Elixinol, a Colorado-based company that manufactures and provides CBD oil and hemp extracts worldwide, is all about educating, inspiring and empowering people to live naturally healthy and happy lives. This is a core value that guides all of the folks at Elixinol.
As a company, it’s committed to growing the best quality, organic hemp CBD in Colorado and Europe. That hemp is then developed into a wide array of products—from capsules and tinctures to topicals and sublingual sprays—which all go through rigorous, third-party lab testing.
Chris Husong, Elixinol’s director of sales and marketing, spoke with HelloMD about how and why Elixinol got its start, what goes into its products, and the advice Chris would give to folks interested in trying hemp CBD for health and wellness.
What was the inspiration behind Elixinol? Why did it choose to create hemp-based CBD products?
Chris Husong: A certain global awareness is deeply ingrained in our company culture. We believe hemp is good for the environment and good for our bodies.
Some would say our co-founder Paul Benhaim is the original hemp entrepreneur, or “hempreneur.” In the early 1990s, Paul created the first successful hemp nutritional bar in the United Kingdom. Since then, he has penned 10 titles on hemp’s myriad uses and consulted for or founded hemp businesses, including Elixinol and our sister company, Hemp Foods Australia.
Today, Paul is the CEO of EXL (ASX: EXL), our parent company, which IPO’d on the Australian Securities Exchange in January 2018.
This deep, decades-long relationship with hemp that began with Paul informs everything we do. We continue his vision and deeply believe in the full power of the hemp plant. This is why we use full-spectrum hemp oil, and why we’ve committed to growing our own hemp in Colorado.
Are there health benefits that come from consuming hemp CBD? And if so, do your customers come back to you with positive feedback?
CH: Our customers come to Elixinol either to expand their wellness—for example, better sleep, increased focus, fitness recovery and performance—or because they’re contending with specific health concerns and want to try something new and promising.
We take our customers’ concerns a step further, making a medical doctor available to work with customers. As far as I know, we’re the only CBD company to do this. Dr. Philip Blair is a practicing physician and retired U.S. army colonel who’s passionate about helping his patients. He has conducted exciting preclinical trials for CBD and several conditions and he sees promising results—universally, including those that even he didn’t expect.
Dr. Blair gives presentations at conferences around the world often kicking them off with his famous saying, “With CBD, I only see side benefits … ”
Regardless of why they come to us, customers tell us repeatedly they see immediate improvement. Our customers feel restored and hopeful. I’ve lost count of how many people have told us they feel like they got their life back, and that’s what keeps us going.
Where do you source your hemp CBD from?
CH: Starting in 2017, we increased our domestic, or U.S., hemp grows. Before 2017, we sourced our hemp from European farmers. But we wanted to support hemp in the U.S., and we felt it was important to be closer to the grows and have more control over the process.
So, in 2018, we went into the agriculture business and are now growing much of our own hemp in Colorado. This gives us complete seed-to-sale control over the process. And it ensures we have not only the quantity of full-spectrum hemp oil we need, but also the quality full-spectrum hemp oil our customers have come to expect from Elixinol.
Every single one of our products are extracted using the cleanest method available: supercritical CO2. Supercritical CO2 extraction is a familiar process for foods, such as hops and coffee. We prefer it, because it’s a tried-and-true method that produces a pure, full-spectrum hemp oil.
Now, making full-spectrum CBD is more expensive, but the result is so much better for our customers, and that’s why we go the extra mile. I got my start in the hemp CBD industry fighting for reliable quality controls. I know how important it is for customers to have the peace of mind—and the feeling of relief—that is the result of finally finding a product they can trust. If I had to use one word to describe Elixinol’s commitment to quality control, it would be: uncompromising.
We also go above and beyond with our labeling standards. Each Elixinol product is produced with batch and lot numbers to cross-check and guarantee the consistent quality of our products. This gives our customers peace of mind. It also means, in the unlikely event that an issue should ever arise, we can do a rapid recall and notify customers immediately.
You have a comprehensive menu of hemp CBD products. Tell us what your most popular products are and why?
CH: The employee favorite is Elixinol’s Liposomes. Our Liposomes taste great and are formulated to be fast-absorbing and convenient. Some people take a couple of drops under the tongue, while other folks just add it to their water. Either way, it’s great for when you’re on the go or to just get CBD throughout the day.
Our most popular customer product is the Elixinol capsules. They’re easy to add to an existing supplement regimen, and they’re discreet—which many customers in more conservative areas appreciate.
Other than CBD, are there any additional ingredients that you’d like to highlight?
CH: Because we believe in the power of the entire hemp plant, we don’t have to add much to our products—nor do we want to. We let the full-spectrum hemp oil shine through. We grow and manufacture with care to preserve the hundreds of amazing plant compounds that make hemp such a powerful plant. We never add synthetics, and our hemp comes from organic farms.
Our full-spectrum products contain CBD, of course, but they also have the full range of terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids available in the hemp plant—keeping THC naturally under 0.3%, of course. Research into the entourage effect is extremely promising, and tracks closely with what we know about plant nutrition: that whole food sources of nutrients are generally best.
Our tinctures contain either MCT (medium-chain triglyceride) oil, which is credited with being a metabolism-boosting superfood on its own, or coconut oil. And both are excellent partners for lipophilic cannabinoids like CBD.
When someone is new to CBD, what should they look out for when selecting products for themselves?
CH: Thanks for asking this question. It’s important that people understand what to look for in CBD brands, because there are some bad actors out there ruining it for those of us who take the health and wellness of our customers very seriously.
First and foremost, customers should demand evidence of third-party, independent, lab potency and purity results for any CBD product. Heck, they should demand test results from all supplement manufacturers, as the industry is largely unregulated.
We call these certificates of analysis, or COAs. In these reports, customers should verify CBD content, little or no THC. And they should test free of mold, pesticides and heavy metals. Reputable CBD companies will include this information on their websites or will offer it to consumers upon request. We include it right on our main product page, so people know up front what they’re getting.
Customers should also ask about the source of the hemp or hemp oil used in their favorite CBD products. The United States and European Union are ideal; stay away from hemp and hemp oil products coming out of China, which doesn’t adhere to the same quality controls. If the CBD company doesn’t say where it’s sourcing its hemp, that’s a definite red flag.
We believe it’s also important to understand whether the product is full spectrum or not. Isolates, by definition, isolate the CBD molecule by heavily processing the hemp plant. Not only does this limit CBD’s effectiveness by removing all of the other cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids, the harsh chemical extraction process is almost totally unnecessary.
We’ve seen companies that use isolates say they have a whole-plant product, because they use parts of the whole hemp plant. That’s so discouraging to see, because reputable companies know the terms “whole plant” or “full spectrum” refer to using the full range of chemical compounds—terpenes, flavonoids and cannabinoids—available in the hemp plant.
Always ask whether the product is full spectrum or isolate to get the real answer.
Your company has a fantastic program of giving back to charity. Can you please describe this to us?
CH: We’ve been supporting charities since our start, because it’s important to us, and we know it’s important to our customers. Everyone wants to feel as though they’re contributing to organizations doing good work.
The way our “Giving Back” program works is when customers check out, they can choose from several different charities for veterans, autism, head injuries and more. Elixinol then donates 5% of their purchase amount to the nonprofit of the customer’s choice.
To date, these customer contributions have added up to over $1 million dollars donated. It’s such an easy way to let our customers direct our charitable giving, so we know we’re always putting our money where their hearts are.