Who’s who in CBD
“You can’t tell the players without a scorecard.”
That famous phrase, usually reserved for the baseball diamond, holds a lot of weight in the emerging CBD category, where dozens of companies are lining up to supply retailers with a wide range of products as soon as they get final Food and Drug Administration approval.
Drug Store News is offering a close look at some of the key players in the category, who they are and what makes them unique from the competition. In alphabetical order, here is what they had to say.
All CBD is not created equal, said Justin Benton, president of Ventura, Calif,-based 101 CBD. Retailers should look for products that contain full-spectrum CBD instead of isolate, because the latter refers to burning down the CBD into a powder, which makes it lose valuable nutrients. “We firmly believe in raw CBD,” he said.
The company makes CBD oils in varieties called Alleviate, Chill, Boost, CBD, and Decarboxylated CBD Oil, which is heated at lower temperatures that result in a higher potency. Also available are CBD Topicals, including a Raw Relief Roll-On and Raw Relief CBD Topical for soothing localized pain of arthritis, neck and back spasms, and migraines. Topicals are widely used by massage therapists, and are a healthy way to deliver CBD, Benton said. “We don’t do vaping or edibles,” he said. “A brownie might be fun, but you don’t want to eat that every day.”
Abacus Health Products
The OTC health company Abacus Health Products recently announced the launch of an advanced skin care line within its CBDMedic family of products. This new line is for the treatment of acne, eczema, and itch and rash, and will include four topical products, including ointments, creams and facial cleansers. The products will utilize FDA-monograph active pharmaceutical ingredients and cannabinoids, and will be formulated with natural and organic ingredients.
The Woonsocket, R.I.-based company has several new products in its pipeline, and in the next two years plans to launch CBD products for foot pain, dermatology, acne, anti-inflammatory, and eczema itch and rash.
“One hundred million Americans suffer from acute or chronic pain,” said CEO Perry Antelman. “The major retail pharmacies are hungry for these products.”
Be Trū Organics
Be Trū Organics is a Los Angeles-based company that makes Be Trū Wellness products. The hemp comes from 100% certified organic farms in Switzerland, and the hemp extract is organic, all-natural, pure, non-GMO, gluten-free, kosher, and is processed in an ISO 9000 GMP-certified lab. The company also uses nanotechnology that splits one particle into 14 million particles for better absorption and longer-lasting effects. These are important attributes in an already crowded industry. “There are over 150 companies making products that are unregulated,” said chief marketing officer Brad Halpern. “A lot of products look like they are made in someone’s garage.”
Be Trū Wellness products include body pain relief cream, body pain relief patch, dream beverage drops for sleep, mind daily gummy chews, energy beverage drops and focus beverage drops. For pets, there are Catchies Feline Hemp Oil with coconut oil and catnip oil extract, and Dogchies All-Natural Hemp Complex.
The wife and husband team of Melissa and Nick Christensen, who founded Cannabliss Organic, have family roots in the beauty industry and past experience in hemp wellness and cultivation. The Aurora, Colo.-based company makes skin care products with a high concentration of full-spectrum hemp oil that is specially blended with ancient Korean herbs to work in synergy with the body and to nurture and heal. The products include Bliss Body Oil, Bliss Kiss Balm, Foaming Cleanser, Hemp Salve, Moisturizing Lotion and other products available in prestige stores and resorts.
CBD Care Garden
The focus for CBD Care Garden is hemp-based wellness and beauty. The Denver-based company sells such products as antiaging face products, body butter and body washes in high-end resorts and spas. “We are in pretty much every state now,” said CEO and co-founder Vanessa Marquez. “I think retailers have been chomping at the bit to get involved.”
CBD Unlimited, headquartered in Cave Creek, Ariz., has been a leader in the hemp-based CBD industry since 2014. Products come to market under the CBD Unlimited brand, as well as the Phyto-Bites line of products for pets. Early in 2015, the company realized the need for education and information within the CBD product segment. This led to multiple doctor-led case studies to help determine the most effective forms of delivery and to define dosing guidelines. This research helped lay the foundation for product forms, formulations and dosing guidelines within the current product assortment.
