June 17, 2021

Ashley On - How to Make Cannabis Oil Water Soluble with Keith Woelfel

Ashley On - How to Make Cannabis Oil Water Soluble with Keith Woelfel

When making cannabis foods & beverages, water solubility is a very important consideration with regards certainly to beverages, but also when one is seeking to deliver speed and consistency of absorption and effect.  Keith Woelfel, R&D Director at Stillwater Brands and a 20+ year veteran of Mars/Wrigley joins us to discuss.  


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Hello and welcome to the show today, we're talking cannabis in CBD water solubility.


So most of you probably know cannabis is an oil oil and water don't mix well


together. So when you put a cannabis beverage together takes a lot of expertise to do it, right? And


to do it in a healthy manner. So today we're talking to Keith woeful, who's a director of R&D.


For Stillwater Brands, they make Ripple here in Colorado, as well as caliper


CBD. Keith is a 20 plus year veteran of Mars Wrigley.


Where he was in product development and Confections and Health Nutrition Venture


group and Keith's.


Got several patents for functional foods, Beverages and confectionery products under way.


We worked together in the past, it's still water. He's a great guy, this is a great episode and very informative around.


You know what the key factors are to consider when you're thinking about cannabis and water solubility, enjoy


the show. Thank you.


Take a seat. How are you long time? No.


See, good. How are you doing? Well can hear me, okay? It's gonna be okay.


Oh, good, thanks for taking the time today, also appreciate it, appreciate the opportunity on it.


Absolutely. So I like to just kind of dive in to these things.


So if your game why don't you give us a little bit of an introduction to yourself and


then we'll just go from there. Sure. But it's Keith bowl full of directive already over a caliper Foods a little


bit about my background.


And now five years. But in the Cannabis industry, prior to that, I worked for product development.


Has been my passion, all my life. I worked for 20 years for more chocolate, on little brands on big Brands cocoa,


flavanols health, and wellness background is food through and through, I


come from a family of Engineers for better for worse.


It creates how I think as far as product and food coming together to me, they are highly integrated.


So product design and process design. And for me, what got me into make the big leap five


years ago?


Go is I have, I've always had a passion for functional foods


and also had a passion for Health Center, Health and Wellness.


So seeing where in the earliest days where cannabis can be seen as


a functional food. I found incredibly intriguing and seeing all the entrepreneur


opportunities that were starting to pop up, particularly in Colorado, back as


early as 2016 was actually 2014 watching a space.


So that


Is what drove me to make the big leap from basically Corporate America into the Cannabis


space. That's a great key, thank you.


And you're very humble, but I've worked with Keith in the past and keys


top-notch, as you know, smart as they come in the Cannabis industry.


So thank you for joining us today. Keith just to start out.


I mean I most people that are listening probably understand that cannabis is an oil


and that when you try to make oil and water, it doesn't really work out too well.


Maybe not everybody understands that. So can you talk to us about like, what is water


solubility? And is that even the right term? But just, let's talk about that.


Sure, if you want to get technical, it's midst of a little water versus fully soluble


in water, but what we're seeing is


Salad. Dressing is a great example. We have oil and water when they don't mix soil, layer arise


right to the top and you have to stick my herbal oil. Maybe all the water soluble phase on the bottom, to make


something water soluble and water compatible and water.


Miscible is taking the oil phase and make it so mixes nice and evenly


within the water phase and when it's properly, mix them properly done.


What you do is you create fat droplets that are wrapped, tiny, little fat droplets


that are wrapped around with Anna.


Sapphire and the emulsifier has a fat loving region to it, and it has a water-loving


region to it. And if you will, it almost acts like a, it brings the two surfaces


together, and it gives it fully emulsified.


So, that's the role we most virus anything. You see, its water soluble all water.


Saw components have to have some sort of emulsifier nerve to they take the work if


there's something a label that leaves out the emulsifier and what you see a lot of times in a space,


it's not that they figured out some


Eric ingredient or magic pixie dust that goes in there.


Just not it's not being labeled. So again, to make it water soluble, you need fat water and


it will speier. So that makes sense.


Why is it I guess? Obviously if you're trying to make a beverage right clearly


water solubility makes sense but beyond that what why is water solubility important to cannabis?


