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Marc Burbidge on entering the CBD industry and predictions for 2022

Marc has over twelve years of experience in the industry and is incredibly proud of what he has achieved with B3 Labs

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CBD: A profile of CEO Marc Burbidge

CBD innovator Marc Burbidge speaks to Cannabis Wealth about his experience of entering the industry, using CBD for pain relief and his predictions for the industry in 2022.

B3 Labs is a premium white label CBD company in the UK that specialise in producing unique products for their clients. The company was started by Marc Burbidge who has over 12 years of experience in the cannabis sector. He developed a passion and deep knowledge about CBD after he struggled with a shoulder injury that meant he was using opioids to cope with the pain.

B3 recently became the first CBD product manufacturer in the UK and Europe to be awarded a Brand Reputation Compliance Global Standards (BRCGS) certification twice. The BRCGS certification was awarded to the company in October this year. It acts as the gold standard in food product manufacturing, including CBD.

Marc has personal experience of how cannabinoids may help with pain. He quickly recognised the potential of CBD, different strains and terpenes to benefit health. He used his experience as a starting point for learning more about the plant, strains and developing B3 Labs.

“When I was eighteen, my shoulder started to dislocate leading to an operation when I was 21. However, after that, it started to dislocate regularly even in my sleep. I would be given gas and air for a couple of hours or injected with morphine. I was also given propofol which is an anaesthetic.

“I was pumped full of painkillers like naproxen, morphine and all of these weird things. During the hardest moments in my life, that was happening twice a week. I was living off opioid painkillers while doing a very straining job as a store manager working 60 hours a week with two children at home.”

CBD, herbs and help

While Marc was a CBD consumer, he also relied on THC as well. He began to develop an interest in cannabis cultivation, genetics and strains. He wanted to develop high CBD cultivars which had enough THC in them to replace morphine in terms of pain relief.

He said: “Psychologically, they were causing me a lot of anxiety and depression at times especially the morphine. Opioids don’t agree with me in the slightest and I would feel absolutely awful. This was happening once or twice a week where I’m on a seesaw of opioids and drugs as well as having three operations in my late 20s. One of which was a full shoulder reconstruction.

“I studied herbal medicine which took me down the route where I made the decision to follow my dreams to study cannabis. That takes me to where I am now, making products with CBD and herbs.”

B3 Labs offer a comprehensive collection of products including their unique tincture blends. They offer a range of tinctures that utilise the benefits of different terpenes including myrcene, citral and limonene.

Marc also wanted to have more options than just cannabis flowers and smoking. He wanted to develop other mechanisms such as tinctures or vaping devices. Ultimately, he wanted to find a cleaner method of consuming either CBD or THC at the right ratio without the combustion element.

This led to his development of e-liquids, different types of distillate carts, types of emulsions and tinctures. He began building different terpene blends to go into products with various cannabinoid ratios for energy or relaxation.

“I was introduced to the managing director of a subsidiary of a pharmaceutical company looking to move into the CBD space. I built their CBD division from scratch doing research, development analytics, quality management and manufacturing for six months.”

Marc Burbidge: how I built my CBD brand

CBD industry challenges

Marc felt the time and experience was valuable but it left him wanting to take on more of his own work. He began consulting for other companies before approaching investors to start building his own company.

While he had technical knowledge about the plant and the development of different products, the CBD space can be difficult to navigate. Regulations around different products or ingredients, marketing restrictions and the introduction of novel foods have made it an ever-changing challenge.

Marc said: “It’s been challenging for all of us in terms of building the knowledge, having good people around the company and the right team to get a good novel food strategy in place. The biggest challenge that we find is the delay in the release of the list because when you spent a lot of money on stability testing and regulatory work then it creates a cash void.

“You input a lot of time, energy and money into doing this where you hope your clients can trade freely. Many of the clients we work with have listings waiting to go live but the whole thing gets put on pause. Ultimately, you are running a business waiting for this moment in time to come but you don’t know when.”

The delay to the list going public has a further effect on business plans, forecasting and managing cash flows. All of which businesses have to juggle while waiting for confirmation. While most brands are very realistic about the need to have more regulations in place, they do have concerns about how it has been implemented and the delays.

Marc explained: “I am in support of what the FSA is doing around novel foods but I would like to see more understanding about full-spectrum products work and how people can benefit from these. How can we as a nation bring more legality to full-spectrum products because, in my experience, they benefit people more.”

There are more challenges for businesses than just the introduction of novel foods. COVID, lockdowns and Brexit have created an incredibly difficult environment for brands to navigate. While Marc acknowledges that COVID has been challenging due to staff shortages when you are running a manufacturing facility, he says investing in people can also be tough.

