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In Part 1 of our interview with Dr. Kerklaan we learned about his background and his desire to help patients of all ages and walks of life. In Part 2, we explore the development of his CBD/THC and CBD-only topical products that bring people relief beyond his clinic.
Philip Rebentisch: Dr. Kerklaan, it’s a bit of a leap to go from wanting to help people to developing and selling topical cannabis and hemp products. Can you tell me about this decision?
Dr. Kerklaan: For me, it’s really an extension of helping people using these natural products. Running this type of business has been a new experience, but I decided to bring my professional expertise, skills, opinion, and reputation to the table. It’s a health care product that is presented in a professionally branded manner just like any medicine in a pharmacy. I wanted to create a brand that said there was a professional behind this product. They are topical products because they align with chiropractic healing and the human body. I didn’t want to develop products that included a psychoactive affect, so topicals made perfect sense. They are professional products developed by me with input from biochemists and university researchers for their formulation expertise.
PR: What type of conditions do they help?
DRK: We have products for pain, sleep, skincare, and PMS. When I looked at the potential product categories it made sense that pain would be included. We also wanted to include sleep remedies and skin care. I give my wife credit for this, we developed a product for PMS because that made a lot of sense as well.
PR: How long did it take from the initial idea to when you had products ready for purchase? I assume it didn’t happen overnight.
DRK: It took a year and a half. It’s fairly easy to put something together in your kitchen, it’s not so easy to work with labs, biochemists, formulations, studies, testing, packaging, market research, etc.
PR: You started with THC products that are sold in medical marijuana dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada. Even though they don’t contain psychoactive effects, do people need to have a medical marijuana card to purchase the CBD/THC products?
DRK: Yes. They are sold in medical marijuana facilities so in most states you need a doctor’s recommendation. In states where adult use is legal you don’t need an MMJ card to enter a licensed dispensary and purchase the CBD/THC product line.
PR: Can you walk me through each product?
DRK: It’s my pleasure. The Natural Pain Stick, Cream, and Spray may reduce pain and inflammation from muscle, joint, and nerve pain. The naturally occurring CBD and THC molecules act as painkillers and antiinflammatories to alleviate the symptoms of low back and neck pain, headaches, arthritic and nerve pain. The essential oils of peppermint, lavender, and eucalyptus add a cooling effect as well.
The Natural Sleep Cream helps reduce stress, anxiety and tension leading to a better night’s sleep. The CBD and THC act together to effectively soothe muscle tension, restless legs, and headaches. Our creams provide effective localized relief combined with the calming fragrance of citrus and lavender.
The Natural Skin Cream helps reduce skin irritation, inflammation and immune reactions. This topical cream targets burns and rashes, itching and dermatitis. It’s formulated to be hypoallergenic, hydrating and fragrance free.
The Natural PMS Cream helps alleviate the burden of menstrual pain. Naturally occurring cannabinoids of CBD and THC act together to effectively soothe muscle tension, ease cramping and reduce discomfort. Our Natural PMS cream is formulated to provide effective relief while incorporating a luxurious feel with the soothing fragrance of vanilla.
PR: You have successful CBD/THC products, why did you feel a need to create CBD only products?
DRK: CBD was always in the works after we launched the THC product line. I looked at the available over the counter pain products and most of them simply distract the brain using either heat or cold, and I never really thought that was impacting your health. So here comes the opportunity to work with CBD which very specifically interacts with pain nerves and reduces inflammation, muscle tension, and pain. I knew that CBD products without THC offered us an opportunity to help people on a broader scale than the dispensary model.
PR: Was their development process different from the CBD/THC products?
One of my clinical hesitations was that if you look at THC and its potential health benefits, I do like the combination of THC and CBD. So, we didn’t want a CBD only product that might seem less robust to people. We explicitly spent a lot of time sourcing CBD, and we specifically do not use an isolate that is 100 percent CBD. Instead, we created an extract that has a broad range of cannabinoids and terpenes in it, but it doesn’t have THC. It’s described as a “full spectrum extract” and includes an entourage effect with all these molecules working together.
PR: Are you happy with the response?
We’re very happy with the response to the CBD products. We always thought that we’d be in Canadian pharmacies first, but as it turns out, our CBD products will be in U.S. pharmacies first. The cannabis laws in Canada are set by the federal government and we hope to have CBD products available in Canada in a year. We’re hoping that the pending U.S. 2018 Farm Bill will pass soon as that should further open up the U.S. market for CBD products. I do hope CBD ends up being categorized as a nutritional supplement and not as a pharmaceutical product so more people can access it.
PR: You’re Canadian and live in Montreal. Do you think Canada’s recent national legalization of adult use cannabis will improve Canadian’s overall health?
DRK: That’s a great question. I have some scientists that work with me who truly believe that the health impacts will be absolutely dramatic, from cancer treatment through many other ailments. It’s kind of mysterious that cannabinoids can have so much potential in so many areas. If you understand the endocannabinoid system, you’re going to have a health impact and I think it will be enormous. I read a study out of Colorado that showed [Medicare] prescription medications dropped by a pretty significant percentage a year or two after legalization.
PR: Now that cannabis is completely legal in Canada, do you think more empirical research will be done there?
DRK: Absolutely, one hundred percent. That’s the exciting thing, more research and educational information will be going out to the medical community. Companies are doing research, there are government funds available, and I think all eyes are on Canada. It’s hard to conduct research on something that is illegal, and if you remove that barrier, now you can run studies through universities, you can have clinical trials, I think there is going to be a huge research opportunity and many people are going to benefit from it.
PR: I’m so happy to hear that. I read that the Canadian Medical Journal is opposed to the Cannabis Act (national legalization). The American AMA is also opposed to medicinal cannabis. As a medical professional who know first-hand about the benefits of cannabis products, why is there still resistance? Is it due to lack of data?
DKR: Their resistance is due to a limited bias. The classic medical professional often sees the negative outcomes and the not positive ones. Someone who benefits from cannabis, sometimes they just don’t see the doctor anymore, and the doctor doesn’t know how they’re doing, that cannabis has been effective. But if you ask the patient they may say that they didn’t need to go back! There’s a communication gap that may exist there, because you don’t go to the doctor just to say hi, I’m feeling better. So as the stigma drops I think it’s going to be a real eye opener.
PR: Dr. Kerklaan, thank you so much for taking time to speak with me today.
DRK: It was my pleasure and thank you.
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Philip Rebentisch is a writer and the Content Editor for Three Wells.