So some products you just can't make it work without water soluble.


So if you wanted to do a CV DT,


Your thct, for example, or even coffee, you need a water soluble


component to bring the THC or cabin noise into the beverage phase.


Otherwise, it's going to be stuck or trapped the Tea Leaf or stalker trap to the coffee.


Like going to take up, so you just will not work.


You can actually put it in the tea bag or put in a coffee cup and to keep K-Cup, you're just not gonna get into the product.


So fundamentally you will not have a product that performs the consumers.


we're also seeing based on clinical research,


Is you got a fundamental benefit of making cabin noise water soluble.


And the benefit is actually twofold, you get much, much more rapid absorption and you're typically


get more of it so you get more absorption as well.


And it really a third effect is most of it tends to bypass the liver.


So you get direct absorption for a small test into the bloodstream.


So for something like Delta nine, you're absorbing delta-9 in its water


based format if it's in its fat.


Based format. What you see is typically is going to be a much stronger


or much delayed effects instead of being absorbed in 20 or 30 or 40 minutes is that the absorbed in two


to three hours so much later, much lesser.


But then it does another thing which isn't necessary, favorable, when it finally does get absorbed, it


gets processed by the liver. Delta 9 gets converted to Delta XI.


Delta XI is much more potent so when it hits you it hits your harder so is the opposite of a smooth




So, there is one of the kind of a late punch, the late punch, exactly


versus smooth predictable onset. So there is one of the big benefits of water soluble.


It's more predictable. It's faster, it's smoother, onset.


And so talk talk about that research a little bit.


I know you guys have been leaders in this and I give all the credit to you guys for doing that


in a Land of, you know, no research at all, you're bringing forward, you know, actual science




help us understand this. What have you found with regards to that? So


actually it isn't. Yeah, we're on our now, our fourth pharmacokinetic study, and what we're finding


is again, the consistency that faster that water soluble components can be absorbed


within sort, being absorbed within 10 minutes, so that's great.


So for example, if you want


Your want. If you're drinking coffee, you want the effects of caffeine? Now, not three hours from now,


so, we'll see that consistently water-based faster absorbs.


The other thing that's been very fascinating to see, is the inter person, variability has been phenomenal


to see. So, if you give 10 people the same exact product and


then you measure the pharmacokinetics, you're you're measuring how much blood is getting absorbed


the measuring at different time, pool. So x 0,


10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes all the way up and you'll see all 10 people in the room, taking


the exact same dose. The exact same product on the exact same conditions fasting,


the whole nine yards, you'll see very different profiles person, the person.


Well, and that is, we're seeing a quite a bit for both THC and


CBD. So the next thing on our community you're so you're controlling for fasting,


right? So you're taking that out of the equation and you're still seeing this.


Absolutely, that's why I had to


Are vigorous in your control. So like, you know, 12 hour, fast 44 day, prior


absences of any cannabinoids and


What you have to do to do the research properly is have to do what's called a crossover design.


So, if we're looking at, if you're testing, five different products on, say 15 different




each of the fifteen people have to try the product.


One per week after crossover design and this way it helps wash out or normalize


the data, and it helps take to account all the incredible differences person to person to person for variability


and we could do a design like that. When all 15 people, try all five different products


over the course of five different weeks, then you can start, teasing out the data statistically, and really start


seeing Trend analysis on what's Happening for fat based versus water based and understanding different


formulas. For example, how fast how much they improves?


Absorption rates. So, wow.


So you are you going down the path of? You know, I won't call it personalized dosing


but more, you know, you could get into like groupings, right? You could say, like, if you're this type of person you,


here's the here's the Cannabis that you should consume if you're worried about or you get a


better reaction faster versus slower.


Yeah, you can almost Envision that if you could group people to say what is considered the Knoll absorption,


then you have other factors of other populations, that are we


say, different herbs, all right? And can you cross them, tailor products to the


either subgroup would be interesting, the other things and be really fascinating find out what are


the key drivers and Equipment Health? That's changing it is it genetics


was a combination of both and we believe right now with their eyes is a combination of


Of so bottom of the Derrick's, that's amazing.


So you have more of these continuing and planned.


I'm assuming or these studies. We do.


We pretty far along right now on a pharmacokinetic study


on Edibles for THC.


