Utah company launches hemp oil product line
posted on Monday, 19 January 2015
Recreational marijuana may not be legal in Utah, but a Utah County business is betting on demand for products touting the medicinal benefits of cannabis plants.
Orem-based Dose of Nature announced on Thursday the launch of a cannabidiol or CBD product line made from industrial hemp extract.
CEO Richard Richardson said the company has already received orders from customers in Utah and the product is shelved and "ready to go."
"It has some amazing anti-pain, anti-inflammatory, anti-anxiety benefits, but without any kind of high," Richardson said. "It doesn't put you to sleep. It calms you down. It allows you to deal with things."
Dose of Nature refines and purifies a hemp paste — newly available from marijuana plants grown outside the country — into a concentrated oil that Richardson says is as potent as medical cannabidiol.
A 2-ounce vial of essential oil — what the company calls a "Nano CBD Chaser Sample Pack" — sells for $69.95.
But one parent who pushed for the state's law allowing marijuana-based CBD treatments says she is unlikely to use Dose of Nature's products.
Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy co-founder Jennifer May said legal hemp extract products typically do not contain sufficient amounts of CBD.
Commercial CBD oil, like the Dose of Nature line, can be helpful for people with a number of ailments, including less-severe cases of epilepsy, May said. But for her child, who experiences as many as 40 seizures a day, a treatment of commercial CBD would cost thousands of dollars each month.
May compared CBD to other medicines, where a low dose can be purchased over the counter but larger doses require a prescription.
"You can buy enough oil to dose that high, but you'd have to consume more oil, which isn't always ideal, and it would be very expensive," she said.
Another challenge facing Dose of Nature, Richardson acknowledges, is a misunderstanding of hemp-based products.
Laws regulating the sale of CBD are complex and Dose of Nature's location places it in a community where many potential customers are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which encourages abstinence from recreational drugs including marijuana.
While hemp extract is not technically THC-free, Richardson said, the THC levels are low enough to comply with federal restrictions and too low to produce a high in users.
"The legality is one thing and what we find in Utah is the morality is a whole other thing," he said. "We try hard to educate people as to what it is and everyone has a different take on it."
According to Richardson, products like the Dose of Nature line are legal because they are made from cannabis plants grown outside the United States. The plants are then converted into hemp extract and stripped of THC, the psychoactive element in marijuana, before entering the country.
"Any imported hemp oil is treated very different from locally grown marijuana," he said.
Once in Utah, Richardson said, the extract is purified to remove the harsh flavor of hemp paste and create a concentrated oil that maximizes the beneficial properties of CBD.