Sproutly positions itself for North America’s cannabis explosion

By Beth Newhart contact

- Last updated on GMT

"CBD-infused drinks could be the new soda, just as vitamin-infused water and coconut water have become popular.”
"CBD-infused drinks could be the new soda, just as vitamin-infused water and coconut water have become popular.”

Related tags: Cannabis, Cbd, cannabidiol

With the US poised to sign a farm bill that will legalize hemp production, and Canada’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana, North America is on the brink of a CBD revolution. Food, beverage and ingredients companies are all looking to get in on the ground floor of the trend, including Toronto-based Sproutly.

Sproutly wants to be become the leading supplier to the cannabis beverage and consumables market after acquiring technology in August that is able to naturally extract cannabinoids in water. It claims this makes it “the world’s only truly water-soluble cannabis solution to be formulated into beverages.”

Keith Dolo, CEO of Sproutly, told BeverageDaily that the process is different from existing cannabis ingredients companies because Sproutly doesn’t alter the cannabis compounds during extraction. Many other ingredients are just ‘water-missable’ or ‘water-compatible’ because they begin with an oil and use chemical additives to suspend the solution in water.

But as oil can never fully dissolve into water, Dolo says that the Sproutly team hasn’t come across any other cannabis ingredients that do exactly what theirs can do. The acquired technology comes from Infusion Biosciences, which spent 12 years doing water soluble extraction research.

“Traditional extraction methods seen today using ethanol, butane and CO2, alters the cannabinoids, and in doing so destroys the strain-specific benefit,”​ Sproutly said.

Legalized recreation in Canada

Canada’s recent passage of its cannabis act hasn’t directly affected Sproutly’s business, but it is looking ahead to the pending full legalization of cannabis beverages, expected in Canada for October 2019.

Sproutly is currently searching for potential industry partners, particularly an “established company that has marketing, distribution and channel partners, and understands how to get products to market within their geographies.”​ It’s also looking into potentially creating its own beverage branded and edible branded products once legalization occurs for beverage and edibles next year in Canada.

Last month Sproutly announced its first international expansion partner with its largest growing facility in Jamaica, with the plan to utilize their low-cost cannabis in the Caribbean and European markets in 2019.

“Makers of soft drinks are seeing their sales at 30-year lows, are always looking for the next big thing. CBD-infused drinks could be the new soda, just as vitamin-infused water and coconut water have become popular,”​ Sproutly said.

Hemp production pending in the US

The US is close to passing a landmark $867bn farm bill after months of negotiation and compromise. It has already passed the Senate and the House and is expected to be signed into law by President Donald Trump within the coming days.

The bill encompasses many facets of the agriculture industry looking for retribution from Trump’s ongoing trade war with China. Beyond the legalization of the production of hemp, the bill also includes the preservation of the Conservation Stewardship Program, permanent funding for farmers markets and local food programs and aid for dairy farmers.

Dolo believes that it will be a positive for the entire North American cannabis industry, and expects that major brands will continue investing in the space. Constellation Brands and MolsonCoors have already dipped into cannabis, and it’s likely to infiltrate the grocery aisle as a popular additive within the next five years.

“It will be a massive catalyst for the industry. Most of the cannabis companies are involved in a hemp operation, and most companies lump hemp and cannabis together. A lot of people don’t understand the difference between cannabis and hemp, or even the difference between CBD and THC,”​ Dolo said.

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1 comment

Low THC Only Rhetoric Rebuttal

Posted by Brian Kelly,

Regardless of Big Pharma finally getting a patent on it, CBD extract is nothing new. CBD oil/extracts have been successfully fighting seizures for a long, long time without Big Pharma's ridiculously expensive "strawberry syrup"...


“Low-THC only” seems to be a new trend in prohibitionist propaganda rhetoric.

Read carefully:

Charlotte’s story and the concern for other young patients have led some lawmakers to consider passing legislation that only allows patients to access marijuana oils that are high in CBD and that have little or no THC (tetrahydrocannabinol). While it is heartening to see lawmakers’ concern for the plight of patients with catastrophic seizure disorders, these proposals unfortunately exclude the vast majority of those who can benefit from medical marijuana, some of whom also face life-threatening ailments.

Relative Rarity

While CBD appears to be particularly effective at treating seizures, the number of individuals treating seizure disorders through medical marijuana programs is relatively low. For example, only 2% of the registered patients in both Rhode Island and Colorado report seizures as their qualifying conditions. While it is imperative that these individuals be allowed to legally access medical marijuana – and the strain they need – it is just as important to remember that there are tens of thousands of other men and women and a small number of children who suffer from a variety of debilitating conditions whose symptoms are alleviated by medical marijuana. The vast majority of those patients have symptoms that benefit from strains of marijuana that include more than trace amounts of THC.

THC: Why It Matters

Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is just one of the roughly 85 cannabinoids found naturally in marijuana. Clinical trials and the experiences of hundreds of thousands of patients have shown that THC, and strains of marijuana that include THC, provide important medical benefits for individuals suffering from pain, multiple sclerosis, nausea, and wasting disease. THC is also the cannabinoid most responsible for marijuana’s psychoactive effects. While THC does cause marijuana’s “high,” patients use marijuana for relief, not for euphoria. Patients who inhale marijuana can titrate their dosage precisely to use only as much as they need, reducing or eliminating the euphoria. Some use marijuana only before bed.

The federal government has officially recognized THC’s medical properties since 1985, when the FDA approved a prescription drug that is made of synthetic THC — Marinol — for nausea. Yet, Marinol is not adequate for many patients who can benefit from marijuana. For nauseated patients, a pill can be impossible to keep down. Meanwhile, many patients benefit from the synergistic effect of THC and the other cannabinoids, such as CBD. Natural marijuana is less intoxicating than Marinol because patients can titrate their dosage and other cannabinoids moderate THC’s psychoactive properties.

Studies have shown that marijuana that includes THC can alleviate a host of debilitating conditions, including:

Nausea and appetite loss: Researchers have found THC and marijuana with THC are effective anti-emetics and appetite stimulants for individuals suffering from the side effects of cancer chemotherapy or AIDS treatments.
Multiple sclerosis: Research has found that marijuana with THC can alleviate spasticity. In addition, Canada, the U.K., and several other countries approved an oral marijuana extract made of equal proportions of CBD and THC.
Pain: Several studies have found that marijuana strains that include THC can alleviate neuropathic pain — a notoriously difficult-to-treat nerve pain commonly found in amputees, AIDS patients, and patients with multiple sclerosis.
Since the 1970’s, the federal government has been providing a handful of individuals who suffer from various ailments with marijuana grown at the University of Mississippi as part of the Compassionate Investigational New Drug program. The four surviving patients still receiving federal marijuana receive a strain with almost no CBD that has been essential to managing their conditions — a rare bone spur disorder, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and a painful condition called nail patella syndrome, respectively. The marijuana these individuals have benefitted from would not be allowed under CBD-only proposals.

Conclusion

Medical marijuana legislation should not be so restrictive as to leave behind around 98% of the individuals who can benefit from it. THC has proven medical benefits and individuals who can benefit from strains that include it should not be forgotten when legislators debate medical marijuana bills.

-MPP

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