National chain retailers are finally beginning to cash in on cannabis; Walgreens and CVS recently announced that they will be selling cannabidiol (CBD) in stores around the country. Veritas Farms CBD products are now available in CVS stores nationwide, and “the nation’s oldest family-owned drugstore chain,” Bartell Drugs, will soon be carrying Veritas Farms’ full spectrum CBD oil in 49 locations across the state of Washington.
Recent research has demonstrated that CBD oil extracted from hemp has a wide range of medical benefits, including for the treatment of anxiety, chronic pain, irritable bowel disease, neurological disorders such as epilepsy, and movement disorders like Parkinson’s disease. The efficacy of CBD is no longer debatable; the World Health Organization (WHO) recently recommended that CBD be rescheduled. In a recent report, the WHO stated that “CBD has been demonstrated as an effective treatment of epilepsy…[and] may be a useful treatment for a number of other medical conditions.”
Last week, we spoke with Veritas Farms Vice President of Business Development, Derek Thomas, about the new partnership with CVS, the continued rapid growth of the hemp industry, and the benefits of full spectrum CBD oil. In his role at Veritas Farms, Derek Thomas wears many different hats; he oversees sales and marketing initiatives for the company, with a special focus on new product development and strategic partnerships. Headquartered out of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Veritas Farms prides itself on being vertically integrated, with onsite quality testing performed for each and every batch of hemp produced. The entire CBD production process happens all in one place: on the farm, in Pueblo, Colorado.
Patients across the country are eager for access to quality CBD products; Veritas Farms is one of many companies competing to bring their high-quality hemp-based CBD to the forefront of the industry. According to the Veritas Farms website, full spectrum hemp oil is “more than just CBDTM,” containing a diverse set of cannabinoids found naturally occurring in the hemp plant, such as cannabichromene (CBC), cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN), flavonoids, and terpenes, each of which are thought to have their own medical benefit.
The 2018 Farm Bill
Hemp-based CBD contains less than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component in marijuana. Unlike cannabis, hemp is now legal in all 50 states. In December of last year, Congress passed H.R.2. Titled the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, the bill effectively removed hemp from its previous classification as a Schedule I drug. According to the federal government, Schedule I drugs have no recognized medical benefit.
The change in federal classification was a huge win for the hemp industry. With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, H.R.2, CBD went from being under the jurisdiction of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), to being placed placed under that of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). As part of this process, Veritas Farms has emerged as a “standard bearer for the rest of the industry, at least until federal guidelines and state guidelines [can] come into play. But that was really the goal – to build a company that would help bring the right type of products and knowledge to the industry, and of course, dominate a considerable part of the market share. And that’s really what our farm-to-table model has allowed us to do.”
Not All CBD Is Equal
The CBD market is in the midst of a period of rapid growth and is expected to be worth as much as $22 billion by 2022. Following the successful passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, more companies are now poised to enter the CBD industry than ever before. Not all CBD is equal, however, and Veritas Farms remains an industry leader, paving the way for those intent on producing medical quality full spectrum hemp oil.
“We don’t just grow hemp, we don’t just manufacture products, we don’t just extract, we do it all. And we do it all right on the same farm.” From growing the hemp, to extracting the CBD, to independent 3rd party testing of each batch for safety, each step is carefully monitored to ensure that customers receive a quality product in the end. “No one can be as quick and nimble and transparent as we can…our model allows us that level of detail and transparency for each product, and that is correlated to a lot number, that is correlated to the batch, that we are able to trace back literally to the individual clone itself.”
“One of the biggest challenges right now,” says Thomas, “is a lack of quality supply, and then additionally, a lack of transparency around quality, and around ingredients, and around compounds in the products…there has been an explosive growth in demand, [and] there are probably close to 2000 CBD companies operating in the United States,” the majority of which likely don’t own their own farms, like Veritas Farms does. These days, quality and transparency are pretty important to consumers, and companies that don’t produce their own products are more likely to rely on multiple sources, making the process of ensuring product consistency much more difficult for wholesalers. According to Thomas, “While there are some really quality hemp oil suppliers, there are a lot out there who are providing definitely questionable quality oil and isolate.”
If you’re ever near Pueblo, Colorado, Thomas highly recommends taking a tour of Veritas Farms. The 140-acre property, once “raw cattle land,” is now home to Veritas Farms large scale hemp farm and production facility. Located just a 20 minute drive outside of Pueblo, Thomas describes the experience of visiting the farm, saying, “[You] feel like you’re in the country…you have the big red barns, and the greenhouses, and then beyond that you’re looking at the Rocky Mountains, which are a couple miles in the distance.” Tours of the hemp farm are open to the public, and “when you go…on a tour, you start with our little baby clones, and you go through the entire process…You start with the little baby clones, and by the time you finish the tour, you’re holding the product that the little baby clones made…It’s completely vertically integrated on our farm. It’s such an educational, immersive experience, there’s nothing else like it.”