Interview With Green Roads CBD About their New Product Line and Reformulation

We interviewed Laura Fuentes, CEO and co-founder of Green Roads and Lee Sosin, chief marketing officer of Green Roads about Green Roads’ new product line and products reformulation
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Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

All right. Hello. My name is Kristin and I am here for Leafreport. And I’m really excited to be here today with Lee and Laura from Green Roads. So we’re just going to talk a little bit about Green Roads’ new product line and the reformulation. So before we begin, Laura and Lee, if you both don’t mind introducing yourselves. Laura, maybe if you’d like to go first.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Laura Fuentes, CEO and co-founder of Green Roads.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Awesome. Thank you.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

And I’m Lee Sosin, chief marketing officer of Green Roads.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. Awesome. Well, thank you you both so much for taking the time to talk with me today. So for those of our viewers that don’t know, what is Green Roads? And if you want to give me intro or background on the company.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Sure. Green Roads is the largest privately owned company in the CBD industry. And we don’t even view ourselves as a CDB company. We view ourselves as a health and wellness company. Been around since 2013 and have helped millions of people take productive steps on their journey to better health.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. That’s awesome. Really great to hear. And then if you want to tell me a little bit about your updated product line, and then maybe what you changed.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Sure. I’ll jump in on this and Laura can fill in the gaps.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. Perfect. Thanks.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

We recently launched or relaunched our entire product line. Almost every product that we have on sale right now is new or new and improved. And the reason we did that is to combat something that has been a problem in the CBD industry for a long time, and that’s customer confusion. So most people have no idea what to buy, what they are buying, what the difference is between broad, full, isolate. They don’t know what dosage to take. They don’t know what these numbers mean. They see 250, 350, 1500, 3500 milligrams. Nobody knows what that means or how to understand what the scale is, and it leads to a lot of customer confusion.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

So what we did was not only did we redesign every product and every package to be more intuitive, cleaner, with more information, but we really took a step to educate. And so now our oils, for example, instead of coming in seven strengths, they come in three strengths, easy, simple to understand. And each strength is labeled mild, moderate, or mighty, so you know exactly what you’re getting. We also went from focusing on the total amount of milligrams in the bottle to the amount per serving.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

And that’s really important. You think about any other over the counter product that you buy, if you buy Advil or Tylenol, they don’t tell you how much acetaminophen is in the entire bottle. They tell you what you’re taking at the time.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

That’s a good point.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Was an important evolution of the industry to start getting serious about helping customers make better and easier decisions. So this mild, moderate and mighty strength, that’s going across every single product that we make. And we think it’s really important.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

I think that’s great. I think that’s super important because, yeah, for a consumer like myself, I mean, I’ve walked into in Las Vegas here, we have dispensaries that sell CBD, or CBD stores. And you just see all this stuff, and you’re just like, it’s like written in another language. So I think that’s really great that you’ve made it easy for consumers to understand. That’s huge.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Yeah. Even when you think about the idea of a full spectrum versus broad spectrum.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right, right.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Most people, I would guess that most people who take full spectrum products have no idea what full spectrum means. They have no idea that there’s THC in that product because they just hear, “Oh, full spectrum’s good,” so maybe I’ll just get that. And what we did was on every pack, now we let people know. What type of product are you taking? What is that? And what does it mean? And obviously, all that education now lives on our website as well.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

That’s really great. That’s awesome. And so you said you now do offer full spectrum CBD oil. Right? Which you didn’t before.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Correct.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. And why did you decide to add this? Just because people were looking for it or …

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Lori, you want to answer that?

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yeah. Absolutely. So when we started doing this a long time ago, THC was really taboo. People didn’t want THC. They were really afraid of it. Now that the consumers are being more educated and they’re learning more about the benefits of this plant, they’re asking for the THC levels. So we went and we made a product that fits every consumer. We have a product that has zero THC, which would be an isolate form. We have a product that might have non-detectable amounts of THC, which would be our broad spectrum. And then we have the full spectrum, which would have under the .3 legal limit. So people can really decide.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Some people work in environments where they can’t have any THC, like nurses and doctors, air traffic controllers. They would get tested, and they could test positive potentially if they’re taking full spectrum items. So we’re trying to be really concerned about the end user and to make sure that everybody’s livelihood is safe in the end.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right. Okay, great. Thank you. Thank you. And then can you maybe explain a little bit the formula used in your CBD oils and/or what makes it different from other tinctures on the market?

