Dr Degrandpre discusses the CBD Market Consumer Research

Dr. Degrandpre joined Michael Pedersen from Cannabis Update Podcast to talk about the CBD market consumer research study we did, which covers over 3500+ products trying to make sense of what is legit & what products are pure marketing mayhem and define clear guidelines that will help consumers shop wisely.
Medical Team
Written by Medical Team, Leafreport's Clinician Team
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Michael Pedersen:

This is the Cannabis Update podcast video edition, where we give leaders and organizations an opportunity to tell their stories, and share information.

Michael Pedersen:

Welcome to the podcast, Dr. Degrandpre.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Thank you very much, happy to be here.

Michael Pedersen:

Well, I received an email from a company in the US called Leafreport. I get a lot of emails from companies that talk about CBD, and their CBD products, but what caught my eye on this one was that it was more of a review, a comprehensive review of CBD products that are on the US market, talking about price, and quality, and products. It spanned over a wide variety of different types of CBD products.

Michael Pedersen:

I wanted to talk to you guys about that, because I was like, “Okay now, this is a little bit different, this isn’t somebody just trying to sell a CBD product to me.” Let’s start off, really quickly, can you tell us who you are, tell us about yourself?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Sure. My name is Dr. Zora Degrandpre. I’m a practicing naturopath in the state of Washington. I have a bit of an unusual background, because I’m originally a drug design chemist.

Michael Pedersen:

Okay.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

So, I have a real solid background in hard sciences, and I also have a Master’s degree in molecular immunology, as well as most of the PhD work … We’ll go into those details, but PhD in molecular immunology as well. So, I come to medicine with a real significant evidence based background.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

One of the reasons I’m very happy to work with Leafreport is that they also stress evidence based. What’s out there, what can be proven, where does the evidence lie. Also, I was in Washington State, in medical school actually, when first medical cannabis was opened up, and then recreational cannabis was opened up. From my point of view, specializing in botanical medicines was an obvious go-to.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

As it turns out, I later found out after working with Leafreport for a while, that the area that I moved to, which is Central Washington, and deep rural Washington was, during World War II, one of the greatest hemp growing areas of the state. So, it kind of all worked in.

Michael Pedersen:

Well, can you talk a little bit more about cannabis, and your interest in it? I did look at your bio on the Leafreport website, and yeah, it’s quite extensive, for sure.

Michael Pedersen:

When did you discover, I guess, cannabis, not from a recreational perspective, but more of a medical, and a way that it can help a person? And, what was it about it, that really drew your attention?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Well, anecdotally, I’d been working a lot with people that would be using medical cannabis to treat anxiety, depression, pain. In some, headaches, arthritic pain, anything with an inflammatory component. But, for a good long time, there was no research, or not enough substantive research. So, I could recommend medical marijuana on an anecdotal basis, and always recommended that people … What I talk about now is starting low, and going slow. So, that’s always been a consistent consistency.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

With the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, and the virtual explosion of CBD, what followed, also, was a good deal of research on CBD, and also on medical cannabis. Though, at this point, at Leafreport, we’re not really covering any THC containing products, so we’re mainly focused on the CBD.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

There was an awful lot of hype. When I started looking at some of the websites, there was an awful lot of the use of the words amazing, and awesome. One of the things that I want to emphasize is that the research is beginning to come out, and the research is showing some real usefulness for CBD, but it’s not a cure all for everything. It’s another tool in our toolbox. From the perspective of botanical medicine, it’s a very useful tool. But again, because of my background in hard science, and my personal beliefs and philosophy, I want to see the solid research done, and proceed from there.

Michael Pedersen:

Yeah, I could go on and on. If you’ve listened to prior podcasts of mine, I have gone on and on, about the crazy emails that I get from CBD companies. Sometimes I repost them on Twitter and say, “Hey guys, check out these claims.” Everything is very much at an anecdotal stage, right now. Sometimes when companies will send you a message saying, “Our product will help you sexually,” or something, you’re like, “What? I don’t know about this.”

Michael Pedersen:

But, the truth is, for people like and me, you in particular, we read about CBD all the time, we read about the science, and what’s happening in the breakthroughs, and we’re more aware of the realities. Whereas people like my parents, who are just starting to kick the tires of CBD, they’re like, “Huh, will it help me with this, or that?” And they don’t really know, so they’re more likely to be drawn into these elaborate claims.

