A judge on the Irish version of television show Dragon’s Den has launched a CBD brand Pureis, which has managed to hook two household names as ambassadors.
Lady Chanelle McCoy stepped away from her family business – Galway-based Chanelle Pharma – and joined forces with business partner Caroline Glynn to launch the brand.
CBD has become a growing industry in the last decade. Essentially, it is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of marijuana.
Irish Dragon Den star Chanelle McCoy claims she’s launched the first clinically safe CBD food supplement and says she’s proud to set a benchmark for compliance
Depending on who you ask, it has health benefits – but the jury is out, and while the industry is in its infancy, there are varying degrees of quality products to buy in Britain.
It can now be found in a range of items, from cans of drink to drops, gummies to oral sprays.
Caroline has serious credentials. She has worked with Chanelle in the pharmaceutical industry for 11 years and holds a degree in pharmacology and a masters in biomedical science.
Her aim is to make CBD products mainstream, while at the same time ensuring that her products meet regulatory standards.
As such, she claims that Pureis is the first CBD company in the world to receive a Validated Novel Food Application from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) and the Food Standards Agency UK (FSA).
It took 18 months and £1.5million in investment to complete a full suite of clinical studies in the UK and Irish market to meet and satisfy the EFSA and FSA UK.
Chanelle says: ‘From the beginning of this journey, it was vital to us that we brought products to market which were backed by clinical studies.
‘This enabled us to give our customers the necessary reassurance that they are receiving, high quality, full certified CBD products.
‘Novel Food Approval is a positive step in the right direction for breaking the stigma around CBD in the market.
‘Only through industry taking the lead can this stigma be addressed. We are proud to be setting a benchmark for compliance.’
The Pureis products, which include capsules and oral sprays, are now stocked in over 1,000 retailers including many pharmacies, Boots and Holland & Barrett.
Chanelle says its best-seller is a 560ml spearmint oil product. ‘You take under the tongue. We’ve had good feedback so far and it retails for £50.’
Lady Chanelle McCoy (left) joined forces with business partner Caroline Glynn (right) to launch Pureis CBD products.
For those who feel £50 is too steep for an initial outlay there are some entry level price points.
Chanelle says: ‘There are currently 11 products in the range. For £10 you can try the capsules for seven days before you make a bigger financial commitment.’
Accessing safe CBD
The business partners say they started researching the market back in 2015 when they heard about people struggling to access CBD.
Some consumers even went so far as to purchase the products from abroad where countries had regulated its use.
This prompted the duo to set up Chanelle McCoy Health – an R&D-led pharmaceutical company to make it more accessible in the UK and Ireland.
CBD products must meet certain standards to be legally bought and sold in the UK.
However, she says there are still many CBD products on the high street that aren’t properly authorised.
CBD products must also not contain more than 0.2 per cent THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) – a psychoactive compound in cannabis.
There’s plans to expand the Pureis brand into the European and US market as well
Chanelle says that Pureis is one of the few products on the market that guarantees zero per cent THC, meaning it does not cause a ‘high’ and is not addictive.
We have gone one step further on phase two efficacy studies to prove it clinically works and not just from anecdotal evidence
Lady Chanelle McCoy, co-founder, Pureis
The pair say the purpose of the Novel Food application, announced by The UK Food Standards Agency in February 2020, was to ensure safety by way of clinical studies and compliance within the CBD industry so that consumers could have access to safe CBD and purchase products with confidence
Chanelle points out that prior to the classification, the vagueness of the law gave way to an unregulated sector with issues of quality assurance, plant contamination and illegal levels of THC.
She adds: ‘Due to its unique production method, the product has high levels of CBD with no intra batch variability, no toxins or pollutants, no terpenes, no heavy metals, no pesticides, and no insecticides.’
The Pureis products range in price but some supplements can be bought at an entry level of £10 to try out before making a major financial commitment
Challenges of promoting Pureis
Besides meeting regulatory standards, other challenges for the business has included the stigma surrounding CBD products and the advertising restrictions.
Chanelle says: ‘There’s a lot of people that haven’t tried it. Around 55 per cent of the products have illegal levels of THC. The fundamental problem with the market is that people want to try the products but they get disillusioned over CBD.’
Chanelle says that they’re currently running a trial on the products to establish their effectiveness with sleep
People are also concerned about the efficacy of CBD products.
Chanelle says she and her business partner studied CBD’s effectiveness when it came to difficulties with sleep, arthritis, anxiety and menopause.
They are currently running a clinical trial on Pureis’ effectiveness with sleep. She says: ‘We have gone one step further on phase two efficacy studies to prove it clinically works and not just from anecdotal evidence.’
In spite of all the efforts to make the product clinically safe there are restrictions on advertising.
But Chanelle and the Pureis team have got around that by getting the product promoted by celebrity ambassadors which include former England rugby captain turned royalty, Mike Tindall and singer and television personality Martine McCutcheon.
Tindall, who is married to the queen’s granddaughter Zara Tindall and had a son born in March this year endorsed the Pureis product a few months ago saying it helped him nod off.
According to reports he takes 560mg oil at night and 20mg capsules in the morning. He tweeted: ‘So go be onboard, good sleep, positive times ahead!!!’
McCutcheon, meanwhile, has claimed it has helped with her CFS (chronic fatigue syndrome) and fibromyalgia saying on Instagram: ‘I wasn’t sure about using CBD, then a few months ago I tried Pureis and it really helped me with my aches and pains and my general well-being.’
Chanelle says she and her husband, jockey AP McCoy, take the product too.
She says: ‘I take the oil at night and on my way to London now I’ve taken the low dose spray. It does not take the edge off. You know you’re never going to be sleepy so it’s great for general coping.’
The next step
While Chanelle, like the other Dragons on the popular show, is renowned for grilling candidates on their business acumen and figures, she’s keeping Pureis’ performance under wraps for now.
What she is willing to reveal, however, is that the business is now profitable after 18 months and that it’s grown its turnover by 100 per cent month on month.
Lady Chanelle McCoy says she and husband, jockey AP McCoy, take the product too
She adds: ‘We’ve put a lot of money in, which we have paid for.
‘We have no debt and are looking to bring in more investment into the business towards the end of the year. We are talking to pharmaceutical companies that have expressed an interest and to individuals.’
The bigger plan for Chanelle and her business partner is for Pureis to venture into the medicine and cosmetics space.
Chanell says: ‘We have a very exciting RND pipeline and different products like CBD tampons, but we want to put the clinical data behind it. We want the trust.’
Geographical expansion is on the cards too with ambitions to enter the European and American market.
Chanelle says: ‘We are in poll position to be the first to get a European license to launch CBD food supplements. We expect to get the license in the second quarter of next year.’
With regards to the US there is still a few hurdles to overcome. For instance, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) haven’t yet regulated CBD food supplements.
Chanelle explains: ‘If you pick up a [CBD product] box it will say “CBD supplement” and not “food” and it won’t give you instructions to take it orally as it’s illegal to do that. This is even though they have legalised marijuana.’
But she says they’re in positive discussions with the FDA.
While the market for CBD products is a saturated one, Chanelle believes there is still lots of potential.
But she feels the only way to be truly successful in this industry is to comply with regulatory guidelines.
She says: ‘There’s 750 brands in the UK and four of us are on the Government approved list. So that just tells you how uncompliant other brands are. Get on the list and then you have huge potential.’
Her advice to budding entrepreneurs? ‘Do what you love, watch your cash and have a good strategic plan. Stick to it, but make sure you can adapt as well.’
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