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Döhler, a global provider of natural ingredients, ingredient systems and integrated solutions, and Vertosa, the market-leading infusion technology company for cannabis and hemp products, announce a strategic research and development partnership for the food, beverage and nutrition industries. This partnership is set to spark a new wave of innovative life science products in the beverage sector.

While Vertosa will continue to handle its category leading Cannabis and Hemp infusions, Döhler will develop natural ingredients and ingredient blends to complement Vertosa’s offering. Those blends can contain everything from natural flavours, natural colours, juices, botanical extracts to sweetening solutions. Under the terms of the partnership, Vertosa will benefit from Döhler’s research, development and application expertise and its vast experience in the beverage space. This partnership will give Vertosa access to Döhler’s prime product portfolio and technologies to co-develop innovative beverage formulations and proprietary infusion technologies for successful lifestyle beverages.

Benjamin Larson, CEO of Vertosa, expressed enthusiasm about the partnership: “Through Döhler’s partnership, we’re not only gaining a treasury of knowledge but also the capabilities to co-create intellectual property that brings success for customers with a new range of life science beverages. This union is about more than innovation; it’s about setting the gold standard for what cannabis beverages can and should be.”

The collaboration includes an investment from Döhler Ventures, the company’s entrepreneurial investor, focused on startups within the global Nutrition & Technology ecosystem. Dr. Sebastian Dreher from Döhler Ventures adds, “We’re thrilled to support this collaboration. The investment reflects the long-term commitment to both the relationship and product categories, being driven by Vertosa’s professional management, thought leadership and market momentum.”

Both companies envision this partnership as a pioneering step toward a robust future for a new generation of life science beverages and beyond, combining Döhler’s global reach and natural ingredient and application expertise with Vertosa’s leading infusion technologies.

Paul Graham, CEO Döhler North America, emphasises, “Teaming up with Vertosa is a game-changer, propelling the market trend to new heights. By combining our expertise in natural ingredients with Vertosa’s infusion technology, we’re not just innovating, we’re leading the way together. It’s real, it’s authentic and it’s a step into a future where we explore the possibilities for enhanced and better drinks. We can’t wait for what is coming and we know it will be successful both ways.”

This collaboration is expected to elevate product development to new standards, offering consumers enhanced sensory experiences and supporting the rapid expansion of the cannabis and hemp ingredients in the beverage industry.

Curaleaf Holdings, Inc., a leading international provider of consumer cannabis products, announced the launch of Zero Proof, a new brand of THC drinkables in fast-acting, sessionable and easy-to-use formats. The brand’s inaugural product offering, Squeeze, is now available at all Curaleaf locations in Illinois, US and will be followed by additional SKUs in the coming months.

Zero Proof Squeeze follows Select’s popular THC-infused beverage enhancer, Select Squeeze, originally launched in March 2021. While similar in functionality and effect, Zero Proof Squeeze has been reformulated with natural sweetener to provide a significantly lighter taste and balanced flavour profile for enhanced mixability. The beverage complement offers a uniquely controllable and customisable experience with an easy-to-pour dispenser and compact design delivering 2.5 mg THC per dose for discreet enjoyment on the go.

Utilising nanotechnology, Zero Proof Squeeze provides a truer-to-flower experience with effects felt in as little as 15 – 30 minutes, significantly faster than traditional edibles. By turning cannabis oil into tiny water-soluble molecules, the THC compounds dissolve evenly into any beverage and are more rapidly and efficiently absorbed into the bloodstream. At launch, four delicious, low calorie and gluten-free flavours will be available including Dash of Cherry, Dash of Orange, Dash of Lime and Dash of Sweet.

“Zero Proof exemplifies our commitment to providing high-quality, consistent consumer products in familiar and approachable formats that model traditional consumer packaged goods,” said Matt Darin, CEO of Curaleaf. “Curaleaf has been on the forefront of creating sophisticated cannabis experiences which we believe will ultimately redefine the way people socialise. We’re proud to bring Zero Proof Squeeze to our patients and customers in Illinois first before expanding to additional markets.”

According a new Gallup poll, the rate of alcohol consumption in the U.S. continues to decline with 62 % of adults under age 35 reporting they drink alcohol, down 10 % from two decades ago. Zero Proof is the latest addition to Curaleaf’s brand portfolio that seeks to redefine how people socialise by delivering a fast-acting, sessionable alternative to alcohol.

Zero Proof Squeeze is now available at all Curaleaf dispensaries in Illinois as well as wholesale dispensaries across the US.