Michael Pedersen:

Can you speak to me about Leafreport? How did your relationship with Leafreport start? And also, what’s the underlying purpose of Leafreport?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Okay. So, Leafreport contacted me, I’m a physician, but I also do a lot of writing and consulting work. So, Leafreport contacted me, I think, I hope, because of the evidence based background, and asked me to start writing some content for them, and then it expanded from there because I have the medical degree, and I’ve got the more, I suppose, on the ground experience with CBD.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Leafreport covers a number of areas. Education is a huge part of Leafreport. Our main goal is to educate the consumer out there, because as you say, you get an awful lot of material, and it’s more marketing material than actual fact based material, so education is a huge part of it. Then, we also do reviews of different CBD products, and different CBD companies. We do product reviews, trying to determine what the quality of the product is, because it is, at this point, not well regulated at all.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

People will go in, and just do that kind of marketing hype. I’ve been contacted by a number of people to do this kind of marketing, that kind of marketing. Number one, I don’t do marketing, because I don’t. Number two, I guess I would have to say I don’t appreciate a lot of marketing from a professional point of view, because there’s often a very fine line. So, I was very happy to work with Leafreport, because from the very beginning, what they said was they were looking for evidence based, and facts as I saw them. In other words, if I saw a company that I did not think was producing high quality stuff, to please include that. They’re just looking for the best evidence out there. They also do a lot of news, in the industry kind of thing, and news that could be very important for [inaudible 00:08:02] the consumer.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

With those four aspects, from my point of view, what I really appreciated was that it was education based, to educate the consumer. Most of my patients are senior citizens, and they may be in the same area right now, that you talked about your parents, just beginning to look at, and still having a lot of the whole reefer madness concepts.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

For example, I’d have 80 year old women come up to me, and ask me if they took CBD, would they come up drug testing as positive? Those kinds of things. Or, someone who had been resistant all their life, yet they had a family member who was going through some significant pain, and they were just beginning to look into CBD. Give the consumer some education was one of the most important features, why I wanted to work with Leafreport.

Michael Pedersen:

Okay. Well, I more specifically wanted to talk to you about a CBD market consumer research study, which you guys had also sent me.

Michael Pedersen:

But, before I ask you about that, I want to make two comments. One is I’m lucky enough to get CBD samples, sometimes, from American companies. I’ve noticed there have been some topical creams that I’ve thought, “You know what? I feel these.” But then, I ask myself, “Am I feeling CBD, or am I feeling echinacea or some other ingredient that’s in there, that’s warming up my skin?” Whereas they’re going to say, “No, no, it’s the CBD.” Again, it’s weird. I think the jury’s out, and I’m happy that you guys have made this report.

Michael Pedersen:

Second, I have a question, real quick, about CBD in the US. Is it like the Wild West? Is it only available in states that have legal cannabis? Or, is it available anywhere? I’ve heard you can even buy CBD products in gas stations.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Oh yes, as a matter of fact, I found my first topical product … Patch, I should be more specific, patch. I was visiting my grandson in Western New York, and had just stopped at a local 7-Eleven type corner store, to pick up some coffee. There was a transdermal patch, for CBD, produced, oddly enough, by a Portland, Oregon company. So yes, it is everywhere.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Technically, once the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, that regulated in the sense that any CBD derived from hemp, which contains less than .3% THC was legal. There are some gray issues, as far as the FDA goes, because the FDA has not come to a full blown decision whether to market CBD as a supplement versus a drug. In the supplement areas, which I do a lot of work with as well, there’s not a great deal of regulation, but there are regulations regarding claims, efficacy claims.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Right now, people are getting away with claiming this is the miracle substance of the ages, and again, while I think it has great deal of benefits … The literature on topical application is growing, and it does seem to be very positive, but it’s not quite the miracle herb of the century.

Michael Pedersen:

Okay. My guess, then, is a lot of these products, or all of these products, so long as they’re hemp sourced, people can get away with selling them, right now, anywhere really, so long as it’s not cannabis sourced, it’s hemp sourced.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

As far as I can see. I mean, most of my experience is in Washington, I did have that quick transdermal. Which I had to send through the mail, by the way, because I didn’t want to try taking it on an airplane.

Michael Pedersen:

Oh, interesting.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

I just wasn’t sure about that, so I ended up sending myself this transdermal patch.

