The CBD water is warm, and investors are ready to jump in. Some of those investors are coming from established marijuana dispensary brands and are now diving into the hemp and CBD-only pools, buoyed by their experience with the plant and dealing with much tougher regulations.
Stratos, a marijuana-infused product company known for tablets as well as its medically focused outreach, is one of the latest established pot businesses to try its hand at CBD. We caught up with Kate Heckman, Stratos vice president of branding and marketing, to talk about what CBD can do for its wide target audience.
Westword: Stratos has been around for a few years now. Why jump in the hemp and CBD-only arena?
Kate Heckman: We started creating THC products with CBD for the recreational and medical market in 2014, and very quickly saw the demand skyrocket around CBD products. People wanted to reap the medicinal benefits of CBD without the high you get from THC. We decided to leverage our experience in the cannabis space and launch a CBD-only product line that could be sold online and shipped anywhere.
Are CBD tablets and other products intended for recreational use as well?
Absolutely. The purpose of CBD is not exclusively to treat some sort of health condition. People can take CBD to unwind, just like you would a glass of wine to help relax at the end of the day. Where THC-heavy cannabis products can make some people feel sleepy, CBD can offer a relaxing effect without drowsiness.
Stratos has been actively reaching out to senior citizens to educate them about medical marijuana products and their potential benefits. How can CBD further help that demographic?
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At every Cannabis 101 for Seniors event that we did, we heard the same thing over and over, which was: “I don’t want to feel high. So how can cannabis help me?” CBD tablets are the perfect option for seniors, because they're familiar with the pill-delivery method, and it's also sugar-free, gluten-free, smoke-free and vegan, so it can fit in within the medical requirements of an individual’s health regimen.
What's the difference between CBD oil and full-spectrum hemp oil?
Where we are right now in the industry, CBD oil and full-spectrum are essentially considered the same thing. Where the buyer needs to beware is understanding that measuring the "hemp oil" content doesn't necessarily equate to how much CBD is in the product. If you’re looking for CBD without any THC, find products containing CBD isolate. Full-spectrum hemp oil offers full-plant potential by extracting cannabidiol (CBD), phytocannabinoids, fatty acids, flavonoids and trace amounts of THC. CBD isolate distills the full-spectrum extraction and strips out all other properties except CBD.
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With looming oversight from the Food and Drug Administration and reports of New York City's health department cracking down on CBD edibles, how do you see CBD products such as yours being labeled and regulated for national consumption going forward?
We currently use FDA regulations for guidance on how we manufacture, package and label our products. Our team is adept at working within strict regulatory environments, so we feel confident about being able to adapt to any necessary adjustments. For now, we'll have to wait for the specifics of the FDA language.
How will selling and buying CBD in Colorado be different from the rest of the country, or states that haven't legalized recreational cannabis?
As the first market to become recreationally legalized, the Colorado market is highly competitive and very sophisticated. Patients and customers have also had access to cannabis and CBD longer, making them very knowledgeable and also discretionary when it comes to what they buy. Having that kind of market insight and customer feedback really helps us fine-tune our approach and product offerings. Regardless of where people purchase, we encourage them to be judicious in their research. Confirm that the product is tested for pesticides, residuals, solvents and microbial growth; that the product was grown in the U.S; and that it actually contains the amount of CBD listed on the label.