When his uncle was dying from stage four lung cancer, Vince Sanders looked for anything that could possibly help save his life. In his research, he came to discover CBD and cannabis, leading him to develop a CBD oil specifically designed for his uncle’s condition. After a month of using the oil, the cancerous tumors not only stopped growing but began shrinking, and after three months, they were nearly gone.
“It was a miracle, truly a miracle,” Sanders expressed. This experience inspired Sanders to pursue CBD-based medications to hopefully cure other people’s ailments as well. The end result was CBD American Shaman, one of the only CBD-based companies to ship products nationally. In this exclusive interview, Sanders highlights the science behind CBD, his company’s patented nanotechnology processing, and the future of the cannabis market.
Cannabis & Tech Today: Hearing about CBD American Shaman’s products and all of the CBD-based products out there, it seems like CBD has a wide number of applications. Could you speak on the actual interaction CBD has with the body which allows it to accomplish such a variety of benefits?
Vince Sanders: The misconception, I think, is that CBD is going in there like a little warrior and fixing all these things, when that’s not what’s happening at all. What happens is: you have your own endocannabinoid system; it’s called 2AG. It’s a modulator, it balances your body, it keeps it in homeostasis, and that’s why it works on so many different things, because your body, when it’s healthy and working properly, does all those things naturally. You don’t have anxiety, you don’t have arthritis and inflammation and all the different things that come with it.
But because our modern diets are low in Omega-3s and 6s, which is what cannabinoids are made out of, you don’t have the precursors to make it. It’s like trying to build a brick house without bricks; it doesn’t work too well.
So, virtually everybody in western society is walking around endocannabinoid-deficient. When you add CBD, you replenish what your body would naturally be making, so it puts you back into homeostasis and allows your body to do what it’s designed to do, which is repair itself.
That’s why it works on so many things. Your body’s been carefully designed for millions of years to do all these things. If it doesn’t have what it needs, it can’t, right?
That’s why once you understand the science and why it works and how it works, then you get over the “Hey, it’s too good to be true” type of thinking. That’s a lot of people early on: “It does all these things? How is that possible? Obviously, this is snake oil. Nothing’s doing all this stuff.” Well, your body, when it’s working properly, does do all these things.
C&T Today: Tell me about CBD American Shaman’s patented nanotechnology process.
Vince Sanders: What happened early on, considering how expensive it was, it was obvious we couldn’t get it in the hands of people in a large role. If someone is suffering from cancer, the quantities you need to take, it was just hard to do. Somebody in a situation like that might be broke anyway in our “wonderful” healthcare system.
So I kept thinking, as we get bigger and things get more normalized, this would become more commoditized, and prices would fall. Well, that didn’t really happen. So I went back to the start. I said, “Look, I know lipids are not absorbed very well by the human body. Best case scenario, you hold it under your tongue and your mouth will absorb it.” But even then you would get about 10 percent, with 90 percent literally wasted in your GI [gastrointestinal] tract.
So if you have to do 10 mg, only one of it gets into your bloodstream. Then I thought, “Wait a minute, can we improve the bioavailability somehow?” So I started doing a lot of bioavailability research, and that’s when I came across nanotechnology.
Nano is under 100 nanometers; over 100 nanometers is a micro. A lot of this is hypothetical because it’s very hard to study things at this level within a human body, but it’s believed that there’s a “goldilocks” zone. If you get too little, it actually just passes through the cell. Too large, you lose the nano-ability. So everybody shoots for about 50 nanometers. That is what science’s best guess is. Why do we make it so small? When it gets that small, your body cannot stop it from getting in. To put it into perspective, the smallest bacteria is 200 nanometers.
So, when we make a product, our average droplet size right now is 62 nanometers, so under a third of the size of the smallest bacteria. When it goes into your stomach, it literally all goes in. There’s no way for your stomach wall to stop it. It also goes in very quickly. This is within 15 minutes, you’re at max in your blood. And it also lasts longer. Due to that tiny droplet size, your liver has a hard time filtering it out. So we get 10 times the absorption, we get it several times faster, and it lasts longer. It’s like going from walking to riding on a jet air flight. It’s that big a jump. It’s a disruptive technology.
It took a lot of time and effort and, as always, money, but, after about 14 months of R&D, we figured it out. We could have never figured it out had there not been all the studies that we could follow from Big Pharma. So we got lucky that way. That’s one good thing Big Pharma did anyway.
C&T Today: The cannabis market is always changing, with new players stepping onto the field everyday. What is CBD American Shaman doing to stay ahead in this ever-expanding market?
