Cannabis Wealth speaks to David Molloy, founder of DNACBD™, about his start in the industry and his unique dosage table that helps customers find their perfect purchase.
David’s introduction to cannabis is an unusual story. Following an injury where he broke his heel before an international exchange trip to Canada, he became part of a wheelchair basketball team.
“I had crutches for nine months, and while I was over there, I was going shopping using a motorised cart when a lady on a Zimmer frame with hip impingements approached me. She was the manager of the Canadian wheelchair basketball team, and she looked after a regional squad called the speed spinners. She asked if I would be interested in playing with them.”
He added: “I had been playing basketball for about 15 years, so that sounded like a dream to me. During the international exchange, I trained with the under 21 development squad for the Canadian wheelchair basketball team whilst playing the regional circuit. I ended up going to the national Paralympics games, competing and winning a bronze medal. The entire experience was life-changing.”
David realised that a lot of the players on the team had a range of different conditions they were trying to manage. Some of the players had cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis or epilepsy along with autism or ADHD. One person had a bacterial disease that was degrading his bone and muscles. David began to notice that a lot of the players were taking medical cannabis. He had been searching for an alternative to pain medication that wouldn’t be too disruptive for his body, in particular his stomach.
He had been working in disability prior to joining the Canadian team for around ten years. David was surprised at the quality of life improvements he saw the players experience. Prior to this, he had been aware of the stigma of cannabis use in sports. He wanted to know more about the plant and what it could offer.
Starting in CBD
Originally from Australia, David decided to move from Canada to the UK. He was interested in starting a business within the CBD space but wanted to learn more first. He joined a CBD brand operated by MPX International Corporation to work in their flagship store in Soho and went on to be their senior educator. As the store sold lots of different brands, formulas and products, he began to notice how confusing the labelling could be for consumers.
“At the time, everyone was calling all whole plant oils full spectrum. I don’t think a lot of brands knew what to label things and people, as well as staff, had to learn the difference between broad or full spectrum. The labelling has improved dramatically since then in line with increasing education.”
He added: “I would have customers ask about having drug tests and THC in their system. I would contact a brand to say, you have called your product, full-spectrum, can you tell me how much THC is in this? They would say none whatsoever and be proud of that fact. So there was a real confusion between what things were labelled versus what things actually contained.
While David does note that things have improved with education and time, there are still areas for improvement in the industry. This has led to the development of his brand, DNACBD™. The brand offers a range of high-quality CBD oils with clear, concise labelling and a focus on education. The packaging is designed so that a customer can pick it up and read everything they need to know instantly on the back of the product.
David designed an easy to use table that can help with confusion around percentages, strengths or CBD amounts. It makes it easier for customers to see the percentage of CBD in a bottle at one glance rather than having to do complicated math. Perhaps more importantly it works to mitigate any dosing errors when selecting CBD oils.
David explained: “I’ve spoken to a lot of doctors, nutritionists, physiotherapists and medical professionals that were interested in CBD. However, they felt they couldn’t get into it with confidence because of the lack of transparency or clarity. When they tried to figure it out, it presented numerous challenges, time-consuming and sometimes too onerous.” It was clear this needed resolving as soon as possible.
He added: “I would spend half an hour with them explaining it thoroughly. If individuals don’t have the knowledge then they can get misled or tripped up easily because you buy the same strength in a bigger bottle size without understanding that the concentration of CBD is worked out over the volume of the bottle. Causing you to have purchased a CBD oil far more diluted in strength than you had before.”
David highlighted that this is something the industry needs to focus on. As well as educating customers that came into the shop, he spent time with his staff teaching them how to work out what the best value for money was for each customer.
“Ultimately, staff are going to be selling CBD on the high streets and they want to know exactly what they are selling. If they get asked a question about strength and bottle sizes that they don’t know, then it doesn’t look good and the customer loses confidence in CBD because they aren’t getting clear answers,” he said.
David realised that people may not understand the percentage in bottles and mistakenly buy bigger bottles with the same milligram of CBD they are used to as they believe it may be better value for money.
“If I show them the table like the difference between various sizes then you can follow my finger down to see the percentage. So you get an understanding that milligramme is not the measure of strength. Eight out of ten people who walk into the store think that milligramme is the measure of strength and that is going to immediately trip them up.”
David highlighted that this has made training for his staff, and those at other CBD and wellness brands that he works with, much easier. It has given the staff a feeling of confidence when speaking with customers about CBD.
“It’s given them confidence in selling CBD because they have been able to show a customer so they understand more. It’s a way of being a bit more transparent around the space. Everyone has a unique lifestyle or biological factors along with a unique endocannabinoid system or they reside somewhere between acute and chronic disease within the body. If they want to get into a state of homeostasis, then they can show, on the table, where they started, where they experimented and where they ended up.”
He added: “They can confidently know what they are looking for and experiment if they need to. When it comes to people’s health, it’s a pretty important purchase and I wanted to have a way to resolve it.”