Michael Pedersen:

Okay, interesting. So, tell us about the market consumer research study, on CBD. One, what role did you play in it? And, what was the premise of it, what was the purpose?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Okay, well the main purpose was, again, to provide the educational background. We’re in this crazy, Wild West market, what we’re trying to do is pull out as many facts as we can. Part of that is digging down into the data, so I did not derive the data. I did some analysis of the data, in the sense that, okay, say we’re looking at prices. Sometimes, the prices approach the median, other times the prices were 60, 70, 80 percent of the prices were above the median, so I looked at it from that point of view.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

But, the main goal was to educate the consumer, try and git rid of some of the fluff, and to retain the most important sources. It was a bit difficult because, for example, some of the prices differences. I reread the report this morning, and I had listed … I did write up the report, and I did list the weed greed as one of the first reasons, because that just seems to be the case. There doesn’t seem to be any other parameter, for example, extraction processes.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

The CO2 extraction process tends to be much more expensive than the more traditional ethanol extraction, but that didn’t seem to explain the price differences because companies that were using the ethanol extraction sometimes had higher prices than those using the CO2 extraction. Given the system, the world we live in, one of easiest answers was greed. That’s really unfortunate, but I have to call it as I see it.

Michael Pedersen:

Well, other than price, can you give an example of some red flags that consumers should be aware of, when looking for CBD products?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Absolutely. You should look for third party testing, it’s absolutely critical.

Michael Pedersen:

Oh?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Because it’s, at this point, essentially unregulated, what you find on the label … For a chemist, it may not be very confusing, but for a non-chemist, or someone who doesn’t have a background in how to read labels, even nutritional labels, if you don’t know what you’re looking for, it can be very difficult.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

So, very often, they talk about potency’s. Again, for a drug design chemist, I would love to forget the term potency. I think it comes over from the reefer madness days of, “Hey man, this is really potent.” Technically, that’s not really the right terminology to use. But, because the labeling is not necessarily accurate, having the third party testing allows you to better determine whether you are actually getting 10 milligrams of CBD per dose, if you’re getting 50.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

If you are getting something with less than .3% THC, you need to make certain … if you’re, for example, working in the airline industry, just to pull out an example, and you’re trying to use CBD to get over jet lag, you want to be, obviously, quite certain that there’s no psychoactive agent in the product that you’re taking. So, ensuring that you’re less than that .3 THC is absolutely essential.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

You want to, also, just look at the company background as much as you can. Sometimes, it takes a bit of legwork, and that’s where Leafreport does the leg work for you, to see what kind of company it is. Is it something that arose in someone’s garage overnight, trying to be the Apple of the CBD business? That may or may not be the way you want to go, you want to see some professionals, in the sense that you want to see a scientific team. You need the scientific team to figure out the best way to purify these plants. You need to have someone who understands sustainable farming methods, for example, to grow hemp plants. You also need the professional web designer, or whatever it happens to be, or marketer.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

To me, I’d much rather buy from a company that has sustainable farming practices, knows what they’re doing when they’re extracting, always does third party testing, then a particularly glitzy website.

Michael Pedersen:

Yeah, for sure. I guess, you’ve seen examples of products that have been either misinformed, or intentionally false. What’s the best way for consumers to get around that? What safeguards are missing for consumers?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Standards for listing how much CBD is in a product, standards for testing. I mean, I’m sure you don’t want to get into the nitty gritty, of some of the technical aspects of the testing, but depending on how they test a particular product, you can get false positives for the amount of CBD, you can get false positives for the amount of THC.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

The company reputation, whether they … Do they support their product? Do they have a good customer service available? I always joke, when I call for computer service, the last thing I want to do is talk to tech services. But, if I’m talking to tech services, and I can hear pages rustling because they’re looking through the manual, I don’t want to deal with them, because I want to deal with someone who knows what they’re doing. Same thing with the customer service for CBD.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

If they’re just a paid group of people, sitting on the phone, and don’t really understand about CBD, understand about potential uses, how to dose. For example, if they don’t know that their dropper doesn’t go all the way up, or only dose half an amount per dropper full, I’m really not that interested in talking to them. So, having a good customer service background, and a solid amount of information rather than hype. Personally, I get turned off by hype, I don’t want to hear it. That’s my own personal way of doing it.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

But, I would suggest to someone who’s looking for good CBD products, to listen for what is underneath the hype, and just for the authenticity of whoever’s presenting it.

