CV Sciences says more scrutiny of CBD firms will make them stand out as above board player

By Hank Schultz

- Last updated on GMT

© Getty Images / Dmitry_Tishchenko
© Getty Images / Dmitry_Tishchenko
Stuart Tomc, vice president of human nutrition for CBD purveyor CV Sciences, said his company welcomes increased scrutiny of the controversial ingredient category.

“We hope the more scrutiny there is in this category, the better we will look,”​ Tomc told NutraIngredients-USA.

CS Sciences, based in San Diego, CA, is one of the older players in the still nascent category of cannabidiol-containing nutritional products. It was formerly known as CannaVest and now includes a pharmaceutical division. The company bills itself as the top selling brand of CBD oil products.

Line of supplements including gummies

The company, through its consumer facing arm​, sells a variety of products marketed as dietary supplements. These include softgel encapsulated products in two concentrations, one delivering 10 mg of CBD per serving with another delivery 15 mg. And the company has oil products in dropper bottles (at the moment the most common delivery mode in the category), as well as hardshell capsules and an oral spray. 

The company also debuted a new category at the recent SupplySide West trade show in Las Vegas, NV when it debuted a new line of CBD containing gummies.

Mindful of the regulatory impediments of the ingredient category, Tomc said the company is staying away from any marketing messaging characterizing the new products as ‘fun,’ on the idea that that could make it look as if these confection-like products might be aimed at children.

Seed to shelf traceability

Unlike some marketers of CBD products, CV Sciences is forthright about how much CBD is delivered in each serving, which varies depending on delivery mode. The dosages range from 15 mg on the high end down to 2 mg for one of the liquid products.

Another thing that Tomc said sets CV Sciences apart is its transparency about its supply chain. The company sources its hemp from strains that are genetically distinct from the strains of Cannabis sativa​ that end up in the medical marijuana or recreational cannabis trades.

“We have full traceability from seed to shelf. We use certified agricultural strains meant for food and fiber. There is a SNP difference between agricultural food and fiber strains and the drug varieties of hemp,”​ he said.

Being up front about where CBD comes from

Tomc said this allows CV Sciences to not beat about the bush when it comes to where its CBD comes from. It’s a commonly known fact but one rarely discussed by CBD purveyors that the molecule is concentrated in the parts of the plant that are specified in the cannabis schedule one listing maintained by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

CV Sciences argues that sourcing from a strain already certified and genetically coded to have compliantly low amounts of THC (the narcotic fraction of the plant) allows it to be up front about its sourcing. Therefore, the product labels say: “Hemp Oil (Aerial Plant Parts).”

Tomc said this transparency helps set CV Sciences apart. An Internet search on the differences between hemp seed oil and ‘CBD oil’ will bring up a wealth of conflicting and confusing information. Tomc said his company’s goal is to set the matter straight.

GRAS self affirmation

Tomc said his company is committed enough to an above board strategy to invest in what appears to be the first GRAS self affirmation for a CBD material. The regulatory landscape for CBD is littered with pitfalls, and Tomc said his company believes this ground-breaking action will help smooth some of those over.

“GRAS self-affirmation conducted independently of the FDA allows CVSciences to use our hemp ingredient not listed in the CFR. We have established foundational safety data and intend to expand our GRAS dossier,” ​he said.

“Establishing that our hemp extract is recognized as GRAS allows CVSciences to commercialize this exciting novel ingredient. Our work represents a historically significant milestone and a remarkable development after decades of hemp prohibition and misunderstanding. The hemp tide has turned. We actually changed the landscape, we changed people’s minds,”  ​Tomc concluded.

FDA, when contacted by NutraIngredients-USA about the CV Sciences GRAS self affirmation, responded with this statement:

We are aware of the statement made by CV Sciences. CV Sciences has not submitted to the FDA any information for review concerning their statement. Therefore, we cannot offer any comment on their conclusion. The FDA has not considered the GRAS status of cannabidiol (CBD), in part because of the agency’s view that adding CBD to food in interstate commerce is unlawful under Section 301(ll) of the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. A discussion of this view can be found here​.”

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