CBD Unlimited offers specific delivery methods: topical mist and balm, as well as tinctures and adaptogen herbal capsules, which include a nighttime formulation. The Phyto-Bites brand features dual-delivery pet chews infused with CBD to promote pet health and support mobility, and may reduce separation anxiety and pain for both dogs and cats. The targeted SKU assortment is designed to help retailers and customers understand how to use the products, while providing solutions within select, top-selling product categories. Additionally, this targeted product assortment ensures the ability to deliver a consistent supply of high-quality products. This focus will help CBD Unlimited and their retail partners drive positive customer experiences as they enter this new category.
Charlotte’s Web said its purpose is “To better the planet and the people living upon it.” The company is doing this with high-quality hemp extract, in such products as CBD Oils in Full-Strength, Extra Strength and Original Strength. Hemp Capsules with CBD, plus naturally occurring phytocannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids help provide support for normal, everyday stresses and recovery from exercise. Charlotte’s Web is based in Denver and manufactures in Boulder, Colo.
“It’s obviously working for enough people, they are shouting from their social media rooftops,” said co-founder and chairman Joel Stanley.
Curaleaf has several brands, including Curaleaf Hemp, which makes natural, nonintoxicating products for a better quality of life. The Wakefield, Mass.-based company said the effective hemp-based CBD products meet the strictest quality standards in the industry. Products are available in such categories as Pure, Relieve and Revive, and include lotions, drops, patches, softgels and vape pens. All Curaleaf Hemp products are made with the highest quality ingredients from the full-spectrum CBD oil to the premium essential oils, company officials said. All CBD is tested before formulation and all products are batch tested before distribution, company officials said.
The official partner of Spartan Race, Elevate Hemp Extract delivers a wide spectrum of mind-body health benefits and works naturally to lessen pain-causing inflammation as it targets the body’s cannabinoid receptors to actively suppress pain, according to company officials. Available in soft gel caps, mint chewing gum, dissolvable strips, liquid drops, oral spray and topical cream, Elevate’s full-spectrum hemp extract is manufactured to pharma standards in a current Good Manufacturing Practices FDA-registered facility. Telford, Pa.-based Elevate Hemp tests the products to ensure hemp extract potency and for the absence of foreign ingredients and microbial contamination.
Functional Remedies offers full-spectrum hemp oil produced with a proprietary, whole-plant lipid infusion process to get phytonutrients out of the plant in a way that preserves nature’s intended balance of phyto cannabinoids and other compounds. “Everyone seems to know the one term, CBD, which is one molecule among many,” said Tony Tomassini, chief marketing officer at the Superior, Colo.-based company. “Through lipid infusion, what you end up with is a true full-spectrum hemp oil that contains the natural balance of phytocannabinoids, terpenes, polyphenols, flavonoids and other beneficial phytonutrients capable of delivering the entourage effect.” The entourage effect refers to the magnified effect of the individual ingredients because they are all present, a variation of the idea that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
Another factor that differentiates Functional Remedies is that it is a vertically integrated hemp oil company. The company does not contract with third parties, so it maintains the custody of raw materials, which helps maintain consistency and quality control. Functional Remedies even owns its own hemp farm in Colorado. “Colorado is still the only state that has all of its regulatory requirements in place for hemp,” Tomassini said.
Global Cannabinoids said it is the largest manufacturer of private-label CBD products. “We manufacture for some of the biggest brands in the country,” said Ryan Lewis, founder of the Las Vegas-based company. The company makes topicals, balms, creams and other products.
The largest segment is pain, followed by sleep. “Cannabinoids really help people with their sleep,” he said. “They really bring your body into balance.”
One of the things that sets Global Cannabinoids apart, Lewis said, is the company does not own the hemp farms. The company gets its supply from farms in Oregon and Colorado, and sends products for third-party analysis, which guarantees potencies and confirms the absence of heavy metals and pesticides.
Green Roads is a veteran in the CBD field and leads with education first, a key differentiator in the CBD industry. Its experience is widely recognized throughout the industry, and the company recently won the 2018 CBD Product of the Year award from the Cannabis Business Awards. The Deerfield Beach, Fla.-based company has a licensed pharmacist who compounds creams, salves, oils and edible products that are specially formulated with soothing botanicals and natural plant-based ingredients, including precise combinations of the cannabinoid. The products are multistage third-party lab tested, and the packaging has QR codes linked to lab results.
