Called Endo Omega, the product, which is sold as a dietary supplement, carries the claim “supports healthy production of endocannabinoids.”
Endocannabinoid system targeting without CBD
The company, whose parent firm Emerald Health Sciences has a position in the Canadian regulated cannabis markets, previously dipped its toe into the endocannabinoid system waters with a supplement featuring plant bioactives known to affect this pathway.
This product is another path to the same target, said CEO Jade Beutler.
“It is such a quickly evolving category,” Beutler said. “There was the discovery of the system itself and then the discovery that we make our own endocannabinoids.”
“Now the story is coming back full circle with the discovery that omega-3s affect this system,” he said.
The new product also includes omega-6 sources. Beutler, who has history in the development of lipid ingredients via a long stint at the helm of Barlean's Natural Oils, said the importance of these fat sources is coming back to the fore after a long period of demonization.
“We know that omega-3s are beneficial; we now know that omega-6s are too. It’s just that we get too much of them,” he said.
“These compounds are creating endocannabinoid precursors, the building blocks of endocannabinoids. So you support the production of endocannabinoids in the body such as anadimine or 2-AG (2-Arachidonoylglycerol),” Beutler said.
The line also includes a vegetarian form of the product, using a DHA algal oil. Beutler said at the moment it has been difficult to find a reliable supply of algal forms of EPA.
New indications for omega-3s
Beutler said the omega-3s—endocannabinoid system link could serve to provide a growth spurt in an otherwise fairly quiescent category. More research continues to accrue, such as a 2018 study in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience that looked at “[H]ow diets based in PUFAs might be linked to ECS and to the maintenance of central and peripheral metabolism, brain plasticity, memory and learning, blood flow, and genesis of neural cells.”
“There hasn’t been much new in the omega-3 category in a while,” Beutler said.
“It remains to be seen to what degree this will support new sales, but based on the companies I’ve spoken to there is an understanding that this will be something that will be important in the future,” he said.