How One Eco-Minded Cannabis Company Aims to Transform CBD
Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi and Valeria Hinojosa are changing the way CBD is packaged and perceived.
The first time Santiago Rodriguez Tarditi pitched a cannabis-related project at work, his employers at Univision were not impressed. At the very least, they just weren’t yet ready for that much weed on screen in 2014.
It took another five years until one of his weed pitches saw some interest, this time while Tarditi was working with Gestalten (you know—the coffee-table book publisher). They loved his idea for a book highlighting the creative design and branding happening in contemporary cannabis culture, and High on Design: The New Cannabis Culture was released in May 2020.
During that time, he was freelancing for publications like Leafly and Monocle, serving as managing editor at Herb, and advocating for more progressive drug and environmental policy. Tarditi was interviewing all kinds of cultivators and founders and entrepreneurs—absorbing their perspectives and challenges and exploring the growing landscape of THC and CBD products himself. He was getting a master class in the current state of cannabis, and he couldn’t help but notice some missed opportunities.
Like so many pondering what to do next while they waited out the COVID-19 pandemic, Tarditi decided to go for it and start his own cannabis-related business in Miami, where he was living at the time. He met Valeria Hinojosa amidst the chaos of 2020—a fellow creative with a relationship with CBD and a passion for promoting sustainable lifestyles—and together, they co-founded Intu just a few months into dating.
“We have both been cannabis consumers for many years,” Tarditi says. “Although I’m more of a THC-kinda guy and Valeria had been using CBD for a while. We wanted to share the benefits of the plant through consciously creating a more widely available CBD product.”
In addition to the edible CBD oil, the duo launched a 100% hemp joint and a “heart-opener” blend mixed with a little lavender and mullein, all focused around the idea of more intentional plant-based rituals. For Tarditi and Hinojosa, Intu is an extension of their activism—their contribution to revising the narrative around cannabis as a drug.
“There’s still a lot of taboo even when it comes to CBD—especially in places like Colombia and Bolivia, our home countries,” Tarditi says. “We’re both pretty open when it comes to our consumption, and we still come across occasional gossip from narrow-minded people who think we’re doing something illegal or that we should go to rehab. We typically offer those people a free bottle so they can chill a bit.”
Tarditi knows there’s more work to be done destigmatizing cannabis, but he also points out the problem with how THC and CBD are juxtaposed. That black-and-white dynamic of CBD as medicine and THC as recreation oversimplifies the ways most people consume this plant.
“That polarization leaves little room for other cannabinoids or more ritualistic consumption of the plant,” adds Tarditi. “We’re asking people to take their time smoking our joints, to meditate after taking a spoonful of our oil, to honor the plant the same way we honor our bodies.”
They work with a processor who sources from a handful of carefully selected hemp growers located across California and a laboratory for testing the final products. While there are many brands putting out high-quality CBD oil, very few have taken sustainable packaging as seriously as Intu.
About two months into operations, the founders looked into ways to minimize the amount of plastic going into each item. First they checked out a wooden dropper, which ended up containing more plastic inside. A tin screw cap wouldn’t work either, as it risked oxidizing the oil upon contact.
“Eventually we ditched the dropper entirely and decided to get people to return to the old-school way: taking the oil with a spoon, similar to the way syrups were sold and administered in the apothecary days,” Tarditi says.
Tarditi and Hinojosa tried different sized bottles and different cap materials, landing on cork because of its ability to be compostable and biodegradable. To achieve an airtight seal, the cap is covered with a vegan wax seal, and tied tight with a compostable burlap cord. It may not be the fastest method of dosing if you’re in a rush, but that’s sort of the point of INTŪ: to slow down and give yourself a moment to be intentional about this moment of calm.
“The name Intu comes from playing with the word intu-ition and playing with the question of ‘What are you into?’” says Tarditi. “We hope to inspire people to tune into themselves, to live a little slower and truer to ourselves and the natural environment around us.”