Today, True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. (CSE: MJ; Frankfurt: TLA) unveiled its innovative line of healthy dog chews featuring hemp and other plant-based active ingredients to provide joint, calming and antioxidant support. The 3 products are branded as “True Love”, “True Spirit” and “True Calm”.
The new product line will be available in pet stores across Canada and USA this fall, each at a retail price of $14.99 CAD or $0.39 CAD per chew (40 chews or 200g per bag). In a recent interview, True Leaf’s CEO, Darcy Bomford, expects a “full ecommerce site to be operational by late fall 2015” and “to market a full range of products […] across North America and ultimately Europe as well.” He also explained True Leaf’s goal of reaching $30 million in sales in 5 years and a valuation target of $100 million as “valuations on companies in this space are very lucrative with recent acquisitions reflecting over 3x sales multiples as young innovative companies are purchased by multinationals and private equity firms”, Darcy said and added: “The functional food and natural health market are seeing even higher valuations (over 5x sales) as consumers seek out novel ingredients for themselves and their pets.”
According to Petfoodindustry.com:
“Petfood sales in the US have been relatively flat in 2014, with sales growing just 1.1% to reach US$28.5 billion, according to Packaged Facts’ latest report, “Pet Food in the US 11th Edition.” Finding new ways to grow this mature market in 2015 will be key for industry players, and it’s no surprise that the focus should turn to premium petfoods—an increased focus on pet health and the human-animal bond have consumers looking for the very best products for their pets. Among these premium petfoods (a category that accounted for 42% of petfood sales in 2014, according to Packaged Facts) are so-called “functional” petfoods: breed-specific, age-specific, weight-related and condition-specific products designed to target a pet at every important part of its life for optimal health and happiness. This category, unlike some of the others, is expected to continue growing at above-average rates in the near future, and petfood companies are taking advantage of that growth. Several new life stage and breed-specific products have come out in the last year, showing that the industry is well on track in this segment.
Lifestage-specific petfoods have a firm hold on the industry, and the aging pet population in particular is one reason Americans are spending more on pets, according to Packaged Facts. According to an April/May 2014 Packaged Facts Pet Owner survey, 42% of dog owners have a dog age seven or older and 45% of cat owners have a cat in the oldest age bracket. The growing population of older pets means more companion animals are suffering from age-related conditions, including joint, coronary, cognitive and immune system issues, as well as diabetes and cancer.
As the pet humanization trend continues to weave its way through the petfood industry, consumers will increasingly look to foods formulated to meet their pets’ specific needs. Whether that involves catering to a breed or an age – or both – it’s a safe bet that the functional petfood segment will only grow.”
All 3 products from True Leaf include 500mg of hemp per chew. Non-psychoactive hemp as an ingredient in dog food is showing great promise as its protein is easily digested. Hemp may provide dogs with vital health benefits including strengthening the immune system, supporting a healthy weight, increasing concentration and improving the condition of skin and fur. Hemp is beneficial for growth and development, in particular fertility, skin, coat and joints. Correct level of Omega 3 lead to positive cardiovascular, neurological and reproductive effects while providing anti-inflammatory and pain reducing properties. Hemp seed oil is better than fish or flax seed based oils because it naturally has the perfect Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio (3:1) of fatty acids a dog needs. Hemp may enhance blood circulation and stimulate a dog’s cognitive thinking, whereas it may thicken a dog’s fur texture while lessening shedding. There are no psychoactive effects with industrial hemp because the THC-content is well below 1%, so it’s 100% safe and legal to use hemp-based products.
Besides hemp, the 3 products include different ingredients for distinct purposes:
TrueSpirit™ ‘Joint Support’ provides 500mg of hemp, 250mg of plant-based non-GMO glucosamine HCL and 15mg of curcuminoids from turmeric root extract.
According to WebMD.com: “Glucosamine in the body is used to make a “cushion” that surrounds the joints. In osteoarthritis, this cushion becomes thinner and stiff. Taking glucosamine hydrochloride as a supplement might help to supply the materials needed to rebuild the cushion.”
