water Hash with her concentrates THC Bomb, Peanut Butter Breath and Wedding Crasher.
Rocourt said, “Papa’s Select is partnering with 40 Emerald Triangle Farms. We select partner farms not only for their cannabis variety offering, but also for their cultivation practices and methods. We understand the culture and way of life that many of these small, local farms have created in Humboldt. Our mission is to honor the expertise of our farmers by producing superior quality concentrates in small batches that exemplify the quality of this raw material.
2019-2020: Papa & Barkley CBD, THC skin care
In 2019, Papa & Barkley regularly dominated the Cannabis Cups. In 2019, her Releaf tinctures won second place at the NorCal Cannabis Cup for “Best Infused Product” while her Releaf Balm won first place for “Best Topical” – the brand as a whole took third place for the “Best stand”. Combined with the success of Papa’s Select, it was clear that Papa & Barkley had officially become a force in the industry.
With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2020, which legalized hemp and hemp products across the country, Papa & Barkley was able to move from a California brand to a national brand. And came his CBD line. At the same time, Papa launched his THC skin care line in California. These products include CBD Releaf Body Lotion, CBD Releaf Restorative Cream, CBD Releaf Body Oil, and THC Releaf Body Lotion.
2020-2021: Papa & Barkley Releaf Releaf Gummies & Chocolate Bars
Between 2020 and 2021, Papa & Barkley got into the edibles game with their Releaf Gummies and Releaf Chocolates. The gummies, with 5 milligrams of THC per serving, come in four flavors: berry burst, juicy orange, tart apple, and wild strawberry. The infused chocolate bars, with 10 milligrams of THC per serving, are available in dark chocolate and sea salt, and milk chocolate. These edibles are available in California.
2021: Suite Papa & Barkley Sleep Releaf, Papa’s Select Live Hash Gummies
At this point, his topicals, tinctures and hash line consolidated Papa & Barkley as a staple in the cannabis industry. In April 2021, following the cancellation of the Emerald Cup in 2020, P&B once again swept the Solventless, Ice Water Hash category with its Strawberry Jelly, Kombucha and Garlic Juice concentrates. Additionally, Releaf Balm won the Men’s Health Award for “Best CBD Balm”.
With its latest offering, a full line of sleeping pills, Papa & Barkley introduces fans to the world of CBN, a minor cannabinoid with potentially sedative properties. The suite includes a dark chocolate bar, gummy candies, tincture, and capsules with a 2: 4: 1 ratio of CBD: THC: CBN.
Additionally, Papa’s Select has released Live Ice Water Hash Gummies. If history serves as any indication, these products may soon be among the best-selling wellness products. You could be watching your next Cup winners.
Images presented by Papa & Barkley