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Meet the team: Interview with TNL Lead Formulation Scientist, Rebecka Forward

Learn about Rebecka Forward, Lead Formulation Scientist at True North Labs, and her work in the cannabis industry, as well as the challenges faced by women
April 24, 2024
Company News

Meet the team: Interview with TNL Lead Formulation Scientist, Rebecka Forward

At True North Labs, we’re passionate about supporting women in business and as such have built a team of remarkable women who play key roles in every aspect of what we do.

Supporting Women in Business and Formulating Products for Women

This is of course absolutely essential, in our eyes, especially when it comes to formulating products specifically for women. Something which has sadly been missed when it comes to general healthcare and research, where most doctors, researchers and scientists have been men and the cells, animals and humans studied have been mostly male. It’s clear to see why we still know so little about the female body.

Today, we would like to introduce you to one of the remarkable women in the True North Labs team who is changing the face of the cannabis industry and cannabinoid product formulation: Lead Formulation Scientist, Rebecka Forward.

A Day in the Life at True North Labs

Every day is different for me and I get to take on multiple roles within the organisation. It’s one thing I really love about working with a smaller company. Some days I’m 100% in the lab, extracting flower, distilling oils and preparing samples or formulating orders. Other times I’m consulting on calls with clients, maybe discussing the difference between isolate and water soluble cannabinoids, or helping to guide them on the development of their products. Sometimes I’ll focus on researching different uses for cannabis and editing articles, which is cool. I’ve always done the lab work, so it’s fun to learn a little more about marketing and business development too. I enjoy getting to see all aspects of the company.

Rebecka's Education and Work Experience

All of my schooling was done in Canada. I completed my bachelor's degree in chemistry at Queen’s University focusing on solid state physical chemistry and then completed a research Master’s at the University of British Columbia in chemistry focusing on the development of new solar panel technologies.

During my undergraduate degree I worked in a different lab every year and played around with inorganic chemistry, chemical engineering, computational modeling, and physical chemistry to get a taste of everything. Then for my Master’s degree I was making solar panels and developed a protocol for how to quantify solar cells using UV-Vis spectroscopy.

Following school, I worked for two years at a contract research company, where companies came to us to conduct complex experiments. It was an exciting opportunity to work on vastly different projects in areas such as battery fabrication and recycling, electrochemistry, and metallurgy.

It was in Canada that I got to work on my first cannabis project, extracting cannabinoids and a vast area of terpenes using different extraction techniques. It was a great learning opportunity and first got me exposed to the vast array of products that can be formulated. There is a lot of room for creative development within the cannabis space.

I have always enjoyed learning and picking up new subject areas. Right now, I am excited about marketing and business development!

Why the Cannabis Industry?

Although it’s been around forever, the cannabis industry is so new in terms of product development and regulation. I think there's a lot of opportunity for growth and innovative product development here, which is really exciting. That drew me in.

As cannabis is legal in Canada, where I’m from, it’s very accessible and the products are consistent and safe. I’ve used cannabis back home recreationally, but I’ve seen its therapeutic benefits firsthand when my partner was in a car accident and badly injured his leg. He was in a lot of pain and struggled to sleep, so I encouraged him to try cannabis gummies for the first time. It provided a lot of pain relief for him and helped with his sleep.

Favorite Cannabinoid Products and Innovative Products in Development

I’d never tried a CBN product before I came to work with True North Labs, but I love it. It’s such a great one for sleep, and it’s a good alternative for anyone who’s a bit scared of THC!

I’m also excited to try out patches a little more. I think the transdermal delivery system is an interesting niche concept, especially for periods specific pain relief, or menopausal pain relief, too!

Favorite Cannabinoid Products and Innovative Products in Development

One of my female co-workers came to me the other day and said she wants to develop a PMS period pain pill. So we sat down with other women in the team and shared a tonne of ideas and our own, personal issues surrounding PMS and what we’d want from a product like this. It’s not being formulated yet, but we’re looking at how to address cramping, bloating, muscle pains, and then even we're starting to look at what different types of like herbal remedies we can use for the emotional side. We're trying to come up with a comprehensive product that can really, help with PMS. It is really exciting to collaborate and develop products with a group who is as passionate on women’s issues as I am.

Working in a Women-Positive Space and Promoting Diversity and Inclusion

Chemistry is a very male dominated field and it can be very out of touch at times. That can be really challenging for women and people of colour and it has been really hard for me at times. Working at True North, I always feel so respected by everyone and I love working with other really cool, strong women with great ideas. I've always been someone who kind of has a big voice. I like to speak my mind and it's incredible to see other women do that too.

We encourage each other, but the men on the team encourage us too! Everyone here is so good at taking feedback and listening to other people's opinions, whatever gender. It makes the everyday workday feel seamless.

We do female events and we're trying to get the True North women out there to participate in educational events for different companies and educate on the products and how they work. And I've always been someone who really enjoys public speaking and I love getting in a room with a lot of ladies where we get to talk about issues, solutions and products. It’s exciting to see woman taking up space and being the focus.

Ready to take the next step in cannabinoid product development? Contact us today to learn more about our innovative formulations and how we can help you create products tailored to your customers' needs.

Please check out our other related articles to learn more about our team and our innovative cannabinoid products formulated specifically for women. We're always sharing insights and updates, so be sure to stay tuned for more.