CV Sciences, which is based in San Diego, CA, was one of the first companies in the CBD trade and has had versions of its signature product, PlusCBD Oil, on the market for a number of years. The company has prospered along with the opening of new markets for hemp/CBD products, but has struggled since the beginning of the pandemic. CV Sciences posted significant losses in its past two financial quarters.
Difficulties of CBD market
Duffy MacKay, ND, CV Sciences’ senior vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs, said the company believes in the benefits of CBD and full spectrum hemp products and is committed to bringing those benefits to consumers. But that doesn’t mean it has been a smooth road.
“Marketing CBD is not easy,” McKay told NutraIngredients-USA. “There are so many restrictions based on different state laws. For that reason it’s one of the hardest ingredients to work with.”
“For example, Texas just released a registration process that requires one of our staff to go through a full FBI background check. And retailers there now have to go through a similar registration process so we’re having to help them through that. And Louisiana . . . it’s just way off base in the way it tries to regulate the category,” he added.
MacKay said the realization has been there for a while that the company needed to expand its offerings. In that way, he said, CV Sciences could use some of the processes and expertise gained in building up the CBD products line and put them toward new uses without having to reinvent the supplement wheel.
Spreading the company’s wings in immune health
“We had long been kicking around the idea that we needed to diversify our product portfolio beyond CBD. We have probably more than 100 years’ worth of dietary supplement experience on the staff. And being the leader in the CBD space meant we had a lot of people come to use pitching collaborations,” McKay said.
“The first idea was let’s catch the immune train,” MacKay said. “There was a lot of pressure to put out a CBD immune health product, but when I looked at it, I just didn’t think the science was there.”
Instead, CV Sciences went in a different direction with its immune health line. The company first launched CV Acute in August followed by the more recent launch of CV Defense, which features PEA (palmitoylethanolamide) as its principal active ingredient.
Discovered in 1993, PEA is known to regulate certain immune cells in parallel with the endocannabinoid system. Some companies have looked to the molecule as one of the ways to affect this system in the body without having to open the regulatory Pandora’s box of using an actual cannabinoid ingredient.
CV Defense also includes vitamins A and D, selenium, zinc and a beta glucan ingredient, all of which are designed to support immune health. For PEA, the company claims that six clinical trials including more than 3,000 subjects have demonstrated it has clear immune health benefits.
“We evaluated hundreds of ingredients that would bring the strongest reinforcements to immune defense and make the most meaningful impact on health and wellness,” said CEO Joseph Dowling. “CV Defense is a unique formulation that is proven to provide daily immune support, which is critically important as we head into 2020/2021 flu season.”
“Our launch of CV Defense represents another key milestone in our strategic category expansion and continued evolution of CV Sciences’ positioning as a leading health and wellness company,” he added.