As a child of the ’80s, Tiana Woodruff has a sure perspective on Ronald Reagan’s War on Drugs and how it shifted the way we think about cannabis. “We were taught that cannabis is bad, but if you’re on a prescription then that’s okay, that’s good,” Woodruff says. “People trust those prescriptions, then they take and abuse them. That’s how we end up where we are–we trust our prescriptions, but our prescriptions are killing us.”
Woodruff is no stranger to the fatal outcomes of prescription drug overuse. She’s lost loved ones to opioids over the years and holds this pain as the inspiration behind the mission of her brand, Queen Mary Kush. “It’s something very near and dear to me that has affected my world… and so, our entire purpose is to provide a natural alternative to an addictive prescription,” she says.
Woodruff is taking what she’s learned as a witness to addiction and is applying it to Queen Mary’s manufacturing theory. She sees the psychoactive component of THC as an important factor in weaning people off of opioids.
“You not only ease symptoms with opioids, but you get a high from these drugs,” Woodruff points out. She’s proud to be a pioneer in an industry that’s proven itself to be a key factor in the battle against widespread opioid addiction. Queen Mary aims to offer products that utilize the pain-relieving benefits of cannabis as a direct alternative to opioids.
“My hope is to create products that offset the high you get from opioids so you can shift toward a more natural alternative that’s less addictive and better for your body for the long term,” she says.
Since she decided her path, Woodruff has weathered the startup storm, shaping and growing the brand through the pandemic. “In 2020, I thought my head was going to explode. I got laid off because of the pandemic, and then I started working on Queen Mary, and I had to learn. I had to become a scientist, an accountant, a lawyer… I had to figure it out since I had no one to ask. I had to immerse myself, but that’s how I pivoted and ended up with this health line.”
Woodruff is now working on getting Queen Mary onto delivery platforms like Eaze and Amuse, and securing a spot on the shelves of 12 different dispensary locations in LA and San Francisco within the first quarter of 2022. For a business that was launched in the fall of 2021, it’s growing rapidly. “My personal goal is to get into two dispensaries a month. I’m a one-man show, so there’s only so much that I can bite off and chew alone. I would love to hire staff before the end of the year.”
What sets Queen Mary apart is, well, Tianna Woodruff. Each Queen Mary Kush product is created with intention. Over the years, Woodruff has been devoted to studying herbal alternatives to pharmaceuticals, which she incorporates into her products alongside targeted cannabinoids and terpenes.“We really did our research and worked hard to come up with a product that works, does what it says it will do, and is consistent every time we run a batch to put out on the market,” she says.
During her research, she’s encountered new trends and concepts that have her excited about the future of cannabis, especially nanotech edibles, a component of Queen Mary gummies. “I call my gummies day and night: Enchanted is day and Moonstruck is night,” says Woodruff. Enchanted is infused with Rhodiola, B12, and 10mg of THC for a more focused high. Moonstruck is a lavender blueberry flavor, with 10mg of THC and 5 mg of CBN to help with insomnia and body pain.
But Queen Mary likely won’t always be about edibles. Woodruff would like to dive deeper into feminine wellness. Topicals for sexual enhancement, like personal lubricants and creams, will likely find their way onto Queen Mary’s menu. “The adult industry is a billion-dollar market on its own, and so is cannabis. So why not put the two together? And create another market?”
While the War on Drugs for decades set the tone on how Americans viewed cannabis, entrepreneurs and innovators like Woodruff are working hard to dismantle the stigmas with products that set the tone for a brighter tomorrow.