Dutch trade group deploys blockchain-powered tool to trace CBD

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A Dutch trade group said it has developed a tool that lets consumers trace CBD along the supply chain to ensure they are getting products that are correctly labeled, meet strict quality requirements and come from EU approved hemp varieties.

CanCheck.org, based on blockchain technology, was launched by the Cannabinoid Association of the Netherlands (CAN), a consortium of Dutch CBD producers. The tool can be used by consumers at no cost.

“Such high levels of transparency will safeguard consumer trust and support the growth of those producers who comply,” CAN said in a press release.

16 parameters

The system operates under a set of CAN-developed standards and requires product composition analysis by accredited laboratories that check 16 parameters including fingerprint cannabinoid profiling (chromatography), contaminants and CBD and THC content. The analysis will also assess products’ overall “spectrum.” Full-spectrum CBD contains all the cannabinoids that naturally occur in the hemp plant, and are believed to combine for an “entourage effect” that heightens the performance of all of the compounds. This is in contrast to synthetic or isolated CBD products, which do not provide consumers with the synergistic compounds that have grown together in the natural world for millennia, CAN noted.

The CAN labeling regime under CanCheck.org corresponds to EU food supplement regulations and requires the inclusion of 17 criteria including ingredients, CBD percentage levels, batch code, and the name and address of the CBD product’s food business operator.

CAN developed CanCheck.org in cooperation with Novatrace, a Dutch non-profit that develops blockchain-based solutions to manage supply chain traceability.

Overcoming ‘opportunists’

“Unfortunately, many of the opportunists who have flooded into the CBD market in recent years do not appreciate, or value, sustainable business practices,” said Mark Reinders, CEO of Holland’s HempFlax, a leading European hemp player, and a founding member of CAN.

“We hope to see this level of transparency adopted by CBD producers worldwide as a trustworthy and accountable natural CBD market begins to take shape,” Reinders said. “CanCheck will give consumers peace of mind when choosing their CBD products online and in-store. Full traceability, in combination with a strict quality control regime such as CAN’s, is the only way to ensure product quality and protect consumers.”

Expanding into UK

One brand, Jacob Hooy’s CBD, is already on the platform, with two other brands committed to listings, a HempFlax spokesman told HempToday. Six other CBD producers are also in the process of joining CanCheck, with their products expected to be listed in the next year, the spokesman said.

CAN and HempFlax are now working to expand CanCheck into the UK, which may be going its own way in regulating CBD after decoupling from the European Union and its regulatory travails. While it’s unclear yet how CBD will be treated under national regulations in a Brexited UK, many stakeholders see the country’s potential rising under restrictions that could be loosened.

To protect consumers, SMEs

“CAN’s blockchain-powered tracing tool is an example of best practice and illustrates how a world-leading CBD regulatory environment can be built in the UK, protecting consumers and supporting SMEs,” HempFlax said in the release. “With 15 percent of the UK’s adult population taking CBD, British consumers will benefit from this industry-led initiative.”

HempFlax already has CAN-certified products on shelves in the UK as the white label supplier to the Jacob Hooy brand, which sells through the Holland & Barrett chain of health food stores and online shop, where it offers CBD oils and capsules.

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