Farm to Consumer Transparency
By Gary Falconbridge
When the cannabis extract known as CBD began booming in popularity a few years ago, confusion and misinformation soared too. As with any new frontier, opportunity precedes order, and the budding industry quickly found itself in a legal grey area. Having launched numerous companies over the past 35 years, the cannabis buzz quickly caught my attention. I love business, especially the opportunity to learn about emerging markets and related products. But with cannabis, I discovered an industry filled with “fake news” on both sides. For example, those who oppose CBD falsely claim that it’s similar to illegal drugs and can be addictive. However, CBD companies aren’t always truthful either. Lack of regulation allowed some pioneer brands to take shortcuts in cultivation practices, making false claims about sustainable farming practices or amount or quality of CBD—if any—used in their CBD products. According to early survey findings about transparency, 18 out of 40 CBD brands (including some of the country’s most prominent ones) received a grade D or F. Only 4 brands scored an A.
The Zuna Brands Difference
My partners and I saw industry shortcomings as an opportunity to build a more responsible brand. Even in the relatively new, unregulated CBD market, we knew we could be accountable for where our products come from, how clean they are, and how they are sustainably produced. We made a commitment early on to source our plants from American farmers using organic farming practices. And we teamed up with cannabis experts and naturopathic doctors to craft honest, clean health and wellness products tailored to specific benefits using high-potency CBD isolates and CBD broad spectrum products. By investing in quality-assurance standards and traceable technology, Zuna Brands is delivering on its commitment to provide the purest, highest-quality CBD products our top priority.
A Commitment to Education
A recent study by the Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA) revealed that 39% of Americans incorrectly believe CBD is just another name for marijuana and more than half mistakenly think it can get you “high.” Educating consumers is part of our business model at Zuna Brands. It is also an opportunity to give back. Organic farming practices, a Science Advisory Board, and third-party laboratory analysis are all ways Zuna Brands secures the production and development of professional, high-quality products—from soil to the extraction of CBD oil. But these safeguards don’t come cheap. In fact, it is the high cost of running a quality CBD company that makes it impossible for many grow operations to deliver products safely. My past business successes put me in a financial position to make upfront investments that consistently deliver safe, quality CBD products. The Zuna Brands Team is in this for the long-run, and we have the infrastructure in place to deliver on our commitment.
Safety and Purity Throughout the Growth & Production Cycle
CBD oil uses the stalks, leaves, and flowers of the hemp plant and hemp is good for the planet. It cleans the soil through a process called bioaccumulation, and it supports sustainable farming because it’s an ideal candidate for rotation. It also does not require any pesticides or herbicides to grow. While it is still difficult to get a full organic certification for hemp, our farmers use organic farming techniques, like mulching and plant cover crops, to maintain soil health. Our attention to quality continues into the production cycle, where CBD is extracted with ethanol from hemp and purified into “isolate,” allowing for fine control of product potency for accurate dosing. We contract with third-party, independent labs to test our soil and to validate that the amount of CBD we claim to be using is the actual amount being used in our products—and we back it up with independent Certificates of Analysis.
Science Advisory Board
That commitment to excellence starts with Zuna Brand’s Science Advisory Board. Our team of physicians provide fresh perspectives, a wealth of knowledge, and their own unique, multifaceted expertise that helps us optimize the efficacy and the clinical applications of the hemp plant. Dr. Jennifer Taylor is a practicing naturopathic doctor based in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her interest in health and wellness stems from her experience as a college athlete, and she shares her clinical knowledge and extensive experience with Zuna Brands, focused on optimizing athletic performance, pain management, and sports injuries. You’ll be meeting “Dr. Jen” and our other doctors soon.
A Lifestyle Choice
I started Zuna Brands because I saw an opportunity to fill a void in a growing industry (pun intended). I love the excitement that comes with breaking new ground, and I saw a way to make a positive contribution by assembling a kick-ass team of doctors, scientists, and experienced growers. I also got excited about CBD. I started using it in my daily life, and I watched my friends enjoy the benefits of CBD across a wide variety of its formulations. By educating people about hemp and derivative products and helping consumers make safe, smart choices about CBD, I felt the need to build a company based on trust and accountability, and I saw the opportunity to be a part of something I believe in.
At Zuna Brands, we are fulfilling our goals of personal enrichment and healthy living by helping you fulfill yours. Over the next several months you will be hearing directly from members of our team about common questions related to CBD. In the meantime, check out Zuna Brand’s CBD Info page at zunabrands.com or visit the FAQ section. We’re capturing our customers’ questions and concerns and sharing our expert feedback so that you too can become more informed. I look forward to learning and growing right along with you!
About the Author
For the past 32+ years, Gary has founded, built and developed over 10 small to medium sized companies into growing and profitable commercial enterprises, spanning across multiple industries and continents. Prior to becoming an entrepreneur, Gary worked for Toyota Motors Corporation USA / Toyota Motor Distributors in various management roles. Since then he has been active in numerous start-ups—from vision and strategy development to executional planning and coaching. Currently Gary is working with his key employees on succession planning for the businesses he is invested in. He is a firm believer in “starting with the end in mind” and has been successful in identifying gaps in the marketplace and capitalizing on those opportunities to completion. Gary is currently the CEO of Colordyne Technologies and sits on three boards; two of which are technology companies and the other is a construction service business. In 2019, he launched Zuna Brands, where he serves as managing partner and CEO. Gary studied for his BSBA at the University of Michigan and went on to earn his MBA from UCLA.
1 Alexa Peters, “Study Finds Majority of CBD Brands Are Misleading Consumers,” Cannabis MD, November 4, 2019.
2 Leslie Lake, “New Research on CBD Highlights Immense Consumer Confusion and Erroneous Assumptions,” Consumer Brands Association, October 28, 2019.
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