About Curaleaf Holdings
Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. is a leading international provider of consumer products in cannabis with a mission to enhance lives by cultivating, sharing and celebrating the power of the plant. As a high-growth cannabis company known for quality, expertise and reliability, the Company and its brands, including Curaleaf, Select, and Grassroots provide industry-leading service, product selection and accessibility across the medical and adult-use markets. In the United States, Curaleaf currently operates in 19 states with 152 dispensaries and employs nearly 5,500 team members. Curaleaf International is the largest vertically integrated cannabis company in Europe with a unique supply and distribution network throughout the European market, bringing together pioneering science and research with cutting-edge cultivation, extraction and production. Curaleaf is listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the symbol CURA and trades on the OTCQX market under the symbol CURLF.

Happi Glow and Happi Nightcap boast minor cannabinoids paired with functional mushrooms

Cannabis-infused seltzer brand Happi is pioneering a new path in the cannabis beverage space with Happi Glow and Happi Nightcap. These groundbreaking functional beverages are perfect for day and night, respectively. Created with a unique blend of minor cannabinoids and non-psychedelic lion’s mane and reishi mushrooms, these formulas are the first of their kind, with Happi filing a patent application covering the formulation for the products.

Happi Glow is available in a citrusy, bright Blood Orange Ginger flavour. Each can has 5 mg of THC, 5 mg of CBD, 3 mg of CBG, and 2 mg of CBN. Perfect for daytime, Happi Glow boasts the benefit of lion’s mane mushroom, which can help promote calm and focus to keep you clear-headed.

Happi Nightcap is available in Turkish Apple Tea, featuring notes of crisp apple and warm spices. Each can has 5 mg of THC and 5 mg of CBN. Ideal for evening, Happi Nightcap brings together soothing reishi mushrooms with a blend of minor cannabinoids to help you settle into a peaceful slumber so you wake up refreshed.

Each formula is vegan, gluten-free, and made with simple, all-natural ingredients. In addition to Glow and Nightcap, the brand also features two original flavours: Lemon Elderflower and Raspberry Honeysuckle.

  • Happi Glow: 30 calories, 5mg THC, 5mg CBD, 3mg CBG, 2mg CBN, Carbonated Water, Organic Orange Juice, Organic Agave Nectar, Organic Blood Orange Juice, Natural Flavors, Hemp Extract, Organic Lion’s Mane Mushroom Extract, Vitamin C, Potassium Sorbate
  • Happi Nightcap: 30 calories, 5 mg THC, 5 mg CBN, Carbonated Water, Organic Apple Juice, Organic Orange Juice, Organic Honey, Natural Flavours, Hemp Extract, Vitamin C, Organic Reishi Mushroom Extract, Potassium Sorbate

Happi Glow and Nightcap are now available at select retailers in Minnesota (US) and online.

Leading botanical extracts company to produce pharmaceutical grade CBD for the international market, using Italian biomass

Indena, a leading Italian company in international markets, has been authorised by the Italian Ministry of Health and Italian Medicines Agency (AIFA) to produce cannabinoid-based cannabis extracts. Indena will produce pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol (CBD) for the global market for clinical and commercial use.

Indena is the first company in Italy to receive authorisation from the Ministry of Health to manufacture cannabinoid-based cannabis extracts. The approval process continued and Indena has also received authorisation from the AIFA, making it one of the few companies in the world able to produce cannabidiol (CBD) for the pharmaceutical market. CBD is an active ingredient obtained by extraction and isolation from the inflorescences and aerial parts of hemp (Cannabis sativa L.).

With its 100 years of experience in the production of high-end botanical extracts, Indena is well placed to produce high purity CBD. The raw material will be grown and processed in Italy. The supply chain, which complies with the strict criteria set out in the Italian regulations, is controlled, certified and fully traced by the company. Indena’s traditional rigour in managing the production chain was a key factor in obtaining authorisation.

Indena uses registered varieties of hemp with a THC level of less than 0.2 % in accordance with European standards. It also guarantees a residual THC content of less than 0.02 %, well below the limits defined by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) and by DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration). This approach enabled Indena to promptly submit the DMF (Drug Master File) for this product to the FDA.

“We have been working a long time for this outcome. It is the result of an intense and fruitful collaboration with the Ministry of Health and the AIFA, for the construction of a rigorous approval process to guarantee the safety and control of production, both of the raw material and of the active principle”, says Stefano Togni, Corporate Director for Business Development and Licensing of Indena SpA. “We are aiming at the international pharmaceutical markets. As an Italian company, we are proud to be able to make this totally Italian product of the highest quality available globally, an ingredient expected all over the world for its beneficial effects on a number of pathologies”.

