A PotNetwork Exclusive
In mid-June CBD Naturals, self-proclaimed trailblazers of the CBD industry operating out of Carlsbad, California (or Calsbad, according to the company website) announced their selection as the United States’ exclusive distributor of “hops-derived CBD.” Touting it as another in a long line of firsts for the company, CBD Naturals highlighted their newfound ability to market “non-cannabis cannabidiol” to regions still under the umbrella of hemp prohibition.
"While hops are often appreciated for their flavorful role in creating beer, they also make a significant contribution to the cannabis industry. We are honored to be selected as the exclusive U.S. distributor and look forward to enhancing our growing product line," said Jared Berry, founder and CEO of CBD Naturals in a statement.
While it was unclear from the statement whom, exactly, selected Berry and his company as the sole distributor of the potentially game-changing extract, Dr. Bomi Joseph is certain that it was not Peak Health Center. After all, the 501(c)(3), Not-For-Profit corporation, which is also based out of California should know, seeing as they are the patent beneficiary of Humulus kriya and its related patents. They also hold the trademark for “ImmunAG™.”
According to a statement put out by Peak Health the following day, Berry held no such known exclusive agreement to distribute or sell "Hops derived CBD isolate." The term itself is a misnomer, often used as a marketing ploy.
“When [Jared Berry] did the press release saying they had this exclusive agreement with this premier hops CBD company, et cetera – I mean, literally within two hours of that, I shot an email and a text and never got a response,” Dr. Joseph told PotNetwork, relaying the disbelief he felt upon first hearing the news.
Since then, Peak Health Center filed a complaint in the United States District Court, in the Northern District of California alleging trademark infringement, unfair competition, and deceptive trade practices against Berry and CBD Naturals.
For Dr. Joseph, it’s another turn in what’s become a most curious case of Humulus kriya, or Humulus (“hops”)-derived CBD.
“I didn’t foresee how much the demand for CBD would be…”
Dr. Bomi Joseph, in his own words, can’t really do stuff with cannabis. In fact, his general focus is on phytocompounds, with an eye towards helping burn victims, those with epilepsy, and more. Around five years ago, though, he first heard of cannabidiol or CBD.
“We just wanted to get our hands on CBD that’s not from cannabis. Theoretically, there are a whole bunch of other plants that have CBD or CBD-mimetic, CBD-like compounds, but not in any amounts that are significant at all,” Dr. Joseph recalled. “We did more of a botanical trace. We started looking for close family members, and I quickly realized that in the Cannabaceae family is Humulus.”
All Humulus, however, is not the same. According to Dr. Joseph, in the U.S. and Europe Humulus is not feral. Instead, it’s tissue-cultured and asexual. In other words, it’s great for flavoring beer, but not so much for CBD. So, Dr. Joseph’s search took him to the Silk Road area; the border between India and China where Humulus grows wild.
Still, the hunt for Humulus-derived CBD was less like finding a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and more like finding an old bag of casino chips. One needed to know where to cash them in.
“We were hoping to find what we call dominant species with cannabinoids and CBD, but as luck would have it we didn’t,” said Dr. Joseph. “We found that it was a recessive trait. And from the thousands of samples we collected, we’d find, maybe 1 in 800 or 1 in 1,000 that had some cannabinoids in it. But the trick was just finding the first few samples.”
Eventually, Dr. Joseph and his team were able to cash in their winnings. With those first few samples, they began to crossbreed and increase concentrations. The initial goal was to create enough to, in Dr. Joseph’s words, do some medical or pharmaceutical work with the samples.
“I didn’t foresee how much the demand for CBD would be and how crazy it would become,” said Dr. Joseph.
“In social media, we have a very short word which is WTF!”
Though the term is often overused, it’s not overselling it to say that THC-free cannabidiol derived from something other than cannabis sativa is a game-changer. As Dr. Stuart Titus, the CEO of Medical Marijuana Inc. (OTCMKTS:MJNA) and Peak Health’s current partner in all things “hops”/Humulus told PotNetwork, despite legalization efforts around the world, the anti-cannabis sentiment still reigns supreme.
“There are many European countries that are still very anti-cannabis, but they certainly see the great potential benefit of CBD, and here we think we can really make a big difference in terms of changing the dialogue among these particular countries,” Dr. Titus remarked on the new partnership. “Even here in the U.S., we have many people who... are very anti-cannabis.”