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

So our formulas are more of a formulation to put it easily. Most companies take some type of an oil, an olive oil, or an MCT oil, and they just add CBD to it, and that’s their product. A little flavor here and there, maybe. Our formulas are made with a lot of different ingredients. We have four different carrier oils in there, hemp seed oil, MCT, safflower oil and something else, I can’t remember right now. Horrible, horrible.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

It’s okay.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

But we combine that and we make that into an emulsion with vegetable glycerine, which has a nice soothing and warm sensation in the mouth. And it’s a little on the sweeter side, so when you put that in your mouth, it’s a little thicker. It’s a little sweeter. And it’s much more palatable, so you can hold it in your mouth for the 30 seconds that you really need to do to get the full benefit of the product. So the longer you can hold it in your mouth, the more absorption you get from the product.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. All right.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

If I can add to that.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Yeah, please.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Just the difference between two ingredients and five, six, seven ingredients is not by accident. Laura’s background is as a compounding pharmacist. She spent 20 plus years before starting Green Roads formulating pharmaceutical products for her community as a pharmacist. And we have two other pharmacists on staff that run our manufacturing. So we have a team of pharmacists that are working and refining these … So when we launched this new formulation, this was not … This was the product of months and months of experimentation and reformulation to find exactly the formula that Laura wanted, and that as a pharmacist, that they felt was going to deliver the best consumer experience.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right. And that’s good to know, so you’re not just in your kitchen throwing a bunch of things together. It actually means something. Yeah, that’s really great. And then I saw also that you have some new products like CBD bath bombs. That’s really cool. So what was the inspiration behind adding something like this?

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Green Roads views itself as a health and wellness company. And we don’t necessarily want to make novelty products. We want to make products that have a therapeutic benefit. And especially when you see what’s going on today with people who are overcome with stress and worry and anxiety, being able to have a CBD bath is actually a very therapeutic experience for them and allows them to de-stress. And so as we look and we work from the consumer backwards, there’s also a lot of people who are … The world of CBD feels foreign to them. And what’s a good entry point?

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

And so we want to have products that something like a CBD chocolate, where someone, when you think about it, there’s really no difference conceptually between a CBD chocolate and a CBD gummy. They’re both different ways to ingest the CBD into your system. And so we want to make sure that we’re able to reach out and hold people’s hands as they take their first steps with CBD. And again, have a therapeutic benefit. Everything should really be … There’s nothing that was designed just as a frivolity. Right? Everything should have benefit and everything should provide a consumer experience that is really part of someone’s self care or wellness routine.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. All right. And then I feel like you already kind of answered this. But if there’s something else you’d like to say, I know there’s a lot of CBD companies in the industry. And what would separate you from other companies? And how do you stand out? And again, I feel like you kind of already answered this by explaining how you have pharmacists behind you. But I don’t know if there’s anything else you’d like to add to that question, how you think you are separated from other CBD companies and how you stand out.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

I mean, I would answer it talking about Laura, so I don’t know if she’s good. So Laura, I don’t know if you want me to answer, or you want to answer that question.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Go ahead, Lee. Let’s hear your version of this story.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

So I would say that there are a lot of things that differentiate Green Roads from the competition. And one of the most important is the intention that we bring, the reason, the purpose, the values that we bring to the table every single day. And that started with Laura as a pharmacist helping her community get healthier for 20 plus years before starting down the path of CBD and really exploring the power of plants to help people on that wellness journey.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

This is not a company that was started by a bunch of MBAs sitting around trying to figure out how to make a quick buck. This was born out of real need and a real desire and a commitment to help people get healthier. Then that commitment translated into obviously Laura as a pharmacist, but us always taking a wellness approach. We never considered CBD a fad. We never considered CBD a novelty. And every single product that we make is created, formulated by Laura and two other pharmacists, and then produced in house. Our oils and topicals and capsules are all produced in house.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Most companies buy their products from an industrial manufacturer, and they just put their own label on it. We want to control the quality. We want to control the efficacy. We want to control the purity of the products, so we brought those core products in house and we produce them in our own facility. And then the last piece is transparency. Green Roads was one of the very first companies to not only do full panel testing on every batch, but to have QR codes on the packaging, which allows people to see.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Now of course, now that’s become almost industry standard and you better. But Laura was insisting on that years before those standards were in place, and actually led the industry from a consumer protection standpoint. So we always have the consumers’ best interests at heart. And I can’t say … I’m sure there are great companies out there that feel the same way, but looking at this industry, I’ve never seen a company care as much about the end user as Green Roads does.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

All right. Great answer. Yeah. Laura, is there anything you want to add to that?