Another area that David has worked on to ensure the best possible option for customers is by introducing a graduated dropper for oils.
“Professor Mike Barnes said that for dosing, it was critical to have a graduated dropper to take the guesswork out of the equation. That to me was a call to action to make sure my products had a graduated dropper for precise dosing. I found that customers didn’t want to fill their entire mouths with oil so I designed mine to be higher strength so you can consciously feel it been absorbed.”
David also highlighted that the ink on the droppers can also be a problem.
“The plant is bioaccumulative where it can draw in toxins and heavy metals. I was a bit concerned that the graduated droppers are printed on with lead which is a heavy metal. I don’t want those cannabinoids to be sitting in an environment where they are in contact with that for a long time. Sometimes they can leach or break down and no heavy metal in the human body is a good amount to have,” he said.
He concluded: “From a best practise standpoint, the graduated droppers that I have got use a natural dye. So there is nothing that, if it leached, could be a concern for a customer.”
David also used his background of working within disability groups for inspiration on how to make the DNACBD website more accessible.
“When I was building the website and looking at the type, I realised a lot of the guys I played wheelchair basketball with are visually impaired. A lot of the packaging in the CBD industry had small writing or fine print which can be hard to read. There is a lot of information which is difficult to break down.”
David spoke to the manager of the wheelchair basketball team and she provided some different ways to test websites or text for visual impairment. He selected an award-winning font that was easy to read even with eyesight difficulties. The result is the visually appealing website and DNACBD™ product design.
David is keen to work more with dedicated natural athletes given his background. The table can be used by physiotherapists, elite performance coaches, nutritionists, or those working with athletes to determine what dosage or strength they need and respond to best.
“The table is one of those things that I wanted to provide for anyone. It’s called the DNA CBD Universal Lookup Table. It is meant for the industry, for staff, health care practitioners and ultimately for consumers. It can be downloaded directly from the website.”
DNACBD™ is due to launch soon.
JM Wholesale sees 750 products included on FSA CBD list
The CBD stockist has described the development as a milestone for the company.
Following a partnership with the European Industrial Hemp Association (EIHA) and active participation with the Food Standards Agency (FSA), JM Wholesale has had more than 750 items included on the public CBD list.
Earlier this year the FSA published its list of CBD products linked to what it deems as credible Novel Food applications. Products included on the list will be advancing through the final stages towards authorisation, expected by 2023.
More than 900 applications for thousands of UK products have been submitted for approval, with the majority being rejected for lacking basic information such as toxicity levels.
JM Wholesale has announced that it has now had 750 of its products included on the public list.
Thomas Lowe, operations director at the Leicester-based company, said that, after 200 per cent business growth in the past 18 months and a resulting move to major new premises, JM Wholesale is now perfectly placed to consolidate its position as the UK’s premier CBD wholesaler.
Lowe commented: “We have a larger range of approved CBD products than any other distributor and this moment is another milestone for our company.
“We’ve worked hard to ensure that our customers and our business are protected, by getting rid of any products not published on the FSA’s website, regardless of how big those brands are.
“In fact we’ve always loved finding unique products, including those where the CBD can be absorbed in different ways. That way, more people from different walks of life can enjoy CBD no matter how they prefer to access it.
“From our distribution centre we now provide the largest range of isolate and full spectrum CBD products in the UK, all of which are 100 per cent accepted by the FSA.
“We are the first distributor to add the relevant Novel Food classification numbers to all of our relevant listed products.
“The past few months have been extremely challenging for our industry but we have made efforts to take an active role in the novel food submission process. We anticipated regulation of this industry, we were determined not to let it stand in the way of the growth of our business, and we’ve participated accordingly.
“All in all, this is excellent news for our customers and partners.”
The company has stated that it has experienced rapid growth off the back of increased awareness of the health benefits of CBD products in the UK, and that, alongside its consumer business, it also exports to suppliers in the UK and in 170 countries worldwide.
FSA CBD list now closed for applications
An additional 6000 products added to the Food standards Agency’s (FSA) CBD list.
The FSA has confirmed that the UK’s list of CBD products linked to credible Novel Foods applications is now closed.
The FSA has updated its public list of CBD products that can be marketed in England and Wales, adding almost 6000 products. These are products that are linked to a credible application submitted for authorisation to the FSA, and are not new to the market.
The organisation has confirmed that the public list, which was initially published in March, is now closed and has stated that any further requests to have products put on the public list or evidence sent are no longer being accepted.
The FSA has previously reminded consumers that products on the list will be able to remain on the market as they progress towards final authorisation, but that, although these products are classed as “credible”, it does not guarantee they will be authorised for sale.
Rebecca Sudworth, director of policy at the FSA, stated: “This has been a long and complex process and we are grateful for the help and cooperation of the CBD industry as we reach this important milestone on the path to bringing CBD products into compliance and protecting consumers.
