Virginia Vidal Serves Tea with Cream and Cannabis
Virginia “Mary” Vidal’s pregnancy with triplets was so difficult, her doctor proposed she reduce the number she would carry to term. Though Vidal, known in cannabis circles as Mary (an Anglicization of her Portuguese middle name, Maria), knew marijuana had cured her nausea in other circumstances, she could find next to no credible research on cannabis use during pregnancy (11 years later, the the topic remains murky).
Out of desperation, Vidal used herself as a research subject, consuming cannabis in teas, and was able to carry all three triplets to term. Little did she know her home remedy would evolve into Mary’s Wellness, a line of cannabis-infused teas and other beverages known for mild highs designed to soothe pain, relieve stress, improve focus, or induce sleep. Vidal, now 47, has run the business since 2015 with her oldest son Ricardo, 29. Vidal is also a mom to Avery, 24; Miranda, 22; and her triplets Maya, Miguel and Marisa, all 11 and all excellent students.
Recently, Vidal pitched Mary’s Wellness at an audition for the upcoming season of CBC reality competition Dragons’ Den.
From Mary’s Wellness’s headquarters in Toronto, Vidal talked about her controversial decision to use cannabis while pregnant, the importance of proper dosing, and her plans to serve cannabis-infused tea to the mainstream.
I never thought that I would have such a big family. When I was younger I used to joke with my friends that I was going to be single and travel the world. It was the total opposite! I got married young. I was 17 the first time I got married. We had three children and then separated and I had a relationship where I had a surprise pregnancy that turned out to be triplets.
I never experienced such nausea with the single kids. With the triplets it was a different story. It was very challenging for me to keep anything down. I was given the option of birth reduction. For me it became a matter of desperation.
I knew cannabis helps with nausea. My first time that I had that first joint, I ate everything in the cupboard. I ate half a pizza, and I was looking for more food. I kept the food in. But afterwards I felt guilty. Did I do something wrong? It felt right.
People would say, “Isn’t that dangerous?” Of course there’s a certain danger when you try something new or different. But there are also benefits. I was able to go full term. The triplets were completely healthy.
To medicate in public was very difficult. It was not like you could have a vape bag and walk around in public or even at a hospital. That’s where the tea came in. It was a discrete way to medicate without having others judge me.
The most popular products that we have are the Hot Chocolate [a cannabis-infused mixture designed for pain relief], the Apple Cider [infused for pain and stress relief], and from the teas, it used to be the Orange Pekoe but the Sleep and Relax has taken over.
I wanted a product the mainstream could be comfortable with. It’s very light and mild. I think it would be a disappointment for the industry if a lot of these return users or newcomers try a heavy medible [marijuana edible] because they don’t want to smoke, and they green out, or get too high.
For March break, I took my triplets to Fern Resort in Orillia, Ontario. There was a mom, I told her what I did for a living, and then she goes, “I used to smoke cannabis as a teenager, hee hee hee, I’d like to try your tea.” I gave her my tea and she told me she had a great sleep, she didn’t get really high, she felt relaxed, she was able to read her book and focus.
I also told her I had a chocolate from a friend. I told her, be careful, chocolates are a little stronger, just have one piece at a time. She decided that because the tea was light she was going to have three pieces of the chocolate. The next morning she was not at breakfast. Her husband told me he didn’t know if he should call the ambulance because she was really sick, she was trembling, she was greening out.
To someone like her who is being reintroduced to cannabis, they need to control the dosage. They can’t have something that strong, because it’s going to turn them off the industry.
We met Joe Mimran organically at a coffee shop before filming Dragons’ Den. We asked Joe for any advice that he may have. That’s when he showed interest in our product. We might be working with the creators of VitaminWater. With legalization it will be interesting to see where the company goes.