“Another challenge is building a business quickly with the right structure and way of working. You go from being a startup to a company that turns over a couple of million pounds by its second year of trading. That means you have to hire a lot of people who may not have the necessary skills or qualifications but you build or mould people into what you hope they can become.

“Growing this team together has been an absolute pleasure. My background in coaching and developing people was number one on my agenda at all times. I wanted to be able to carry that philosophy through. It’s challenging but also hugely rewarding.”

Marc is incredibly proud of his team and what he has achieved in the industry. He feels emotional at the thought of how he has built a brand from scratch when he was told at the beginning it wouldn’t work.

“Seeing the things I was so passionate about becoming a reality when almost every person I knew told me it wouldn’t work. There were challenges on the way but seeing it come to fruition and our clients using my products and selling to a broader range of consumers is incredible.”

He concluded: “When I stop to think about it, it takes me aback and makes me quite emotional.”

Marc Burbidge: how I built my CBD brand

CBD predictions

When it comes to industry trends for next year, Marc believes it will be the year where terpenes and blends become important, along with CBG.

“When I came into the industry, it was all about herbs, terpenes and different cannabinoids for me. When I spoke about this, people looked at me like I was a bit odd but this is exactly what’s happening now.

“Another key area will be the innovation in encapsulations, increased bioavailability and potentially more growth in the drinks. That’s where I see the industry wanting to go but whether the regulatory framework will allow it to go there is another question.”

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Cannabis Trades Association now under new leadership

The UK Cannabis Trades Association has appointed a new executive director.

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Cannabis Trades Association now under new leadership
Home » Leadership » Marc Burbidge on entering the CBD industry and predictions for 2022

The Cannabis Trades Association (CTA) has appointed Marika Graham-Woods as its new executive director.

Graham-Woods was voted in by the CTA board in November as executive director. 

The trade body is Europe’s largest representing the interests of the cannabis and hemp industry, and the only Association formed to work with Government to create a legal and sustainable European cannabis industry.

Graham-woods brings specialist experience in strategic international marketing and market development as well as business growth and change leadership.

The CTA stated: “Over the last year we have become an outward looking organisation which exists to support our members, and their businesses by opening up the Hemp and Cannabis Markets in the UK, EU and further afield.

“The UK markets are set to open rapidly with legislative changes during 2022. The CTA is at the centre of these changes helping to remove the legal barriers to hemp and cannabis markets and enact legislative change.”

Speaking in a public post, Graham-Woods, stated: “I am the new Executive Director for the CTA, and together with my fellow Executive Director Sian Phillips we are changing the CTA together. I was elected to my role at the end of November…

“The CTA is forming the Industrial Hemp Marketing Board to organise and market growers, production facilities and the products that vertical integrated markets needs eh building materials and bio-fuels.”

In July 2021, the body struck a deal with a local UK authority, Oxfordshire County Council, to help it navigate regulations – a relationship is known as a primary authority partnership.

The partnership was formed due to Novel Food regulations on CBD products  – for which the Foods Standards Agency, recently announced local authorities will need to ramp up efforts of enforcement as applications make their way through the approval process. 

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“Every milestone we go through as a business gives me a moment of pride.”

Matthew Anderson shares his journey from marketing to the CBD wellness space with the launch of his new business, RAIN.

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RAIN: CBD pens

Matthew Anderson, managing director of RAIN speaks to Cannabis Wealth about his start in the CBD industry.

Matthew was inspired to enter the CBD industry after it was recommended to him during a stressful period in his life. As he began to feel more relaxed, he wondered if there was a way he could combine his marketing skills with wellness products.

“I tried CBD after a friend gave it to me to help me with how stressful things were at the time. I had no experience with CBD and zero knowledge about it other than it was related to cannabis. It blew me away and I was surprised by how much it helped me,” he said.

“That was the beginning of my curiosity on a purely personal level. I began to realise that the career I was in wasn’t sustainable in a lot of ways. I had been interested in wellness and the area of CBD was becoming something I was interested in.”

By chance, Matthew was introduced to Harry Jameson, the personal trainer and wellness consultant. Together they developed the idea for RAIN. The brand launched in 2021 with a selection of three products including their RAIN cloud CBD pen, a balm and a candle. The candle is described as containing a “fragrance contains only non-synthetic essential oils which evoke delicious notes of the cannabinoid sensory experience… without unnerving the neighbours.”

RAIN founder Matthew

Why RAIN?

Matthew explained the reason behind the name. “We liked it as it is symbolic of renewal. Cleanse the old and tend the new is our line which is what rain does. It embraces the natural world which is what the brand is about. Everything we do is 100 per cent natural in terms of ingredients in our products, even our pens.”

