A Q&A Interview with Hemp Industry Expert & Reliv Partner Steve Reid
By Director of Product Development and Fit3 Trainer Tina Van Horn
Since joining the family of Reliv products, the line of RLV Hemp Extracts has become a go-to source for wellness. With a line that has expanded to include RLV Hemp Balm for topical application and many tinctures, there’s an RLV Hemp Extract for everyone. We recently chatted with Steve Reid, CEO of SS Biotech, hemp industry expert, and Reliv partner to learn more about the benefits of these products and what sets them apart.
Tina: There seem to be a lot of hemp-based products on the market these days, but it makes me wonder — are all hemp products created equal?
Steve: All hemp is definitely not created equal. Like any other plant crop, individual genetic strains determine the strength, potency, and hardiness of the plant. Accessing the optimal hemp strain is critical to the quality of the cannabinoids extracted from the industrial hemp plants. Some of the better naturally evolving genetics strains we utilize carry a $4 cost per seed. At 1,500 to 1,800 plants per acre, a manufacturer can have $5 to $10 million invested just in seed stock for a single harvest season. Because of that sort of high entry cost, some manufacturers opt for a lesser valued seed variety and subsequently grow inferior crops, at least in our opinion.
There are a few companies offering top-quality hemp products, but there are vastly more companies offering inferior hemp products. These cheaper strains have limited efficacy as a consumable, yet they can cost the same. This is why it’s so important to do business with a company you trust. SS Biotech, and therefore Reliv, utilize only superior strains of hemp so that the Reliv hemp products will deliver sound results with each use. Having a high purity and a clean product was the first demand by Ryan Montgomery when we first started developing this special line of RLV products.
We prefer making only the best products for the best companies that have customers and clients who understand that quality, efficacy, and value matter. Reliv is right at the top of that list for us. We love working with Reliv because we share the same vision and values.
Tina: Why is hemp so popular right now?
Steve: In short – because it works! There are currently 120+ naturally occurring compounds found in industrial hemp, and CBD (cannabidiol) is by far the one generating the most interest. People have known about CBD for decades, however, it wasn’t until recently that the health benefits offered by the use of CBD became more apparent and more widely accepted. Folks across North America and other parts of the world have been swept up in the CBD movement because they are realizing great health benefits without the potential side-effects that prescription drugs can inflict on the body.
Some of the other cannabinoid compounds in hemp are also enjoying a great amount of attention and study. CBG, CBN, CBC, and many of the other primary cannabinoids are being researched for their individual health benefits. For example, CBG is known for its ability to influence neural repairs via natural endocannabinoid system (ECS) stimulation. Using a parallel pathway to CBG, CBN is becoming more popular for its sleep applications. Delta-9-THC is the cannabinoid that can cause many responses within the body’s ECS including sleep, deep dreaming, and a calming effect. Of course, our formulas are created to be legally compliant to federal and state codes. With more than 100 cannabinoids now discovered and more being found, the future of hemp cannabinoids is extremely exciting.
Tina: How do I know hemp products are safe?
Steve: That question needs to be answered by the hemp industry as a whole, in my opinion. Since the hemp industry is still in its infancy, many companies are taking full advantage of the disconnection between the US Food and Drug Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, and state health departments. Those companies are all about making fast money rather than focusing on providing lasting, high-impact products manufactured under strict guidelines. Some companies choose to skip basic lab tests necessary to verify and validate their products. Our rigorous testing protocols ensure that our products are of the highest quality every time. Even though we have some of the best in-house analytical research and development labs in the industry, we still spend millions of dollars each and every year just on third-party testing costs. We don’t release a single product lot until we know it has been checked, rechecked, and then checked and validated again by a third-party lab.
To assure product safety for the Reliv family, we have achieved important registrations and affiliations. All of Reliv’s hemp products are manufactured in a world-class FDA-registered and inspected food-grade facility. We are certified cGMP for our adherence to current good manufacturing practices. We are a Halal and Kosher-certified facility. We have other good standards achievements, but the most profound certification and membership we have is likely our NSF (National Sanitation Foundation) certification. Going through the NSF audit is an incredibly detailed, multi-day review process that most applicants do not pass. Formulating and manufacturing under the NSF banner is paramount in our dedication to providing safe and efficacious products to the great Reliv family.
Tina: Are any harmful chemicals used in the extraction process?
Steve: Not at all, at least not in our processes. In fact, we take extra care when extracting to make sure there are no chemical stripping agents involved at any stage in our extraction processes. While others use cheaper, faster-working but very harsh chemicals as a solvent to release the cannabinoids from the hemp plant biomass, we choose to use only pure sustainable sugar ethanol. We pay $39 per gallon in federal taxes to obtain and use pure sustainable sugar ethanol as our extraction solvent, and we even have a near 100% recovery rate when the extraction process is completed (a minuscule amount can evaporate).
We take this so seriously that the owner of our company has a policy that we will not make any product that we cannot put in or on his children. Period. No exceptions. That’s just how seriously we take our product safety.
Tina: What is new in the hemp industry?
Steve: The hemp industry is still exceedingly small when compared to its global potential. New and amazing discoveries come forward almost daily shining lights on a new cannabinoid or a new terpene that can interact in magical ways with the ECS of humans and animals. Our bodies were designed to be self-healing. Part of the aging process causes the ECS receptors to “turn off” and become dormant. Without the body maintaining efficient levels of communications throughout the ECS, we start to slow down, to become sluggish, to start replacing muscle mass with visceral fat storages, and then to become sickly. That is all part of the accepted path to our golden years, but it does not have to be. Hemp has been known and used in religious practices for many thousands of years. Fortunately, our generations are rediscovering ancient hemp plants and we are returning it to our daily lives with amazing results and benefits.
In our labs and in the industry as a whole, we are discovering and working with the lesser cannabinoids, such as CBG, CBC, and CBN. Working with Delta-8-THC is providing us with scientific data proving that Delta-8-THC can deliver all the great benefits associated with its more widely known cousin, Delta-9-THC, but without any of the psychoactive side effects that Delta-9-THC can deliver in medium to high doses. Very soon, we expect to be offering several next-generation consumables that will be in high demand.
The future of the hemp industry is guaranteed to be extremely promising and profitable for those who are forward-thinking visionaries, which is why I love working with Reliv. Having been in business for more than three decades, Reliv is considered an old-timer in the direct sales industry yet the corporate and field leadership teams are still youthful and hungry to continue making a positive mark in the world. Reliv is positioned to be in the stream of new development knowledge and concepts which makes Reliv a ready-made leader in the industry.
Not only are new discoveries underway with the hemp plant, but also advanced next-generation delivery systems are emerging at a fast pace. New more highly functional delivery platforms are moving from concept to reality and will, no doubt, help those representing the products. This sort of presentation ‘wow’ factor can only make for easier, increased retail sales. Everything is coming together nicely for the young hemp industry.
Imagine how many new friendships will be made because a Reliv Distributor cared enough about someone else to share with them the life-changing Reliv products. Imagine the lifestyle changes that can be realized by Reliv’s network of Distributors. It’s a great time to be with Reliv and to be in the hemp industry!
Learn more about RLV Hemp Extracts by accessing our product FAQ