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In the fast-growing world of CBD products, navigating the landscape is exciting and challenging. We had the privilege of sitting down with Dr. Gerry McNally, an accomplished figure with decades of experience in the pharmaceutical sector. Dr. McNally transitioned from a prominent role in Johnson & Johnson’s R&D function to becoming the VP of R&D at NextEvo Naturals, a natural products company producing high-quality CBD products backed by science.
From Pharma to CBD Product Development
Born and raised in Ireland, Dr. McNally’s journey took him to the United States, where he joined Johnson & Johnson and served in various R&D leadership roles. However, his passion for excellence and dedication to improving consumer experiences led him to venture into the CBD world. “We felt that we could deliver a better product backed by science,” he said.
Dr. McNally’s curiosity about CBD led him to explore the novel field. He shared, “I had spent most of my career in the pharmaceutical industry, so getting into the supplement space, which is kind of where CBD was living, was eye-opening as I started to research it and see the many benefits it could bring to people.”
His time in the pharmaceutical industry helped him see the need for higher standards and quality in the CBD market. “It was rather disappointing to see the poor quality of many of the CBD companies that were playing in the space, where there was very poor attention to not only the quality of the product but also the science behind it,” Dr. McNally remarked.
Launching their own CBD company, Dr. McNally and the team at NextEvo embraced the challenge of starting during the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite obstacles, they successfully launched their first products in the direct-to-consumer area. Since then, they have been diligently working to provide top-notch CBD formulations to consumers seeking genuine benefits.
The Landscape of CBD Products
In the quest for understanding the CBD market, we delved into the diverse array of products available to consumers. Dr. McNally described the fundamental differences between various CBD product types.
1. Full Spectrum CBD
“Let’s start with full spectrum CBD. It’s a term borrowed from botanical extracts, and it should ideally include all the extracted ingredients from the hemp plant,” he began. However, he highlighted a key concern: “What we have seen is that this is not always the case, and consumers are sometimes misled,” eluding to a bigger problem in testing and labeling requirements.
He elaborated on the expected formulation of components in full-spectrum products, “Some additional cannabinoids are present, and there’s a regulatory allowance for up to 0.3% THC. Some minor cannabinoids such as CBG, CBC, and CBN may also be present, though they can vary from plant to plant and season to season. Additionally, minor ingredients like terpenes and flavonoids add [the plant’s] characteristic odors.”
2. Broad Spectrum CBD
Our conversation then shifted to broad-spectrum CBD, a term Dr. McNally regarded as more manufactured. He suggested that the designation mainly indicates the absence of THC. However, he noted a significant challenge in the hemp space, “Most broad-spectrum products are formulated by combining CBD with some minor cannabinoids and terpenes. Yet, even within manufacturers, there is a lot of inconsistency.”
3. CBD Isolate
Lastly, Dr. McNally discussed CBD isolate, a pure form of CBD. He clarified, “CBD isolate is 99.9% CBD, extracted and purified from the hemp plant. A significant amount of medical research conducted with CBD utilized the isolate form.
GW Pharmaceuticals is a renowned biopharmaceutical company with significant strides in CBD research and development. One of their most notable was the creation of Epidiolex, a CBD isolate medication that gained fame as the first FDA-approved prescription drug derived from cannabis.
Educating Consumers: Choosing CBD Products
Dr. McNally emphasized the need for consumer education, particularly regarding the dosage experimentation process and the critical role of formulation in the various CBD product types. As consumers face a flood of CBD options, NextEvo’s VP of R&D discussed their approach to educating consumers.
Experimentation with CBD Products
Dr. McNally acknowledged the need for experimentation, “The endocannabinoid system is unique to each individual, so it’s a matter of starting low and then moving to higher servings or doses.” He pointed out the safety profile of CBD, stating, “The fact is that the safety profile of CBD is relatively good, and you can start at, let’s say, 20 milligrams or 25 mg, and then build up from there.”
Dr. McNally stressed the importance of product consistency, explaining that consumers should stick with the same product to understand its effects accurately. He highlighted the lack of standardization in the CBD market, making it crucial for consumers to rely on trustworthy sources and credible information.
Formulation and Bioavailability
According to Dr. McNally, understanding CBD product formulation is another critical consumer education aspect. He clarified, “CBD is a fat-loving compound, not soluble in water, so how it’s formulated is equally important.” NextEvo, for example, formulates its products using an emulsion technology called “Smartsorb,” enhancing absorption up to four times over standard oil-based formulations.
Dr. McNally emphasized the significance of bioavailability, which affects how much CBD actually gets absorbed into the bloodstream. He stated, “If it’s not formulated correctly, it doesn’t really matter whether it’s CBD isolate or full spectrum. Most of it’s not going to get to your bloodstream anyway.”
Empowering Consumers with Knowledge
NextEvo is taking a proactive approach to educating its consumers. Dr. McNally expressed, “We encourage consumers to experiment with finding the right dose that actually gives them the effect they desire, whether it’s pain relief, stress reduction, or improved sleep.”
NextEvo provides transparent CBD product information and utilizes unique formulation technology to ensure consumers make informed decisions. The company aims to empower consumers by helping them understand the differences between CBD product types and the importance of choosing well-formulated options for optimal results.
As we delved deeper into the conversation, Dr. McNally highlighted the significance of regulation and third-party testing to ensure safety, efficacy, and transparency in the CBD industry. In the next segment, we explore his insights on the importance of standardized practices and the potential for CBD products to be utilized in mainstream health and wellness practices.
Regulation and Standardization in the CBD Industry
Dr. McNally shared his concerns about the lack of credibility in the CBD industry and the need for regulation and standardization. He drew parallels between CBD products and other supplements regarding the importance of scientific evidence to support product claims and ensure consumer safety.
“If you have a CoQ10 that you know has superior absorption, you have to support that with data, and other companies can’t advertise falsely in that space without having that supporting data,” Dr. McNally stated.
Credibility and Lack of Regulation
With the lack of standardization in the CBD space, Dr. McNally expressed, “The biggest thing that is lacking here is credibility, and it affects the whole category.” He explained that without proper regulation, companies in the CBD market could make various claims without having the scientific data to support them. This lack of oversight has led to inconsistencies in product quality and efficacy, leaving consumers uncertain about which CBD products to trust.
Dr. McNally pointed out the differences between the CBD category and other botanical supplements. He emphasized that companies claiming superior absorption or benefits should provide supporting data, just like in other supplement categories. Without proper regulation, it becomes challenging for consumers to distinguish between well-formulated products and those that are not.
Ensuring Safety and Efficacy
Dr. McNally noted the importance of regulation: “Regulation can only help, even if it’s to the level that we have in the botanical space.” He pointed out that the absence of standardized practices and oversight can lead to inconsistent product quality, potentially compromising safety and efficacy. The CBD industry needs a regulatory framework that ensures proper manufacturing practices and product quality.
Dr. McNally highlighted the significance of third-party testing and transparency in the CBD market. Trustworthy CBD companies should willingly share information about their testing procedures, product ingredients, and manufacturing practices to instill consumer confidence.
Addressing CBD Skepticism
Dr. McNally recognized that skepticism about CBD can arise from negative experiences with low-quality CBD products. He stressed the importance of providing information and education to tackle this issue. He suggested that professional organizations, such as naturopaths and integrated medicine practitioners, could be vital in educating consumers about CBD’s potential benefits and proper usage.
NextEvo is committed to transparency and supporting claims with scientific evidence. By conducting human studies on their product’s absorption and efficacy, they aim to build credibility and trust with consumers. Additionally, the company plans to collaborate with healthcare professionals further to promote CBD as a viable health and wellness option.