So, 10 milligram servings looking at different gummies, different products that are fast,


acting different ones that are fat based, and it also looking at dissolvable is as well.


And I'm looking at the characterizing, how


Well, these things are being absorbed, how fast are being absorbed.


And one of the benefits on is to your point.


Actually, is, what do you do with this information? Well, one thing you can do with is very powerful.


Is it helps you design products that overall are more effective for consumers.


And you can understand because it's some of the stuff is conventional.


Wisdom doesn't always hold true. So for example, there is a and I'm going to put


in a little bit of an error quote, there's a myth out there that if you make a nano motion smaller




We better. So the Smalley make the Emulsion the faster the better pretty good absorb and that is a very strong


very well pervasive theory in the industry but the more


continuing to investigate that it's a myth that's it in humans, it's


a factor. It's not the factor Mother Nature is not that simple.


It doesn't work that one Magic Bullet but it comes down to finding is you type emulsifiers after you very


big factor so it's a combination of size and more.




And if you start thinking about it makes sense, right? If you do One Transport in small intestines


across the intestinal wall lining into the bloodstream, you need


either. Remember the emulsifier is what wraps around, right? Your CBD or THC


droplet and you're going to want something that transports through small tested into


your bloodstream. So that surface William Olsen how well it works within the body's chemistry


is what helps to pull through. I'm thinking like I'm seeing like


- right well like as a metaphor, right? You if you guess, if it's sticking to your


insides, then it's probably not going to be going where it needs to go.


Right? The right. The right pace. Yeah, exactly.


And then what happens is if you don't absorb it, you're not gonna get the benefits.


And, you know, just flat-out excreted, right? You disappointed in the product Choice.


Exactly. So, you know, you guys work on the Stillwater Brands here in Colorado.


And you also have your caliper CBD products.


What can you tell us?


About those without getting, you know, into proprietary, you know to too far.


But what can you tell us about those products as far as how you guys go about doing water, solubility.


So the water cycle, we we treated as platform technology and


you really to make this oversimplify, you have two sets of


end products. One is taking any cannabinoid.


Weatherby CBD, THC, CBN, CBG, agnostic,


that point, make it water soluble and then go one of two ways.


It become a liquid concentrate. It


It all the needs that has for that. So could be bad to say Celsius or other products like that.


So that is it unique for factors what we're concentrating.


All design factors that go to it. You're very different if you take that same liquid concentrate.


And if you dry down to a powder and now you have a very different form factor that could be say, like a ready


to mix product or something like ripples like caliper so, all the


Technologies stem ultimately from one of those two form factors is


going to be a liquid. That's going to


Have say a year shelf life in a product that could have another year shelf life.


So two years and is it going into something that might be an aluminum? Can they have to worry about scalloping


absorption of canline or call that, right? Or is it something that's going to be made into a powder that you need to


really emphasize cold water solubility? For example, at all the design


attributes that go into that both product or process, to create the a benefit to Consumers,


So what how is it different what you guys do versus? You


know, say somebody that may claim you've done the research clearly to show, but what


can you tell us about the process that that you think is the reason why you know you're having different results


to maybe other people or maybe what makes your your process more attractive? A


lot of people underestimate.


How challenging going to be to make a very good Emulsion, that tastes good.


And is is actually physically and chemically stable Emulsion and the only way


to know that is truly by Design and validation models, and putting the work


and energy and Science in there to really get down to the molecular level, and really understand how the formulation


and the process of working together to create something that's truly stable and functional.


You'll see a lot of emotions


The marketplace. It's not only just in cannabis, in other functional foods, the emotions themselves actually inherently


unstable. So you'll see, poor solubility and some of the detriments


of course, I ability besides everything settling out in the bottom of the container.


For example, if you're not getting good homogeneity of the actual product to Consumers, you


also see things like the term is scalloping.


When the Emulsion, you gets loose or starts getting a done.


So longer tight Emulsion actually starts


Lily be coming undone. It'll stick to the side of the can, so the actual product itself


that is in the can, or into beverage isn't leaving.


So you're not getting, you're not consuming it.


So, again, I think what makes us different and anybody in a space whose


wants to be, due diligence have a good product is really looking deep into the science,


from the formulation and a product.


