Terry Lake is a father, runner and a former minister of health for British Columbia, and so he has our ear for what he does in his new job: vice president of corporate responsibility at HEXO, the Gatineau-based cannabis company that recently inked a deal with Molson Coors Canada to produce beverages. You may not know this, but last Thursday night was the Canadian Cannabis Awards, which are generally considered the Oscars of weed. During the ceremony, HEXO won for Innovation of the Year and Product of the Year for their Elixir CBD peppermint spray, which Lake uses and could be of interest to runners. CBD has been touted to reduce inflammation, help with sleeping and, in some cases, reduce the need for pain relievers like Advil and Tylenol. Lake was thrilled with his victory and buoyed by the popularity of CBDs.
“People are looking for CBD options that don’t involve smoking, and I think that’s some of where our innovation comes from,” says Lake, who plans on running the half at the Vancouver Marathon this May. “The Elixir product is also the only CBD spray approved by Health Canada to have peppermint oil, and there’s a huge demand, industry-wide, for CBD products that don’t get you high. I think this stuff will be of huge interest to runners.”
The legalization of cannabis on October 17 has changed the variety of products available to runners to help combat the wear and tear on our bodies. Many of the largest companies have runners at senior positions of their teams, such as MedReleaf, Aurora and Newstrike, and of course, HEXO, where Lake is excited about Elixir. He also mentions that there are tremendous possibilities that will emerge from the partnership with Molson Coors Canada.
“I’m sure CBD beverages will be very popular—for instance, you could almost drink one like a Gatorade before a workout or afterwards, or something to take in the morning. We’re not there, but I don’t see why we won’t be,” says Lake, a man worth listening to, especially when he mentions that his company will grow in 2019 from 300 to 600 employees. “The World Anti-Doping Agency removed CBDs from their list of banned substances and as the research & development departments of all the major cannabis companies—not just my own—continue to do their work, there’s loads of CBD applications that we are yet to discover.”
Lake is currently in his winter training mode, which means more time in the gym and less time on the blistery Ottawan streets. Each year, he likes to run a few 10Ks, a race in his hometown of Kamloops, like Boogie the Bridge, and the Canada Army Run, where he scored a 2018 PB (at 61-years-old). His wife Lisa ran the Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon in Las Vegas with their three daughters, and Lake plans on being busy, both personally and professionally, with his running and with his cannabis advocacy, in the new year.
“2019 is big for us,” says Lake, currently preparing his team for a listing on the New York Stock Exchange. “Our win last week for Elixir was certainly exciting and reinforced a few things that we think we know for certain—that the market and interest in CBD products is growing, and that our industry isn’t slowing down any time soon.”