I first met Jeffrey Lokken (lead image), VP of Research and Development at CW Labs (headquartered in Buffalo) at a neighborhood cleanup on the West Side. At the time, he didn’t tell me that he worked at the Medical Campus, heading up research and development (R&D) for the largest CBD company in the world – Charlotte’s Web, Inc. (TSX:CWEB, OTCQX:CWBHF). I was fortunate enough to tour the lab at the Hauptman-Woodward Institute building, which happens to be an architectural favorite of mine.
Incredibly, over the course of the last year, since they launched the lab, the researchers and technicians have innovated hundreds of various CBD products that include both topical skin care and ingestible products. These products are all derived from hemp plants, which contain a non-psychoactive compound.
What makes Charlotte’s Web so unique is that it prides itself on “whole plant care,” which means that it utilizes a full-spectrum cannabinoid extract. Charlotte’s Web is a fully integrated company from cultivation and growing, to extract, to R&D CW Labs in Buffalo to clinical trials to saleable product. “A lot of companies out there take existing products and add CBD,” said Lokken. “We bring the science to the table.” Clinical trials for various maladies are currently being conducted at leading universities throughout the country.
Hemp contains over 400 compounds (including phyto-cannabinoids, terpenoids, terpenes, and flavonoids) that all work together (known as the Entourage Effect) to supplement the cannabidiol, thus creating the perfect stimulant for the human body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS – vital receptor system that keeps everything functionally balanced). CBD helps the body’s cannabinoid receptors to kick into a “higher gear” – a well-oiled machine – which has a boosting effect on the body’s immune system, the central nervous system, the brain, organs, connective tissue, and glands. People eat gummies (top seller) and tincture drops, and apply topicals to address pain relief, induce calm while reducing anxiety, improve heart health, control seizures, help with sleep, strengthen immune systems, address chronic fatigue and fight anxiety and depression. There are even CBD products for pets.
Seven brothers started Charlotte’s Web because they believed in creating a world where good health is attainable for everyone.
Along with a whirlwind tour of the facility, I came away with a new appreciation for Lokken’s R&D facility, that conducts clinical studies on safe usage, proper dosage, effectiveness, and human clinical trials.
It was Lokken, along with a team of a dozen research specialists based in Buffalo, NY and Boulder, CO that headed up the R&D process, resulting in the company’s CBD products being sold in 21,000 stores throughout the US currently.
While Lokken, who heads up the Buffalo operation, has 28 years in the personal care, OTC pharmaceutical, nanoencapsulation and nutritional supplement industries, at such companies as Procter & Gamble and GlaxoSmithKline, he attributes CW Labs’ successes to the assembled team, including Tim Orr, CW Labs’ Senior Vice President of Research, who has previously held top executive and management positions at Johnson & Johnson Company and Abbott Laboratories.
“I am proud to lead CW Labs in support of Charlotte’s Web’s innovation and scientific discovery,” stated Orr, who is based out of the Boulder operation. “With science driving new formulation development and product safety CW Labs acts as an engine of innovation to create new high-quality products and safe delivery systems to customers who have come to trust and rely on Charlotte’s Web.”
“The launch of CW Labs formalizes our expanded research into the science, efficacy and safety of hemp plant compounds,”said Deanie Elsner, CEO of Charlotte’s Web. “CW Labs also demonstrates our commitment to innovation and will help to maintain a leading position on the cutting edge of natural health remedies derived from hemp as we explore new ways to meet our customers’ health and wellness needs.”
Lokken noted that when CW Labs was formed, an offer was on the table for the facility to relocate to Boulder, but there was a unanimous vote to stay in Buffalo. “Since I’m not moving to Colorado, I’ve positioned the R&D facility in our beloved Buffalo,” said Lokken, where he has accelerated the CBD revolution, with the help of Start UP New York and BIG program.
CBD is not only taking the world by storm, it’s also a sustainable alternative to the boatloads of pharmaceuticals on the market that have a laundry list of potentially harmful side effects, which we have all witnessed in television commercials. That alone is a comforting thought.
For anyone who wants to learn more about the foundations of Charlotte’s Web, by seven brothers, be sure to watch this TEDx Talk by Josh Stanley (one of the brothers).