Pure cannabinoid distillates and isolates are hydrophobic oils and solids, that means that they don’t combine effectively with water. By formulating these elements utilizing numerous applied sciences, firms like Caliper and Ripple have discovered how one can change the solubility properties of the cannabinoids. As well as, formulations can enhance bioavailability and onset time of the cannabinoids.
Stillwater Manufacturers is a hashish formulation firm based mostly out of Denver, Colorado, leveraging proprietary applied sciences for solubilizing cannabinoids in water. Stillwater has a partnership with the Canadian firm Inexperienced Natural Dutchman and can quickly develop their THC line of merchandise, Ripple, into Michigan. Their CBD product line, Caliper, is already bought nationally.
We spoke with Drew Hathaway, senior meals scientist at Stillwater, concerning the Stillwater expertise and aspirations for development. Hathaway joined Stillwater in 2018 after partaking with them as a technical gross sales consultant in his earlier position at a meals elements provider.
Aaron Inexperienced: What developments are you following within the business?
Drew Hathaway: I can primarily communicate to the science facet of the enterprise since that’s the place I function, however I do have some perception into the advertising and marketing method and a few of the issues we have a look at. We’re taking a look at conventional meals and beverage developments, whether or not it’s beverage codecs, with its distinctive elements which are going to be normal taste developments, which might undoubtedly be very region-specific. One of many issues we undoubtedly have a look at, particularly on the THC facet, is dosage variations. What are individuals placing their dosages at? Are they doing a mixture of cannabinoids or terpenes? Are they actually utilizing particular person elements? I feel that’s one thing that’s been pretty effectively established within the THC market, particularly since you have got the regulatory mandate of 10 milligrams THC being your max single dose.
When Stillwater first launched in 2016, our firm began with decrease dose merchandise to supply microdose choices. We focus all of our merchandise on useful meals for customers. It’s why now we have three completely different choices for each single one in every of our merchandise. We’ve got what we name the Pure 10 which is 10 milligrams of THC per serving. We’ve got what we name the Balanced 5. That’s 5 milligrams THC, 5 milligrams of CBD. Then in addition to our Ripple Reduction, which is a 40 to at least one ratio of CBD to THC at 20 milligrams CBD and 0.5 milligrams THC. We offer quite a lot of choices for individuals on the lookout for completely different dosage ranges. We’ve got to have a look at all of these developments. Packaging developments are additionally excessive on our radar.
Aaron: How about flavors?
Drew: We just lately launched extra SKUs for our Ripple gummies right here in Colorado. We’ve got 4 completely different choices. We’ve got a bitter selection pack that incorporates bitter watermelon, bitter apple and bitter peach. We additionally simply launched peach cherry, kiwi apple and bitter watermelon by itself — and all of these are on the 5 milligram THC per gummy dose. That aligns with the Pure 10 line as effectively. We even have been engaged on some new flavors for the ten milligram THC quicksticks, which we’re seeking to launch early subsequent yr. Then, like I discussed earlier, we’re increasing into Michigan with the THC enterprise, which has been an enormous aim for us and one thing that’s gotten a whole lot of effort behind the scenes.
Aaron: So Drew, how did you become involved at Stillwater?
Drew: I like to explain myself as a historically educated meals scientist. I went to school and acquired my bachelor’s and grasp’s in meals science and expertise at Ohio State. After which I ended up at a very cool firm that was a really giant meals ingredient provider. I used to be technical assist to gross sales for his or her workforce. By way of that place, I coated the Colorado territory in addition to California and I acquired to cowl Stillwater as one in every of my prospects offering technical recommendation on completely different merchandise and elements that they have been taking a look at. I acquired concerned with Stillwater by means of that place, again within the early days after they were nonetheless making an attempt to develop and determine issues out. That will have in all probability been about 4 years in the past. I used to be capable of see from the sidelines and I used to be coping with another hashish firms within the house right here in Colorado on the time too.
I acknowledged very early on what they have been making an attempt to do by making cannabinoids water soluble and water suitable. It was not solely extraordinarily difficult, but additionally had a ton of potential in the event that they have been capable of pull it off. At that time, they have been nonetheless making an attempt to determine how that is going to work. How will we produce it? How will we promote it? How will we ensure that issues are secure? Issues of that nature. I acquired an inside have a look at Stillwater from the very begin, again when there have been actually only some individuals on the firm. I’d verify in with them recurrently as they wanted assist.
