A compound pharmacist and CBD CEO gives her advice.
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January 26, 2021 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Never in my life did I expect to become an entrepreneur. For more than 20 years, I worked as a licensed compounding pharmacist. But in 2013, everything changed. I learned about CBD when I was introduced to it by my friend and talented entrepreneur, Arby Barroso, who struggled with health issues. He thought CBD could help, so I started making simple CBD oils and topicals for Arby and my friends and family.
I was thrilled to see how much health and happiness it brought to their lives. It was incredibly fulfilling to use my expertise to create products from scratch and then see their impact. As word of mouth spread, I knew I had to leave my previous career behind and launch Green Roads.
There were very few CBD companies in existence at the time and no roadmaps on how to start one. My background as a pharmacist guided my decision-making in those early days. It forced me to put the patient (i.e. customer) first and focus relentlessly on product quality, efficacy, and consistency—even at the expense of profit.
Today, launching a CBD company is relatively easy. Dozens of manufacturers are ready to provide finished goods to any entrepreneur with a logo and a label. Somebody with any background can get into the CBD business, and there are now more than two thousand CBD brands means that many novices have jumped in.
Still, if you’re serious about doing what’s best for your customer, I believe products should meet certain standards of quality. Here are a few quality control processes that represent the best practices of how a CBD company can make its products.
Related: 9 Money-Saving Tips for Starting Your Own CBD Company
Know your sources
All of our CBD and other hemp-derived ingredients come from American-farmed hemp plants with certificates of analysis. These certificates show that the hemp extracts do not contain unsafe pesticides or contaminants like heavy metals. Hemp plants have a sponge-like quality. They’ll draw up whatever elements are in the soil, including those nobody would want to consume. That’s why I insist on this sourcing and certificates.
Create proprietary formulations
CBD has had an explosion in popularity. That means countless brands that want a slice of the pie slap their logo on a boilerplate oil or topical cream from an industrial manufacturer. The difference between many of them is only label-deep. As a pharmacist, I had a vision of CBD oil that set a new bar in taste, effect, and mouthfeel. I refined the recipe over and over again until I got there. I didn’t want to create a CBD oil that was curdling, bitter, and like, “taking your medicine.” I believe our proprietary CBD oil is a premium wellness experience, but even brands who aren’t manufacturing their oils should keep pressuring their manufacturer to improve the customer experience.
Set strict standards
As an entrepreneur, your product is everything. Because of my background as a pharmacist, I knew we owed it to our customers to meet the high standards needed to get our facility for making CBD topicals certified as an OTC maker. That means the FDA has certified that our equipment and procedures meet the strict standards to make over-the-counter quality products. The truth is, this is rare in the CBD industry. It’s time-consuming and a challenge, but one we accepted gladly.
Find the right testing lab
Not all lab testing is created equal. My work in laboratories taught me that pay-to-play laboratories and in-house lab testing do exist and are more common than you may want to think. (This amounts to grading your homework!) We have our ingredients and whole finished products tested for quality by an independent laboratory. For the sake of transparency, we put a QR code leading to the results on every package to give our customers peace of mind.
Related: It’s High Time To Clean Up The CBD Industry
Protect the customer
Our company’s mission is to help each person find the healthiest version of themselves through the power of plants. We have never treated CBD as a fad, always as a wellness product. I believe that more brands need to adopt this mindset for the industry to gain greater acceptance among consumers. Real third-party laboratory testing, proprietary formulations, and American-farmed hemp are all about protecting consumers, and spreading awareness, understanding, and a greater acceptance of CBD and hemp overall.