Bringing CBD to the Mainstream
Many people know of THC, the chemical compound in marijuana that has psychoactive properties, but another ingredient, cannabidiol (CBD), is gaining attention for its potential use in health…
CV Sciences, formerly known as CannaVest, is in the business of developing, producing, marketing and selling raw oil and end-consumer PlusCBD Oil products containing hemp-based components with an emphasis on CBD. We spoke with Sarah Syed, director of marketing, and Stuart Tomc, vice president of human nutrition, about the company and their ever-growing product portfolio.
CV Sciences is one of the first companies to grow, extract, import and produce phytocannabinoid-rich hemp-derived extracts. Relationships were developed with cultivators in Europe where hemp has been grown for years for food and fibers.
“What we were able to do was to contract with these farmers to grow [cannabidiol] – low THC hemp – with the express intent of turning it into another botanical extract. We realized that, although there was a tremendous amount of interest in phytocannabinoids, the market did not really exist.”
Our bodies have an endogenous cannabinoid system, called the Endocannabinoid System (ECS) made of cannabinoid receptors in the brain and throughout the central and peripheral nervous systems. The ECS is responsible for the maintenance of metabolic equilibrium. Science has linked the ECS to complex processes from anxiety and appetite to pain, immunity, memory and mood. If you are suffering from anxiety, immune system issues, seizures, Alzheimer’s, Huntington’s disease, multiple sclerosis, pain, nausea and vomiting, arthritis or even cancer, the endocannabinoid system is intimately involved. It is important to note that CBD’s mechanism of action may have more to do with how it supports the ECS, a system designed to help us when the body is in a state of imbalance.
The ECS was only discovered in the early nineties. “If you were in medical school today, you may not even be taught about it. That is why we go to doctors’ conferences and speak with practitioners that are open to alternative therapies, because many of them still don’t know about the endocannabinoid system.”
CV Sciences’ top selling CBD product is PlusCBD Oil Spray. The best seller comes in a one-ounce spray containing one hundred milligrams of CBD. Two pumps of the spray deliver one milligram of CBD, and that is where most people begin. For many, that is all that is needed and at less than twenty dollars per one hundred milligrams, this is a very cost effective herbal dietary supplement.
CV Sciences sells their PlusCBD Oil products (sprays, capsules, concentrated oils) in varying concentrations of CBD. Concentrated oils offer the most broad-spectrum approach, because they have a higher concentration of CBD in addition to chlorophyll, fatty acids, terpenes, plant sterols, and naturally-occurring Vitamin E.
Although preliminary studies suggest that CBD is safe at high doses, “there is not enough medical research to determine the amounts needed, so it’s better to start people on a lower level with a spray, and they have seen benefits from that. It really depends on how your body feels when you take the product based on what your needs are. We simply want to make sure that you talk to your health care provider. Don’t start a regimen of dietary supplements without letting your primary care physician know.”
CV Sciences made the decision to control the supply chain from seed to shelf when creating their branded product line, PlusCBD Oil. The company ensures the tracking, testing, and monitoring of materials within the security of a controlled supply chain process.
Another priority for CV Sciences through their PlusCBD oil brand is to bring the ingredient into the mainstream. In order to ensure they were bringing the ingredient to the market in a responsible way, the company invested significant dollars to subject their CBD hemp extract to a comprehensive toxicological safety review and assessment. The desired result is to have the first ever self-affirmed generally recognized as safe (GRAS) CBD rich hemp extract to be sold as a dietary supplement. The product was subjected to an exhaustive oral toxicity study to demonstrate the validity of the product as a food by exceeding the reasonable expectation of no harm.
The research into phytocannabinoids is quite new and, although some of the CV Sciences team come from a background in the dietary supplement and natural products industries, expert scientific help is crucial. “We have a scientific advisory board with a multi-disciplinary group of experts that are using CBD in their practices. We educate through our articles, webinars, tradeshows, and in-field events.”
Many people are confused about the sources of CBD, believing it to be structurally different when extracted from marijuana versus agricultural hemp. Although both are generally considered Cannabis sativa, agricultural hemp by definition has low to no THC. As the world learns about phytocannabinoids and agricultural hemp, the fact that CBD is non-psychotoxic and readily available may ultimately make these extracts more popular than medical marijuana.
As clinicians use hemp-derived CBD in their practices, more evidence is being published about the potential effects of CBD. Dr. Joseph Maroon, a board-certified neurosurgeon, has written extensively about dietary supplements. His article, ‘Nutritional & Medical Applications for Cannabidiol: Hemp Health Benefits Without THC’, states: “We believe, at this time, that hemp-based CBD is a novel supplement that, with further study, could indeed have a profound effect on improving human health.”
Dr. Nora Volkow, the Director of NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) wrote in the Huffington Post, “CBD appears to be a safe drug with no addictive effect, and the preliminary data suggests that that it may have therapeutic value for a number of medical conditions.”
The Drug Enforcement Agency was, rightly so, concerned for many people in the medical cannabis community. Now the Food and Drug Administration and other regulatory agencies are going to affect cannabis and phytocannabinoid products. Growth has the potential to be stifled overnight based on the changing or interpretation of the laws.
“We see this being a very consistent evolution as the medical evidence suggests the potential benefit for phytocannabinoids. I anticipate that the FDA will have a much bigger voice because phytocannabinoids including CBD will be regulated either as dietary supplements or pharmaceutical drugs.”
In March of 2015, eleven CBD companies were sent warning letters by the FDA due to marketing products with incorrect label claims. CV Sciences did not receive a warning letter, and continues to enhance its QA/QC methods to exceed industry standards. “While we are leading the way, we insist that each company entering the CBD category should work with regulatory bodies and the regulations to ensure that we are all able to sustain and stay in this market.”
Apart from its health advantages, agricultural hemp also is a very eco-friendly crop. Grown outdoors, hemp requires much less water than medical cannabis or other crops, like cotton. It is sun-powered, requiring no artificial lights, fungicides, pesticides or fertilizers. It also leaves the soil in better condition than when it was planted. “Ultimately, [it is important to] educat[e] people that hemp can save the earth and products made from total plant CO2-extracts are among the most nutrient-dense offerings we have ever seen.”
While CV Sciences has been a part of the cannabis world in previous years, they are placing greater emphasis on the health and wellness industry for the long-term. As part of the natural products industry, PlusCBD Oil is currently sold in approximately four hundred fifty health food stores, and the number is growing rapidly. It is also available in two hundred and fifty medical practitioner’s offices.
“Our PlusCBD Oil products are now available from small towns across America to nearly every bustling metropolitan city in the nation.”
CV Sciences has accomplished something truly disruptive: reaching nationwide success and taking the first major steps to mainstreaming the most controversial plant in history of the world.