That is especially important for doctors, who tend to be reticent about cannabis products, he explains. “That label claim has changed the conversation with doctors considerably and is a big differentiator for us.”
Rogers joined the company in 2016 after a successful run with Mettrum, which was sold to Canopy in 2014. “CannTrust has been taking off like a rocket ship ever since,” he says. “When I joined, there were 20 employees. Now we are at 320 and have two facilities that will reach full production by August of this year. We have 44,000 customers on the medical side alone and that’s expected to reach 100,000 by the end of this year.”
Rogers says having a strong presence in the medical cannabis space provides a solid foundation for tackling the recreational market: “Our strong medical focus does not preclude taking any part in the recreational market. Rather, we can stratify what we have done by applying standardized approaches across both channels. We’re very excited about both opportunities.”
The company is developing a broad range of products, from extracts to dry. It also boasts strong partnerships, including a relationship with Apotex, Canada’s largest generic drug manufacturer, that is focused on developing proprietary and novel dosage forms, such as enteric-coated time-release tablets, fast-acting sublingual variations, and sprays.
One innovation of note is the market’s only vegan-based capsule, a product that Rogers says resonates with practitioners and consumers versus gelatin-based capsules that are animal by-products.
Another key vertical that is untouched by the industry in Canada is the veterinary market, where CannTrust is developing products with Grey Wolf Animal Health. “It’s a really exciting vertical because it allows us to work with CannTrust’s technical and development teams to optimize our standardized product line for Canadian veterinarians,” says Dr. Ian Sandler, CEO of Grey Wolf Animal Health. “We’ve seen strong results coming out of the U.S. in that vertical. The potential is significant, and no one in Canada is in this yet.”
Dr. Sandler reports that the overall pet industry spend in Canada is around $7 billion and growing. “People love their pets,” he says. “When you look at companion animals, there are 16 million in Canada. We see a huge opportunity in creating products for that market.”
Pet owners have long expressed a serious interest in cannabis-based treatments because they are derived from natural products and cost less than other medications, Dr. Sandler notes. Grey Wolf products are expected to be introduced to the veterinary marketplace by Q4 of this year.
Moving forward, Rogers says CannTrust will continue to take its best practices to tackle additional verticals that make sense. “We have a strong platform from which we can work.”
Projects on the go include cannabis-infused food and beverage products such as single-serve brewing pods for Keurig brewers and sports recovery drinks. The company has invested significantly in nanotechnology that reduces the particle size, thus enabling ease of mixing CBD/THC in water-soluble solutions like beer, wine and many other drinks. As well, Canntrust owns a unique extraction process that actually produces a product free of any taste, which is ideal for CBD/THC-infused drinks and edibles that the company anticipates will be approved in the next round of recreational legislation. It also foresees applications for the technology in the formulation and production of health and beauty products like shampoos and topical creams.
CannTrust is also forging strong international ventures. It recently completed a partnership agreement with Danish LP Stenocare, where the plan is to develop and build a full cultivation and production facility. In addition, CannTrust is shipping product to Australia and is establishing distribution partnerships in Germany and Mexico.
“The cannabis market worldwide is estimated to be up to $180 billion,” Rogers says. “With that kind of market opportunity, there is a lot of room to grow if you do it right, and we have the people, processes and technologies to do it right.”
This story was created by Content Works, Postmedia’s commercial content division, on behalf of CannTrust.