He continued: “With a nice alternative that is fully THC-free, my gosh, we have a wonderful potential opportunity to really make a huge difference, and a great impact and we’re very excited about the partnership here.”
As for Dr. Joseph, his passion has always been focused on research, which is why, as he noted, he leaves distribution up to people like Dr. Titus. “[It’s] guys like Stu that come in and say, Hey, you know, we’ll take the stuff and actually let the world know about it,” said Dr. Joseph.
But Medical Marijuana Inc. wasn’t Peak Health’s first stop on the way to letting the world know about Humulus-derived CBD. At first, Isodiol International LLC came knocking, a limited liability company with an address based in Wyoming. Most in the cannabis space know Isodiol as Isodiol International Inc. (CSE:ISOL) (OTC:ISOLD), and in fact, the limited liability company was listed as a part of the larger Isodiol family as recently as July 30, in a press release announcing their fiscal year 2018 audited financial results.
“We did a contract with Isodiol the California company— I just logically look at [it] as Isodiol is Isodiol but, the Canadian public company started issuing press releases,” said Dr. Joseph about his initial agreement. “It was sort of like this full-blown marketing thing that essentially claimed that they created the product and discovered it.”
“The simplest way I can say this is that, in social media, we have a very short word which is WTF! So you can bold it, block it, and repeat it quite a few times,” added Dr. Joseph.
“This isn’t what we thought we were going to get.”
News of the discovery of Humulus-derived CBD stormed across the cannabis industry in late 2017. Under the headline “Isodiol Derives CBD From Hops Instead Of Cannabis,” PotNetwork wrote at the time that Isodiol made waves with “ImmunAG™,” the trademark name for the product, at that year’s Marijuana Business Conference and Expo (MJBizCon) in Las Vegas.
“Isodiol is able to maintain the bioactivity of the molecule at a level much greater than anything currently derived from the cannabis plant, using proprietary extraction and purification methodologies,” wrote PotNetwork, crediting Isodiol like all other media outlets at the time. “The ImmunAG™ tablet does not dissolve in the stomach, but rather in the lower intestine, leading to greater bioactivity.”
Claiming a material breach of the licensing agreement, Peak Health terminated their partnership with Isodiol via a letter written Aprill 11, 2018, effective the following month.
“We looked at it and said, This isn’t what we thought we were going to get,” said Dr. Joseph. Again, the misrepresentation was a problem, and we terminated the agreement. Then, we laid low.”
Shortly after that, Dr. Titus and Medical Marijuana Inc. came into the picture, with, what Dr. Joseph referred to as a more professional attitude. Having been in the CBD industry since 2011, and having brought the first hemp-based CBD nutraceutical products to the U.S. and world markets in the spring of 2012 through their HempMeds subsidiary, Dr. Joseph was confident that with Medical Marijuana Inc., the circus was behind him.
Then came Jared Berry’s and CBD Naturals’ press release, claiming exclusive distribution rights to “the first non-cannabis cannabidiol product derived from the hops (humulus) plant.” And the case became more curious.
“So buyer beware.”
Pinning down Jared Berry these days is tough work, even in the age of Google. According to Peak Health’s legal team, Berry has been identified as the President of Isodiol, the head of CBD Naturals which then changed its name to Isodiol, along with a number of other business entities, all of which share the same address. In fact, a quick internet search of the address listed on the CBD Naturals website brings up a whole host of different company names (that’s in Carlsbad, California, not Calsbad).
For their part, Isodiol claims no knowledge of CBD Naturals. Asked to comment on Peak Health’s allegations and the pending litigation, a spokesperson for Isodiol told PotNetwork: “We do not know, nor has Peak Health alleged, what CBD Naturals is. The implication from the lawsuit is that CBD Naturals is a d.b.a. of Jared Berry; however, we have no knowledge about those allegations. Iso International LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Isodiol International Inc.”
“When Isodiol International Inc acquired Iso International LLC from Jared Berry, Isodiol International Inc also acquired a 19 percent passive, minority interest in a company called Carlsbad Naturals LLC, which we believe is currently operated by Jared Berry,” continued the statement. “None of Isodiol International Inc, Iso International LLC, or any Isodiol companies has any active role or fiduciary interest in Carlsbad Naturals LLC, and that entity has not been named as a defendant in the Peak Health lawsuit against Jared Berry.”
