Marijuana Business Magazine May-June 2019

Marijuana Business Magazine | May-June 2019 66 B y nature, cannabis oil is hydropho- bic. In other words, it doesn’t mix with water. And that presents an obvious and difficult challenge for man- ufacturers that want to create a THC- or CBD-infused beverage without an oil slick on the surface. “You have to take the starting materi- als—the oil, isolate or active ingredient— and engineer them in a way so they like the environment they’re in,” said Michael Heller, co-founder and CEO of MJ Woo- ly, a biotechnology company developing water-compatible solutions for introducing cannabinoids into ingestible products. Fueled by tremendous interest and water- shed investments from beer, liquor and bev- erage giants, infused product manufacturers are eager to fast-track potent, high-quality cannabis-infused drinks to market. More often, manufacturers are turning to experts in food and beverage science to do that the right way. Heller’s company is one of many developing formulations to create shelf- stable, cannabis-infused beverages that deliver rapid onset of the desired effects. That’s done in a handful of ways, Heller said, though some of the most common are through the use of nanotechnology— science, engineering and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about one to 100 nanometers. Other companies use long-chain fatty acid conjugations, a method of creating a chemical compound, and research is even being done to change the chemical structure of cannabis active ingredients—something that would need to be proved safe for consumption before it’s allowed to be used in products, Heller noted. Here are short profiles of three companies, including MJ Wooly. They offer insights into the methods the three are using to develop formulations for cannabis- infused beverages. Three scientists explain how their companies help manufacturers create potent, shelf-stable infused drinks. MJ Wooly has developed cannabis nanoparticles that dis- solve homogenously in liquids and solids, Heller said. The nanoparticles are tiny cannabis oil droplets coated in polymers that allow them to mix with water. This patent-pend- ing technology improves the function of cannabis by rapidly getting more of its active ingredients into the body, he noted. Its ability to be used in cannabis-infused chocolates or beverages makes it a versatile solution, too, Heller added. He called the cannabis nanoparticles a “functional ingredient that helps manufacturers make any product they want.” “There are many companies working on this in beverages, but very few are doing this across all ingestible products,” Heller said. “We take the view that cannabis and hemp are medicines. Certainly there’s a recreational market for these products, but there are a large number of people who view marijuana or CBD more as a daily supplement, and they want the most effective treatment they can get.” MJ WOOLY HEADQUARTERS Oakland, California | EMPLOYEES 6 | FOUNDED 2015 Science Project By Joey Peña Products