As the state’s budding medical cannabis industry continues to develop, Arkansans have a growing number of choices when it comes to how and why they use it — as well as where it comes from. Used medicinally, the importance of quality when it comes to cannabis cannot be overstated. That is where Dark Horse Medicinals, Arkansas’ first cannabis processor, comes in. Focused solely on crafting high-quality products for the consumer, the Dark Horse team has a passion for the science of cannabis, offering a wide range of options to address a variety of needs.


“Almost everybody lives their life in pain for the most part, whether it be mental, physical or something in between,” said Dark Horse Chief Scientific Officer Lucas Haley. “I think one of the best things about cannabis is pain management and quality of life.”


While the research is still ongoing as to the curative properties of different parts of the cannabis plant itself, its supplemental use — especially as a safer alternative to opioids for those at risk of addiction — is invaluable. Another strength of cannabis lies in its adaptability. Depending on the condition or one’s situation, different products or formulations can be more helpful.


“THC is psychoactive, so if you’re not looking to get that type of effect, there are other products that are better for you to manage your pain without getting high,” Haley said. “Let’s say that you have an ache on your knee; there are topicals that you can use that you could rub on that. There are things called transdermal patches that you could use, very similar to a nicotine patch, that you apply to the skin and it will transdermally absorb.”


For those looking for psychoactive effects without the negative effects of smoking, tinctures might be another good choice. Edibles have a longer onset, but come with the benefit of much longer medication time. Still, products such as vape cartridges and flower concentrates have an important role to play for many, especially when it comes to mental health conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.


“For a lot of people, it is almost like a ritual for their day, and it gets them through the day,” Haley said. “Even though you’re smoking something, which is not necessarily the best thing for you, it still gives you some reprieve from what you’re dealing with on a daily basis.”

As with any medicinal product, quality is of the utmost importance. Haley explained that the state’s robust testing procedures, combined with Dark Horse’s own high standards, ensure products that contain the most benefit with the fewest harmful elements.


“We don’t have heavy metals, we don’t have residual solvents and we don’t have microbials. We’re testing and vetting each one of these products before it gets into a customer’s hand,” he said. “We’ve got a vetting process that makes sure that the customers are getting a good product, that’s not going to hurt them.”


Of course, a product in any industry is only as good as the team behind it, and Dark Horse has that covered as well. Each member of the Dark Horse team is passionate about what they do and what their products can do for customers.


“With any kind of product that you get in your lungs, you want that to be the cleanest thing that you can get,” Haley said. “I would put my foot down and say that we make some very clean products. That can be seen from the certificate of analysis. Even when it comes to full spectrum versus distillate products, we still do the best that we can to refine that product to give you the best that we can.”