Neptune CEO Jim Hamilton said prior research on the two substances lends credence to the notion that a combination could offer synergistic effects that go beyond the benefits of the two components individually. The research partner is characterized by Neptune as “one of the largest krill oil providers.”
Long history of krill research
Neptune pioneered krill oil as a dietary ingredient and did some of the early science backing the ingredient’s safety profile and health benefits. Hamilton said that basis, plus the subsequent research done on the ingredient in the supply sphere, will help drive the project forward. Hamilton said there is a body of data to point to on krill oil as a carrier for other nutrients.
CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non narcotic fraction of the Cannabis sativa plant. For regulatory compliance purposes, suppliers and formulators of this ingredient are careful to note that they extract their CBD from industrial hemp plants, which are cultivars of cannabis that have very low THC levels. THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the intoxicating fraction of the plant. To qualify as industrial hemp by law, a cannabis cultivar must have no more than 0.3% THC content.
“We know the science of krill oil. We know that krill oil can be an effective carrier of CBD. We also know that CBD can help quell inflammation as does krill oil,” Hamilton said.
There have been questions raised about the absorption profile of hemp oils that contain high CBD levels. Hamilton said krill oil’s easily absorbed phospholipid structure could be of benefit here, too. As a possible CBD carrier, Neptune is also looking at fish oils whose absorption profiles have been enhanced with the company’s recently licensed MaxSimil technology.
“If there are some carrier oils that can enhance the absorption of CBD products that is very interesting to us,” Hamilton said.
Building a formulation base
He said the research partnership will help Neptune, which is building business capital behind the name Neptune Wellness Solutions, to execute on its recently formulated business plan. That plan was put into place when it decided to exit the krill oil supply business on which the company was founded and move into a positioning as the supplier of formulated products.
“What’s important for us in this business is no longer just the crude extraction but the refinement of those products and the formulation of them into unique forms,” Hamilton said. “If you can support those formulated products with research that’s even better.”
“We are confident that our R&D efforts with cannabinoids can lead to the development of new formulations for medical and wellness products addressing health issues such as pain, sleep, anxiety and stress. As the regulatory frameworks for medical cannabis use and legalization of cannabinoids in Canada and other jurisdictions around the world progress, our key competitive and distinctive advantages remain our scientific, regulatory, extraction, formulation and global commercialization capabilities,” he said.