Taking healing into your own hands
The overarching benefits of CBD
Dr. Swathi Varanasi, chief scientific officer and co-founder at Element Apothec, stated, “When educating about CBD, I always like to start with explaining that there is a difference between the single compound of CBD versus the cannabis plant. The cannabis plant has other compounds such as tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, and CBN, or cannabinol. There are upwards of 200 cannabinoids that are known to exist naturally.” Dr. Swathi continued, “We all have an endocannabinoid system, or ECS for short. The purpose of ECS is to promote homeostasis or balance in the body. The endocannabinoid system is structured so that there are different receptors within the system that are found in almost every single organ in the body, so it’s a very decentralized system. Therefore, it has the potential, whether directly or indirectly, to influence functionality of these organs as well as other neurotransmitter systems.”
The overarching benefits of CBD, Dr. Swathi says, are its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Working with their medical advisory team, Element Apothec determines the formulations for their products, which infuse modern science, ancient healing modalities, as well as clinical validation. “We make products for wellness, but are really insistent on ensuring that they have clinical efficacy,” Dr. Swathi stated. “As we formulate our skin care products we look beyond cannabinoids to other potential botanicals that have been researched, to address enhancing hydration and decreasing hyperpigmentation.”
Most importantly Dr. Swathi emphasizes that anyone using a product containing cannabinoids consult with an integrative healthcare professional. “CBD is not the right fit for everyone,” Dr. Swathi explains. “Cannabinoids can have interactions with certain drugs and could make it so the medications don’t work properly or don’t have the same benefit or efficacy. It also works the other way where certain medications make it so cannabinoids don’t work in the body. There should be a personalized approach, and I can help guide patients with the appropriate dose, which cannabinoid product to try, and how to optimize the benefits while decreasing the amount of risk.”
A medical advisory board was assembled and the company set about creating products formulated with clean, functional, plant-based ingredients, free of toxins and preservatives. The company is Leaping Bunny certified, is in the process of becoming a B Corp, and all the products have COAs (Certificate of Analysis). The certifications and transparency are important to the company.
Tinctures and a few staple body care and skin care products were their first to market, chosen because the company wanted to start with products that could fit easily into people’s lives and that would also be accessible.
The tinctures include Calm Cool Collected, Rest Relax Recover, and Be Well. Skin care items include the Nourish body lotion and Belle Visage face serum. They also recently launched a transdermal formulation, the Relief Wellness Patch. Kaohani says they are looking to expand their skin care line to offer a complete regimen and offer their wellness products in forms other than tinctures such as capsules and tablets.
Currently, the products are primarily sold direct to consumer (DTC). In 2023, Element Apothec is focused on moving into retail, especially pharmacies, as well as expanding partnering with doctors and other practitioners. They already have a pharmacy student internship program as part of their education offerings.
The company understands education is extremely important when it comes to CBD and have a dedicated section on their website to help consumers learn about it and their products. There is a CBD product quiz, evidence-based blog, explanation of CBD, FAQs, and the opportunity to pose a question directly to Dr. Swathi, who is also chief scientific officer at Element Apothec. The first Element Apothec webinar was held at the end of January 2023 and they just launched a certificate course for consumers: CBD for Health and Wellness.
“Our story is important because it really is the ethos of the brand,” Kaohani said. “We focus on sustainability, giving back, and it’s our mission to be the best company we can be – in everything – from product formulation to how we internally operate to how we impact the planet.”
Attribution copy: Megan Moyer is HRG’s corporate marketing manager. HRG is in the details of retail, working with product manufacturers, distributors, retailers, technology partners, and other industry organizations to provide data & analysis, shopper experience, brand development, fixture coordination, and retail communications solutions. HRG reviews new health, beauty, and wellness (HBW) items every month and assesses their potential for longevity in the monthly Products to Watchfeature in Drug Store News as well as the annual Future 50 list.