Michael Pedersen:

So, the CBD market consumer research study is available online, through Leafreport. I did read through it, I think you guys covered 3500 products available in the US, so it’s quite extensive.

Michael Pedersen:

Would you have any final thoughts, any wisdom you can bestow upon my listeners about CBD, and shopping for CBD products?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

From the medical point of view, I would always say start low, and go slow. You want to start with the lowest dose possible, and then slowly increase until you reach a particular goal. If your particular goal is sleeping, when you reach that goal of sleeping, there’s no sense in overdoing it. Be aware that CBD is a plant based substance, obviously, but natural doesn’t mean … From the mainstream medicine point of view, I have to tell people, just because it’s natural doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. People will be like, “Well, we’ve got all these medications, and stuff.” It does work, but you have to treat it with respect.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

So, that would be start low, and go slow would be the main medical advice. It’s not going to work for everything, but if you’ve tried approaches, and it doesn’t work. Topical pain, any inflammatory pain, it’s worth trying. Insomnia, it’s definitely worth trying, a number of different areas. Most of the time, it’s got a very wide therapeutic window. Safety is not as huge an issue, but you also have to look at what other medications you’re taking, we don’t know what kind of interactions there are. Which is, again, why I emphasize the start low, and go slow. You want to keep that in mind.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

As far as, more broadly speaking, do your research. Leafreport has done an awful lot of the research for you, but make sure, as much as you can, that you understand what it is you’re buying, how they produce it, what the company philosophy is. Is it, “Okay, this is a great new field, let’s make money?” Or, are they … I don’t know if I want to say true believers, but are they dedicated to providing a source of help, for consumers? Or, are they just there for the gree factor?

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

As I said, we’ve done a lot of the research. Everyone, every consumer, is better off as an educated consumer, so that’s really what we want to provide. At least, some format where they can find as close to accurate facts as we call.

Michael Pedersen:

Good advice in this day and age, of all the CBD hype out there. Let’s not forget, CBD’s the tip of the arrow, there’s going to be a lot more cannabinoids introduced to the marketplace, probably in the next few years. I’m sure this report will go deeper than just CBD, in a very short window of time.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

One last bit of advice I would also say is, if you’re using this for more serious conditions … We’re very fortunate in Washington state, because we’ve had medical cannabis for many, many years. But, to always make sure that you talk to your physician, healthcare provider, and make sure that … If they’re open to it, because there are still some that don’t want to. I’ve had people, members of my family, talk to pain specialists, for example, and they’re like, “We’ll let your wife take care of that.” Not a good idea, because they’re not comfortable. Mainstream medical professionals ought to get much more comfortable with it.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Consumers should be talking to a naturopath, or mainstream medical professional that is comfortable with it. And doesn’t, again, go back to the whole reefer madness thing, because it’s a chemical compound that has beneficial effects, there’s nothing odd about it. It works, it has its side effects, very few, thankfully. It has a wide therapeutic window. But, to treat it with respect, is still the advice that I would give.

Michael Pedersen:

Yeah, solid advice, a good way to end it.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

And read your Leafreport.

Michael Pedersen:

And read your Leafreport. Okay, that CBD market consumer research study is on Leafreport.com. You are Dr. Degrandpre, not the easiest name to spell. If somebody wants to find out about you, I’m sure they can Google you. I want to say thank you.

Michael Pedersen:

Also, today we did a bit of a hybrid. We did video, but we also communicated over the phone, because we were having some issues earlier. Thanks for being patient with me, thanks for being patient with my barking dog. It’s become a signature of my podcast, now.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Ah, well I fed my cats before we got on, so I didn’t have a cat leaping onto the … Right now, the dog has a bad foot, so I’m actually going to be looking at applying some CBD to her paws.

Michael Pedersen:

Perfect. Thank you so much for this.

Leafreport – Dr. Zora Degrandpre:

Not at all, thank you very much.

Michael Pedersen:

Take care.

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The clinicians in our team bring their experience from across the spectrum of medical specialties, as well as their perspective from years of clinical practice, research, and patient advocacy. Medical Review, provided by members of Leafreport's team, ensures that our content is accurate, current, and patient-focused.

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