by Sheila Julson
For millennia, humans have cultivated cannabis sativa—the cannabis plant that provides marijuana and industrial hemp. While cannabis has been vilified throughout much of the 20th century, that’s changing as people discover the medicinal benefits of the non-hallucinogenic extracts of the cannabis plant. And Ryan Early, owner and chief executive officer of Can-Tek Labs, a manufacturing facility of hemp-infused dietary supplements and nutraceuticals registered through the Food and Drug Administration, stands ready to meet the demand.
Early grew up in a holistic household. His mother, Kathy, was a horticultural department teacher at Metro Technology Centers for 17 years. She frequently used nature’s medicine cabinet to successfully treat conditions including melanoma. As a teen, Early found that cannabis was effective in relieving his anxiety, and he’s been a cannabis advocate ever since.
As an adult, Early worked as an engineer in water treatment and purification. He participated in a project that used water pressure for removal of cannabinoids, such as THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) yet leaving the rest of the plant intact, and the idea for Can-Tek Labs was born.
Since 2016, Can-Tek Labs has been rapidly growing into one of the largest cannabinoid compounding facilities and distilleries in the country, Early says, and they currently partner with more than 20 businesses to produce their hemp-infused products. However, there were some growing pains due to laws and stigma surrounding the cannabis plant. Early had to hire attorneys to provide legal opinion and rigorous third-party testing for the Bureau of Narcotics to show that Can-Tek Labs provides legal, THC-free products to sell in Oklahoma.
“When I presented the Bureau of Narcotics with documentation in June 2016, their legal counsel agreed that we were within bounds of the law, but there was definitely some gray areas that legislation needed to address,” Early says. “I’ve been on this path very publically, pushing forward to educate and legislate for hemp-derived cannabinoids, obtained from hemp that is grown under United States Department of Agriculture guidelines, as set by the 2014 Farm Bill.”
Oklahoma’s Katie’s Law allows shipment of product containing three-tenths of one percent THC, but Early notes it’s permissible only under a doctor’s supervision and part of a clinical trial. Yet no pharmacies are enrolled in that program and no patients utilize that program, he explains. “That led to the need to restructure the way Oklahoma’s definition of marijuana was read. House Bill 1559, signed by Governor Mary Fallin last year, eliminated hemp from the definition of marijuana, so it’s now very clear.”
Can-Tek Labs’ products are 100 percent THC-free and made with premium carriers, versus lesser-quality vegetable oils or water-based glycerin, Early explains. They start with medium-chain triglyceride oil—a form of coconut oil containing saturated fatty acids with numerous health benefits. Can-Tek Labs then utilize a proprietary blend of secondary carriers, which provides a full spectrum of omega fatty acids for maximum bioavailability. All products are processed in a clean room with no artificial chemicals or solvents. The company provides thorough labeling and documentation, which Early says is not just for legality but also for consistency and transparency, so customers know exactly what they’re getting each and every time they purchase a Can-Tek Labs product.
“We’ve transgressed into lines of product now sold exclusively in pharmacies, doctors’ offices and authorized retail dispensaries nationwide,” Early says. Can-Tek Labs has partnered with CRM Pharmacies, in Pennsylvania, for exclusive distribution of Can-Tek Labs products in Illinois, Indiana, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. “Here in Oklahoma, we’re in just about every pharmacy and compounding pharmacy in the state,” Early says. “We are in numerous top-rated physicians’ offices and pharmacies statewide. We’re very transparent, and I invite people to tour our facility.”
Early is optimistic that mainstream society has turned a corner regarding acceptance of cannabis, especially in light of today’s opiate crisis. “We’re working with opiate recovery centers; and we work specifically with physicians for opioid recovery and withdrawal, and true pain management thereafter,” he says. “We have physicians writing protocols according to their patients’ response to our products.”
While CBD oil has been getting much attention lately, Early explains that Can-Tek Labs is a full-spectrum product, which can be more beneficial than CBD alone. “I produce a pharmaceutical-grade product called PCRX, only sold through physicians, pharmacies, healthcare professionals and medical cannabis dispensaries nationwide. This product is enhanced with CBG, a natural product of cannabis derived from industrial hemp; and we’re the first company compounding with organic CBG in and isolated, pure form.”
Early notes that CBG is the stem cell molecule of cannabis—what both THC and CBD start as in the plant. CBG has abilities to work with both receptors in the body, whereas THC and CBD work independently but are most effective in conjunction with one another. CBG has shown to enhance the properties of both THC and CBD. Numerous studies have shown that CBG has effectively relieved many ailments and aided in bone regrowth after traumatic injuries.
In addition to Can-Tek Labs’ ingestibles, tinctures, pet products and cosmetics, they’ve recently released CBD H2O, which is making its way into grocery stores. As Can-Tek Labs grows, Early is enthusiastically continuing educational efforts to promote one of nature’s greatest medicines.
Location: 8107 S. I-35 Service Rd., Oklahoma City. For more information, call 405-225-1611 or visit PureCannaceutical.com.