EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: A pair of top execs at Cannaray say the company is gearing up to force “opportunistic” suppliers of substandard CBD out of the market.
The British medical cannabis and CBD company’s CEO Scott Maguire and co-founder Leah Park spoke to Coin Rivet about the future of the industry in the UK and Europe.
Cannaray recently secured £7.8million in funding as part of its “aggressive plans to dominate the European industry” – as well as offer wary consumers peace of mind as low quality CBD products flood the market.
Scott said: “A lot of players are coming in opportunistically. Some in the industry were unheard of three years ago.
“Consumers should not be trusting. Some products contain industrial heavy metal and pesticides – you have to be careful where you grow it and how it’s grown.
“Consumers have every right to be distrusting of what’s on the shelf and sold online.
“I don’t think there’s enough distrust.
“Consumers need to check the quality of the product.
“We are taking a pharmaceutical approach to quality controls – what’s stated on the bottle is what is on the bottle.
“We’ll continue research into new pharmaceuticals, combining retail with medical expertise.
Leah added: “Consumer research tells us there is there is no clear brand leader. No one has taken hold of the market.
“People want to buy it but don’t know who to trust – we’re trying to solve that.”
Much of the exponential growth in the UK’s CBD market is down to word-of-mouth about its benefits and the removal of stigma related to street ‘skunk’ cannabis, the pair claims.
Scott said: “People are understanding it’s not the illegal compound with THC, it’s not some back-alley deal. It’s really moving into the mainstream.
“There’s been a sea change year-on-year. People know what CBD is good for.
“It’s been associated with something that’s been illegal for so long. Time will eventually overcome what is a lower and lower barrier.”
Last year medical cannabis was given the green light by UK legislators. How has it developed in the last nine months?
“It will be the first line pain therapy of choice in the UK eventually”
Cannaray CEO Scott Maguire
“The uptake of medical cannabis has been very slow. There have been under 150 prescriptions written,” said Scott.
“We’re looking for a medical-led approach to get medical cannabis to patients.
“You get into this industry to make an impact on global health. I think cannabis will replace opioids.
“Opioid overdoses have declined in US states that have legalised medical cannabis. It will be the first line pain therapy of choice in the UK eventually.
“But it will take time to change the minds of practitioners here.”
There are concerns British medical watchdogs are not meeting the needs of patients. Numerous news stories about families forced to go private to get medical cannabis have emerged in the last few months.
Scott said: “I wouldn’t say they’re failing patients. There are still a lot of questions around testing and genetics.
“They are wired for more evidence and peer-reviewed research in order to back cannabis as a viable therapy.
“They are there to protect the patient.”
“No one has taken hold of the market”Cannaray co-founder Leah Park
“We’re trying to take what’s been successful in the US and Canada to Europe.”
According to Scott, another way the UK will follow the US and Canada will be to legalise recreational cannabis.
“It’s a question of time,” he said. “Will it be three, five, or ten years until it changes?
“What starts in California normally ends up in Europe.”
Cannaray recently announced its acquisition of Therismos Limited, a UK company with the licences to import, handle, and distribute controlled drugs in the UK as well as across the EU, Norway, Switzerland, and Iceland.
The business also announced it is preparing for Brexit and has already set up a subsidiary in the Republic of Ireland.