Ohio medical marijuana processor producing novel cannabis products for patients with digestive issues, difficult conditions
Cultivators grow cannabis flower and dispensaries sell it. But you might not realize as a patient that the supply chain doesn’t end there. Medical marijuana processors play a big role, too.
Ohio currently has 33 cannabis processors (and 14 more with provisional licenses), but many of them are large, vertically-integrated operations. Columbus-area processor BeneLeaves, on the other hand, is a standalone processor. Processors like BeneLeaves don’t grow cannabis flower themselves. Instead, they work closely with the state’s 24 cultivators to utilize the biomass or trim that would otherwise go unused. They process the raw plant materials into finished products for patients to buy at dispensaries.
A Personal Connection
BeneLeaves is a family-owned company run by Peg Hollenback and Jeff Hollenback, former Columbus-area chefs. The CEO suffers from rheumatoid arthritis and found that cannabis helped, giving the Hollenbacks a new direction for their careers. The couple decided to leave the food world to lend their culinary expertise to creating pharmaceutical-quality medical marijuana products.
The Hollenbacks partnered with Bill Williams, who ran the Williams family’s national brand, Glory Foods. Today, the management team at BeneLeaves can call upon decades of experience in restaurants, consulting and commercial food production to create their gourmet-quality medical marijuana products.
BeneLeaves received their operating license in January 2019, just as the Ohio medical marijuana program was beginning.
Attention to Quality
Beneleaves sources their cannabis strains from Ohio cannabis growers very carefully. “We buy only certified tested plant material from those Ohio growers that we have personally visited, inspected and align with our core values,” says BeneLeaves President Bill Williams.
The Beneleaves team processes cannabis flower using CO2 equipment to extract the oils from the flower to make a variety of cannabis products. Eleven different steps go into the manufacturing process that turns cannabis flowers into extracted oils. Once the oil is extracted, Beneleaves uses the oil to make gummies, vape cartridges, lotions, capsules, tinctures and infused baked goods.
Because they come from the food industry and quality mattered, BeneLeaves opted for package labeling that met Food and Drug Administration and U.S. Department of Agriculture guidelines, not just the state’s requirements.
Every product BeneLeaves produces get tested by a third-party independent laboratory to make sure they are free of pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers and heavy metals.
BeneLeaves strives to provide patients with as much information as possible to help them better understand how this medicine is helping. “Knowing what terpenes, what strain, what level of CBG or CBN is in your medicine will help patients better know what is helping provide relief,” Williams said.
Products Processed By BeneLeaves
“We are trying to offer solid options for Ohio,” Williams said about the product selection that BeneLeaves offers to patients.
Baked Goods: Patients with food allergies and other dietary restrictions can have a difficult time getting the medicine they need. One popular product that BeneLeaves makes is gluten-free cookies for patients with a gluten allergy. “Our brand new peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie is quickly becoming a patient favorite,” Williams said. “It has 15mg of THC per cookie. They are soft-baked, chewy and delicious!” Patients might also enjoy their line of chews which come in some exotic flavors: Brown Butter Honey Pistachio, Chocolate Chile Coconut and White Chocolate Cherry Oatmeal.
Gummies: BeneLeaves offers distillate gummies that are vegan. Patients have noted that these may provide longer-lasting relief for chronic conditions which cause discomfort throughout the day. The company has introduced products with high amounts of CBG and CBN cannabinoids in their recently-expanded gummies line.
Capsules: Patients who have struggled with accurate cannabis dosing and/or unpredictable effects might consider BeneLeaves capsules. By taking a capsule instead of an edible, patients find more consistent, long-acting relief. The coconut oil base of the capsule assists with absorption through the digestive process. The capsules come in two different types. Hypnos capsules contain indica terpenes to provide relaxation, while Helios capsules have a Sativa terpene blend for uplifting effects.
Vaporization products: Williams also noted that patients with digestive or gastrointestinal problems should consider vaporizing. “Inhalation is the quickest way to get your THC medicine and we have multiple options in vape carts for Ohio patients. Our Hypnos CBG vape cart is a reliable option for anyone.”
Williams noted that patients in Ohio have been asking for more discreet options for dosing. They wanted to respond with something Ohio patients could take along with them for medicating when they aren’t at home. Their new vaporizer called the Roach is a coin pocket-sized, strain-specific disposable vape pen. Some of the features of the Roach include:
- perfect for events
- 350 mg, in the $20 price range, making it very affordable
- newest device on the market
- from California
- made to be ripped
- 10 second metered dosing
- 3 strains: Wedding cake, Sherbtane, Citral Glue
CBG/CBN Gummies For Digestive Issues
BeneLeaves is committed to making edibles for patients who struggle with digestion. Their new plus-line distillate gummies specifically address assisting pain and inflammation related to GI issues. The gummies include 15 mg CBG an 7.5 mg CBN, cannabinoids that are thought to play a role in gastrointestinal mucosal defense and inflammation.
Williams said they are all about helping patients get the type of edible they need, noting that patients who don’t respond well to the CBG edibles might find the same effects in another form. “We are getting a lot of great feedback on our strawberry CBG gummies, our Hypnos CBG capsules and even our CBG vape pen.”
Strong Community Partnerships
Williams noted that the relationships they’ve built in the Ohio cannabis community have been integral to their success. “We are a small community of growers, processors, and dispensaries and to ensure that we maintain our high quality standards, we have visited and toured with every grower around Ohio. I have established strong relationships with all of these dispensaries that stem from the security guards to the budtenders and store managers.”
“We even have allowed competitive processors to come by and tour our facility and share best practices,” Williams continued. “The rising tide lifts all ships. It is fantastic that we all can work together to share key learnings and produce amazing products all focused on building this Ohio program.”
BeneLeaves products are available in all Ohio dispensaries and they want patient feedback! “I would ask patients in Ohio please continue to share your thoughts on our products. We welcome patient feedback and input. We even welcome patients to schedule a time for a facility tour to see how the medicine is made. We want all to know we can be trusted with providing amazing medicine,” Williams said.
Want to learn more about medical marijuana processing up close? Email us at medicateOH@gmail.com for an opportunity to tour the BeneLeaves facility with us!
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Medicate OH’s Founder and Publisher is a native of Cincinnati, Ohio and holds an undergraduate degree in journalism and a master’s degree in public administration, both from Northern Kentucky University. She has more than 20 years of experience writing and editing professionally for the medical and wellness industries, including positions with The Journal of Pediatrics, Livestrong, The Cincinnati Enquirer, and Patient Pop.
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