Jade Beutler, CEO of Emerald Health Bioceuticals, said the expertise of parent company Emerald Health Sciences in the Canadian cannabis trade led to his division’s line of supplements that comply with US regulations.
Cannabis expertise formed backbone
“Our parent company sells and distributes medical marijuana and recreational products in Canada,” Beutler told NutraIngredients-USA.
“We are steeped in this. The endocannabinoid system is something we know a lot about and have a lot of interest in. We also have a pharmaceutical company, which is not a sham operation,” he said.
“We have something like 15 cannabis related businesses. We have as much as 2 million square feet under grow indoors, and more in open fields,” Beutler said.
Beutler said the leaders of the parent company had approached him to consult on ways to use Emerald’s acquired expertise in the US market, perhaps with a line of CBD supplements. Beutler has a long history in the nutritional and therapeutic product industries, which included a stint as CEO of Barleans Oils.
Beutler said his response was unequivocal.
“I told them [CBD is] not legal in the US and I didn’t think it was going to be legal anytime soon,” he said. “I decided it was not a risk I wanted to take personally.”
In researching the product development opportunities in the US, Beutler said he had access to Emerald’s scientific advisory board, which he said includes some of the world’s leading experts on cannabinoids and their actions in the body. Those include Giovanni Appendino, PhD, of the Università del Piemonte Orientale in Novara, Italy. Appendino has more than 20 papers published on the endocannabinoid system.
Other candidates besides CBD
“Giovanni told me there are other compounds in nature that act in the very same way on the endocannabinoid system as do cannabinoids from cannabis,” Beutler said.
That sparked a search for compounds that could be marketed in a DSHEA compliant manner for similar endpoints of endocannabinoid system health, which could include reduced inflammation and better management of pain, Beutler said.
“The scientific advisory board conducted a meta analysis that originally included more than 4,000 papers. Out of that we identified six herbal constituents that affect the endocannabinoid system,” Beutler said.
The six botanicals identified in that effort were ginger root, white peony root extract (Paeonia lactiflora), clove flower bud oil, Sichuan pepper (Zanthoxylum simulans), Echinacea augustifolia extract and Magnolia bark extract.
Condition specific line
Emerald Health now has a line of five dietary supplements built on these principles that will launch at Whole Foods Markets any day now, he said. They have already been for sale online.
The products are built around condition specific principles, Beutler said. In addition to the endocannabinoid system-affecting backbone, branded as PhytoCann Complex, each also contains ingredients targeted at the specific condition. For example, the Endo Sleep product contains Passion Flower extract, GABA and melatonin. The Endo Inflame supplement includes boswellia and curcumin. Other products are aimed at mood support, anxiety suppression and general brain health.
Beutler said the goal was to create a targeted complex common to all the products that would have a scientific underpinning, and would have consistency lot to lot.
“There wasn’t anybody in the world isolating the things that we were after. Our plan was to isolate those active constituents and put them into a formula that had a broad effect on the endocannabinoid system,” he said.
Beutler said it was an arduous process to sell the idea to mainstream distributors, such as UNFI, and ultimately to Whole Foods. When the regulatory teams at those businesses heard the term “endocannabinoid system” their minds immediately went to CBD and all of its problems, Beutler said. But once they understood the concept, they were on board, he said.
“Our biggest point of differentiation is that we are completely DSHEA compliant,” Beutler said.