The founding partner of new CBD brand NaturalWorks talks to Cannabis Health about an unexpected career change, discovering the power of nature and the importance of doing things ‘properly’.
Trained as an aeronautical engineer, Max Moldaschl could have been designing aeroplanes, but instead he’s engineering another high-flying opportunity, with the launch of his own CBD company.
After taking on the fast-paced world of finance after university, 13 years of high stress levels, and 12 hour days spent staring at screens were starting to take a toll.
Despite some initial scepticism he was persuaded to try CBD and became an instant fan.He was less of a fan, however of what he describes as the ‘Wild West’ marketplace, which had little consistency and a lack of regulation.
This led to a sudden career change and the first product from NaturalWorks, an organic, broad spectrum CBD oil grown, lab-tested and certified by experts in Switzerland is just the beginning of a journey driven by a love of the natural world that stems from growing up in his home country of Austria.
CH: You say you were unsure about CBD at first, what changed?
Max: Over the years I’ve had my share of ups and downs with work-related stress and just over a year ago a friend said, ‘you’ve got to try CBD’. I didn’t know much about the industry then and it sounded too good to be true.
A few months later I gave it a try and became an instant fan.What I like about it is that it sort of takes the edge off, but not in the way a glass of wine does, it’s a natural remedy.
It rebalances you, I sleep better and wake up feeling like I can take on the day better. Also, sitting at screens 12 hours a day, my back is constantly in varying degrees of pain and I found that CBD cream really helped that as well.
What were some of the problems you saw in the industry?
I felt that the marketplace wasn’t very transparent. Up until recently there was no real regulation, so it felt a bit like a Wild West. The pricing structures and labelling wasn’t consistent.
As a consumer I felt very confused and didn’t really know what to trust.
So why did you decide to branch out with your own brand?
The biggest reason we launched the brand is to do this ‘properly’, to educate the consumer on the benefits of CBD, to help them understand the products and ultimately share the many positive experiences you can have with them, while knowing that they’re doing something which is safe and legal.
Of course I’d be lying if I didn’t say that there is also tremendous opportunity here.
You can’t really find many industries which are growing so strongly and being at the infancy of it we have a chance to help shape it, which is another reason why I’m very excited about this career change.
What makes NaturalWorks different to other companies?
What we are trying to achieve is a first-class product, but at an affordable price. We’re in the process of building an online knowledge base – which covers anything from how CBD can help with stress to how to read lab reports – to help consumers navigate their own personal journey with CBD.
We lab test all our products at various stages of production and we are about to launch a batch tracker so people can scan a QR code on every product, which we hope will give consumers confidence in what they’re buying from us.
Why did you go for a Swiss-based product?
When we did our research we just felt that the best ones out there were Swiss-grown. I’m from Austria, a neighbouring country and both have a very strong sense of nature, of being in the mountains, which was the inspiration for the brand.
As a company, what impact do you think the FSA guidelines will have on the industry?
Max: We welcome the novel food regulations. I think it will help bring that transparency which I felt was lacking and will hopefully provide consumers with more confidence in the industry.
We have been lucky to be able to partner with a UK scientific advisory, because to educate people you have to have a backing in proper science and rigorous research.
What else can we expect from NaturalWorks in the future?
We have started working on a mindfulness app which will offer meditation techniques. Our tagline is ‘taking nature’ and a big part of that is finding what CBD can do for you and using it mindfully.
We’re also working on a cafe that will sell fresh juices, coffee and CBD-infused products, which again will be focused on being in touch with nature. Find out more at NaturalWorks.com
Cannabliss to open brick and mortar dispensary
UK-based medical cannabis group, Cannabliss aims to help patients transition from the illicit market into the legal cannabis space.
Following a long, “drawn-out” application process, Cannabliss has secured a pharmacy licence for dispensing medical cannabis through its online platform.
Now, after handing out its first private prescription this month, the company has announced it will be opening a brick and mortar site in Preston in April 2021.
Set to open on 12 April, the store will sell legal, over-the-counter cannabis-based products and also offer advice and guidance to people who are seeking to secure a medical cannabis prescription.
Cannabliss was founded by Michael Dobson, who was involved in a legal battle for several years over the legality of cultivating cannabis plants. In a saga that climaxed with him taking the then Home Secretary, Amber Rudd to court, he fought for a judicial review of cannabis legislation.
Having spent many years involved with the illicit cannabis market, including a period behind bars for growing several of his own plants, Dobson is now on a mission to widen access to legal medical cannabis.
“The vast majority of people have very little understanding of the legal cannabis market,” he tells Cannabis Health.
“What we’re doing is effectively creating a concierge service in which we help guide [people] through the process of becoming a legalised cannabis patient.”
Cannabliss says it aims to build trust with its customers and establish itself as a “go-to” place for trusted information about the medical cannabis landscape.
Dobson explains: “Customers have the opportunity to have a face-to-face conversation with somebody who specialises in this particular area, rather than it just being a vape shop or health food store that has added cannabis products to its already existing range.
“If we do have somebody coming in and asking about the process of getting access to medical cannabis, we can explain that to them.”
Currently, in the UK, there are qualifying conditions that must be met before being considered for cannabis-based treatment.
Although an estimated 1.4 million people consume cannabis for medicinal purposes, very few can access it via a prescription.
Dobson believes that there is a “great deal” of people that could meet the criteria for a medical cannabis prescription but have never considered it due to the cost and exclusivity of private healthcare.
He says Cannabliss will provide support to its customers if they choose to go through the official process.
“Even though the prices have dropped significantly over the past few years, we still think there’s going to be a hurdle to overcome in terms of breaking down that barrier; that stigma that is there for a lot of people,” he says.
The company is already putting plans in motion to expand into a franchise with two provisional stores set to open this summer in Leicester and Essex.
