Episode 33: Controlling the Process From Seed to Sale



Joe: On this episode of the "CBD University Podcast," controlling the process from seed until the time you use our premium hemp-derived CBD products. Leading the CBD industry doesn't happen overnight. It takes experience, quality, safety, compliance, processes, controlling everything we do to ensure your health and well-being on this episode of the "CBD University Podcast" and it starts right now. I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." If you are a returning listener, I welcome you once again back to our podcast. If you are a new listener, we are glad you found us on your podcast platform of choice. We'll go into how you can subscribe a little later on to get notifications each week when new episodes are published. A reminder, you can also see full video episodes of our podcast on our Global Widget YouTube channel along with the YouTube channels of our brand. So, you can also go back and catch up on some older episodes if you would like and subscribe also on YouTube to get notifications when the new video episodes are published each week.

You've heard us talk about this before but everything we do right in-house of our 110,000 square feet of facilities in the Tampa, Florida area. This podcast is in just one of our three buildings and way more important than our podcast studio is another facility not too far from our current location and that is where some of the magic happens to make the quality and premium hemp-derived CBD products from Hemp Bombs, Nature's Script and Perfect Paws Hemp. We're talking the actual extraction of CBD, and why our in-house teams are so critical to the overall quality, compliance, safety, and authenticity of all of our products. And joining me on this episode is our co-founder, Donald Biedrzycki, and our brand new director of extraction, Collin McClendon. First of all, Donald's been on the podcast a couple of times before. I wanna welcome Collin not only to the podcast but we threw you right into the fire. It's only been a couple of weeks and here you are a guest on the podcast already. Welcome to the team and welcome to the podcast.

Collin: Thank you, Joe.

Joe: And Donald, welcome back. Always good as always.

Donald: Yeah, absolutely. I love it.

Joe: So first off, Collin tell our listeners a little bit about yourself. What got you into the CBD industry and what led you here at Global Widget?

Collin: I got in the industry in Denver, Colorado about five years ago, just through sheer passion. I've been...held lead extraction roles in the lab environment, both domestically and internationally. I have experience in various different extraction methods, using various solvents, post-processing techniques, and refining as well including CBD isolation and other cannabinoids as well. Most recently I've returned from Europe on a one year contract. I was out there building out an extraction lab over there and just got back a couple of months ago.

Joe: All right, so Denver, Colorado and Europe, we're talking about two very different areas when it comes to CBD. What have you experienced both here stateside and then overseas?

Collin: Yeah, very much so, very much different. The CBD industry here, over here in the States is much more mature and developed. Over there, they're still, you know, refining their techniques, etc. And one thing that I really noticed was the ability in the States to produce at scale. They're still kind of struggling with that over there in Europe, just the fact that it's been so new over there.

Joe: And what led you over here to Global Widget?

Collin: Global Widget, just a very well structured company. I love the vertical integration here. I think we'll touch on that shortly here but, you know, just being able to control the process from start to finish and managing that quality control.

Joe: He's already a podcast pro. He's already teasing what's coming up on the episode. That's great. I didn't even have to set you up. Very good.

Donald: You taught him well.

Joe: Yeah. Hey. So, Donald, let's start off. First with the why, why did we get into extraction of CBD?

Donald: Well, it really just goes to supply chain management. We wanna be able to control our supply chain from seed to sale. Right now we're, with the added facility, our extraction facility, we are going to do the extraction. So, we'll be buying the raw hemp and then running it all the way through raw ingredient to be able to put into our products. But Kevin and I thought about this a few years ago, we started working on this project, and we recognized that the business model that a lot of the other extractors were using was not sustainable. So, we had a big concern about the supply chain. We weren't sure if these companies were gonna be around. And then additionally, as our volume increased, and we needed more raw ingredient, it was so spotty. We would buy...we would get different quality from the same supplier, you know, time in, time out, and then it would cause us to have failures in testing and it was just an added expense that we did not wanna have. So, we decided that, you know, extracting ourselves, being able to control the quality of the product, control the quality of the output, to be able to put it into, you know, our finished goods was a top priority to us.

Joe: So, we answered some more of the why and we'll get more into some of the points that Donald just mentioned shortly. But Collin, what exactly is extraction?

Collin: Yeah, so we'll bring in the hemp biomass itself, and that enters a centrifuge type extractor machine. We'll introduce some solvent. And again, that centrifuge will spin the biomass around, we'll be able to extract the cannabinoids from the plant material itself. And then we enter a whole bunch of refinement processes, the first one being the process called winterization, where we will remove the fats and lipids from the oil so that we can further post-process it. Then we enter a solvent recovery stage. We'll remove that solvent that we used through extraction, and we'll have what we know as our winterized crude oil. From there we need to activate the CBD. So, CBD when it's first extracted is the acid form CBDA, and through a process called decarboxylation, we'll activate that CBD, increasing its bioavailability to the human body itself. From there, we enter a process called distillation. So, if you've ever seen water boil, obviously, you know, you see the steam evaporate. Similar concept, every compound in the oil has a boiling point.

So, by specifically targeting the boiling point of CBD, we're able to leave the unwanted compounds in our what we call tail fraction and we have our purified distillate, increasing the potency of CBD as well as extracting some other cannabinoids, which can then be used into some of our broad-spectrum products. Further refining that we can isolate the CBD to its highest purity through a process called isolation, where we actually crystallize the CBD.