Green Roads said its in-demand future products include the new Green Roads Muscle & Joint Heat Relief, launching this month. Green Roads Muscle & Joint Heat Relief is specially formulated to penetrate sore muscles and work quickly. An easy-to-use roll-on, this proprietary blend combines the Green Roads patented CBD formulation with menthol, capsicum, vitamin E and natural botanicals to deliver targeted relief when users need it most.
The slogan for Harmony Hemp is: “Treat your system, not your symptom.” The Salt Lake City-based company offers several products, including the NeuroComfort line. NeuroComfort Neuropathy Support Water Miscible Hemp Extract is designed to help regulate and aid the endocannabinoid system to help treat the source of nerve pain. NeuroComfort Nerve Health with Hemp Seed Oil is specially formulated based on extensive research focused on rebuilding nerves and relieving pain associated with neuropathy.
Harmony Hemp also makes such supplements as Brilliant Mind Brain Support capsules designed to enhance cognitive function with water miscible hemp extract. Its Flexible Joint Support is meant to enhance the body’s natural lubrication and prevent joint deterioration, while aiding in everyday aches and pains. In personal care, Harmony Hemp Hydration with Essential Oils uses essential oils and organic moisturizers to naturally relieve itchy, dry skin, and HempBath Bombs are packed with premium hemp seed oil and other natural essential oils combined with organic shea butter and organic cocoa butter.
To make it easier to deliver a dose of CBD, Holistik Wellness makes beverage stir sticks containing water-soluble full-spectrum hemp extract. The stirrers also contain other natural active ingredients. The products include Holistik pain with white turmeric, Holistik sleep with melatonin and chamomile, Holistik beauty with collagen, and Holistik recover with white turmeric and ginger. “Holistik Wellness is a brand committed to simplifying the cannabis landscape, delivering products that are easy to understand and can fit into the day of new and experienced users alike,” said co-founder and CEO TJ Stouder, who is moving the company to Denver.
Leading Edge Pharms
Leading Edge Pharms is a biotechnology company focused on the research, development and commercialization of novel cannabinoid therapies and innovative delivery platforms. The company’s Cannavera product line features its first commercial product, Silvidiol, a proprietary compound formulated with THC-free broad spectrum organic CO2 hemp extract and Emerald Aloe Vera. Cannavera topical oil, crème, ointment and liquid products are natural, nonsystemic, free of THC and marketed as a step-wise approach to pain management therapy in the opioid-alternative category.
What differentiates Henderson, Nev.-based Leading Edge Pharms from other companies is the years of research, according to CEO David Chadwick. “If you’re going to reference pain relief and make specific medical type claims, you have to have research to back it up,” he said. “You have a company like ours that spends four years of formulating and doing studies, and then you have folks who get into the business almost overnight.”
Manufacturers that need help getting hemp-based products in retail look to MarketHub, which calls itself the hemp retail category leader. The Denver-based company offers legal, category management, distribution and merchandising expertise. “Brands have to get to a position where they are ready for primetime, ready for retail and everything it takes to do that,” said Blake Patterson, president and CEO. “A lot of these guys were selling the products at fairs.”
MarketHub’s Hemp Health Zones, custom merchandising displays that showcase vetted products, helps businesses make the move from fairs to drug stores. The vetting process means the brands meet certain standards related to corporate structure, sourcing, manufacturing, labeling and other factors.
New Leaf Pharmaceuticals
New Leaf Pharmaceuticals has been manufacturing nasal sprays for 20 years. The Newtown, Conn.-based company recently announced the launch of Rhinodol nasal spray, delivering the CBD using a transmucosal technique to ensure the highest bioavailability possible. Bioavailability refers to the amount of a drug that is absorbed and available for use in the body compared with the amount of drug delivered or administered. Bioavailability varies depending on the route of administration. CBD is a fat-soluble substance and has poor bioavailability when administered orally through the stomach and gut. The company said the most optimal route of CBD administration has proven to be transmucosal or intranasal, with between 48% and 62% being absorbed and available for use in the body.