Vince Sanders: Obviously, there are numerous things. But what we rely on is quality of products, which is based in science. We’re always looking at how we can do this better. It doesn’t have to be a breakthrough. If it’s micro-changes, those micro-changes add up over time. And we’re always tweaking and tuning and trying to make things better. We’re in the process right now of launching the “2.0” of our water soluble. We’ve gone from 62 nanometers to the low 50s. We’ve also greatly improved the flavor profile. When you’re dealing with a natural substance that’s loaded with turpentine like this, it’s not the most pleasant taste.
We know that it doesn’t matter how good something is if somebody doesn’t take it. So, we’ve been constantly tweaking it. Over the last two years, back to those little micro changes, every week, every month, we changed a little something different, until we felt we were as close to perfection as we can get right now. We’re going to launch it and go from there. That’s an example of how we continue to tweak it.
We do the same thing with all of our body care products, and we’re working on a number of other ethno-botanicals. Kava kava is one of our featured products, basically a pepper plant that grows naturally in Polynesia, and they’ve used it in Hawaii and the Polynesian Islands forever. It’s typically used ceremonially to relax, talk with the gods, communicate, get in a deep trance with your dead loved ones, et cetera. It’s really popular. On the east and west coast, there are all these Kava bars opening up. I knew about the anti-anxiety properties of Kava, but it also has a lot of similar properties as cannabis.
Cannabinoids are what work in cannabis. Kava lactose are what work in Kava. So we applied science to it. The strongest strain is called noble Kava, and it’s called that for a reason. It was reserved exclusively when there was a beef between tribes where two chiefs would then sit down and drink it, calm down, and hopefully prevent war. So we took the noble Kava, we did the CO2 extraction on it, we get about an 82 percent pure Kava lactose extract, and then we applied our nanotechnology.
But Kava tastes terrible. I mean, it’s almost impossible to ingest. I’m shocked that humans ever drank it. But when you apply nanotechnology to it like we did, you can put it in anything: put it in your water, your orange juice, and you literally don’t taste it.
So we’re going beyond just cannabis. There are a lot of natural things out there that offer a lot of medicinal properties. So we’re progressively trying to locate those and apply the science that we’ve applied to cannabis products to these other natural ingredients.
C&T Today: Could you talk about the Grow With Us program and how you connect with entrepreneurs?
Vince Sanders: We’re only looking for good partners. This is a team effort, but we are fairly selective. We only look for people who are in this for the right reasons, not somebody looking to make a bunch of money and will do whatever it takes to do that. The DNA of this company was started for the right reason, and we continue under that guidance. We’re looking for people of the same cloth, if you will, that want to heal and help and offer an alternative to conventional medicine.
C&T Today: Where do you see the future of the CBD market going?
Vince Sanders: You know, I think it depends on one big thing right now. It’s exploding. We know that. On average, we increase 30-40 percent a month, month-over-month, which is hard to even comprehend, really. A business that did that in a year’s time would be amazing in a normal world. So we’re constantly building out more equipment, larger factories. We’re increasing our factory right now. By the first of the year, we’ll increase our production by 10 times. But that’s the kind of growth that we have to prepare for, because of what’s going on. To continue, what will really make it explode, what will probably change the landscape, is if the 2018 hemp format goes through and hemp is made just a commodity like corn or wheat or flour.
I think you’re going to see a lot of larger supplement type of companies come into this market. Right now, it’s just a handful of us that are strictly from the CBD world. But I think what you’re going to see is these big vitamin-type companies and things rush in. The playing field is going to be interesting, shall we say, assuming this passes.
C&T Today: Do you think the rush of big, outside companies could have an adverse effect on some of these smaller CBD companies?
Vince Sanders: It may very well. But, the smaller CBD companies, all these people who rushed in, aren’t going to last anyway. There’s a handful of us. I’m on the Hemp Roundtable with the largest CBD companies and we’re all CBD certified, working at pharmaceutical standards. We’re the guys that are doing all the lobbying and that type of thing. So if it stays like it is, there’s not really that much of a market for somebody to start at this point, in all honesty, unless they’re very well financed coming in.
Now, although we have all gotten to be pretty good in size and have a pretty good presence, if some of these multi-billion-dollar companies say “let’s start rolling in,” suddenly we can become the little guys. So it will be interesting to see how this all plays out. Nobody can
We’re going to count on always doing the things we do the right way, for the right reason, and continue to raise the bar and educate people. I think that is the big thing that will separate us. This is not a “vitamin A” you just throw on a Wal-Mart shelf and somebody grabs it. There’s a big learning curve to know how to sell titrate and a variety of things to really make this work. I think the educational element that we add will keep us out in front.
It’s hard to say where this is all moving in a couple more years. The next year or two, even with a bigger player rolling in, it will take a long time to make a product, then market it, and then get it on the shelf, et cetera. So I don’t foresee any of that changing for 2019, but you can see a lot of people laying down the base, and 2020 could be a very different playing field.