Joe: Fascinating. And Donald, how much, now that we go through that whole process, so how much of this can we...how much of the stuff can we make?

Donald: Well, our capacity right now is we could process about 150, 200 pounds of hemp an hour. We plan on the end of the year to be running three shifts. So, we're estimating that we'll be going through 70,000 to 100,000 pounds of raw hemp a month.

Joe: Wow, that's a lot of hemp. And as you mentioned earlier, it all comes down to controlling the process from the very beginning. Why is that so important for our customers and retail partners?

Donald: It's really all about quality control. You know, so for the end user and our distribution partners, they wanna know that they are buying and selling or consuming the highest quality of products. And by us controlling this, this allows us to produce the highest quality product.

Joe: And in regards to the quality, you talked a little bit about it earlier, but the vertical integration and this allows...all these processes allow for all of this.

Collin: Yeah, again, really controlling every step of the process from the starting oil that we produce, the crude, all the way to its finished product. And by being able to control that environment, that process, we're able to ensure the highest quality product available.

Joe: And we've talked as I mentioned about the vertical integration before. We just posted a video on our social media channels highlighting this with the new gummy machine that we have here in-house. But Donald, how does vertical integration along with our manufacturing efficiencies throughout the entire process that we've just broken down [inaudible 00:08:51] this to being able to offer more CBD, more products, and then more savings to our customers and our retail partners in this, our year of more.

Donald: So, when Kevin and I first started talking about investing in an extraction facility, you know, we decided that we're not gonna build this part of the business out to be a profit center. It's going to be, again to control the quality of the products. So, where other suppliers were buying from other suppliers, of course, everybody in the chain has a profit figure on there, we're able to save on that. So, that allows us to offer more CBD for the same price to our customers in our end product. So, we pass that benefit and that savings on to our end customer.

Joe: And in addition to the savings, you know, given the current times around the country, and I'll let you both answer this, talk about the [inaudible 00:09:40] to the safety and quality of the CBD through our testing process and why it's so important in the industry.

Collin: So, what we have is that we have an in-house testing lab here, which really just adds a pre-step in the R&D manufacturing process. So, by not only doing in-house testing throughout the quality control process, we then send out our products for third party testing. But it allows us to shorten that time span of R&D, and really fine-tune our products.

Donald: And we can make changes on the fly. Because we test in-house, we're able to test within an hour of running a specific product. So again, it just goes to the quality and the control and the consistency of the product.

Joe: And just to highlight our in-house compliance team, as both Donald and Collin just discussed, our chief compliance officer, and we'll have more on this coming up in a future episode, Margaret Richardson, just honored by the "Tampa Bay Business Journal" as one of the top corporate counsel in the Tampa Bay area. We'll have more on that and our commitment to quality and compliance in a future episode here of the "CBD University Podcast." So, Donald, all of this doesn't, and I alluded to this in the introduction, all of this vertical integration and efficiency doesn't just, boom, happen overnight. It takes a lot of hard work, a lot of investment, a lot of hours, a lot of time. You know, and talk about the investment that went into this and job creation. And we talked about, you know, Collin just joining the team, but there's certainly no pun intended, more coming down the road. So, talk a little bit about all that.

Donald: So, like I previously said, we started this project roughly 18 months ago. So this is 18 months in the making. It was a large financial investment. We invested millions of dollars in this project. We did not make any shortcuts, did any shortcuts. We made sure that we are of the highest standards. We've got our Florida Department of Agriculture hemp food manufacturing certificate. We meet all CGMP and standards for that facility. So, again, it was all about compliance. We wanted to make sure that everything that we produce at that facility is of the highest quality. And one thing that I'm really proud of, of course, especially during these times is the job that it's gonna add. You know, we put in [inaudible 00:12:08] three shifts. Each shift takes about 10 to 12 people. So, we're looking as we ramp up through the end of this year to be adding, you know, over a total of 30 to 40 jobs just in this 1 facility.

Joe: And the best way to keep in touch with us in regarding those positions and all that's going on is to follow us across our social media networks, especially our LinkedIn channels. We always will highlight some of the career opportunities here at Global Widget. And as we mentioned, Collin, a shining example of that. We thank you for joining us here on this podcast. Great job on your first one and we look forward to hearing more about all we're doing on the extraction site.

Collin: Thank you. I'm glad to be here.

Joe: And I do wanna thank both my guests, co-founder, Donald Biedrzycki, and our brand new director of extraction, Collin McClendon for their great conversation and coming on the podcast. Anything I neglected to discuss? I think we touched on just about everything.

Donald: I think we did. I think.

Joe: So, I thank you. Thank you both and I know we'll have you back here again soon. And I thank you for your continued support of the "CBD University Podcast." Remember to subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast app to get notifications each week when new episodes are published. And for more information on extraction and all of the great things going on in-house here of our 110,000 square feet of manufacturing and distribution facilities, I invite you to visit globalwidget.com. Also our new...as we just talked about on a previous episode of the "CBD University Podcast," you can also visit gwcbd.com, our new white label and bulk raw materials division of Global Widget.

As I mentioned, don't forget, subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast app to get notifications each week when new episodes are published. Now available on Pandora. And look for more podcast apps and video apps coming soon. And don't forget, speaking of video, catch full video episodes of our podcasts on the Global Widget YouTube channel. You can hit the subscribe button on there to get notifications when new videos are posted each week. I'm Joe Agostinelli, the host of the "CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This content is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.