Innovation in CBD UK and beyond

Innovation, reliability, in-depth knowledge of key growth drivers for CBD brands

At Always Pure Organics we pride ourselves on being a reliable partner for bulk supply of high-quality CBD isolate, sourced solely from Switzerland. Our products are also the highest Swiss quality, which combined with our excellent producer relationship and sales team, has allowed us to supply approximately 15% of the entire EU market for bulk cannabis products. Not content to rest on our laurels, however, we are constantly looking for both new partners, products and avenues through which to supply them.

With our headquarters in Scotland and our main base of operations located in Manchester, we are optimally placed to easily serve any location in the UK. Additionally, our proximity to Manchester Airport means we can readily supply anywhere in Europe, even if it means sending a vehicle to the depot personally rather than relying on pickup. This combination of location and dedication to delivering is what enables us to firmly cement our policy of next day delivery, something the company has prided itself on since our inception.

In addition to our successes in the EU and UK markets, we also have substantial experience supplying goods into Japan, where we have been helping drive the development of the rapidly expanding CBD industry that is flourishing there. In particular, we have recently partnered with a medical doctor who is researching the potential benefits for the treatment of Dravet’s syndrome – a rare form of epilepsy which the medicinal CBD product Epidyolex has been approved for. Even when they are for medical purposes, there are a myriad of restrictions and legalities surrounding the import of cannabis products into Japan. Our ability to deliver these sometimes controversial products consistently and successfully requires exemplary knowledge of regulations and constant communication with customs authorities. We particularly pride ourselves on the strong relations we have built with various customs organisations in Japan, Switzerland and the UK. The accrual of knowledge required to achieve this was possible only through constant learning and growth by the company.

This growth was entirely due to our extremely dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced workforce. With specialist departments dedicated to sales, customer relations, production, and research and product formulation, we are able to provide any service and to support our clients in any way they require. Our team come from a diverse array of backgrounds and provide the company with a range of skills and expertise, including pharmacy, science, international business and business management. We have the management structure and business protocols in place to accommodate continued expansion of the business, and part of this preparation involves our successful adoption of the ISO 9001 certification for quality management systems and the ISO 22716, which covers Good Manufacturing Practice in the cosmetics industry. The company’s next step in this process is to complete ISO 13485, a prerequisite for the creation of medical products. Based on our progress with prior elements, we expect to be awarded our current Good Manufacturing Practice certificates by the middle of June and then obtain full medical compliance a few months thereafter. All our standards are overseen by our in-house compliance officer and are subject to intense scrutiny by external auditors.

Innovation, reliability, in-depth knowledge of key growth drivers for CBD brands

At Always Pure Organics we pride ourselves on being a reliable partner for bulk supply of high-quality CBD isolate, sourced solely from Switzerland. Our products are also the highest Swiss quality, which combined with our excellent producer relationship and sales team, has allowed us to supply approximately 15% of the entire EU market for bulk cannabis products. Not content to rest on our laurels, however, we are constantly looking for both new partners, products and avenues through which to supply them.

With our headquarters in Scotland and our main base of operations located in Manchester, we are optimally placed to easily serve any location in the UK. Additionally, our proximity to Manchester Airport means we can readily supply anywhere in Europe, even if it means sending a vehicle to the depot personally rather than relying on pickup. This combination of location and dedication to delivering is what enables us to firmly cement our policy of next day delivery, something the company has prided itself on since our inception.

In addition to our successes in the EU and UK markets, we also have substantial experience supplying goods into Japan, where we have been helping drive the development of the rapidly expanding CBD industry that is flourishing there. In particular, we have recently partnered with a medical doctor who is researching the potential benefits for the treatment of Dravet’s syndrome – a rare form of epilepsy which the medicinal CBD product Epidyolex has been approved for. Even when they are for medical purposes, there are a myriad of restrictions and legalities surrounding the import of cannabis products into Japan. Our ability to deliver these sometimes controversial products consistently and successfully requires exemplary knowledge of regulations and constant communication with customs authorities. We particularly pride ourselves on the strong relations we have built with various customs organisations in Japan, Switzerland and the UK. The accrual of knowledge required to achieve this was possible only through constant learning and growth by the company.

