As people, we have a natural curiosity for how things are made.

We want to know that we’re getting the best product from the best source. And we especially want to know everything we put in our bodies.

That includes cannabis. Whether you’re vaping or using an oil, you want the best product going in your body.

Eden Labs specializes in reliable, high-yielding cannabis extraction so that patients know exactly what’s in their cannabis.

We spoke to Eden Labs CEO, AC Braddock, to discuss cannabis extraction and the Canadian cannabis industry.

Green Relief: Welcome back everybody, we’re here with AC Braddock, the CEO of Eden Labs in beautiful Washington State. AC, thanks for joining us.

AC Braddock: Thank you very much for having me, and thanks for doing this. This is awesome, education! Way to go!

GR: We’re on the same page, I love it. For those watching and listening at home, tell us a bit more about Eden Labs.

ACB: Eden Labs is a 22-year-old botanical extraction company. So, we do all kinds of things: biofuels, flavourings, nutraceuticals, perfumes, and we do a lot of cannabis. But primarily, we’re an R&D company, so we have companies that come to us and say “we need to make this product or can you get this part out of this product.” And then we do some research and development on how to create that product, and then we create systems or equipment to do it. So, we’re a little bit different than a lot of companies because we’re not an equipment manufacturer, we’re more of a product development company.

GR: Following up with that, how did things change for your business with the cannabis industry in the last decade or even five years, how has that changed things for you?

ACB: The company was primarily started on cannabis extraction, back in 1994. But, of course, you know, it has progressed over the years so we’ve kind of grown with the industry and the industry’s grown with us. So, you know, we had medical on the whole west coast in the United States for years, but then when we started getting recreational obviously those were big explosions in the market, when Colorado came on and Washington came on. And we grew with that market. But we also recognize that in order for the market to grow we were really going to have to start educating on extraction and making concentrates. Because in the United States you have to legalize on medical, which is pretty much what Canada is doing, which is fantastic, you’re legalizing on medical and you can’t really have a medical product without a good concentrate.

GR: So, we’ve had some patients ask – oils are very popular in Canada, and we’ll get to carrier oils and their role in a little bit, but for the people listening and watching at home, how would you sum up the extraction process?

ACB: The concentration process, or the extraction process, is all about what’s in the plant originally. And what product you’re trying to make. So if you’re trying to make a product that’s as close to the plant as you can possibly make it, ethanol is a very good method because it’s an exhaustive extraction. That material afterward will look like k and not smell like cannabis at all and it will have everything: chlorophylls, cannabinoids, the terpene profile. All of that will be in that end product.

ACB: CO2 is a little better in some ways if you’re really concerned with getting a full terpene profile – to be able to get the monoterpenes out which are extremely delicate. At this point, we know they are essential to how the plant affects people, with the whole entourage effect and our endocannabinoid system. So, you put the plant into some solvent and depending on how you use those parameters, and what you’re trying to get out, that’s how you do it. And then there’s post-processing, then you can get into molecular separation of all the different cannabinoids and doing short-path distillation and multiple other different ways.

GR: So, from a patient perspective, would you say CO2 is better for them? In terms of being able to isolate terpenes, being the sensitive compounds that they are?

ACB: No, not necessarily. I know a lot of patients like ethanol because is it a full-plant extraction and, you know, it does pull all of the chlorophyll out as well. And, you know, chlorophyll is a blood purifier as well, and a lot of the early cancer research was done using that kind of an extraction. But with the new science around terpene profiles, we’re not even going to be calling anything a sativa or an indica anymore, we’re just going to be using the terpene profiles and how it makes us feel. So as a patient, you’re taking a medicine and you’re using all those cannabinoids but then how do those terpenes make you feel and do you want them at all? And that’s completely dependent on the extraction methodology.

GR: Do you see a need or an interest from patients for not just how it makes them feel but the whole experience, the sensory experience, is that something of interest to them?

ACB: I think that’s an individual’s response. For me personally, I would want a whole pant solution. No, that’s not really true. I think I would want to be selective. For instance, I might want to have CBN at night spiked with some THCA for pain, if I was needed pain management. The technology is really fascinating at this point and especially the more we learn about the endocannabinoid system and the terpene profiles and what they actually, really do.

GR: From a carrier oil perspective, here in Canada, as a licensed producer, we use MCT oil as our carrier agent, what’s your philosophy on carrier agents?

ACB: The only reason I could think of them wanting to do a carrier oil is dilution: to be able to dilute the product. It would be wonderful if they could use hemp oil. Which makes sense because it makes it more of a whole plant application, once again. I’ve personally noticed a difference when we do an alcohol extraction and then we filter out the chlorophyll and re-introduce that honey oil into hemp oil, there’s a feeling that’s different than having it in coconut oil. It would be great if that could happen, but coconut oil is fine too.

GR: so basically it has to be added to some type of fatty acid or?

ACB: Yeah, it has to be about dilution.

GR: So, following up with that, have you seen a difference throughout your years in the industry, the way your extracts are being used in terms of end products? Are topicals being used more? Edibles?

ACB: Absolutely. It’s been actually really fascinating. You should see my vape pen collection, actually, I have the most amazing vape pen collection starting back in 2009. Going from ethanol to CO2 and back to ear wax and then to some of the other dabble bowls to live resins and shatters and the different kinds of tinctures, the different kinds of oils you can put them in, all the different things they’re doing with vape pen oils, yeah, it’s fascinating. And then topicals, of course. Topicals is such a fabulous way to introduce people to the cannabis product. Especially women and people over 50, to be able to utilize cannabis in that way will vastly increase the market.

GR: Well that’s a tough thing because being a licensed producer here in Canada, we’re limited under the regulations for now. Even keeping an eye on things in the US is fascinating for me in terms of suppositories and other unconventional ways. People still think it’s just smoking and there’s other ways that people have no idea…

ACB: I have nothing to say about that.

GR: Nothing to say?

ACB: Of course I do! I have lots to say about that. Back in 2009, 2010, 2011, I would go to events and there would be 100 men and there’d be three women. And I would make sure I met every single woman that was there. And when that really changed was about 2014, that’s gotten a lot better as far as events go and meetings and what have you. And in the States, we started off with about 36% women in CEO positions or owners and now we’re down to about 27%. And the primary reason, first of all, for that high number, in the beginning, was it was an easy access industry. I mean, you could start with a smaller company and you didn’t really have to compete with some huge company because there weren’t any. So, you could get in and start a company but the problem with the growth of women in the sector is, New York Times did an article not too long ago where they studied how women get financing, and for every 58 million dollars that men get when they go to raise it, women get one million. So, when you start to grow your business and it’s that difficult for you to get financing, it’s a major problem. And we will be seeing, probably, that number from 27 drop, unless the industry actively encourages and supports women and helps with the financial end of it.

GR: There’s a lot more we could follow up on that.

ACB: It’s so important to have women involved. It’s a female plant, I know that’s, you know, but it’s true. And it’s all about health and wellness, women are in control of the majority of how a household’s money is spent. Because they’re part of the growth of the industry, not to include them in how we direct that will hinder the industry’s growth and the wholeness of it.

GR: AC, I want to talk more about that, maybe we will sometime in the future. Where can the folks watching and listening at home follow you and Eden Labs?

ACB: It’s @edenlabs on twitter, Eden Labs on Facebook, and We Try to keep it simple.  

GR: Well thank you so much.

ACB: Thank you.