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yeah. I would like to add to that. So going back to why we started with making sure that our products were tested for everything, we get children sent to us from a local hospital that are pretty much on their life end, and they’re looking for some kind of relief because Western medicine’s not working for them. And so we’ve been able to help a lot of children. And I always think to myself, “Well, if these moms weren’t sent to me, and if they go to a store and buy a product that really isn’t truly what it says on the bottle, they’re getting a product that maybe has lead, or is not CBD, it’s hemp seed oil.” That just breaks my heart that these children didn’t get a chance at that one little help that they could’ve gotten at the end, so that’s what really has drove me to this because I think about the end user.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

If you say that’s what you’re getting, that should be what you’re getting, so that’s really what’s driven us to try to just stay transparent, and try to make everybody else honest too. I love that there’s a bunch of CBD companies out there, I do. But you need to be fair to the consumer. It’s just not fair for the mom that goes out there and tries to get something. It’s just not, so that’s what’s really has driven me. Since the beginning, we’ve had a lot of kids, so it feels good to do the right thing.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Yeah. And that’s really great to hear because like you both said, I know there are a lot of CBD companies out there now. And it’s hard because it’s not a regulated item. You don’t know what’s in it. You read the bottle and it says this. But how do you know if that’s true or not? So it’s good to know that.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yeah. These companies, they forge their lab results. They do just a lot of not good things. I mean, they have to remember there are people out there taking these products for a reason, and they’re looking for something. And to cheat them in that way is just not right.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right, yeah. It’s just bad all around, bad juju, bad business practices. I mean, integrity is so important. So your company, that’s really cool to hear. Okay. So and this question, I don’t know if you were able to see these earlier. So we noticed that all of your product pages clearly list the type of CBD extract used, like broad spectrum or isolate. Like you said, you’re very transparent. And then but we looked at an attached third party lab document for your broad spectrum products, and some show CBD on the documents. For example, your 100 milligram CBD gummies say broad spectrum on the product page, but the attached lab sheet only shows CBD. You know what I’m talking about? Or do you know what [inaudible 00:14:37]? Yeah, sorry. I know that was a long question.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

That’s okay. No, I know. We actually get it a lot. We get the question a lot. So the answer is once you extract the oils from the plants, there are multiple cannabinoids in there. And the most cannabinoid, the most abundant is the CBD. So when you go to formulate these into products, you’re not giving them just the straight oil. You’re formulating it so it gets diluted. So those other CBD products get diluted.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Now what’s really interesting is there’s some companies out there that claim that they’re using their products full spectrum hemp products. And their milligrams is right at the legal limit of the .3%, which is technically impossible because if you get a product that’s legal and you dilute it into another product, it doesn’t have .3 any longer. It gets diluted.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right. Okay.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

So that’s why you see those variations, because the end product is a dilution of what you started with. So you might get a product that has 1000 milligrams in one ML, but then your whole bottle only has 300 milligrams, so you’re only using a tiny little bit of that to get into your bottle. Does that make sense?

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Yes. So basically, if it’s a full spectrum, like you said, it’s mostly CBD, and there’s little bits of these other things. But by the time you get to the end formulation, those might be such minimal amounts that it won’t show up. Is that how it would work?

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yeah. They get diluted down. If you’re putting [inaudible 00:16:04] product, in order to get the right milligrams, if you want 1000 milligram product, it’s a tiny amount of the extract that you use. So all the other, they’re there, they’re just there in much minimal concentrations.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. Okay. Well, that’s good to know. Yeah, that definitely makes sense, so thank you for explaining that.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

It’s confusing on the label.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

It has a lot to do with what you start with. Are you starting with a broad spectrum? Right? It’s a broad spectrum extract is the starting point, or a full spectrum extract. But then as Laura said, we’re making our products specifically to hit a CBD level. Right? So if that’s how you’re creating the formula because you want this bottle to have 1500 milligrams of CBD, then that’s what you’re aiming for. And all the other levels, because it’s a natural product, it’s like not every orange has the same amount of vitamin C in it. Right?

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right. Right.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Not every hemp extract is going to have exactly the same ratios of every cannabinoid. These are natural products. So we formulate it so that the CBD level is constant, so that every bottle that you get that is supposed to be 1000 milligrams is exactly that. And so all the other levels are going to naturally move because that’s what you’re aiming at. Laura, is that accurate what I just said?

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yes. That is. That is. And it’s very confusing when you see the labels of the lab results. It looks like it’s not what you’re saying it is. But you’re starting with the product and you’re ending up with something different, so yeah.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. That makes sense. Thank you for clarifying that. That definitely makes sense. And then a little bit, I mean, we all know things are a little bit different and crazy in the world right now because of COVID-19. So has that affected your business in terms of sales, marketing? Tell me a little bit about how that’s going for you guys with business.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Sure. We are very fortunate that we’re carried by in over 7000 retail locations. And unfortunately because of the COVID-19, a lot of those retail locations are either in forced closures or they just have lower foot traffic. So our retail business is definitely being impacted. On the flip side, there’s a lot of people that are reaching out to us through e-Commerce. And our e-Commerce sales are doing great because of that. Unfortunately, this is a time when people are feeling stressed and they’re feeling anxious and they’re feeling worried. And CBD is one of the more natural ways to deal with that stress. And so we’re seeing a huge uptick in search and other sort of indicators that CBD is really on people’s minds right now.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yeah. I think everybody could really use a nice calming bath.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Totally.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Take a minute out of your day. It actually helps because it’s like the day is so stressful, you can’t get away from the corona thing everywhere being thrown at you, people dying, this happening. And it’s so scary, so just to take a minute to meditate, or relax, or take a bath, any of those things that will help you calm down. I think it’s really necessary right now. We need to take care of our wellbeing inside as well.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Yeah. I totally agree with you. And I, again, this situation isn’t ideal. But hopefully people will start noticing and seeing that there are natural alternatives to a lot of problems they might have in their everyday life, CBD being one of them for, like you said, anxiety, or taking a bath, or whatever it might be, so yeah. What are your plans for the next year or two, anything new and exciting with your business, with Green Roads?

