Why a Former Dispensary Owner Traded MMJ for CBD

Trill Evolutions owner David Threlfall demonstrates products for a customer during his days as a dispensary owner.
Trill Evolutions owner David Threlfall demonstrates products for a customer during his days as a dispensary owner. Courtesy of Trill Evolutions
After more than a decade in the legal cannabis game, David Threlfall has moved on...but not far away. The former Trill dispensary network owner is now in the hemp industry, having closed his former Denver dispensary, Trill Evolutions, in 2019, and, shortly after that, selling his ownership in Boulder pot shop Trill Alternatives. Real G's never go away, though.

Threlfall discovered his talents for CBD education during sessions with dispensary customers, and he started a line of hemp-derived CBD pills in 2016 while he still owned the store. He was so passionate about the venture — and his own history with Trill — that after leaving the dispensary life, he continued the branding with Trill Pills (hemp-derived CBD pills), as well as CBD creams and oral tinctures.

We caught up with the Trill man himself to learn more about his decision to say so long to legal marijuana, and where he sees CBD heading in the future.

Westword: What made you want to make the switch from marijuana dispensaries to CBD?

David Threlfall: It's a ton of work, the dispensary. You get a little older, and you realize you've spent your whole life working. So it was time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of my labor. I was in this since the beginning, eleven or twelve years ago, and I've been through a lot more than the people in it now, and there was a learning curve. When this first opened up, it was the Wild West, but as the years went on, so did the regulations. It was just time.

When I had the store, I was bringing in all kinds of CBD, but they all contained fillers or sweeteners. There was so much inconsistency at the time, before the Farm Bill was passed, so we just started producing our own pills. I was selling them out of the dispensary, and that's where we came up with Trill Pills — that was the dispensary's name — but kept the name when I moved on with the pills.

Where did the "Trill" name come from, by the way?

I was one of the founders. Basically, someone had it and was going under, so I took it over and built it up. Trill means keep it real, keep it true, keep it "trill." And in this and the CBD industries, especially, there's so much misinformation. I don't think people are doing it on purpose, but they're repeating things they hear. And just because somebody says it doesn't make it so.

Do you believe in CBD more from a business or wellness perspective than marijuana?

It's less regulated because it's not psychoactive, but I think CBD has a lot more therapy value on its own, and when you match it together [with THC], then it's really powerful. The key to that is making sure people understand how to take CBD and how to figure out their dose.

How do you view the public perception of CBD at this point? Has knowledge improved over the past few years?

Not as much as you would think. I can't tell you how many times people tell me they're taking CBD but it didn't work for them. So I'll ask them how they're taking it, and they'll say they take 1,000 milligrams each time — but that's not what's actually in the dropper; that's how much CBD is in the bottle. So I have that conversation a lot, and explain to people that there is one metric drop, and one ounce is around 600 drops. So whatever your bottle says, you can usually divide it by 600, and that'll give you a rough estimate. I try to spell that out on the bottle, but some companies make it so difficult to figure out how much is actually in the dropper. People are starting to realize CBD works, but they don't know how to get to the proper dosage.

As a professional in the industry, do you feel like there's more clarity as to what CBD can do in 2021 from the scientific community?

When I look at the scientific community and read those types of articles, it all depends on the delivery method. How are you putting CBD into your body? We were part of a pilot study with ex-athletes with head injuries, and there were our capsules, a vape pen, tinctures, sublinguals and sprays. They tested these people, and the best results came from our pills. I feel that's the best delivery method, because you're getting the whole dose at once. You ingest a tincture one way under your tongue, but sometimes you end up swallowing half of it over time, so you're really ingesting it two ways. I think that's the biggest issue: people not understanding their dosage and how it's ingested.

Where do you see the CBD industry going in the next couple of years as more cannabinoids and innovations like Delta-8 THC emerge?

We have a CBG product out, too, and I find it to be a little more energetic. Some people get lethargic from CBD, and CBG doesn't really do that. We've also found it to be better for stomach and eye issues. When you're talking about Delta-8, though, I have a feeling it will have a short lifespan. Let's face it: You can get high from Delta-8, so it's only a matter of time before they start regulating it, once [the federal government] figures it out. I looked into Delta-8, but I decided against it. I don't want to spend the time and effort on it and then have something happen. You're not going to be able to ship that across state lines like CBD.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Thomas Mitchell has written about all things cannabis for Westword since 2014, covering sports, real estate and general news along the way for publications such as the Arizona Republic, Inman and Fox Sports. He's currently the cannabis editor for westword.com.
Contact: Thomas Mitchell