When you're converting it, making the product and then taking it further,


And looking through really due diligence on shelf life and really understanding, the product form


factor, how consumers are using it.


So, stinking, all right through. So, from supply chain to conversion, process, to validation


to, how consumers are using it, really making sure it's delivering what's intended to deliver to Consumers


and how, I know, you know, even when we were working together, a couple years ago,


you were just getting started on a lot of the shelf life testing for some of the the caliper base.


Products, I believe in Ripple based products.


What, what have you learned since that time, from terms of shelf life? I've


learned quite a bit as a rule of thumb.


Cvd is very stable, THC is stable but not as stable.


So THC will tend to oxidize to CBN at a much faster rate and something


like CB day. So an Apples to Apples comparison.


It's easier to get a one or two year shelf-life out of a CD based product.


Th see, it will get harder to do.


All the rules of thumb is cannabinoids as a whole like


the higher acid products. So lower pH, they are more stable as you move


away from those ranges and we use volcanic, ash water.


As an example, that's like, a pH of 8.8, in a clear bottle, there is an enormous


amount of challenges there to actually put a product in there.


Say, 25 milligrams of CPD, put on a store shelf.


And what consumers pick that up, three months later actually have anything.


At all some huge challenges. They are so really learn some of the world


of the mother nature effects.


So we will of cannabinoids of what's things that they are the most happiest to stable


in versatile too unstable. You'll see some of the rules of thumb that applied to say the beverage industry for beer.


Also apply for for for cannabinoids.


So things like the effect of light effect of heat creates all flavors


and beer. So same thing with cannabinoids you started you get those factors and


They're saying clear beverages for example, be careful, you can have for product that was


freshly made it and you come back. Six months later off the shelf and you're getting inherent silkiness and color


changes and flavor changes. Yeah, and I know you, I know you guys are really


big on the quality of the ingredients that you're using, right to create the, you


know, that's something that I think a lot of people Overlook in the Cannabis industry.


Most people that are that are buying these sorts of Premium products, they're the type of folks that don't really


want to dream.


Consuming chemicals, right? And so, how do you what types of things


do you guys do? I know, or what should folks look out for for from other products? That


that might be indicators that there's chemicals present, Ashley.


That's a multi-part question. The, but


we do is we start the basics.


I mean, everything we work with has to be grassless is so generally recognized as safe ingredients, so


it's got


To be intended for food, use surprise Stillness space that there's some smaller companies


that are sourcing ingredients from from professional places.


There's no reason for that. So everything is Source has to be should be legit from sourcing from like


we strongly prefer working for with the a much larger manufacturers.


Who themselves also have really strong quality programs in place, right?


So that's the first part really sourcing like we will not source with from you


really try to avoid sourcing from any smaller


Cities that have, they can't do the full traceability.


They can't show the full CMAs. They can't show all the due diligence on are n for G and Pete's.


So that's the first sign Point. Really, who you're partnering up with the raw materials? Other


part that we are adamant about is a label like label, this like it's truly


regulated by the FDA, right, work in a future state, where


everything that is in your product is on the label.


And I think that's super, super important because we're still at an interest-based, we're since it's not


regulated enough yet from a, from a compliance standpoint, many


manufacturers are taking a lot of Liberties on how they label their product and they're intentionally leaving


off that the emulsifiers that are being used for other ingredients or taking some very creative


labor was in there. And


Yeah, I plan on a great with that. I mean, you need to be very strict on how you label.


You make sure all the allergens are present or properly labeled and all the nutritional and


anything that goes in that product has to be able to label by and I you done using,


I use what it will be used by the FDA standards in standard food and beverage products.


So, that's the. So as a two-part question, there are two part answer, we


start with supply chain and we work with very legitimate companies,


It's because I think anybody's been in this business for a while.


It's only a matter of time. When you work, with some work with the wrong players, on the raw material side,


you're gonna get thrown a curve ball. That's going to cause you a lots of headaches.


And I'm going to use an example where we wound up and this is briefly looking.


We never use that. We did enough quality.


Assurance programs are front, the catch this. Something as simple as using a sugar type of


compound, which would be very generic.


We went off shores. Just to see if they could provide like they said it could and


I can't tell you enough how this was a big company, they had all the CMAs in place at all the technical


data in place, yet the product failed miserably.