“We have products that are very effective and have good bioavailability at a price point the consumer feels they can reach,” said Paul Carpenter, partner and founding member of New Leaf Pharmaceuticals. “If they are trying a $10 or $15 product that you swallow and the absorption rate is 8% to 12%, it’s not going to be effective, and you lose them forever.”
While CBD is a hero ingredient, other ingredients also contribute to a healthy endocannabinoid system. For example, black pepper fruit and clove oil contain terpenes, so the oil is an important ingredient in HempFusion Digestive, HempFusion Hemp Extract, HempFusion Sleep and HempFusion Stress. New from HempFusion is hemp extract liquid with black seed oil. “It’s a very effective oil, loaded full of omega acids,” said Jason Mitchell, president of MetaCan, the Roswell, Ga.-based company that makes HempFusion products. “Even for the oils used as a contributing carrier oil, we want to make sure we don’t add chemicals. We try to make things as natural as possible. Every ingredient we use plays a role.”
Mitchell said the research suggests that if the body is deficient in omega-3 oils, the endocannabinoid system may not be functioning. New products include Twist, which is available in peach mango and key lime and orange sherbet and orange citrus flavors. The user simply mixes a spoonful in water. It’s completely soluble, so it makes taking these products a pleasure, Mitchell said.
Mile High Labs
Mile High Labs is an industrial-scale cannabinoid extractor that produces a considerable amount of the CBD full spectrum, distillate and isolate available on the market today. The company operates the only end-to-end Good Manufacturing Practice-certified extraction facility in North America, and said the industry’s most recognizable and successful brands rely on Mile High Labs’ CBD as their main active ingredient. Based in Boulder, Colo., the flagship extraction facility is in Loveland, Colo.
The category is getting much attention, CEO Jason Roth said, so consumers want to try CBD products. Retailers can succeed in this booming category by merchandising the products in the store. “Detailed packaging, educational endcaps and engaging shelf talkers help to close a sale by building consumer trust and brand loyalty,” he said.
Castle Rock, Colo.-based Prana Principle has been in the supplement industry for 24 years, and has a dedicated legal team that can answer questions regarding the legality of CBD. Prana Principle, a brand of APAX Brands, packages and presents products in a way that allows it to be shipped to all 50 states. Prana’s Full Spectrum Phytocannabinoid-Rich Hemp Oil Extract Soft Gels and Full Spectrum Phytocannabinoid-Rich Hemp Oil Extract Tinctures contain nonpsychoactive phytocannabinoids and such compounds as CBD, cannabigerol, cannabinol and cannabichromene with a range of naturally preserved terpenes.
The products are monitored through third-party labs regularly to ensure they remain at 0% THCcontent. “The last thing retailers need is you send hot product that is high in THC, and a consumer tests positive,” said CEO Sebastien Hebbelinck. New from Prana Principle are products for pain with CBD and curcumin, which has inflammatory effects, and CBD and melatonin for sleep.
Uleva Products offers full-spectrum hemp extract herbal supplements rich in phytocannabinoids to help support the body’s endocannabinoid system. Each of Uleva’s six formulas has been combined with specific herbal ingredients to provide hemp-based support for a healthier lifestyle. The six formulas are Digest with ginger, Flex with glucosamine and chondroitin, Fuel with green tea, Relax with Ashwagandha, Relieve with turmeric, and Sleep with melatonin. Contract Pharmacal manufactures Uleva in Hauppauge, N.Y.
ZuRI CBD Supply
ZuRI offers more than 70 SKUs of CBD products, including wellness drops, topicals and pet items. The CBD Isolate is double tested to ensure zero THC content, and the company uses organic, non-GMO ingredients in its formulas. Retailers in all channels, from drug chains to shoe stores, are asking for the products, said president Scott Raybuck,. “Everyone that was sitting on sidelines with the legality issue is getting into the CBD market,” he said. “We have a rep that brought on 22 drug stores in one month.”
The Cleveland-based company offers training for retailers so they can answer consumer questions about the products and about the CBD category overall. ZuRI CBD is planning several product launches, including cosmetics, supplements and sports recovery. “Sports organizations are taking CBD off the banned substance list,” Raybuck said. “People are living longer, their bodies are wearing, and they don’t want to live with that pain or anxiety.”
This story is part of a Drug Store News Special Report on the CBD Category. To see the full report, click here.
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