According to CurcuminHealth.info, curcumin is the primary curcuminoid, or chemical compound, found in the cherished Indian spice known as turmeric. Recent studies are encouraging with benefits in the areas of arthritis, inflammation, kidney-disease and viruses. Its pharmacological effects range from protecting the liver and detoxification to anti-carcinogenic, anti-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and immunomodulating (“adjustment of the immune response to a desired level”; to promote health, prevent degenerative or malignant diseases) properties.
TrueCalm™ ’Calming Support’ provides 500mg of hemp with a precise combination of the active ingredient ‘L-theanine’ and calming herbs like chamomile, passionflower and lemon balm.
According to Drugs.com, the amino acid L-theanine (which is found in tea plants and responsible for the unique flavor of green tea) may help relieve stress by inducing a relaxing effect without drowsiness and may also possess immunologic attributes. Theanine may also have effects on the cardiovascular system and play a preventative role in cancer. According to Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer website, L-theanine is thought to have both antioxidant and calming effects. Some animal studies have shown that L-theanine may also be helpful in lowering lipids in the blood, fighting obesity, and preventing cognitive dysfunction and stroke. Other studies, including animal studies, have suggested that L-theanine has an anti-cancer effect, may enhance learning in animals, and lowers blood pressure, according to Dr. Andrew Weil.
TrueLove™ ‘Antioxidant Support’ provides 500mg of hemp, polyphenols from green tea, blueberries, pomegranate and DHA from whole-cell algae.
According to the US National Institute of Health’s National Library of Medicine: “In the last decade, there has been much interest in the potential health benefits of dietary plant polyphenols as antioxidant. Epidemiological studies and associated meta-analyses strongly suggest that long term consumption of diets rich in plant polyphenols offer protection against development of cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, osteoporosis and neurodegenerative diseases.”
Blueberries are believed to contain the highest antioxidant capacity of all commonly consumed fruits and vegetables. The main antioxidant compounds in blueberries belong to a large family of polyphenols, called flavonoids. One group of flavonoids in particular, anthocyanins, is thought to be responsible for much of the beneficial health effects.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory effects, pomegranate helps to fight arthritis and joint paint, while providing 2 unique substances in pomegranate that are responsible for most of their health benefits: Punicalagins (a powerful anti-oxidant) and Punicic Acid (a type of conjugated linoleic acid with potent biological effects).
According to Petfoodindustry.com, marine algae may improve cognitive function in older dogs and whole-cell micro-algae offers the pet industry a sustainable fish oil alternative:
“Like humans, dogs are living longer and, therefore, spending longer periods of life in the senior and geriatric lifestages. These older dogs have different nutritional requirements than younger animals, and many require supplementation in their diets to help avoid the onset of certain age-related health issues, such as a decline in cognitive function. Ingredients rich in omega-3 fatty acids, among which fish oil is most common, have been shown to help support the health of aging dogs. Now, new research has shown that a specific marine algae may offer a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to fish oil, which not only supports brain function in older dogs but also provides other nutrients important for maintaining the health of these senior pets.
It is not unusual that with a growing population of older humans and aging dogs, we often see health issues that parallel each other. „The key to unlocking some of nature‘s most perplexing puzzles in human health has actually stood right next to us, wagging its tail,“ said Matthew Breen, a genomics professor at North Carolina State University College of Veterinary Medicine. Since nutrition plays an integral role in steering both species’ biological pathways, nutritional supplements that are effective at mediating human health concerns are excellent candidates for addressing the same health concerns in dogs.
Despite the many benefits of consuming a healthy diet, getting adequate nutrition can be a challenge for both humans and dogs. With age, the number of calories required daily begins to decline, and each calorie consumed must be packed with vital nutrients to create a more balanced diet. Popular and fast-growing supplement ingredients in the human market, such as glucosamine, omega fatty acids and probiotics, provide the petfood industry with the opportunity to pursue many of the same dietary supplements in the quest to address the health needs of aging dogs.