The hemp biomass used by Indena is processed in a pharmaceutical plant that is regularly authorised by AIFA and inspected by the main international regulatory agencies (FDA, KFDA, PMDA and others). All production is carried out in compliance with pharmaceutical GMP (Good Manufacturing Practices), in line with the highest quality standards that the company has always applied which have been recognised by the international scientific community and consolidated over 100 years of business.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is an active pharmaceutical ingredient whose use is approved for seizures associated with some rare forms of childhood epilepsy (Lennox-Gastaud syndrome, Dravet syndrome and tuberous sclerosis complex), and in clinical development for other forms of epilepsy. Furthermore CBD is under clinical investigation for schizophrenia, and for its therapeutic potential in other psychiatric disorders, neurological or autoimmune/inflammatory based diseases1.

Once again, Indena’s focus on quality, scientific rigour and innovation has enabled it to receive recognition from Italy’s top pharmaceutical regulatory institutions. This will enable the company to produce an active principle for which there has been market demand for some time.

1C. Michael White, PharmD, A Review of Human Studies Assessing Cannabidiol’s (CBD) Therapeutic Actions and Potential, J Clin Pharmacol 2019, 59(7), 923-934.

Vegan ingredients, functional concepts and a CBD-free painkiller: Taiyo’s new developments attracted a lot of attention at Vitafoods in Geneva.

Taiyo, the health-promoting natural ingredients expert, used Vitafoods Europe, in Geneva, to debut innovative concepts that were particularly well received by manufacturers of sports nutrition and functional products. The most surprising innovation was a concept developed by Taiyo GmbH in Germany and partners for the European market: A legal cannabidiol (CBD) alternative that promises legal and safe consumption with a CBD effect. Also among the sought-after new products were a vegan protein shake concept based on chia protein and bean fibre, which contains green coffee beans, along with new prototypes for functional, clear, instant soups offering increased saturation and regeneration, with protein and fibre enrichment.

At the meeting point for the dietary supplement industry, Taiyo caused a sensation with its cannabis alternative CPT. The additive, which can be legitimately distributed and consumed worldwide, has nerve-protecting properties and acts systemically on the central nervous system. Managing Director Dr. Stefan Siebrecht: “CPT is by no means a synthetic cannabinoid, nor does it contain real cannabis. CPT is a combination of three natural and legal extracts which complement each other in such a way that they have a similar effect to CBD. The components of CPT are long established and are already being used in America to reduce the side effects of therapeutic cannabis. This makes the almost comparable effect all the more interesting: CPT has an anti-inflammatory effect, relieves pain and reduces a number of stress-related symptoms. And although the ingredient improves sleep quality, it does not make you tired, but instead regulates the natural day-night rhythm. Improved concentration and learning ability are further positive effects.”

Taiyo’s innovations in the weight management segment also attracted plenty of interest. One novelty, a vegan satiating protein shake, is part of an extensive range of chia products and concepts. The allergen-free organic shake concept combines all the benefits that health and weight-conscious consumers value: high-quality micro and macro nutrients, a performance-enhancing Q10 source, a creamy cappuccino taste and easily digestible fibre. In addition, the formulation contains green coffee beans that release caffeine slowly over 6-8 hours, increasing calorie consumption and reducing diet-related fatigue.

Another highlight at the stand was functional instant soups, which could well change the negative image of an infusion meal: The recipes consist exclusively of nutritionally sensible ingredients and are free from flavour enhancers such as glutamate or yeast; they contain neither starch nor palm oil, or other declarable additives. Each portion contains 66 per cent vegetables, over 5g vegetable protein and Taiyo’s natural fibre Sunfiber® from the guar bean. A variant with a higher content of collagen peptides appeals to target groups such as athletes, the elderly or infirm who want or need to do something to care for or maintain muscle strength.

US sales of cannabis-based drinks jumped to EUR 86 million in 2018, according to the new 2019 US CBD Drinks Report from food and drink experts Zenith Global and US industry newsletter Beverage Digest. The market is expected to rapidly achieve mass market appeal, surging to over USD 1.4 billion in 2023, even with some regulatory restrictions remaining.

“Key growth drivers for CBD drinks include loosening regulatory implementation, investment by major brewers and innovation by numerous start-ups,” commented Zenith Global Chairman Richard Hall. “This has led to far greater awareness and availability.”

“A cultural shift in consumption also contributes. Consumers increasingly look for natural products with health benefits and are reducing their alcohol intake,” added Beverage Digest Executive Editor Duane Stanford. “CBD drinks are positioned as a potential aid for conditions from anxiety to muscle pain.”