So there's something with a talk about 99% Purity.


I couldn't tell us what that other 1% impurities were, and it causes lots of issues.


So for us is a rule of thumb, going to go with the bigger.


Well established players on a supply chain. Well, that's good.


Advice you mentioned something earlier.


I want to go back to that. It was interesting. You, it was out of the the science that you guys are pursuing


around absorption that you're actually with the process that you're deploying


for for water.


Solubility is actually increasing the absorption of the cannabinoids versus other Delivery


Systems. Is that? Do I have that correct? Absolutely Ashley, it's not uncommon to see anywhere from


2 3, 4 5 x total increase in concentration by making it water soluble,


you know?


Have you compared that to other types of water-soluble processes yet?


Yes. Yes.


And I'm going to give you a rule of thumb. Okay, what we're seeing and it's not a lot of clinical


research yet in Edibles in a space is very, very


few out there that are published so doing the research right now


is considered cutting-edge were Leading Edge, right? So looking


at different emulsifiers


We've seen.


We've seen emulsifiers become not predictive.


So you think one would work well and the other one would work well.


So we see differences in say our products and some competitor products.


I just finished looking at some data on a, another company, I was making


some very aggressive claims on how well something was water-soluble and they


have no data to back their claim and on


a side to side comparison, the difference was drastic so at the


Say early absorption Mark, and this is all about being fast absorbing.


Once again a 200% increase in rate of absorption just different something.


So it's not, that's where I was tending to digging to, right? It's not necessarily water


solubility. Quote, unquote, that's driving this.


It's how, it's How It's Made, how the process of water.


Solubility is just as important as it being water soluble.


It sounds packaged exactly. Actually, it's everything coming together.


It's, it's what type of


Most fire using, how you actually putting it together and processing it.


Yeah, they all men. Even down to the details of what ratio of ingredients are using within emulsifiers,


so this must be tough. I'm just thinking putting myself back into, you know, back when we


used to work together, you know, it for your marketing and sales leads to


explain this right too, because I'm sure they've got their fighting with, you know, the low-cost


provider out there, who's coming in and saying, I'll get water solubility and we got a clean, right? This probably is


Causes they can get. How are you educating folks around this?


I Know It's Tricky.


Surprisingly Ashley. There's been a lot of interest from especially the larger clients


but the clients in the science behind what's making a good water soluble Emulsion.


So there's a lot interested in and it has been, I mean, balance in the clinical research


has gotten more attention from customers and I ever would have expected because


they see that due diligence science behind it actually begs.


A lot of questions on their end that they come with questions first.


Having it almost becomes a pull from


Universe has a push on the science.


It's great to be talking to you about it again.


And, you know, when we were working together before we this was just all coming to get you just getting started,


right? And it was, it was a night was going from an idea into implementation and here we are


with actual results and it's fantastic.


I thank you for taking the time to share this with you.


Is there anything you'd like to share anything? I didn't ask about that.


You want to kind of get the word out or what people should look for with water solubility or something,


maybe new on the horizon.


Spell sort of studies that are on the rise and is going Beyond just pharmacokinetics


and start looking at effects. So, for example, if I'm taking CBD for relaxation or for sleep,


does it really work? Can I prove it works? How much do I need right now? Looking into that, we


are going into a multi-state expansion, so moving into the state of Michigan next,


so we'll be ready to go. Set up a new Factory and set up everything in the fall.


Oh, and I think the other thing that's good to know about getting name, out, is


we license our technology to the green, organic, Dutchman, Upper Canada.


So t, god, and they are also selling Ripple and gummies.


And some of our new quick sticks which is director Tom products.


Its water. So as well. So what's nice to see is the product


format starting to get out down at each see, Rita in different areas, so North in Canada, and


into Michigan.


Next. And then the CBD space continues to get more and more in the direct consumer.


Potentially on cadenas channels, like a circle object.


For example. Yeah. Congratulations on that too.


By the way, that's that's good stuff. Thank you. Well Keith thank you for your time today.


It was great catching up with you again and I'd love to maybe catch up off off the


air sometime soon and maybe have lunch and talk about how things are going.


Sounds great. Ashley. Thank you again. Alright, be well, Keith take care.


Have a good one.