An August 2012 Packaged Facts consumer survey showed that 43% of dog owners and 36% of cat owners already purchase some type of specialty nutritional formula petfood or supplemental nutrition products for their pets. „As in [the] human nutritional products market,“ says David Sprinkle, research director at Packaged Facts, „aging is the core market driver, as more pets suffer from age-related conditions such as joint deterioration and cognitive dysfunction.“
Of the nutrient categories, one plays a particularly important role: omega-3 fatty acids. More than 14,000 scientific reports (the majority of which have studied canines) addressed their use to support the health and well-being of companion animals. Although the underlying physiological reason for the described health benefits of omega-3 fatty acids may be complex, these perceived benefits are at the top of the list for many dog owners, such as skin health and coat condition; brain health, including trainability and the decline of cognitive function; and even heart and vision health... Now, further evidence has demonstrated that supplementation of this nutrient can also help to improve cognitive function in older dogs.
Growth in the older dog population means that a greater number of pet parents are experiencing the strain of having an older dog presenting with a decline in cognitive function. This condition, called Cognitive Dysfunction Syndrome (CDS), can be compared to Alzheimer’s disease in humans. Researchers believe CDS is caused by physical and chemical changes that affect the brain’s function in older dogs, causing dogs who suffer from the condition to show signs of confusion and/or various other behavioral changes that are not a normal part of aging. In one study at the University of California-Davis, 62% of 11- to 16-year-old dogs showed signs in at least one category of CDS. With the increased humanization of dogs, many pet owners are looking for ways to prevent the onset of this irreversible condition using nutritional intervention.
Currently, fish oil is the ingredient most used by the petfood industry as a source of omega-3 fatty acids; however, fish oils can present many challenges. The total omega-3 fatty acid concentration and ratio of the specific fatty acids DHA and EPA are variants of fish oil linked to the source of fish and the extraction, refining and blending processes inherent in the supply chain. Also due to the rising demand for high DHA and EPA fish oils in the human dietary supplement market, the DHA and EPA potency of fish oil available to the pet industry is diminishing. Outside of the inconsistencies in composition there are greater quality concerns with fish oil. The majority of fish oils sold require special purification and deodorization processes to reduce contaminants like heavy metals, PCB, dioxin and antibiotics and those responsible for fishy odors that may adversely affect the quality of the final pet product. Consequently, the greatest challenge going forward for the pet industry is procuring high-quality fish oil as a potent source of EPA and DHA while competing with a rapidly growing human market demand for the same omega-3-rich ingredient.
As a result, in sourcing ingredients that contain fish oil, it is important to understand that fish do not create their own omega-3 fatty acids. The original source of these fatty acids is marine algae. Fish oil contains DHA and EPA because of the food chain in the ocean. Unless farm-raised fish are fed ocean fish or algae, they do not contain these important omega-3 fatty acids. Fish farmers have been slow to adapt algae as a source of omega-3 because it is typically a low-margin industry, and algae is more expensive than crude ocean fish by-products. Consequently, overfishing our oceans has become a real issue, and crude fish oil prices have spiked 86% since 2011 due to the rising demand.
High-quality, whole-cell marine algae, research has shown, can be a feasible alternative to ocean fish-derived raw materials. Algae grown by fermentation has many positive attributes; it is a rich, highly sustainable source of these desired omega-3 fatty acids, which is void of the contaminants potentially found in fish sources. A high-quality algae that is odor- and color-neutral allows for greater flexibility in the development of petfood products. Plus, the price of this type of algae is also more consistent because it is produced by fermentation, where demand has much less impact on the cost of production.
Although marine micro-algae is a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids, it is relatively new to animal nutrition, and so relatively few studies have been done to demonstrate its effect on the health of companion animals. A recent study by Cancog technologies, which evaluated a new petfood ingredient containing this marine micro-algae, evaluated animals’ ability to visually identify and remember various objects and images using a series of behavioral-based tests over time.
The study, which used a standard commercially available dry dog food made with (test diet) and without (control diet) the added marine algae ingredient, involved feeding two cognitively equivalent groups of 8.5- to 11-year-old dogs over a seven-month period. Over the course of this study, five different behavioral-based tests were performed to measure components of visual performance, learning and memory that, together, describe an individual dog’s cognitive function.
Notably, the potential benefits of marine micro-algae as a substitute for fish oil in supporting brain health came from the concurrent discrimination test, which measured each dogs’ ability to perform the task correctly over time, and the contrast sensitivity test that measured how successfully each dog visually identified printed geometric images on a white background. In both tests, dogs whose diet contained the marine micro-algae ingredient performed better than dogs fed the control diet, signifying improved learning, visual processing involving the retina and/or cerebral cortex, and long-term memory due to supplementation, according to the researchers.