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Absolutely.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Always.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Always.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

We are in a constant cycle of innovation. Obviously, we don’t want to disclose now new products that are coming out. But we are constantly getting feedback from our customers and from our retailers as to what people are looking for. And we have, as we’ve mentioned before, three pharmacists that love nothing more than to come out with new products. So we are in a period, even though we just relaunched all these products with new packaging, new formulations, new strengths, that’s just the beginning point. And we are rapidly innovating new products that help people solve real problems. And that’s the pleasure of working in this space.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

I love it. Thank you. And then I mean, I guess this kind of goes with that, and I don’t know if you could say yet. But are you planning to add product lines of other cannabinoids like, I know CBG and CBN are becoming more popular. Do you have any plans of doing something like that, or you don’t know yet, or?

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

We obviously are exploring the entire plant. And we believe that research has just scratched the surface of the benefits that this plant can bring to the world. So as we find other cannabinoids that we feel can bring a real purpose and efficacy to our products, we absolutely are going to develop products that use those cannabinoids.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

And then this will just be an opinion question. We just have a few more questions left. But generally, make you can each answer this. But what’s your point of view on the CBD market, regulation, market share, et cetera? Do you have any thoughts or opinions about these things right now?

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Laura, I will defer to you.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

As far as regulations go, we’re anxiously awaiting there to be regulations. Right now, every day, every state is coming out with new regulations, new requirements for labeling. It’s getting very complicated to be in the space. Every state is deciding that they want to have their own set of rules and it’s making things very muddy and very complicated. And so I think once the FDA comes out and finally makes some kind of a recommendation and says, “Hey, it is either a dietary supplement or it’s not.” It’s something, we have to be categorized as something. Right now, we are not anything, so we’re kind of just trying to figure out. What are we? We’ve been trying to stay as close to a dietary supplement type regulations as we can, assuming that’s what’s going to happen. But we don’t know what’s going to happen. So I would love for regulations to come out sooner than later. But I just don’t know what’s going to happen.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

It’s hard to predict.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Impossible.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Yeah, yeah. And then would either one of you have any recommendations for the beginner user, someone who’s heard about CBD, doesn’t know where to start, and even for someone who might be new to Green Roads? Lee.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Sure. The nice thing about our new system is we make it very easy for people to make a decision as to how they want to start. So a newcomer can buy one of our products that are a mild strength, so it actually says mild right on the box, or choose moderate, or mighty, depending. But we always recommend that people start low and build up slowly, so they can find their own best serving size. The other thing I didn’t mention before is that as we redid all of our products, one of the things that we wanted to do was we wanted to give the consumer more control as to how much they were taking because so much of it is about experimentation, finding your own best serving size.

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

So you may buy that 10 milligrams per milliliter bottle and want to see what happens if you took a little bit more or a little bit less. So instead of using the same dropper that every single CBD company uses, we have a very accurate and precise measuring tool that comes with every bottle, so you can actually know that you’re taking exactly one ML, or maybe 1.25 if that’s what you decide to do. And it puts more control into the hands of the consumers, so they can make their own choices and really find that perfect sweet spot that’s right for them.

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Yeah. I think it’s important to note that everybody should start off on a lower dose and increase slowly because just taking 50 milligrams right off the bat doesn’t mean that you need 50 milligrams. It’s a waste of product. It’s probably a waste of money. You should take a small dose every couple of days. If you need to increase it, increase it every three or four days, and to see where you end up. There’s just no need to overtake products that are not necessary.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Right. That’s really good advice. All right. Well, Lee and Laura, thank you both so much for your time today. I don’t know. Is there anything else you’d like to add before we wrap up here today?

Laura Fuentes – Green Roads:

Just thank you for having us. I appreciate it.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Okay. Awesome. Thank you both so much for your time. It’s been really great talking with you and learning more about Green Roads and your new products. Have a great day. Okay?

Lee Sosin – Green Roads:

Thanks to both of you.

Kristin Harrison – Leafreport.com:

Thank you.

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