The company is already working with brands such as Pure Encapsulations and Douglas Labs (owned by Atrium Innovations, which was acquired by Nestle in 2017 for $2.3 billion) with its hemp extracts. Geocann is now expanding its portfolio with two new CBG formulations: one is a combination of CBG and cannabidiol (CBD) while the second is a mono-CBG formulation.
Both products include beta-caryophyllene (BCP), which has been shown to have synergistic effects as agonists for the CB2, 5-HT1A and glycine receptors, said the company.
“These product launches further advance Geocann’s leadership position as product development specialists that provide science-backed solutions to the industry’s formulation challenges,” said Marc Weder, Chief Scientific Officer. “The marketplace is demanding advancements beyond just CBD products and we are supremely positioned to deliver these solutions with more than three decades of research and product development expertise.”
The cannabinoid pipeline and the GRAS/ NDI situation
This expansion into cannabinoids beyond CBD was highlighted in a recent webinar hosted by United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA) president Loren Israelsen, during which he reviewed some of the 4,500+ public comments on CBD recently submitted to the FDA.
“Here’s the big question: how deep is the cannabinoid pipeline?” asked Israelsen. “From the comments, I was surprised to see how open several of the big [pharmaceutical] companies were about the number of cannabinoids that they are researching...
“So if there’s one thing you should take away [from this webinar], it’s that the real game is not just CBD, it’s really that string of pearls. What else is in the pipeline, and will access be litigated over and over again or will there be a decision made either by FDA or possibly by Congress, that would once and for all answer this question?”
Israelsen added that the NDI Notification process (New Dietary Ingredient) appears to be the “primary path forward” and that “there is no agreement on whether GRAS should be permitted”. However, any NDI filed with the FDA today would likely be rejected because the Agency’s current thinking is that CBD is not permitted in foods and supplements as it was first investigated as a drug. Layer onto this that several states have explicitly authorized the sale of products containing hemp-derived CBD, and you have a confusing landscape for food and supplement brands.
For brands wishing to take that step and validate the safety of their ingredients and products, the self-affirmed GRAS route is seen as the only current option, and some companies, notably CV Sciences and Manitoba Harvest, have completed self-affirmed GRAS notifications for their hemp extracts.
Geocann is also following the self-affirmed GRAS route, said Jesse Lopez, CEO and founder of Geocann, and he expects that to be complete by the end of 2019. “You have to ask who are the companies spending upfront to provide this safety data,” he said. “It’s important to ensure you’re one of the unique companies to at least mitigate concerns about these hemp-based products.” Lopez added that the company is well positioned to pivot to NDI depending on the position the FDA may adopt in the coming months.
Lopez added that the company has also performed stability data on its products.
The CBG soft gel products utilize the VESIsorb delivery system developed by Swiss company Vesifact, a spin-off of the Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich. The delivery system is described as a self-assembling colloidal droplet delivery system, and is covered by multiple patents. SourceOne serves as the exclusive worldwide distribution and marketing partner for the technology.
Lopez is also the CEO and founder of SourceOne Global Partners. Chicago-based SourceOne introduced the VESIsorb technology to the US about 15 years ago, first with CoQ10, and then adapted the technology for other ingredients such as QH ubiquinol and resveratrol. (Geocann in registered in Colorado.)
Because cannabinoid absorption is low, the company started looking into the possibilities and working with its partners at Vesifact to adapt the VESIsorb technology to these new bioactives, Lopez told NutraIngredients-USA.
“The science is indisputable,” he said. “These cannabinoids are poorly absorbed.”
A recently published study in Molecules (24(16), 2967; doi: 10.3390/molecules24162967) supported the efficacy of VESIsorb to enhance absorption and bioavailability of a CBD-hemp extract, compared to the same hemp extract diluted with medium-chain triglycerides.
“[The self-emulsifying drug delivery system]-CBD based on VESIsorb formulation technology offers a novel, good, tolerable, and effective oral cannabinoid delivery system,” wrote the study’s authors. “CBD has a number of potential health benefits, however, our data demonstrated that unless the SEDDS formulation is used, there is relatively poor bioavailability of the standard CBD formulations (e.g., Hemp-Extract diluted with MCT oil) and could lead to diminished benefits (or no benefit) for this natural product.”
Lopez added that the combination of CBD, CBG, and BCP powered by VESIsorb in a soft gel is “an important industry milestone … Geocann will continue to pioneer the advancement of new cannabinoids, like CBG, CBN, and THCV, as it’s a privilege to offer these first-to-market opportunities to our brand partners.”
Commenting on the potential health benefits specific to CBG, Lopez said that the existing literature shows benefits related to immune response, but he acknowledged that the data is still limited. As the science emerges on the individual constituents within hemp, Lopez expects there to be customization of the various cannabinoids and terpenes to target health benefits.