Pureis, a brand founded by Irish Dragons’ Den star Chanelle McCoy, has become one of the first CBD firms to secure validation from both the UK and EU food safety regulators for its products - and they are set to roll out further across the UK.
CBD stands for cannabidiol, the non-psychoative compound in cannabis plants. It is used medicinally to treat conditions including insomnia.
Bank of America Merrill Lynch has estimated the global consumer market for CBD is set to reach a value of around $39 billion by 2032, and McCoy's company is one of the brands competing for consumers' attention as the space heats up on both sides of the Atlantic.
The 44-year-old, who is married to 20-time champion jockey AP McCoy, previously headed up the human medicine division of the Irish pharmaceutical giant Chanelle. In 2019 she left the County Galway-based firm to launch her CBD venture, Chanelle McCoy Health - the parent company of Pureis.
The brand makes "ultra-pure" cannabidiol food supplements helping the stomach and the gut, which just launched in UK stores including Boots and Holland & Barrett. Further expansion is planned this year.
McCoy has said she was inspired to launch the company with co-founder Caroline Glynn after hearing the stories of mothers who struggled to access safe, clinically proven CBD products known to help children with conditions such as severe epilepsy.
Pureis' CBD is synthetic - it was created using citrus fruit molecules, rather than being extracted from the cannabis plant. Makers of synthetic cannabis - including David Beckham-backed firm, Cellular Goods - argue that this makes their CBD products safer, as there is no chance of any THC or other cannabinoids remaining in batches. Proponents of natural CBD argue that their products are rigorously checked and can ensure no THC infiltrates products.
CBD is classed as a "novel food" and manufacturers must prove their products' safety before selling them, whichever type of CBD they use. All UK companies had to submit an application to the FSA by March 31, and can currently continue trading as long as they have submitted a suitable application.
Pureis invested more than £1.5 million to complete a full suite of clinical studies in the UK & Irish market to meet and satisfy the EFSA and FSA UK requirements, and pitches itself as aiming "to be the grown-ups in the CBD food supplement space".
McCoy said: “Novel Food validation 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.”
Glynn said: "Being approved for sale in Boots and Holland & Barrett was a huge moment for us. We now have many more partnerships in the pipeline that will create more accessibility to our CBD products... And we don’t intend to stop at novel foods. We want to generate more clinical data on the wonderful potential therapeutic properties of CBD."
The cannabinoid market has been heating up in recent months.
Pureis is competing with London-headquarted companies currently raising money for acquisitions and CBD product launches, such as the new Tenacious Labs - which just acquired a Denver-based CBD female wellness brand to bring to the UK - and South West Brands, an all-female led firm that says it is on a mission to become “The Hut Group of cannabis”.
South West Brands is looking to raise another £5-£10 million for acquisitions and expansion after raising around £1 million from angels and institutional investors in January. The company is headed up by former City banker Rebekah Hall, who launched Europe’s first CBD-infused soft drink, Botanic Lab, back in 2015. The drinks are now stocked in Waitrose and Harrods.
There has also been a CBD firm listing surge following a ruling from regulator the Financial Conduct Authority to allow such businesses to list on the main exchange.
Last month Cellular Goods floated in London, following hot on the heels of MCG Pharma, which makes a cannabis-based treatment for epilepsy, and Israel-based firm Kanabo, which makes a vaping pen to dispense regulated doses of medical-grade cannabis extract for pain and sleep disorders.
The IPOs came as GW Pharmaceuticals, the Cambridge-based medicinal cannabis pioneer behind epilepsy treatment Epidolex, was snapped up by rival healthcare group Jazz in a £5.3billion deal.