Stillwater Brands: Blending Science into Cannabis Edibles

by | Apr 13, 2021

Written by Amanda Stern

Amanda Stern got her start in the Colorado cannabis industry and transitioned to New Mexico in 2021. She has a passion for natural, plant-based alternatives, herbs, and psychedelics.

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Stillwater Brands and its sister company Caliper Foods are working on the evolution and development of cannabinoid-infused edibles and beverage dissolvables, taking the guesswork out of dosing and creating a reliable, fast-acting, and safe consumer experience, each and every time. Keith Woelfel joined Stillwater in 2016 and, as Director of R & D, leads their clinical research programs, innovation, and product development. Senior Food Scientist at Caliper Foods, Drew Hathaway, is responsible for the research and development of new products and the ongoing quest to improve current products.

Stillwater Brands is Creating Functional Food, Not Your Grandma’s Brownies

Seeking a formula that works consistently, reliably, and is healthful, a problem clearly needed to be addressed. Already knowing how cannabinoids attach to lipids and are processed within the body when orally consumed, the question became:

“How do you take something that is naturally oil-based and make products that are healthy and not loaded with fat and sugar, like a brownie, and make something that’s water-based that could be a more consumer-friendly product?”

Woelfel doesn’t hesitate in stating that there were fundamental problems Stillwater and Caliper needed to address from the very beginning. “How do you get something that works well in a consumer’s daily lifestyle from a nutritional benefit?” and “How do you create processes, internally, to get a very consistent product that can be very tightly validated when going out to consumers?” Not only that but could a better and more timely absorption rate be obtained if some of the body’s systems that store and break down fats could be bypassed? 

In 2016, Stillwater and Caliper had the technology fairly well figured out using THC to create their first micro-dose product, a tea packet that contained water-soluble cannabinoid granules. Ahead of its time, those granules eventually became Ripple, the fast-acting dissolvable powder, now the cornerstone of their businesses.

A base technology that can be expanded in multiple ways

Hathaway explains that emulsification is a process where cannabinoid distillates are dissolved within a small and beneficial amount of carrier oil and other emulsification ingredients using high-pressure processing. This process creates tiny fat droplets that are stable down to the nanometer, therefore, compatible with water.

That compatibility changes the product’s absorption rates and efficacy. Unlike the vinaigrette you put on your salad that requires mixing or shaking every time you use it, these products are shelf-stable and require nothing but consumption for them to take effect.

This same technology was found to apply to CBD just as well as it does THC. This has allowed Caliper Foods to create repeatable, consistent experiences for consumers seeking to alleviate aches and pains or relax and prepare for sleep with their CBD products.

Along with the powders, Caliper has developed CBD concentrates as beverage additives making it easier for other companies to incorporate CBDs into their products with far less trial and error on their end.

Testing and validation, it’s not just marketing

Fast-acting, tastes great, long-lasting, the list goes on and on. These are all claims that we have seen companies and marketing teams make on just about any type of product out there. But are they true? Stillwater and Caliper have chosen to remove that question from the minds of consumers. Thorough testing, market reviews, focus groups, and other measures are at the heart of their mission: To provide responsible adults the calm they need to stay focused, productive, and in control of their lives.

Tune in to the podcast to hear Keith and Drew discuss more about Caliper and Stillwater’s thoughts on finding the perfect flavors, methods of addressing focus groups during the pandemic, and find out what states and countries their expanding business and technology are taking them next.