I all the time joked that they have been my least necessary, most attention-grabbing buyer and I imply that solely as a result of they have been shopping for extraordinarily small quantities of elements from us. From a gross sales perspective, naturally, my supervisor didn’t essentially need me spending a ton of time working with them. From a private curiosity perspective, I used to be like, “these guys are doing one thing actually intriguing and if they’ll pull this off this has a ton of potential, so I need to assist them nonetheless I can.”
I handled them in that gross sales capability for about two years earlier than they talked about increasing into the CBD house with the Farm Invoice passing on the finish of 2018. I acknowledged at that time that I feel they’d two scientists together with Keith, our head of R&D, and I mentioned “alright, that’s actually bold. You in all probability want some assist! I feel it’s time for me to take the leap and see when you guys are fascinated with having me come on board.” Luckily, they have been and so I’ve been with the corporate slightly over two years now.
Aaron: Are you able to clarify at a excessive degree what the Stillwater merchandise do?
Drew: The bottom expertise behind all of our merchandise for Ripple and Caliper is basically changing your fat-soluble cannabinoids, whether or not it’s CBD or THC, right into a water suitable product in a course of known as emulsification. What you’re primarily doing is taking CBD and THC containing oils, whether or not it’s a distillate or isolate, and also you’re primarily breaking these fats droplets into extraordinarily small droplets after which stabilizing them at that dimension. We make our personal emulsion — the fats droplets are extraordinarily small — then once you draw that down right into a powder format and redissolve it into water, you’re dispersing billions upon tens of millions of fats droplets into your glass. These droplets are evenly dispersed by means of the beverage so that you simply get the identical quantity of THC or CBD in your first sip that you simply get within the final sip. That’s actually the core expertise behind every little thing that we do.
Taking cannabinoids and making them water soluble is the bottom expertise vital to be able to make one thing like a shelf-stable infused beverage. There’s no method that you simply’re going to take conventional distillates or cannabinoids and have the ability to make a beverage that’s shelf-stable in any other case. It’s been actually cool since becoming a member of Stillwater to be taught and perceive how that course of modifications the best way that these cannabinoids are absorbed by your physique. Emulsification modifications issues just like the onset time, in addition to the whole quantity of cannabinoids your physique’s absorbing and utilizing. That’s been one thing that’s tremendous attention-grabbing to see by means of the medical analysis that we’ve executed with human contributors by means of Colorado State College.
Aaron: Let’s say when you simply take THC oil and put it into an infused product. What’s the distinction between that and Ripple?
Drew: Some merchandise codecs, similar to drinks, simply aren’t potential with THC oil with out an emulsification expertise. Because the previous saying goes in science, water and oil simply don’t combine. So, when you have been to take a conventional THC distillate and attempt to add it to a beverage, that may simply float on high as an enormous oil slick. Whenever you took your first sip, you’ll primarily get all the cannabinoids in your first gulp which not solely makes exact or partial dosing unimaginable, but additionally would style completely horrible. Emulsification makes these infused beverage merchandise potential and secure over a traditional one-year shelf life or doubtlessly longer.
Emulsification additionally modifications the best way that your physique absorbs these cannabinoids, which is one thing that we’ve undoubtedly put a heavy emphasis on and have actually been capable of validate with medical analysis. I feel that’s one in every of our largest differentiators versus our rivals. We’re undoubtedly not the one ones within the water-soluble cannabinoid house, however from my understanding, I feel we’re one of many few firms which have truly executed human-based medical trials (vs rodents) by means of a third-party college and been capable of show that these cannabinoids are detected in your bloodstream as quick as 10 minutes after consumption. We measured these outcomes instantly in opposition to an oil-based management, the place you’re not going to get a peak absorption till perhaps 60 to 90 minutes after consumption. What this analysis discovered was that not solely was our product absorbed a lot sooner, but it surely additionally enabled a considerably greater quantity of the cannabinoids to really make it into the contributors’ blood stream the place it may be utilized by their our bodies. We additionally discovered the kind of meals emulsifier makes a big distinction in absorption – not simply emulsion dimension, counter to frequent perception.
