Joe: On this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," making cannabinoid testing and compliance easier and more reliable. What goes into that, and what does it mean for manufacturers around the globe with an international lab meeting the challenges. This is the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," and the starts right now.
I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," if you're a returning listener, welcome back to our podcast. If you are a new listener, we are glad you found us. And don't forget, you can catch full video episodes on the Global Widget YouTube channel and the YouTube channels of our brands. It's currently one of our most frequently discussed topics here on the podcast with an evolving regulatory environment, both in the United States and around the globe, manufacturers of CBD and health and wellness products need to have the utmost confidence in their lab partners. And I welcome to the podcast our guest for this episode in studio, Wendi Young is the President of Triverity Labs. Wendi, thanks for joining me.
Wendi: Thank you for having me.
Joe: And I get excited when I say you're in studio because your labs, you know, let me fix my cord here, most of my listeners and viewers will know Zoom episodes when someone's not from here, but your labs are in Colorado and Northern Ireland, but you're in studio because you were in Florida. I was like, "Let's do it in studio." Perfect.
Wendi: Let's do it in studio. Yeah, exactly. It's a lot of fun to be in person.
Joe: Yeah. Great to see you. And thanks for coming down. And first of all, why don't you tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and how you started in the industry?
Wendi: Absolutely. So, I'm an analytical chemist. I have a degree in chemistry and I worked for about 20 years at a pharmaceutical company. While I was there, I was the director of analytical development. So helped to develop about 25 different pharmaceutical products, primarily topicals and specialty injectables. I left there in 2019 and went to Mile High Labs. So I left pharmaceuticals, went into cannabis. Mom was not too pleased, but she's since come around. But she thought I was crazy, but I was really looking for something different. I'd done that for a long time. And in Colorado, cannabis is big. It's a big part of Colorado. Beer and cannabis, it seems like. So, going into that, I took the job. I was VP of regulatory compliance at Mile High Labs. And while I was there, I was responsible for quality control, quality assurance, analytical development, regulatory, just a lot of different things, but was there for about a year and a half.
Joe: And then as I mentioned, now the President of Triverity Labs, so what led you to creating Triverity Labs?
Wendi: Well, I kind of joke that Triverity is a pandemic project. You know, when you have a little bit of time on your hands to think about, you know, what you wanna do was life-changing for a lot of us last year. And one of the things when I was at Mile High, I really struggled to find a lab that I could send our customers to, that I felt comfortable sending our samples to where we would get really accurate results for our products. And really that's what led us to create Triverity. I talked to a friend of mine that I worked with at Tolmar, which is the pharmaceutical company I worked at, and convinced her to jump after 20 years there as well, and then one of my colleagues from Mile High in Belfast, Northern Ireland, and the three of us created...we're the Tri- in Triverity.
Joe: And I was going to mention that, so labs both in the U.S. in Colorado and then in Northern Ireland internationally. So are the challenges different, you know, as a lab for each country based on regulations?
Wendi: They really aren't, it's the same problem. Chemistry is chemistry and testing is testing, right? The products are very similar all around the globe. The main certification that you need is an international standard ISO 17025. So it's the same. We were able to kind of cookie-cutter what we had, what we developed in Belfast at the beginning of this year into our lab in Colorado.
Joe: And it pride itself on both diagonal [SP] integrity and consistency of results. So what sets Triverity apart from the other labs that are out there?
Wendi: Yeah. So there's a lot of issues in the CBD testing world. I think we've all heard about issues with data manipulation, with fraud. I know of an instance with a lab over in Europe where you could pay for the result you wanted. And so we take that very seriously. Always ethics are very important when it comes to analytical testing. So we take that side of it very seriously. The other thing that we do is we validate all of our methods, and we don't just validate them for cannabinoid profile, we validate it for gummies, for topicals, for tinctures, and very specifically, for the isolates and the distillates. And we have a method that's a lot more accurate than what we would do for the company because it needs to be accurate. If you're manufacturing an isolate with a specification range of only 2%, the method needs to be extremely accurate, it can't have a 5% variability on it, like you could have for a topical or a tincture. So, we develop them, we validate them for all of those different matrices, not just one method.
Joe: Now, in August, you presented at the Natural Product and CBD Live Show on the importance of getting tested. So two-part question, first for the manufacturer in the line of product development, how important are those consistent results for manufacturers?