Whole-cell, micro-algae has been proven to offer the pet industry a sustainable, natural source of nutritional lipids that support cognitive function in aging dogs, and provide an alternative to fish oil. This unique ingredient also contains protein, dietary fibers, minerals and other nutrients important for a pet’s complete and balanced diet.”
Hemp and the Pet Industry
A few days ago, on September 14, True Leaf was mentioned in an article entitled “Hemp and the Pet Industry” from Kristen Moran of Investingnews.com:
“North Americans are slowly beginning to understand and welcome the benefits of hemp and cannabis. The shift has seen many companies begin to focus on how hemp and cannabis can medically benefit humans, but others are instead looking at what these products can do for pets.ä
While that may sound surprising, the pet industry offers huge opportunities for companies to profit. Indeed, the US pet food market alone is worth about $60 billion, and the global market is expected to reach almost $75 billion by 2017.
Hemp in particular is gaining traction in the pet industry. It’s an all-natural, grain-free, gluten-free source of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and compared to other oils, hemp oil offers the lowest level of saturated fats. Hemp also contains natural antioxidants, is very high in protein and acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent.
With those statistics in mind, the Investing News Network decided to take a closer look at publicly traded companies developing pet products that use hemp and cannabis. Here’s a look at two of them.
Trueleafpet™ hemp chews
True Leaf Medicine International (CSE:MJ) is carving out a niche in the pet industry through its hemp-based pet chews, which are expected to hit stores across Canada in October. CEO Darcy Bomford has extensive knowledge of the pet nutrition industry, and worked in it for nearly 30 years prior to moving into the cannabis industry.
“From the very beginning I thought there was an opportunity for cannabis as a medicine for pets, so I always wanted to do that,” Bomford explained. “I know the pet industry inside and out, I know people all over the world. We had basically every distributor in North America sell my Darford product line, so I have got a really good base of contacts and knowledge in manufacturing and marketing. It was a pretty good fit.”
As mentioned, the company is about to launch its line of Trueleafpet™ hemp chews for pets and has already secured Canada-wide distribution.
“We will be launching at the end of the month and we will be shipping sometime in October. We signed up two big distributors, one that covers all of Western Canada and another that covers all of Eastern Canada, so that is where we are starting. In the US, we are doing a soft launch in LA this week at an international cannabis show. It’s basically just a sneak peek of the product line and the packaging, and we will be doing a hard launch in the US in the spring,” he said.
“We have three products — one is called True Love, which is an antioxidant; True Spirit is a joint support product for dogs that are getting older and are having a tough time moving around; True Calm is a calming product, so it has a blend of calming herbs like passionflower, lemon balm.”
Moving forward, the company hopes to develop a hemp-based CBD supplement pet food that has some pilot trial research behind it for anti-inflammatory purposes.”
Dogs Inspire True Leaf Entrepreneur in Life and Business
Also on September 14, True Leaf issued a press-release with the above title and which is reprinted below.
On the eve of the Cannabis World Congress and a bold product launch, he’s thinking about Molly and Sophie, his two best friends (right).
Vernon, BC, CANADA – (September 14, 2015) Darcy Bomford doesn’t have to look very far for inspiration. The sources are right at his heels, tails wagging as usual: Molly, a nine-year-old black lab and golden retriever Sophie, also nine.
The founder of True Leaf Medicine International Ltd., (CSE: MJ) (FRANKFURT: TLA) (“True Leaf” or the “company”) who is waiting for the Canadian government to grant the company a license to produce and distribute medical marijuana, has come up with a great idea while he waits, thanks to his canine best buddies.
Like all retrievers, Molly and Sophie love to run and swim, but at 9, they’re not getting any younger. Their joints are starting to stiffen up, a problem human weekend warriors can sympathize with.
Darcy, who headed pet food company Darford for 25 years, put together his expertise in pet nutrition with his current research into cannabis sativa, and came up with hemp-based pet chews that have anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties, combining for a healthy nutritional supplement for his canine companions.
While both come from the same plant, hemp is perfectly safe for pets as a nutritional supplement, and is free of any the side effects associated with recreational marijuana. In other words, your pet won’t get stoned.
