The Story—and the Doctor—Behind the Brand
Inspired by the experiences of Dr. Paul Song, Calyx Peak’s Chief Medical Officer, SONG was created with three main goals: to help people understand—and access—cannabis’ remarkable power as a natural painkiller; to produce premium quality, highly-standardized products that provide the same reliable, effective relief each time they’re used; and to formulate these products to treat various conditions based on medical data from internal research, independent certification organizations, and peer-reviewed studies.
Cannabis has been used by healers around the world to treat a variety of conditions and medical issues for thousands of years. However, in the U.S., the cultural perception of cannabis shifted in the 1930s, when a propaganda campaign falsely recast the plant as a dangerous social drug. Dr. Song, a board-certified radiation oncologist who was in practice for more than 20 years before leaving his position at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, has been fighting to remove the 'reefer madness' stigma associated with cannabis for more than a decade.
Though he had long been aware of the beneficial impact cannabis had on his own cancer patients (especially when it came to managing nausea and decreased appetite, two major side effects of chemotherapy), it wasn’t until his own father was diagnosed with the disease that he fully appreciated why cannabis is so special.
At the end of his father’s life, rather than taking powerful opioids that had a strong sedative effect, he relied on cannabis—which he ingested through edibles—to ease his pain. This allowed him to stay awake and enjoy as much time as he could with his family.
Unlike opioids, cannabis does not cause constipation—a side effect that can leave patients feeling even worse—and is less habit-forming than the often-prescribed drugs, a serious consideration given the current addiction epidemic.
After his father’s death, Dr. Song had an awakening and began to look at how the medical community treats cancer, noting how many toxic treatments patients receive. He decided to explore complementary treatments that would offer a more natural, holistic approach to pain relief and help ease the stress and anxiety that can lead to depression. (Patients who survive cancer often end up with mental health issues because of the trauma they’ve endured.)
Despite the positive aspects of therapeutic cannabis use, Dr. Song had discovered with his father that there was a major problem with the products that were available: The levels of THC or CBD weren’t standardized. So unlike a tablet of acetaminophen, for example, the potency in an edible, tincture, or topical cream could vary from product to product. One week, his father found relief from half a brownie, but when he purchased a new batch to following week, that same amount ended up being too potent.
Dr. Song saw a void in the cannabis market, but because he was focused on other projects— including running his own biotech company, which has a cell therapy in clinical trials with the FDA—his idea for a cannabis wellness company was temporarily put on the back burner.
In 2017, Dr. Song was approached by his friend and Calyx Peak Companies founder Howie Keum about advising the company of the medical capabilities of cannabis; he soon joined Calyx Peak as Chief Medical Officer. Calyx Peak CEO Ed Schmults helped reignite Dr. Song’s interest in launching a wellness brand, and Song was born.
Through the Song website, Dr. Hope aims to help people find credible, research-backed information about how cannabis can help them manage a variety of conditions. He also wants to help educate bud tenders about the health benefits of cannabis so they can direct shoppers to products with the proper compositions for their needs.
Song products will be developed and tested in Calyx Peak's lab in Costa Mesa, California.