We use the analogy, “It’s getting a greater bang on your buck.” The principle buying consideration for lots of edibles customers once you go to a dispensary is “what’s my value per 10 milligram dose of THC?” That’s one in every of their key buying parameters, particularly on your decrease price range buyer. What’s nice with Ripple is one milligram of THC consumed by means of our Ripple expertise isn’t actually equal to at least one milligram of an oil-based product and that your physique is definitely going to soak up a better proportion of it. And due to this fact, you’re going to get extra of an impact, whether or not you’re on the lookout for a medical impact or whether or not you’re on the lookout for extra of a leisure therapeutic impact. It additionally improves the consistency of that have. So, with oil-based merchandise, you would have the identical merchandise a number of completely different occasions and based mostly on what you lately ate, you would possibly get a better or decrease absorption price or a sooner or slower absorption price. It’s additionally within the consistency of the expertise and I do know that from our market analysis of our customers of Ripple merchandise right here in Colorado since that’s been out there for just a few years now. That’s the primary purpose why individuals actually belief our model is as a result of they’ll rely on getting a constant expertise each time for a similar dose.
As everyone knows, with the THC market and edibles market being newer normally, that’s most individuals’s largest concern, particularly when you’re a brand new shopper of THC — you clearly don’t need to eat greater than what you may deal with so far as getting greater than you need to be or something like that — So consistency is a very, actually key facet for us and one thing that I’m undoubtedly proud that we will present that for our customers.
Aaron: What does your product seem like once you dissolve it right into a liquid – let’s say one thing clear? Is the ensuing combination clear or cloudy?
Drew: We do have liquid concentrates, particularly within the Caliper facet of issues, however with our powders, it sort of billows in as a cloud once you add it to a transparent liquid. You possibly can virtually consider it like after we pour creamer into espresso: you see the cloud develop after which slowly fill out the cup after which be totally blended in. Whereas with our merchandise when you pour it into clear water, and also you’ll see this white cloud type after which disperse. The ultimate resolution is usually slightly bit cloudy relying on how a lot water you add it to.“I’ve been lucky to be the lead developer for these merchandise for Caliper and for Ripple, and taste work is certainly one thing that by no means will get previous.”
Aaron: How are prospects utilizing your merchandise?
Drew: For a very long time, we’ve had quite a lot of merchandise out there, a few of that are nonetheless out there, and a few of which we’ve pulled since then. The important thing product for us has all the time been the Ripple dissolvable powder. It’s an unflavored, unsweetened powder that is available in slightly sachet packet you could tear open similar to you’ll some other product and add to essentially something. With its water compatibility, there’s actually not a single product you could’t add it to. It’s been actually cool to see by means of social media, and normally, shopper engagement is electrical and is sort of considered as a novelty. The preliminary response is “Oh, I can take this little powder, put it in my eggs and now I’ve infused eggs!” It’s been nice to see the creativity that our customers have. We’ve seen it put in such all kinds of merchandise that actually you may make something into an edible. I feel that’s one of many coolest facets of that product and why it’s been so profitable.
One of many issues we did understand fairly quick is that for lots of people, the comfort and the consistency of the expertise was a essential driver for why they have been buying our merchandise. Plenty of our actual customers simply take that packet aside, ripping it open and pouring it straight of their mouth. It’s the quickest and most handy option to eat the merchandise, just about anyplace. We dug into that with our newer launch of Ripple Quicksticks. After which we added some taste, we added slightly little bit of sugar and sweeteners to make it a consumer-friendly expertise the place you get a very gratifying taste. It’s nonetheless simply as handy to eat by simply ripping the packet straight open and pouring it in your mouth.
Aaron: It seems like there should have been some attention-grabbing inner product improvement testing!
Drew: Yeah, undoubtedly. That’s a enjoyable one. I’ve been lucky to be the lead developer for these merchandise for Caliper and for Ripple, and taste work is certainly one thing that by no means will get previous. It may be irritating at occasions, it’s undoubtedly not the simplest factor to do. We’ve checked out conventional berry flavors, citrus flavors, in addition to bizarre, sort of out-there flavors, to see what we like and what we expect will work with our customers.