Contacting Berry has proved to be even more difficult, with reports coming into Dr. Joseph that Berry is “hiding out” in an RV in front of the CBD Naturals offices in Carlsbad, refusing to discuss the pending litigation (PotNetwork attempted to contact Berry through CBD Naturals for this story and received no response).
The list of claims against Berry and CBD Naturals by Peak Health is extensive and includes accusations of trademark infringement, false representation, false advertising, and more. Not only is CBD Naturals putting out the word of a non-existent relationship between them and Peak Health, deceiving the public as asserted in the filing, but they are allegedly selling goods using the Kriya trademark. Products claiming to use “KriyaPlex Hops Derived CBD” are available online right now.
“We filed for trademarks, and that’s in our name,” Dr. Joseph told PotNetwork. “We also have filed for patents [Dr. Joseph’s attorney clarified that while there are no issued patents related, there are pending applications]. The thing that’s puzzling, surprising and amazing is that these are the very names and words that are our trademarks.”
Aside from the lawsuit, Peak Health laid out the facts of the case in their press release that followed CBD Naturals shocking announcement. There is no agreement with CBD Naturals or Jared Berry, Humulus kriya is a patent pending plant from the Humulus family, and Peak Health does not sell Humulus-derived CBD isolate or oils.
Along with clarifying the science behind Humulus kriya, Peak Health put out a warning to consumers. “Anyone who claims to have Hops/Humulus derived CBD isolate or oils, either have nothing to sell, or are selling non-Hops/Humulus derived CBD. So buyer beware.”
“So that’s the battle in the trenches we’re fighting.”
Dr. Titus knows the CBD market, and he’s excited to talk about its possibilities. The cannabis space is transitioning from the black market to a global enterprise, and he knows just how significant that shift will be.
“[Experts project] CBD sales in the U.S. to top about $1.2 billion,” said Medical Marijuana Inc.’s CEO. “You might say the CBD market only represents about one percent of the overall cannabis space. But over time when more people get educated, try CBD, see the amazing health and wellness benefits, we think this can take anywhere from 25 percent to 40 percent of the market share. Certainly, CBD sales could be as much as $40 to $50 billion in the U.S., if given proper marketing, product development, et cetera.”
More than just dollars, Dr. Titus knows the potential power of CBD, and it’s why his company has thrown their support behind Dr. Joseph and Peak Health. “I’ve been very excited to have met Dr. Joseph and to have this great opportunity,” he said. “We definitely support all his efforts in terms of freeing up his brand from this unfortunate situation of litigation. It’s just a shame he had a false start with the original group but hopefully, we can do justice to this wonderful product, we’re certainly excited to have the opportunity.”
For now, though, it’s a game of wait and see —and, of course, putting out the word about the real story behind Humulus kriya-derived CBD. The litigation needs to work its way through the courts, which always takes time, but that hasn’t stopped Dr. Joseph from doing what he loves —the science behind it all.
“We have a very large CBD distributor in the U.S., and his father-in-law has COPD,” said Dr. Joseph, relating a story of why he does what he does. “He gave his father-in-law the CBD that he was selling, and he felt better, but he still had COPD.”
Dr. Joseph continued: “His wife said, I want my dad to take ImmunAg. So we sent our product over, and two or three days later his father-in-law walks up to him and says, Man, that product was awesome. I can breathe again. So this guy was a little defensive. Well, the product I gave you made you feel better, right?”
“His father-in-law looked at him and said, Look, son, I can’t tell you when you have a disease, getting a little better is good, but there’s nothing like being completely cured. You won’t understand what it is to not wheeze, what it is to not have to take deep breaths, what it is to not have to struggle. I’ll pay money for something that makes me a little better, but I will do anything out there, a hell of a lot more money, to be completely cured.”
“With the work, we’re doing, we’re not just putting CBD out, we’re trying to put out a quality of CBD that just doesn’t make you feel slightly better, but that makes you feel a whole lot better, that cures you completely,” said Dr. Joseph.
“So that’s the battle in the trenches we’re fighting.”