The CEO of a CBD company, Leslie Buttorff, has just donated $1.5 million to her alma mater, Colorado State University, for cannabis research. The college plans to open an entire cannabinoid research center with that grant, where scientists will study the compounds in hemp and test products created by Buttorff's own company, Panacea Life Sciences. Buttorff has a Bachelors of Science in Statistics from Colorado State. The money she donated there will go toward research, operating expenses, and the creation of the center in the College of Natural Sciences.

Continue Reading Below

The potential for CBD research

Panacea claims there are over 100 different types of cannabinoids that have already been identified. Colorado State says its aim is to develop different profiles amongst cannabinoids and terpenes, with the goal of treating ailments more efficiently and effectively. Already, Colorado State has developed a Cannabis and Hemp Research department, which says its research potential knows no bounds or limitations, even when it comes to the consumption of products by animals or humans. The only restriction is that the products being tested must be classified as hemp or CBD under the FDA's restrictions of the material having less than 0.3 percent THC concentration. CSU's Cannabis and Hemp Research webpage directs visitors to a lengthy statement from the Food and Drug Administration, which says in part,

“We’re aware of the growing public interest in cannabis and cannabis-derived products, including cannabidiol (CBD). This increasing public interest in these products makes it even more important with the passage of this law for the FDA to clarify its regulatory authority over these products. In short, we treat products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds as we do any other FDA-regulated products — meaning they’re subject to the same authorities and requirements as FDA-regulated products containing any other substance.”

The FDA continues,

Continue Reading Below
“Given the substantial public interest in this topic and the clear interest of Congress in fostering the development of appropriate hemp products, we intend to hold a public meeting in the near future for stakeholders to share their experiences and challenges with these products, including information and views related to the safety of such products.”

Panacea carves out a place in the CBD market

Panacea's website says its goal is to one day be viewed not only as a CBD company, but as the leading cannabinoid company in the United States. The company is based in Golden, Colorado, only an hour and a half from Fort Collins, where CSU is located. The company's industrial hemp is also grown primarily in Colorado. It offers tinctures, tablets, topicals, edibles and softgels for humans, but also has products for dogs and horses. Those products, as CSU has stated, are all things that can be studied not only under a microscope, but through human consumption of the different items. Panacea says the U.S. CBD market is projected to become a $24 billion industry by 2023, and the number of CBD users is expected to double consistently over the next 10 years. That market is extremely diverse, with footholds in the supplements most of us typically think of, as well as a burgeoning makeup and skincare industry, on top of new products being developed for sports medicine and even some for pets. Thus, the investment in the University also benefits Panacea itself – the more research is done on these chemicals, the more products scientists with the company can develop.

Who is Leslie Buttorff?

Buttorff was honored in 2019 with the Ivy Women in Business Award for the work she's done throughout her life. That award, Panacea says, honors “women in business and those who work to inspire and advance the careers of women.” Buttorff specifically won the Champion Award. The accolade is handed out by Iowa State University, where Buttorff got her Masters Degree in Finance and Industrial Engineering. Buttorff is also the Chairwoman of the Board for the Active Youth Network, a company that aims to develop good character in children while keeping them active through participation in sports and other extracurriculars. Since 2012, the service has been connecting schools and youth clubs with their participants through websites for sports programs, hoping to improve communication between those programs and the families of the children involved. As Chairwoman, Buttorff provides “overall strategy and guidance” to the Active Youth Network. Buttorff was also the founder and CEO of an IT service management company called Quintel Management Consulting, Inc. With a group of consultants with experience in economy, finance, IT, and SAP, the company claims, “Quintel implements SAP solutions that empower public sector, utilities, and schools to maximize efficiency and performance.” She stepped down from her role as CEO when she began focusing on Panacea Life Sciences in 2017.