David Barnes, PhD, global head of R&D for KD Pharma, the parent company, said the plan is to capitalize on how the action of the two seemingly disparate ingredients—one coming primarily from fish with other sourced from industrial hemp—is similar in the body. Another plus is the high degree of interest from formulators and marketers for hemp ingredients.
Two ingredients affecting one system
Omega-3s have been known to be converted into cannabinoids in the body. Recent research done on animal cell lines at the University of Illinois Champagne has elucidated the cascade of reactions that makes this happen. Other recent research has shed light on how the endocannabinoid system potentially affects obesity, plays a role in brain health along with many other indications.
“In this product we are particularly interested in the complementarity of the ingredients. These ingredients overlap in a lot of ways functionally but using a different mechanism,” Barnes told NutraIngredients-USA.
Marine Ingredients, which merged with KD Pharma last year, is a leading producer of omega-3 ingredients sourced from Alaskan and Norwegian cod as well as an omega-3 ingredient rich in glycolipids sourced from New Zealand Green Lipped Mussels. Barnes said that diversity offers a rich platform on which to overlay the full spectrum extract of industrial hemp sourced in Europe.
“We have a wide range of omega-3 products we can offer with the phytocannabinoids,” Barnes said.
Industrial hemp ingredients
Industrial hemp is defined by US law as cultivars of the Cannabis plant that have less than 0.3% THC (or tetrahydrocannabinol) content, which is the psychoactive fraction of the plant. Much recent research and product development enthusiasm has focused on CBD, or cannabidiol, a bioactive fraction that does not produce a ‘high’ but has other important health benefits, including anti spasmodic effects. English company GW Pharmaceuticals is well along the path of bringing two drugs to market in the United States based on CBD, which is why the Food and Drug Administration has stated that it does not believe that CBD is a legal dietary ingredient for use in dietary supplements.
Barnes said his company believes that using the term ‘phytocannabinoids,’ by which the company means using a full spectrum, non concentrated extract of industrial hemp, neatly sidesteps that regulatory thicket. Hemp is approved for use as a food, and the company plans merely to use the oil fractions of that food in its supplement ingredient platform, without concentrating the CBD content, he said. Barnes said he believes the various efforts on the part of state legislatures to regulate industrial hemp production will eventually help to clarify the regulatory picture.
”The tactic we are taking is to look at the whole endocannabinoid system and what phytocannabinoids can do for that. We are not calling out any particular compound,” Barnes said.
Barnes said the new product platform will offer simple blends of the oils. Hemp oil as an ingredient is actually easier in many ways to work with than are fish oils, he said.
“The fish oil, which we’ve been working with for a long time, has a much more challenging profile in terms of stability. We will be offering this as an oil blend that could be used in a capsule. We are also exploring liquid applications,” he said.