This growth was entirely due to our extremely dedicated, knowledgeable and experienced workforce. With specialist departments dedicated to sales, customer relations, production, and research and product formulation, we are able to provide any service and to support our clients in any way they require. Our team come from a diverse array of backgrounds and provide the company with a range of skills and expertise, including pharmacy, science, international business and business management. We have the management structure and business protocols in place to accommodate continued expansion of the business, and part of this preparation involves our successful adoption of the ISO 9001 certification for quality management systems and the ISO 22716, which covers Good Manufacturing Practice in the cosmetics industry. The company’s next step in this process is to complete ISO 13485, a prerequisite for the creation of medical products. Based on our progress with prior elements, we expect to be awarded our current Good Manufacturing Practice certificates by the middle of June and then obtain full medical compliance a few months thereafter. All our standards are overseen by our in-house compliance officer and are subject to intense scrutiny by external auditors.

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Our CBD products

We’ve come a long way since our inception as a supplier of purely bulk CBD isolate. We have now expanded to offer a range of cannabis products, both for bulk raw material and white label requirements. In terms of bulk material, isolate remains a staple product: it is ideal for pure CBD formulations when THC content is not required, or for research and testing purposes in a pharmaceutical setting. We can also offer full or broad-spectrum CBD distillate, which is ideal for a more ‘natural’ cannabis product.

By including all the flavonoids, terpenes and minor cannabinoids that the plant produces into a solidified resin, the final products produced from it will benefit from the phenomenon referred to as the entourage effect. It is believed that the components of the cannabis plant synergise with each other to enhance their effects; a real-life example of the adage ‘the whole is greater than the sum of its parts’. Finally, we offer most of our white label products with a bulk option.

Our most popular white label products are our oral drops: this is to be expected, as oral drops make up approximately 35% of the current EU market for CBD. In addition to the standard full-spectrum and broad-spectrum options, with a choice of carrier oils, we offer an exciting range of flavoured oils. These are crafted by our in-house team of formulation chemists, working closely with the premier European terpene experts Terpescience, whose knowledge of terpenes and the aroma profiles that can be innovated using them consistently amazes us – as do the products they create with them. The flavours they produce consist purely of natural terpenes that can be found in the cannabis plant, providing the versatility that allows for flavours such as our Chocolate, Orange or Fruit Mix. Terpescience terpenes are produced from natural fruit sources, greatly increasing their flexibility and availability than if they relied on trying to extract microgram amounts from the cannabis plant.

We also offer uniquely formulated cosmetics, and have recently announced a greatly expanded range. From our two starting bases, a mobile lotion at 0.2% CBD and a firm lotion with 1.5%, we can offer everything; from muscle balm or anti-ageing cream, to hair and nail maintainer or a tattoo relief balm. All our cosmetic options are fully registered on the European Cosmetic Product Registration portal and have undergone REACH testing. A variety of labelling, branding, packaging options lets us tailor the final product to your specifications to ensure that you are perfectly satisfied when you launch your product range.

We are not content to rely on already established products; and there has been great excitement abroad regarding our flavoured distillate range. With a variety of tastes and aromas including Lemon Haze, Grand Daddy Purple and Mango Kush, these products are specifically formulated for the Japanese market and its incredibly meticulous regulations regarding THC. A combination of expert formulation and the ideal branding determination, these unique distillates have been generating serious interest at the last few events at which we exhibited, across several countries. Finally, we are making considerable steps into the market of cannabigerol (CBG), commonly referred to as the ‘precursor’ cannabinoid due to its status as the molecule from which the other main cannabinoids are synthesised within the plant itself.

CBG has some potential effects and benefits that we are exceedingly enthusiastic about: current research suggests that it may be a potent antimicrobial capable of dealing with MRSA, in addition to its considerable anti-anxiety, anti-inflammatory – potentially stronger than CBD – and potentially anti-tumour effects. To make sure that we fully harness the potential of this incredible molecule, we are in the process of establishing bulk CBG isolate stocks and formulating new CBG products, including oral drops and skincare items, to supplement our portfolio.