Wendi: You know, I always say that you wanna have good data to make good business decisions. If you don't have good data, you're not making good business decisions. So an example back to the isolate, if you're testing the isolate and you get a 94%, but really the assay value of that is 98% and you formulate with it, you're gonna have a 4% overage in your product. One, you're gonna be putting more than you need to, it's going be more expensive than it needs to be. And then two, your assay value of your products are gonna be a lot higher than they need to be, right? And then you get your products tested and you're like, "You know, why are they so high?" Well, it goes back to that isolate, right? You know, another example are topicals. I'll use topicals because that's kinda where I come from, but you wanna make sure that it's consistent throughout the container, so the tube or the bottle, but then throughout the lot. So every single container that you have has the same amount of CBD in it. If you're not getting consistent results, if there are variable, how are you ever gonna know really is it consistent or not? You're really not gonna know.
Joe: And the second part of that question for the consumer, what should consumers look for in results?
Wendi: Yeah, it's a lot harder question to answer. So you wanna make sure there's a certificate of analysis. And as kind of the basics, you wanna make sure that the lab that's testing is ISO 17025. Now the thing that a lot of people don't know is that a lot of times you can have an ISO accreditation, but the method that the lab is using to test your product isn't under the scope. So that method hasn't been vetted during the ISO auditing process. So you want to look at the CFA and make sure that they're saying that that's part of the scope of the accreditation as well. So there's that. Another thing with CBD testing, you wanna make sure that there's not THC in there, right? And there's a LOD/LOQ game that people play that if the detection limit is really high, then you could have significant amounts of THC in there. So it can say non-detect, but the LOD or the LOQ could be at 0.1%. And at that point, you could have a significant amount of THC in your product.
Joe: So with a constant evolving regulatory climate, both nationally and internationally, what are some of the challenges of staying on top of the latest regulations, and really especially here in the U.S. because it's state by state especially?
Wendi: It's a state by state, yeah. Yeah. So, it's really interesting. That's one of the biggest challenges. You can't label a product in the United States. You can't get all of the information that's required in every single state on a single label, right? And that's one of the biggest issues. And it's also true for testing. So there's a pesticide list for Florida, there was one for Colorado that just came out this summer. California is gonna have a list here pretty soon, Oregon. There's lists all over the place, and that's just pesticides. There's residual solvents and micro, and, you know, how do you test to make sure you're compliant everywhere? So I would say they're in three buckets for the states. There's the states where they don't tell you anything. And you can't even...it's hard to tell even if CBD is legal to sell there. Then there's the one that say it's legal or it's not, right? And that's great. But then there's the third where like, I'm gonna say Colorado because that's where I'm at. Colorado just came out with the regulations, they're very specific.
Rhode Island has some really interesting regulations for labeling. And so then you have the states where marijuana is legal and a lot of the regulations kind of come from that. A lot of times, they'll point to the marijuana regulations as well. So you can have I just was looking through the California ones that are gonna be coming out. You know, we've got 20, 30 pages of regulations that you need to wade through, whereas other ones, you know, it's a paragraph. So it gets very confusing.
Joe: Any different from the European Union?
Wendi: The U.S. is a bit further ahead than the EU and the UK. In the UK, with Brexit and everything, we'll talk about economy together and a little bit apart, but the EU classified CBD as a novel food years ago. And so that means you need to have a novel food application. I'm sure you've had a whole conversation on this with somebody else, but...
Joe: Episode 67. As a matter of fact, two plug, but episode 67, a novel foods dossier.
Wendi: Yeah, exactly. So we won't get in too much of that, but it is a novel food. So you need to have an authorized novel food application for the ingredient. But I think as it evolves, we're gonna see something similar in Europe that we've seen in the United States, where, you know, Germany's gonna have certain regulations, you know, versus, you know, Spain or France, they're going to say, this is how you need to handle CBD. So I think there's a possibility that we're gonna see that happen there as well, it just hasn't happened yet.
Joe: Well, Wendi Young, President of Triverity Labs, thank you for stopping in. And as things do evolve, we'll have to have you back on the podcast sometime, either in person or via Zoom, in person's fun.
Wendi: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. This was fun.
Joe: No problem. Thank you for coming down, Wendi Young, President of Triverity Labs, my guest on this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." And for more information on Triverity Labs, visit their website at www.triveritylabs.com. Link in the podcast description, and also you can find them on LinkedIn. And thank you for tuning in to this episode of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast," reminder to hit that subscribe button wherever you get your podcasts for notifications each week of new episodes, full video episodes on our YouTube channel, and the YouTube channels of our brands. I'm Joe Agostinelli, host of the "CPG & CBD University Podcast." Thanks for tuning in.
These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. CBD products are not intended to treat, cure, or prevent any disease or condition. Always consult with your personal physician about CBD and using CBD products. CBD should never be used by anyone under the age of 18. This podcast is not intended to provide legal advice regarding the legal status of CBD and CBD products.