For Darcy, quality and safety are critical. “You feed your dog the way you would feed your child,” he says, and in fact, he refers to Molly and Sophie as “my kids”. And like any proud parent he can talk about them at length.
Molly’s the diva of the pair who soaks up all the attention Darcy can send her way, while Sophie is the tomboy and the “treat monster”. Both inspire their master to create products that are close to nature.
Called True Spirit, the chews combine locally-grown hemp with glucosamine from a plant source – turmeric root extract – and are particularly suitable for older dogs. True Leaf will unveil the True Spirit packaging at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo coming up on September 17 and 18th at the Los Angeles Convention Centre. An earlier prototype generated a buzz at the Cannabis World Congress in New York City in June. The product launch is set for October, but Molly and Sophie have already participated in some product testing.
“They liked them!” says Darcy. Discerning dogs. Darcy will make sure the chews contain no fillers, use only the highest quality ingredients and are manufactured under the highest quality control standards.
True Leaf has lined up manufacturing and distribution and expects that the first True Spirit products will be on pet food shelves across North America on schedule. They will sell for $14.99 for 40 chews.
Darcy believes that most pet owners are like him – they want what’s best for their dogs, because they get the best from their dogs every day.
“Dogs teach us unconditional love,” says Darcy. “They don’t know about the higher religions or the Golden Rule; it just comes naturally. We can only hope to achieve as humans what comes so freely from our pets.
“It is true companionship,” he adds, “and we want to reflect that true spirit in our brand and every product we produce and sell.”
True Leaf invites attendees at the Cannabis World Conference and Business Expo (Booth 316) to meet Darcy Bomford and see True Spirit for themselves at the Expo on Thursday and Friday, September 17 and 18, at the Los Angeles Convention Centre.
About True Leaf Medicine International Ltd.
True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. is entering the $60 billion pet industry with a line of hemp-focused pet chews and supplements marketed through natural pet health and veterinary channels in Canada and the US. The company has also filed an application under Health Canada’s Marihuana for Medicinal Purposes Regulations (MMPR) to become a Canadian licensed producer. It has passed through the preliminary and enhanced screening process of Health Canada’s review and is currently awaiting security clearance.
To Interview Darcy Bomford (and Molly and Sophie), please contact:
O: 604-685-4742 M: 604-603-7358
True Leaf Medicine International Ltd.
100 Kalamalka Lake Road, Unit 32
Vernon ,British Columbia V1T 9G1, Canada
Phone: +1 778-389-9933
Shares Issued & Outstanding: 39,381,663
Current Price: €0.099 EUR (Sept. 16, 2015)
Market cap.: €3.9 million EUR
Research #7 “Another Key Piece for the True Leaf Puzzle” (September 8, 2015)
Research #6 “True Leaf Pet’s Hemp Chew Product Line to be Distributed Across Canada” (August 12, 2015)
Research #5 “Interview with True Leaf‘s CEO Darcy Bomford“ (August 6, 2015)
Research #4 “One Step Closer Becoming A Licenced Medical Marijuana Producer“ (July 21, 2015)
Research #3 “True Leaf on its way to production“ (May 6, 2015)
Research #2 “True Leaf To Enter The Pet Food Market With Hemp Products In Fall of 2015“ (April 9, 2015)
Research #1 “True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. Goes Public“ (February 9, 2015)
Disclaimer: Please read the full disclaimer on rockstone-research.com and within the full research report (here) on True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. as conflicts of interest and fundamental risks exist. The author, Stephan Bogner, owns shares of True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. and may sell anytime without notice, whereas neither the author nor Rockstone Research was remunerated by True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. to write or publish the above content. However, conflicts of interest exist with Zimtu Capital Corp., which investment issuer also owns shares of True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. and would benefit from price appreciation. Therefore, none of the above is to be construed as an investment recommendation or advise but strictly as advertisement. True Leaf Medicine International Ltd. has not reviewed the content prior to publication. Readers should be also cautioned that none of the above mentioned health benefits can be guaranteed. No one knows yet whether any of the above mentioned supplements/ingredients are effective for any of the mentioned conditions. There have been some studies, however more scientific research is needed to confirm the claims.