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UK cannabis industry: the challenges

Novel foods regulation is currently the most prominent challenges facing any cannabis company in the UK. The EU decision to regulate all CBD products – which were regulated prior to the decision as food supplements – under the 2015 Novel Foods update, and to require all business supplying CBD to have a validated application before 31 March 2021, is a welcome first step in properly regulating the CBD and wider cannabis markets. However, a novel foods application is a daunting process, requiring toxicology, carcinogenicity and genotoxicity testing, as well as stability and nutritional data. Many sellers find this process to be costly and time-consuming to conduct themselves, and so it makes sense to source their products from a supplier which is capable of doing so. An upside to this is that when a company puts their products through the novel foods application process, it ensures that those products are safe, effective and legally compliant. If you decide to purchase from Always Pure Organics, you can rest assured that we are well into the process of completing an application, working closely with our suppliers to ensure it is accurate and fully compliant, within the March 2021 time limit.

Another aspect of the legal cannabis industry which many companies find challenging is that of product testing. Due to the presence of THC in cannabis products and its current status as an illegal substance, product testing is a must. This is to ensure that anything being sold is compliant with the 2001 Misuse of Drugs Act, under which THC is currently regulated. As a result, there are a myriad of testing labs that have begun offering cannabinoid screening to detect THC and CBD levels, the first to make sure that the product is legal and the second to make sure it is as advertised. The issue here arises from how new the industry is and the subsequent lack of standardisation among testing laboratories. Typically, cannabinoid analysis is carried out through the use of High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) analysis. This method of testing serves both requirements (THC and CBD) suitably, but due to its precision and the different standards used by each lab, it is entirely possible for products from the same batch to get different results when tested by separate labs. For these reasons and more, we at Always Pure Organics have a testing contract with the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), a partially government-owned lab and one of the two most advanced research and testing locations in Europe. In addition to its top-quality expertise and equipment, FERA works closely with the British Standards Institution to develop standardised methods and references. It is our hope to become part of the development of a global standard for cannabis testing and analysis.

There are many regulations surrounding cannabis products, both in the UK and further afield. Cosmetics, food supplements and medicinal products all require their own registration process and are subject to separate EU regulations that govern their trade. The one issue which does apply to all product categories, across almost all countries, is that of THC restrictions. Based on the growing trend for adult use and medical marijuana being legalised or decriminalised in countries like Portugal, Canada and some US states, it is likely that legalisation and decriminalisation will spread as governments realise the benefits of doing so in the coming years. For now, however, any company wishing to work in the legal cannabis industry in the UK must comply with the Misuse of Drugs Act 2005. This means that any product which contains THC – in practice, this includes almost all products derived from the cannabis plant – must meet three criteria to be legal, summarised below:

  • The product cannot be formulated in any way that allows the illegal component to be easily extracted;
  • The product is not allowed to be sold in a way that suggests it is designed to deliver the illegal component; and
  • The illegal component may not make up more than 0.2% or 1mg of the final product.

The formation of this policy was a blanket decision covering all illegal substances; and as such is outdated and non-representative of the current changing viewpoint towards the cannabis plant and THC specifically. More and more research is coming to light painting THC – when properly used – in a positive light, with many potential beneficial applications. For now, though, legal cannabis companies must be very cautious when it comes to THC levels in their products. Always Pure Organics is in a strong position in this regard due to our previously mentioned relationship with FERA and our well-founded trust in the reliability of our suppliers. Our knowledge of regulations and superb communications with customs, both of which were forged through dedication and hard work, have allowed us to work within the law effectively and efficiently.

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The future of Always Pure Organics

There are two key places where we see our company going: pharmaceuticals and medical cannabis. Take a look at any of the scientific research being carried out regarding cannabis, whether preclinical or clinical, CBD or THC. It is clear that the therapeutic applications are varied and wide-ranging; and as such, the potential for effective, novel medicines is tremendous. Epidyolex is just the tip of the iceberg, and we at Always Pure Organics intend to become a driving force within the medical cannabis industry. We fully support the establishment of Project Twenty21 and aim to do our part to ensure it is successful, having offered to become a supplier of the project. In addition, we have strong ties with several academic establishments through previous projects for research purposes and currently are excited to be working with a prominent London university, the results of which shouldn’t be too far into the near future.

Regardless of where this fascinating industry finds itself in the next few years, we aim to be able to cover any request from clients, from education and research to product formulation, manufacturing or regulatory advice. Our product portfolio will continue to expand, incorporating new technologies and discoveries; as will our knowledge and support available for our valued customers, both current and those who have yet to discover what we can do for them.

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Andrew Megahy1

Andrew Megahy

Lead Scientific Officer Linkedin