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Meet the Experts: Expert Botanist Andy Papilion

Written By Adrian Crawford Oct 7th 2022
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Here at CBDistillery®, we know that taking charge of your health and wellness is a daunting task and it's sometimes overwhelming to know whose recommendations to rely upon.

Transparency is key to our approach in every aspect of our business, which is why we wanted to introduce a series of conversations with CBDistillery® staff. We hope that these conversations will offer more information about our company and products and help foster trust in our products.

For our first edition, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer Andy Papilion sat down with Content Strategist Adrian Crawford to discuss the company's roots, how he came to be fascinated with botany and how new products come to life.

Adrian Crawford: First things first: can you give me, an absolute scientific layman, how you define botany and what it is to be a botanist?  

Andy Papilion: Botany is the study of plants. I went to Colorado State University for my undergraduate degree in botany. It has been proven useful throughout my career in the cannabis space when looking at specific compounds expressed in the hemp and cannabis plant to help our customers attain and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle. It has also proven useful as we continue to explore the evolution of our product portfolio to include synergistic ingredients and compounds such as functional mushrooms and kava extracts to enhance the benefits of our offerings. 

AC: Next up, the origin story: What made you so passionate about plants and what set you on the path that ultimately led you to co-found CBDistillery?  

AP: I’ve always had an extreme passion for the cannabis plant and lifestyle as an alternative to mainstream medicines and pharmaceuticals. I began to share products I was very fond of with family members and friends looking to try something new to help out with whatever ailment they had, which snowballed into an overwhelming need for these products. They were changing people’s lives. We started selling CBD in late 2015 and realized a big disconnect with education around non-intoxicating cannabinoids and the benefits they can provide so, alongside the other co-founders, I set out to get safe and effective products to the consumer at an affordable price. At the time, there was very little clarity around what you were buying, and what was available was extremely expensive. 

AC: What does your position as chief product officer and expert botanist entail?  

AP: My team is responsible for creating unique, innovative, safe and efficacious product offerings to our consumers. We ensure that safety and quality is at the top of our list at all times when considering a new offering. We were one of the first companies to begin to offer minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN which have since become mainstream in the hemp and cannabis space. We have an extreme passion and it brings us so much joy to be able to offer our ideas and concepts to the public.  

AC: One of my big curiosities is, where do new product ideas come from? What goes into formulation, coming up with ingredients, working with farms, etc.? 

AP: Through research and development we establish a use case for a new idea and make sure there is a need for that type of product among our loyal customers. We started with overall well being and over the years have identified the need for products that assist in the remedy of unique ailments such as mild/temporary anxiety, recovery from exercise, sleep aid and mild joint and muscle pain. 

AC: The cannabis plant is obviously an incredibly versatile and complex organism. Given its long history in alternative medicine, what do you think the future holds for unlocking more knowledge about the plant?  

AP: We’ve barely scratched the surface, there’s so much to be studied about the plant which will take generations to fully uncover. We’re very passionate about cannabinoids (of which well over 100 have been identified) but there’s many other beneficial compounds such as terpenes, which anecdotal evidence supports playing a very significant role in the Entourage Effect. What has always fascinated me about terpenes is how far back in the evolution of plant families they can be traced. For example, pinene is very prevalent in some strains of cannabis, but it is also the same compound that give pine trees their aroma. And limonene, also prevalent in cannabis/hemp is found in high concentrations of citrus fruits such as oranges. 

AC: The CBD industry appears to be a busy one with a lot of competitors of different sizes. How do you stay on the forefront of trends and advancements? 

AP: We definitely monitor trends in the industry but try and differentiate by exploring new and innovative compounds that may not be offered by other companies, and if they are we raise the bar from a quality standpoint to ensure what we go to market with is the safest and best form of that offering. I try and not become too sidetracked with what others are doing, there’s a big influx of traditional CPG experts entering the space and I feel they quickly learn this is not just another widget for them to create products with. It takes time and first hand experience with using the products regularly to identify the proper ratios and formulations that provide the customer with the most health benefits. 

AC: As the company continues to evolve and lead in the market, do you feel as though CBDistillery continues to fulfill your original mission and goals? 

AP: Absolutely, above and beyond expectations. We’ve evolved into a passionate organization that is constantly coming up with new ideas on how to get our products to the masses. Customer service was one of the first focuses from day one, we knew that if we could reply to every inquiry in a timely and thoughtful manner from day 1 that we would gain the trust of our consumers, most of which are still with us today. This holds true at a whole new scale today, we have a phenomenal team and we could not be more grateful and proud of every single person who has played a role in helping serve our customer base. 

AC: What sets our products apart and makes them unique? 

AP: Focus on new minor cannabinoids with specific use cases. I’ll say it again Quality! Quality! Quality! – this is always at the forefront of every product we put out to the market. There’s a lot of mainstream dietary supplements on the market which can be enhanced by the benefits cannabinoids offer.  

AC: How important are compounds like terpenes and cannabinoid profiles to our product, and why do we care so deeply about them? 

AP: Different ratios of cannabinoids provide slight differences in the user experience, for example; CBN has been shown to help with a phenomenal night sleep without the downside of waking up groggy like many other supplements cause. I touched on it earlier but terpenes are extremely fascinating and provide a whole slew of benefits and enhance the "Entourage Effect," there’s just so much to be studied still. Our original full spectrum tincture is the same today as it was when the company started, we attribute the quality of the oil used and its unique and palatable terpene profile to its success over the years. We ensure that same quality oil makes it way into every product we offer, we’re not trying to remove the terpenes to shortcut the ability to flavor a product easier (as they can be hard to make a tasty product with). A perfect example of this is our full spectrum gummies, the flavors are intended to complement the terpenes rather than mask them. We aren’t a candy company, we want our customer to taste the extract and know that is what will provide them with the most benefits. 

AC: Is there anything that existing CBD users or potential new entrants to these types of products might want to know about CBDistillery that we haven’t covered? 

AP: Continue to keep an open mind, as I mentioned earlier we’re barely scratching the surface today and there’s years of exciting new product offerings on the horizon. As new compounds are identified we will continue to do our part by ensuring we come out with them in a safe and effective manner, so our consumers never have to think twice about anything they purchase from us.