The following blog was originally published by Retail and Food Best Practices in January 2020.
One doesn’t need to have a 16-step skincare routine to understand that most people prefer their lotions, creams and serums to be made of natural materials and extracts. Further, one doesn’t have to be a cannabis user to see CBD infusions can be found in anything from shampoo and pain-relief topicals to chocolate bars, wine and pet care products. As marijuana legalization becomes more common, many producers will rely on full-spectrum Cannabis to produce edibles, beverages and other products that are popular with consumers.
Eden Labs is a strong partner to many such companies as it continually works to promote health, wellness and environmental stewardship through its green extraction technologies.
“Eden Labs is a 25-year-old extraction company,” CEO AC Braddock explains. “In the last few years, we brought our commercial extraction capabilities to cannabis, backed by our strong reputation for integrity and modern business practices that support the health and wellness industries. We bring plants forward as medicine, nutrition and nutraceuticals, and that’s one of the reasons we partnered with Organic Alcohol Co. – they have the same kind of focus that we do because they bring pure solvents to various industries.
“The nutraceutical industry started skyrocketing about the same time our founders started working in cannabis and natural products in the early 1990s,” she adds. “Both industries have had, and will continue to have, hockey stick growth.”
The Organic Alcohol Co. is Oregon’s first and oldest certified-organic distillery. The operation remains dedicated to selling organic, pharmaceutical-grade 190-proof and 200-proof neutral corn, grape, wheat and cane alcohol in quantities of one gallon to thousands of gallons. Additionally, the company provides a variety of organic, non-GMO, gluten-free and vegan spirits that are known for their quality. Common uses for its alcohol involve making herbal extracts or tinctures, being a neutral spirit for other distilleries’ formulations, and acting as a part of natural perfume and personal care products.
“These are very exciting times with once-in-a-lifetime opportunities,” says Aaren Glover, president of Organic Alcohol Co. “We have carved out a distinction in providing organic alcohol — we provide super-pure solvents and identified growth opportunities in the natural products space. Certified organic alcohol is a very singular focus for us, and we have a strong reputation for transparency, integrity and providing a lot of additional support beyond making the sale. We are invested in our customers’ projects and help them navigate the highly regulated and complex industry.”
Braddock is a leader in the cannabis industry, and has spent years educating different market segments about the importance of extraction to the industry. In 2010, she had the realization that pure medical products utilizing CO2 extraction and ethanol would be necessary in expediting the legalization of medical cannabis. Her work has fueled the industry’s growth, and after becoming CEO of Eden Labs in 2009, the company had five years of 100 percent year-over-year growth. Eden Labs is now one of a few extraction system manufacturers that can scale to processing several tons of material a day.
“I just spoke at the American Herbal Products Association, and I’m so excited to be promoting the crossover between CBD and cannabis and natural products and food,” Braddock says. “There is a synergy developing that the FDA will be challenged to regulate, but it is going to happen. The cannabis industry is under the exact same pressures as the natural products industry in many ways. What is new is actually ancient in preventative medicines and food. It is a very interesting time.”
Glover notes this is a key area where Eden Labs and Organic Alcohol Co. have aligned. “We are both strong companies in this industry, but because of the explosive growth and unbelievable amount of money pouring into this emerging market, there are some very questionable and downright dangerous practices going on,” he says. “Just look at what’s happening with vaping. This is one intense example of where there is an inability to keep up with the regulation and oversight necessary to handle such an explosively growing industry.”
The aromatherapy industry, for example, got a boost from the cannabis market after Dr. Ethan Russo studied terpenes, or essential oils, and their effects physically and psychologically, Braddock explains. She believes Eden Labs and Organic Alcohol Co. can bring more industries together and help destigmatize cannabis in food and nutrition, while keeping an emphasis on sound environmental practices. Ongoing education of the industry and consumers is necessary, she says, to reinforce the plants-to-people concept.
“The primary piece going forward is education,” Braddock says. “Education and finding bigger platforms for our services, and we can do that by coming together with partners like Organic Alcohol Co. [Consumers] want transparency, so we want to promote mission-driven companies that are focused on being pure and natural.”