As part of this franchising effort, Cannabliss aims to provide opportunities for people who may have previously been involved with the illicit cannabis market.
Dobson believes that it is “morally right” to give people the chance to enter the burgeoning legal market.
“I always wanted to include as many people as possible within what we’re doing, and support people that have been in a similar position to myself,” Dobson adds.
“We will not discriminate on somebody because they maybe have a criminal history like myself.
“In actual fact, these people are actually the best people to have running our franchises because they’re so knowledgeable.”
Dobson also believes that this approach could help reduce the influence and scale of the illegal market.
“By removing people from the illegal market and bringing them into the legal market, you’re getting rid of the black market rather than putting something in place that’s in competition with it,” he says.
Looking ahead, Dobson says the company is feeling “very positive”. It has formed partnerships with suppliers in the UK and Europe, including a distribution agreement with Canopy Growth Corporation subsidiary, Storz and Bickel, for its range of medical-grade vaporisers.
“It’s going very well and we’re anticipating a lot of interest,” Dobson adds.
“Feedback that I’m getting from different people [in the sector] is that a lot of people are interested in what we’re doing, how we’ve got to where we’ve got to and, in particular, my backstory and how that fed into the whole ethos of what we’re trying to do.
“I feel very strongly that the UK is going to become a world leader in the legalised cannabis space over the next few years and I’m looking forward to playing my own small part in that.”
Twitter’s Katie Ford joins Fyllo to focus on cannabis sector
Tech and media leaders are shunning social media giants to bring their expertise to the cannabis industry.
Twitter’s former head of global brands, Katie Ford has announced she is joining cannabis marketing company Fyllo as chief operating officer.
Fyllo is working with major cannabis companies to enable them to advertise to mainstream consumers.
Ford was previously at Twitter where she served for the past two years as head of global brands and is one of the biggest names in digital media, with a career built at Fortune 100 media & technology companies at the intersection of data, marketing, and creativity.
She spent two plus decades at Publicis Media, rising to the rank of president where she was the Executive lead on P&G, Coca-Cola, USAA, and Kellogg’s accounts.
During her time at Publicis she was recognized by Ad Age as one of the “Women to Watch,” and by Campaign US, as a leading “Media Maven.”
From there she joined Amobee’s executive team as chief client officer, where she was integral in delivering two successful acquisitions within 18 months, along with achieving positive EBITDA with over $1billion in annual revenue.
The Fyllo Compliance Cloud is a suite of software and services built to overcome the complexities of highly regulated industries.
With 2021 shaping up to be a transformational year for cannabis, Fyllo now allows cannabis brands to market themselves at a scale that has never been possible for companies that operate in highly regulated industries.
Mainstream brands also seek out Fyllo’s Data Marketplace to target previously inaccessible cannabis and CBD consumers.
Ford was the first person to be appointed to Fyllo’s board of directors, a role she’s held since 2019.
“Katie has been an incredible partner since day one, always believing in the company and its mission,” said Chad Bronstein, founder and CEO of Fyllo.
“She was the first person to join our Board and has been instrumental in Fyllo’s creation, growth and development.”
Ford added: “Fyllo has built incredible products and proven their business model in a very short period of time.
“I look forward to being part of Fyllo’s success as we build breakthrough solutions for companies in highly regulated industries like cannabis, pharma, and alcohol.”
As COO, Ford will depart Fyllo’s board of directors to assume her new executive position.
Kanabo brings its unique VapePod to UK patients
Following its listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) cannabis company Kanabo is set to make its unique vaporiser available to UK patients.
A week after it became the second company to list on the LSE, Israeli firm Kanabo, has announced it will supply its medical-grade inhalation device, VapePod and a line of medicinal cannabis formulations in pods for the UK market.
The company has signed its first distribution agreement with the UK’s biggest cannabis clinic provider, LYPHE Group, which is part of Drug Science’s Project Twenty21.
Through this new agreement, Kanabo’s VapePod medicinal cannabis formula, will be made available to Project Twenty21 patients under LYPHE Group’s brand NOIDECS.
Kanabo seeks to provide an alternative solution to the smoking of medicinal cannabis flowers.
The VapePod will be the first product of its kind, a medical-grade handheld vaporiser with controlled metered dosage, made available to UK cannabis patients with a medical prescription.
It can administer an accurate, measured dose of cannabis extract, which the company hopes will improve patient access and boost trust amongst medical professionals.
The initial formula, which Astral Health will distribute under the name NOIDECS 400T, is based on the Israeli medical cannabis pharmacopoeia as a recommended ratio for pain management.
Kanabo and Astral Health will work closely to make the products available to patients over the coming months.
Avihu Tamir, Kanabo’s CEO commented: “We believe this new product will be revolutionary for medical cannabis patients who need immediate relief of pain, and will replace the smoking of cannabis flowers as a medical delivery method, which is one of Kanabo’s main targets.”
Project Twenty21 provides eligible patients with affordable medical cannabis treatment, monitored by Drug Science and aims to create the UK’s largest body of evidence for the effectiveness and tolerability of medical cannabis.
LYPHE Group announced its partnership with Project Twenty21 in December to bring a range of EU-GMP and equivalent GMP medicines to the UK.
LYPHE Group, which has more than 60 percent of the British patient market, recently entered into a supply partnership with Canadian manufacturer, Northern Green to bring a range of indoor grown flower-based products to the market.
Dean Friday, LYPHE’s CEO added: “We have seen the headlines, and we have witnessed the negative impact of opioids. Pain is not going to go away, so a more natural and caring approach to treating it must find centre stage. Thanks to our partnership with Kanabo we now have a metered dose NOIDECS product that can treat patients across the U.K. that suffer from chronic pain.”
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