Aaron: What states do you use in?
Drew: Presently, our Stillwater THC enterprise solely operates in Colorado. That’s primarily the genesis of all the businesses (Ripple, Caliper) is Stillwater being right here in Colorado. We’re excited to announce that we’re increasing to Michigan subsequent yr. That’s one thing that we’ve all been working fairly closely on growing and on the point of go. That can be our first growth of the THC model to a distinct state.
We do have a licensing and distribution settlement with The Inexperienced Natural Dutchman (TGOD) in Canada. They produce our merchandise utilizing the identical expertise up there and license additionally below the Ripple model identify. So, it’s nice to see the presence that we’ve been capable of develop up there.
Then with Caliper on the CBD facet of issues with Caliper Elements and Caliper Client. We function nationwide for that based mostly on the newer guidelines with the 2018 Farm Invoice. For me, particularly working throughout all of these enterprise items, it’s actually attention-grabbing to see the completely different enterprise method between your goal CBD customers and your goal THC customers as a result of they’re actually completely different markets. There’s undoubtedly some overlap, however you’re focusing on a distinct demographic to a sure diploma. We hold these choices in thoughts after we’re selecting how one can market and what flavors to make use of and what merchandise to make. In order that’s been actually attention-grabbing for me to see the behind-the-scenes discussions.
Aaron: I noticed in your web site, you’ve acquired shopper choices through the dispensaries. Do you’re employed with any infused product producers on a licensing foundation or partnership foundation?“I’m tremendous excited to proceed to see how the medical analysis will proceed to evolve.”
Drew: I’d say the vast majority of them are undoubtedly on the CBD facet for Caliper, partly as a result of the regulatory setting of CBD simply is slightly bit simpler to sort of have interaction different prospects and to promote merchandise throughout state traces and issues of that nature. We do have some partnerships with a few of the firms right here in Colorado. I’d say the principle one which we’ve promoted externally is with Oh Hello infused Seltzers based mostly out of Durango, Colorado. It’s been an ideal settlement the place we offer our base expertise through liquid Ripple formulation that they’ll then infuse into their seltzers. They’ve executed an ideal job with these merchandise and it’s undoubtedly a partnership that’s been mutually useful.
Aaron: What are you personally fascinated with studying extra about?
Drew: For me, the entire attraction of becoming a member of the business was analysis. With prohibition and many years of these restrictions stopping true analysis there are such a lot of unknown questions that also have to be investigated. I’m tremendous excited to proceed to see how the medical analysis will proceed to evolve. I feel we’ll get higher readability on the efficacy of particular person cannabinoids versus completely different combos and ratios of cannabinoids. The entourage impact is one thing that’s fairly closely talked about within the business. I do assume there’s some analysis to assist that. I additionally assume there’s nonetheless far more unknowns than issues that we truly know. So, I’m tremendous fascinated with seeing how our understanding of every little thing will proceed to enhance over time.
I’d like to see the medical analysis ultimately develop into what synergistic advantages exist between cannabinoids and different bioactive elements similar to turmeric, catechins, antioxidants and different plant-based elements which have gotten much more curiosity by means of the medical analysis within the final decade.
Then one of many issues I’m all the time enthusiastic about being on the science facet of issues is we’re nonetheless investigating the final compatibility of cannabinoids with numerous kinds of meals and beverage merchandise. That goes not just for ingredient interactions, but additionally elements like pH, water exercise and moisture content material. Even packaging undoubtedly performs a job in cannabinoid stability for quite a lot of merchandise. There’s additionally quite a lot of manufacturing processing applied sciences that also want extra investigation, whether or not you’re speaking pasteurization, for drinks, or retort for canned merchandise or newer applied sciences like excessive strain processing (HPP). So, I feel probably the most thrilling factor for me, and the explanation I used to be actually keen and fascinated with becoming a member of the business, is there’s a lot to be taught. I don’t assume we’ll ever run out of issues to discover. I feel as an business the higher we conduct this analysis, the higher off we’ll all be.
Aaron: That’s the tip of the interview! Thanks Drew.
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