The United States, in particular, has been a hot spot for CBD drink innovation. The category received a potential boost in December with passage of the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which removed hemp from Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.

Cannabis has two main active constituents – CBD and THC. THC is the element that gives an emotional high and has not been licensed for consumer products. CBD, which is an abbreviation of cannabidiol, has some reported benefits and is in the process of gaining the necessary approvals for consumer products.

The quantity of CBD in beverages varies from 2 mg to 100 mg per litre. The 2019 US CBD Drinks Report profiles more than 20 brands which span numerous segments such as soda, tea, cold brew coffee, shots, energy drinks, water (still, sparkling and flavored) and beer.

This report also assesses opportunities for other CBD products, international prospects and developments in US legislation.

Lagunitas Brewing Company, the brewery responsible for the #1 selling IPA in the world and backed by a 25-year history of making dank, funky and creative craft brews, announced the launch of Hi-Fi Hops. This IPA-inspired sparkling water is made using everything Lagunitas knows about hops and is infused with THC and/or CBD (depending on your vibe). At its core, Hi-Fi Hops is inspired by IPA, tastes as refreshing as water (no calories or carbs!) and gives the chill of sun-grown cannabis from AbsoluteXtracts, a CannaCraft brand.

“Hi-Fi Hops is not the first chapter in the love affair between cannabis and Lagunitas, but it is one of the most exciting,” said Maria Stipp, CEO of Lagunitas Brewing Company. “The idea of being a part of a no-calorie beverage infused with cannabis seemed like a perfect next step in our product innovation, and a natural way to marry our past with our future.” Hi-Fi Hops, is available in two dosages, one with 10 mg of THC and one with 5 mg of THC and 5mg of CBD. While Hi-Fi Hops is an awesome beverage that anyone 21 or over can enjoy, the manufacturer wants to keep it away from kiddos, which is why the beverage comes in child-resistant packaging.

Following the news that medicinal cannabis products are to be legalized, Aleksandrina Yotova, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company, offers her view on the likely impact in the drinks market:

‘‘This change in legislation for medicinal cannabis will spur further growth in the Cannabidiol (CBD) market in drinks, an increasingly popular legal form of cannabis.

‘‘CBD is a marijuana extract, which is not considered a controlled substance in the UK, and is therefore 100 % legal – as opposed to the psychoactive chemical Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

‘‘CBD has recently started to gain traction in the UK market as a functional ingredient in drinks. As CBD is non-psychoactive and there is a widespread belief in its medical value, it will keep rising in popularity, especially among consumers wanting to relax while remaining sober.

‘‘Holland & Barrett has been selling CBD oil as a food supplement since the start of 2018. The retailer has recently reported stable and growing sales of the format. Consequently in June, Holland & Barrett launched Love Hemp Water, a functional spring water infused with CBD. We expect to see more brands moving into this space.

‘‘Cloud 9 Brewing, a craft beer producer in the UK has recently launched its High Flyer Session IPA with Cannabis Oil Extract, marketed as offering “blissfully elevated drinking experience” and containing 0 % THC. A 330 ml bottle contains 10 mg of CBD extract, obtained from organic Cannabis Sativa.’’

Cannabis-infused drinks are set to become more widely available. Investment in the marijuana market is increasing as legal recreational use of the drug becomes more widespread, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The latest high profile investor is Constellation Brands, the distributer of Corona beers in the USA, which has just bought a controlling stake in a Canadian marijuana company in order to develop cannabis-infused alcoholic drinks.

A spokesperson from the GlobalData Consumer Analyst team, commented: ‘‘We believe that Constellation Brand’s investment in Canopy Growth Corp, a marijuana growing company, is a sign that the market has potential. Widespread legalization is making marijuana a trending ingredient, driving innovation in food and drink markets. As a result, the move to enable them to develop cannabis-infused drinks is a good one.’’

However, alcoholic drinks companies need to think beyond just flavor innovation when weighing up investments in the marijuana market. The legalization of recreational marijuana presents a threat, as drinkers may swap alcohol for cannabis. Drinks companies may therefore lose sales to cannabis brands.

Consumption occasions for alcoholic drinks and recreational cannabis products overlap, such as the desire to relax or to celebrate. Whilst this increases the likelihood that alcoholic drinks could be substituted by cannabis, it also means drinks brands can move into this space without diluting what their brand stands for. Cannabis is therefore a natural extension for many alcoholic drinks brands.

Alcoholic drinks companies need to see cannabis as an opportunity, and not a threat. Consumers are increasingly in favor of legalizing recreational use. Early investments in this category, such as that by Constellation Brands, will leave companies better placed to target this growing market.