Company founded by U.S. Army vet develops cannabis-based products to help people struggling with pain – GeekWire
As the founder of G&G Laboratories, Mike Lui wants to help people who struggle with pain, such as veterans and aging populations. A U.S. Army veteran himself, Lui has had firsthand experience with muscle and joint pain.
“You’re in combat zone wearing 40 to 80 pounds of gear in very extreme environments,” Lui said. “Over time, your body wears down.”
Lui founded G&G Laboratories in 2017. His company is looking into ways that ingredients within cannabis can address health problems. G&G Laboratories’ first line of pain relief creams for muscle and joint discomfort will be released in January 2019.
After his enlistment ended, Lui moved to Seattle in 2013 to work for Amazon as a product manager. He worked across different businesses, starting with Fulfillment by Amazon. Lui jokes that it almost felt like he was jumping right into combat.
“My first day at Amazon was Cyber Monday,” Lui said. “What a day to join Amazon, right?”
He is currently in the Seattle cohort of WeWork’s Veterans in Residence program, a partnership with Bunker Labs. Bunker Labs is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that aims to help veterans and military spouses start their own businesses. Through the program, 150 entrepreneurs gain access to business mentorship, professional networks and WeWork’s workspaces.
The Veterans in Residence program is currently accepting applications for its cohorts in the following 15 cities: Seattle, New York City, Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Nashville, Chicago, Minneapolis, Detroit, Austin, Houston, Denver, Los Angeles, San Francisco, San Diego and Boston.
Watch the video below to hear from Lui himself, and continue reading to learn more.
Lui was just 19 years old when he joined the military. He said he wanted to give back to his country because he felt the U.S. gave a lot to him and his family. Lui’s parents immigrated to the U.S. from southern China when they were in their early 30’s.
“They were able to carve out a comfortable working class lifestyle for my sister and myself,” Lui said. “We were the first ones in our respective family to go to college. I felt very fortunate to be able to attend a place like Penn State.”
In 2005, Lui was part of a combat deployment to Iraq. He spent a year on the ground as a civil affairs team sergeant and project manager for a category of reconstruction funds, which is money allocated by the U.S. government to rebuild parts of Iraq after major combat events.
During his time in the U.S. Army, Lui was constantly working in small teams to solve problems in ambiguous, high-risk situations. These days, Lui finds a lot of similarities between his civilian and military careers.
“Military service is a very good training ground for being an entrepreneur,” Lui said.
Lui said the skills and experiences people gain from the military may explain why many veterans have a predilection for entrepreneurship.
“The Veterans in Residence program addresses a really interesting gap that exists for the veteran community,” he said. “The challenge comes when you leave military service and go into the private sector. How does a person specifically translate those skills in the civilian sector?”
Lui splits his time between Seattle and Los Angeles, where his company is based. G&G Laboratories does proprietary research and development, using cannabinoids (chemical compounds from cannabis plants) to address specific health issues. The company’s first product line, Relevium, features CBD pain relief creams. CBD is a nonintoxicating cannabinoid.
Relevium is covered under the FDA’s cosmetic regulatory framework. Currently, G&G Laboratories is pursuing over-the-counter designation for Relevium.