The signature product for the brand is their CBD pen which contains 40 per cent of high-quality broad-spectrum CBD with a carefully selected array of terpenes. The pen has a citrus flavour and contains terpenes such as linalool, citral and terpinolene. The pen design is sleek and it can fit easily into a pocket or handbag.

“Our RAIN CLOUD sums up the real essence of the opportunity we saw. On a formulation level, we saw the chance to make a product that is genuinely cleaner than others by using the best ingredients. The vape industry was lacking an elegant beautiful device as vapes were traditionally clunky, big devices.”

RAIN: A CBD candle from the company RAIN

Marketing RAIN

With his background in marketing, Matthew has a head start on how to position the brand or advertise. But, the CBD industry is a difficult one to advertise in due to restrictions and now, social media bans.

Matthew said: “Social media is not our friend in the way it is to a lot of brands at our stage. It is the go-to marketing channel for early-stage consumer business and there is no getting around that. We would like it to be for us as well and we can do that but to a very limited extent. We can’t put any money behind paid marketing on a lot of platforms.”

He added: “It can be incredibly frustrating when you are trying to figure out a strategy, how to scale or grow your business. You may not have the money to put into traditional advertising channels and PR isn’t a cheap thing to do either.”

RAIN: CBD balm

As with a lot of brands, the changing nature of the CBD industry has had an impact on the products Matthew and Harry have decided to launch. The novel foods regulations have meant they decided not to launch an oil.

“The novel foods regulations have been the biggest headache for the business. We would have had a sublingual oil on the market were it not for that regulation. It has been a big frustration for us. We refocused what we wanted to do and hopefully one day we can make a product like that.”

RAIN is Matthew’s first business and as a result, he feels incredibly proud about what he has achieved. He has been delighted by the success of the business but feels that the reaction from customers has made it even more worthwhile

“As it’s my first business, every achievement is cool. The fact that people wanted to put their hard-earned money into the business I run is something in itself. Then there is having a business which is on the shelves in shops, including Selfridges as well, he said.

“The most meaningful thing has been the customers who love the products. The feedback has been phenomenal. We really believe in our products like our balm. We’ve had people find it incredibly useful for things like arthritis and I use it when I play tennis.”

“On a professional level, just about every milestone, we go through as a business gives me a moment of pride.”

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Productive start to 2022 for Apollon Formularies

The company has secured new agreements, confirmed the renewal of licenses and has appointed a new non-executive director.

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Productive start to 2022 for Apollon Formularies

After ending 2021 initiating the treatment of cancer patients in Jamaica, UK-based Apollon Formularies has continued with a productive start to 2022.

International medical cannabis company Apollon Formularies has announced the appointment of Roderick Claude McIllree as a non-executive director of the company.

McIllree, who was instrumental in bringing the company to the AQSE Growth Market via a reverse takeover in April 2021, has advised, funded and run public companies across multiple global exchanges in several sectors for more than 20 years. He has specific experience in technology, mining, international logistics and finance.

The news follows announcements across January 2022, including the renewal of its licenses in Jamaica which will enable the company to operate its new pharmaceutical processing laboratory, as well as to operate consumer dispensaries and provide spa services. It also announced the signing of new agreements with Jamaica’s Cannabis License Authority (CLA) licensed cultivators allowing access to high-quality flower, working with Jamaican farmers.

CEO of Apollon, Stephen Barnhill, MD, commented: “We are delighted to welcome Rod to the Board as a non-executive director.”

McIllree currently owns ordinary shares in the Apollon, representing approximately 29.06 per cent of the issued share capital.

“Rod, a significant shareholder in the company, has a long-established career with a demonstrable record of growing small-cap companies and creating shareholder value of many business ventures over a long career,” continued Barnhill.

“He brings a wealth of financial and directorial experience to the team, and I look forward to working with him as we move our business towards the global rollout of Apollon’s product range and medical expertise to supportive jurisdictions.”

Currently charmian of AIM-listed Bluejay Mining Plc., McIllree has been a long-time advisor to, and investor in, Apollon. The company has stated that it believed his appointment strengthens its board at a time that the company expects to experience significant growth.

In July 2021, Apollon announced results of third-party independent testing of its medical cannabis formulations, which demonstrated they were effective in killing hormone-resistant and hormone-sensitive prostate cancer cells in 3D cell cultures. 

McIllree commented: “Apollon is an excellent example of utilising research and development to help improve people’s lives. 

“The compelling results of Apollon’s formulations killing cancer cells in 3D-cell culture and the upcoming opening of the International Cancer and Chronic Pain Institute in Jamaica are important milestones for the company and offers outstanding potential on many fronts. 

“I look forward to working with Dr Barnhill and the wider Apollon team at this exciting time for growth as the company looks to execute on the various business partnership opportunities becoming available.”

Apollon expects to appoint further high-profile directors to the board in the coming month.

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