PORTLAND, Ore. — New research linking some hemp compounds to Covid-19 prevention rippled through the Pacific Northwest industry this week, a bolt from the blue that had companies scrambling to assess and seize the opportunity.
For an industry that boomed and then has suffered through oversupply, price compression, pandemic disruption and regulatory challenges, it was a sorely needed development.
NeXtraction, a rare startup that already produces the cannabinoids highlighted in the research — which don’t include the ubiquitous CBD — was working to get its name out to the market.
“We’ve always been super-excited, but we get drowned out because the vast majority of the world, it’s all about CBD,” Shane Leek, CEO of the Washington company, said. “This research is going to give us more of a platform to say, ‘Hey, this is the natural compound, this is really what can help us.’”
Others, whose focus has been on CBD, were investigating product possibilities and process changes that could give them a piece of the action.
“Absolutely we’re exploring it,” said Dylan Summers, vice president of government affairs at Portland-based Lazarus Naturals, one of the region’s biggest CBD consumer brands. “It certainly has started the wheels turning.”
Editor's note: The video in the media player above originally aired on January 12, 2022.