Interview with John Roulac – Founder of RE Botanicals & Former CEO of Nutiva.
Wisdom CBD: John thanks for making the time. I appreciate it. I wanted to start with an overview of the hemp industry currently. I was reading an article that stated that in 2017 there was 25,000 acres in production in the US. In 2018 it tripled to about 78,000 and I’m wondering if you know what the projected under cultivation for hemp will be in 2019 and the follow-up question to that is do you anticipate there being a seed shortage?
John Roulac:Are you talking about for hemp seed or CBD?
Wisdom CBD: I sort of feel like it’s both there the same pressures in the industry that they’re both going to face.
John Roulac: There’s not a shortage overall for hemp seed, hemp protein shelled hemp seed. There’s a little shortage on maybe hemp oil certified organic hemp seed oil and then CBD side, there’s a fair amount of flower on the market and it’s kind of the Wild West so it’s really hard to say how supply and demand is going to match. It’s going to take some settling out over the next 18 months to see where that will end up.
Wisdom CBD: Do you have any thoughts on the current or future Trends in the hemp industry?
John Roulac: Trends. Yeah. Well, I think you’re going to find you know, hemp CBD in more and more retailers and all sorts of various body care, topical, and supplemented food products. So I think by 2020 it’s going to really take off to another level. We’ve never really seen a product that was essentially illegal. go legal, and such demand. It’s kind of a it’s very unique situation that the Hemp Industry finds itself. And so it’s a pretty pretty exciting times for the world’s most promising crop.
Wisdom CBD: A lot of the research that’s done is with single-molecule isolates and not full spectrum tinctures. Does RE Botanicals have any clinical trials underway or has thought about doing that?
John Roulac: We don’t have any clinical trials underway at this time. The FDA prevents Hemp CBD companies from making many claims or doing a lot in that area. So it’s a it’s a kind of a catch-22 situation. So people are really left up to doing their own research and self dosing.
Wisdom CBD: A question on the plants John. How would you characterize or how did you find the phenotypes that you utilize for CBD production?
John Roulac: We focused on variety having a high CBD, feminized varieties that have a good spectrum of cannabinoids. But a big focus of ours is certified organic. So we only offer CBD that’s from certified organic growing and then certified organic processing. And then also we think one of the most important things, which is not understood well, and not really discussed is the carrier oil. Over 90% of what’s in a hemp CBD tincture, is the carrier oil? So mostly what you’re getting is carrier oil. We believe that the gold standard is organic MCT coconut oil. And we’re one of only a handful of brands that actually uses organic MCT coconut oil.
John Roulac: But a big focus of ours is certified organic. So we only offer CBD that’s from certified organic growing and then certified organic processing. And then also we think one of the most important things, which is not understood well, and not really discussed is the carrier oil. Over 90% of what’s in a hemp CBD tincture, is the carrier oil? So mostly what you’re getting is carrier oil. We believe that the gold standard is organic MCT (Medium Chain Triglyceride) coconut oil. And we’re one of only a handful of brands that actually uses organic MCT coconut oil.
John Roulac: The majority of companies use non organic MCT coconut oil which is made from Copra. Dried, old coconut meat. It’s not a nice process. They take old coconut that’s been laying out the sun, gotten blackended from mildew and mold, then it sent to large factories where it sits outside in the rain and the mud they bleach it, and deodorize it, sanitize it, using more chemicals often. Then from there they take that oil and then they fractionate it using non organic methods. And then they get this non-organic MCT oil and that’s what people are putting under their tongue. Really?!
Wisdom CBD: Doesn’t sound too smart. I know that certainly when people become aware of processes like that are occurring, they tend to make different decisions.
John Roulac: We use organic MCT oil that comes from fresh coconuts. We start with organic young coconuts that are then are chopped and scooped out and dried quickly, just like you’re making virgin coconut oil. My previous company Nutiva, we’re the largest seller of organic MCT coconut oil in North America. So we have a we have a little inside connection for the sourcing. And we take that product, and that virgin coconut oil goes through and then slowly cools. And then gets spun through centrifuge process to pull out the solid fat lauric acid. So you have this medium chain fatty acid CHC 10 and when you put the hemp CBD on your tongue. You want an oil that’s going to cross the cell wall the easiest. Highest quality. So you think a product made from fresh coconuts, all certified organic, low temperature, more coming from a living product to end up into products. Versus one that’s got moldy, and fungus and then it’s been bleached and deodorized and partially fractionated. Which do you think is going to go and deliver the botanical essence to your cells the best?
Wisdom CBD: Right, right. so to carry on that line of thinking John the other common carrier oil is hemp seed oil.
John Roulac: Yeah, another one. Hemp seed oil and olive oil. About hemp seed and olive oil, there long chain fatty acids, not medium chain. They’re much longer, twice as long, there like C18 and C20, or C20 and C22. Olive oil and hemp oil are great to on your salad, but not necessarily to put in a tincture and put on your tongue. Especially with hemp oil has a very short shelf life unless it’s refrigerated. Now if you if you package it in hemp oil. Then you put it in the refrigerator, then it can last awhile.
I mean the bottom line, the way I kind of look at it, I’m a little tough on the CBD industry. It’s the Wild West. I kind of feel like a lot of opportunistic charlatans and people from the pot industry have come in and are just making whatever, because they can make money.
John Roulac: And the way RE Botanicals and others in our industry, we focus on organic soil health. Every ingredient we put in products certified organic. So we’re formulating to optimize the efficacy of the product. And we get people, we get very good feedback on the result.
Wisdom CBD: A little bit about supply chain and how you source. Are you vertically integrated or are you sourcing from farmers?
John Roulac: So we work with farmers and processors and in Colorado that are certified organic.
Wisdom CBD: So you’re expanding the line for RE Botanicals?
John Roulac: We just expanded into capsules and also May 1st we are rolling out a line of topicals, body oil, with our organic MCT coconut oil and hemp CBD with lavender, peppermint, and ginger lime. It’s not fractionated, it’s just refined. Very simple. We just take the oil that we use in our tincture and the CBD but then we put it in the 10 mL bottle. And retails for $29.99 and will be out May 1st.
Wisdom CBD: I would also like to wish you congratulations. I saw you won the Nexty best new product award.
John Roulac: Yes, It was exciting. Glad to win the best product at Expo West.
Wisdom CBD: Any final thoughts, anything you’d like to discuss or steer the conversation towards?
John Roulac: Our focus is certified organic hemp. We think health begins in the soil. We feel that having the USDA organic symbols is a good touch point for shoppers to look at like, these are people that are doing it right, you know.
And remember hemp is a bioaccumulator. And if they farmer that was here before, maybe they weren’t growing hemp, maybe they were there growing corn and soy beans and growing tobacco. They use pesticides, herbicides, which a lot of them do and that concentrates in the next season goes up into the flower. So when you buy organic, you’re voting for a more clean product, you know, and you’re going to have a lot less residue in the soil. So they can’t can’t have used any any synthetic pesticides herbicides in the last three years.
Wisdom CBD: I appreciate all the hard work you’re doing for the industry and for the environment. Carry on.
John Roulac: All right, take care. Thanks for calling.