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Highest Intent Founder Brendon Wilder Left Religion and Found Cannabis

Many people around the globe practice their religion. It has a strong influence on their lives and beliefs. Many people find religion to be essential to finding meaning and understanding their place in the world. Brendon Wilder, his wife and the owners of Highest Intent cannabis brand, Oklahoma, once had religion as a major part of their lives. After realizing that their faith was not serving them, the couple decided to enjoy their lives without Christianity. Once that happened, cannabis entered Wilder’s life which led to the launch of his cannabis brand. Wilder shares his journey from Christian to cannabis business owner, and the path that has led him to launch a new brand in Oklahoma, one of the country’s rapidly growing cannabis markets.

You previously practiced Christianity with a “megachurch.” What made you leave the church, and what did you hope to accomplish afterwards?

It’s pretty crazy, but I grew up in that church for 15 years. From the age of 10 onwards, the church was my main influence. As I gave more and more of myself to “God’s plan,” I was growing increasingly unhappy. Only a matter of times before I was unable to suppress my emotions, it was too late.

Looking back, it’s clear to see that I didn’t truly respect and love myself. Instead, I was trying to earn that love, respect, and approval from other people and “god.” Toward the end of my time there, I remember repeatedly asking myself: “If this is what the rest of my life looks like, am I happy with that?”

The short version is that I decided to leave religion/church. I believed I was entitled to my own happiness. I’d had enough “suffering for Christ” and was ready to start enjoying my life. I was changing my profession, all my friendships of over ten years, as well as my passions. There was no way I could have known where I’d go in my life. All I knew was that religion would be the reason. It was the first time that I had decided to make my own decisions about how I wanted to live my life.

Was that a coincidence?

The first time I smoked cannabis was almost one year after I left my “church life.” Summer ’16 will always be remembered fondly for that reason (shoutout my homie Jimmy that rolled the blunt)! I grew up around cannabis being a “drug,” so it took a while to unlearn and reprogram my views on things. One short year after my first puff, I found myself taking hourly “vape breaks” from my nine-to-five office job in Dallas, Texas. It became clear that marijuana was the right medicine for me to grow and heal from my past. Cannabis provided me with the freedom to experience and address my emotions deeply. I was able to grow from these feelings rather than suppressing them.

As I began to see the personal benefits of consuming more regularly, I began to seek out opportunities that would allow me to move to a state where cannabis isn’t a “drug,” unlike Texas. The deep passion I felt to know more about cannabis and its culture has grown over time. Although I had always hoped to own my own business someday, it was not something that fulfilled my dreams. Cannabis did that.

You moved originally from Texas to Oregon. Then, you most recently arrived in Oklahoma. We are interested in learning more about what drove these movements.

My wife and I moved from Texas to Bend, Oregon in January of 2018 with such excitement to press the “reset” button on our lives and begin again. Both of us had taken up remote positions in the cannabis industry. It opened up new opportunities, as well as the possibility of living in beautiful new places. While I was in Oregon, my role was that of Director Operations for a cannabis wellness company transitioning to the California recreational market. Anna and I also partnered up with a Washington licensed processor under the i502 program. [state]Recreational market for new brands, marketing and distribution to dispensaries. Good Fortune Flowers, a high-end brand of hemp flowers that we shipped nationwide was one our final projects in Oregon. We launched our brand right after OG COVID was dropped. Texas, which is the primary market where we were shipping to, had changed its laws about smokable cannabis.

We quickly discovered that the barriers to entry into mature markets for recreational marijuana were very high as we began exploring the possibility of getting involved. As we looked into the future, more and more signs pointed to Oklahoma as the best emerging market for our ideas. We aren’t afraid of a saturated market and lots of competition because we feel it brings out the best in us and our abilities. We miss central Oregon’s mountains and forests, but Oklahoma and its people are so kind to us ever since April 2021. It is exciting to launch new brands and we hope to earn the trust and approval of the Oklahoma community. 

Brendon Wilder

We want to know more about your brand. Which benefits does Oklahoma consumers get from your product? What makes your product different than other products?

Our idea with Highest Intent was to make a cannabis product that could also be an addition to anyone’s daily wellness regimen. It is common for people to stress during the day. Then, they use cannabis in the evenings to relieve their tension. The pandemic also really shifted our thinking in the direction of “proactive” wellness instead of always taking a “reactive” approach. We also wanted to create a product that’s not just about “feeling high,” yet is still effective for a wide range of users. We chose not to make another fancy-packaged distillate product, but instead created a product we wanted for our patients. 

We put our best ideas and intentions forward to bring you—Highest Intent. The sublingual tinctures contain full-spectrum Nano THC, along with selected ancient medicinal herbs. A nano-watersoluble THC is more absorbable and bioavailable than cannabis, and the combination of specific herbs and mushrooms within each formulation helps in ways that marijuana alone can’t. All of our tinctures use herbal and mushroom extracts (not simply “ground up mushrooms”) that contain no alcohol. All of our products are vegan, gluten-free and sugar-free. They also contain 100 percent plants. These products are designed to help people live a mindful life. 

Have you faced any obstacles in creating the brand Highest Intent or its products?

Finding the right people to build trust with is without doubt the most difficult part of the whole process. From wasted time and money on “consultants,” to going through several different herbalists and extractors, we have really flexed our problem-solving muscles this past year. Patients have high expectations and demand transparency and accountability. Therefore, our brands must meet these same standards, otherwise I can’t personally ethically be proud of them. This is not the case for everyone. 

We create products with the mindset that “we are patients first and foremost,” meaning that we will never put out products that aren’t completely up to our personal standard of consumption. We decided to produce a high-quality, premium product for a fair price. It took about eight months of product R&D to finally have a product formulated that we’re genuinely proud of. 

Do you think products with Highest Intent will be made available in Oklahoma by when?

Just recently, we launched for the OMMA (Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority), Oklahoma patients! Our Daily Wellness Tinctures are available in two dosage options in our “Energy & Ease” morning tincture, as well as two options in our “Chill & Restore” evening tincture. Every formula has been created by our herbalists as well as ayurvedic experts.

Is there anything in the pipeline for 2022? What do you envision for your company and yourself in the future? 

The first four Highest-Intent products represent just the start. For 2022, we have many expansion plans. Our THC products from Highest Intent will be expanded in Oklahoma. We intend to release more cannabinoids and products that are specifically designed to treat specific conditions like allergies, pain management, asthma, or respiratory problems. A nano CBD line will be launched by Highest Intent later this year. It contains herbs and mushrooms. Our model is fully planned to be expanded beyond Oklahoma and into other emerging markets.