“The only changes we envisage being made to the list now will be to reflect the status of products as we move to authorisation, and any routine corrections.
“We have seen the list, which contains almost 12,000 products, grow considerably since March when we first published it. The publication of the initial list prompted a number of companies to come forward with new evidence linking large numbers of individual products to existing applications, and so we made a final call for evidence to support businesses in achieving compliance for their products.
“We think it is important we get this right, and it is encouraging that so many companies want to get their CBD products on the path to authorisation.”
Businesses wanting to sell their products in Great Britain should now apply to the FSA’s regulated products process and those wanting to sell in Northern Ireland should apply to the European Commission. However, as new applications will not be eligible for the public list, they should not be put on sale until they have been authorised.
Validated applications on the CBD list are currently moving on to a full risk assessment stage of the application process, and those that are shown to be of a low enough risk must also go through a risk management process before a recommendation can be made to Ministers on authorisation.
At the time of the list’s initial publication in March, the FSA confirmed that, with a lengthy process still to go, it is unlikely any applications will be considered for authorisation before early to mid-2023, with any additional authorisations potentially taking another few years.
The FSA emphasises that there are currently no authorised CBD products on the market.
British Cannabis™ launches premium CBD products in Selfridges
The CBD by British Cannabis™ collection will be showcased in the Beauty Hall at Selfridges London.
British Cannabis™ is launching its premium, flagship range of CBD products in Selfridges.
British Cannabis™ will launch its super-premium collection of 100 per cent cannabis supplements and cosmetics in Selfridges on 4 July, 2022.
All of the food supplement products in the CBD by British Cannabis™ collection were recently included on the Food Standards Agency’s (FSA) public list of products that are legal for sale on the UK market.
The products’ appearance on the list followed the company’s successful submission of Novel Foods applications.
A recent update by the FSA saw British Cannabis™ ranked as the UK’s largest CBD manufacturer by number of publicly listed CBD products manufactured.
CEO, Thomas Whettem, commented: “This is yet another great milestone in the British Cannabis™ story. It is a testament to the levels of excellence we demand within our supply chain and products, that we are now stocked at an iconic, prestige retailer in Selfridges.
“We set out to create ‘the champagne of CBD oils’, with more beneficial cannabis phytochemicals than any other CBD products compliant and legal for sale today.
“Our premium, THC-free products are both UK-born and UK-manufactured, thus debuting in Selfridges London seems very appropriate.”
CBD by British Cannabis™ products have won multiple awards in recent years, including the Highly Commended 2021, P3 MVP Award for 1000mg CBD Cannabis Oils, ICP magazine’s 2022 CBD Product of The Year, and Your Healthy Living magazine’s 2022 Silver Award for Best CBD Products (for CBD by British Cannabis™ Dermal Patches 500mg).
The 100 per cent cannabis products contain hundreds of other beneficial cannabis compounds, terpenes, flavonoids, phenols and more, whilst still being compliant with regulations and legal for sale within the UK.
Each product is rigorously tested for accuracy, purity, and THC-free status for consumer peace of mind.
Every product contains the knowledge and expertise that has been amassed over the last seven years of British Cannabis™ existence, evidenced in the growing, extraction, research, development, and manufacturing that saw this British start-up grow to be the leading authority in consumer cannabis products within the UK.
The company launched a television campaign in March 2022 for the range as part of a half a million pound investment in awareness building and consumer recruitment 2022/23.
The campaign aimed to break down barriers to legal cannabis-derived products, gaining broadcaster approval to make more industry-specific references than any campaign to date.
Shown across dozens of premium channels on the SKY and Channel 5 networks, this marked the first time that the SKY network had opened its doors to CBD advertisers on their linear stations since 2019.
British Cannabis™ managing director, David Ralson, commented: “As proud as we are of our tested, trusted, super-premium CBD supplements and cosmetics, we are equally proud to now be bringing them to the world-class shopping experience at Selfridges, as part of our distribution expansion plans.
“For over a century, Selfridges have brought premium health and beauty products to the forefront in exciting ways – and especially in their new Feel Good Bar. As one of the UK’s original British-made CBD ranges, with a heritage in this young industry of nearly seven years, the match of Selfridges and CBD by British Cannabis™ seems a perfect fit.
“I hope that Selfridges shoppers grow to love and trust our CBD range as much as our existing loyal customer base, who over the years have given us over 1,500 5-star reviews on Trustpilot.”
With sales of wellbeing supplements, superfoods and ingestibles up almost 125 per cent at Selfridges since last year and almost 700 per cent compared to pre-pandemic, The Feel Good Bar will launch as a new permanent wellbeing destination at Selfridges London.
The bar will be a place for visitors to explore more than 250 of the latest and best products in wellbeing innovation, ranging from gut health to hormones, hangover cures and sleep hacking.
The destination will be anchored by a new energy-lifting bar concept brought by JENKI, introducing a menu of matcha and alternative drinks that reimagine drinking culture.