Craig Henderson, CEO of Extract Labs, is a force of nature. After serving in the Iraq war, where he faced plenty of combat and returned a decorated veteran, he got a Master’s in Engineering and landed a great job in the hemp industry. Being no stranger to adversity, Craig would eventually find himself at a crossroads brought on by the confluence of personal and professional undoing.
Jobless and divorcing, with two young mouths to feed, Craig chose to swim upstream, against the current, and start his own business.
Armed with his can-do attitude Craig has faced numerous adversities head-on, gone to battle, pushed that extra mile, and repeatedly come out on top as the leader. Craig believes in “show rather than tell, and the one we need to show the most is always ourselves.” In this regard, Craig leads by example, and his example is an ever-present reminder that “we owe it to ourselves to see what we are made of, to make our jobs and our lives something worthy of our own respect.” He knew starting the business wasn’t going to be an easy task, and he worked long, hard days in the middle of winter, extracting hemp out of his garage; Craig shoveled snow from his driveway one load at a time, using it to cool the heated oil to separate residual solvents during distillation. This is the founding of Extract Labs, and since its inception, Craig hasn’t taken his foot off the gas or let his guard down one minute.
Extract Labs was born from one man’s desire to bring CBD to a larger sphere, and that desire was couched in the positive benefits it had on himself and his community of veterans after returning from the Iraq war.
At the time of its inception (2016), there was no market, as Craig began operations under pilot programs well before the passage of the 2018 farm bill, which made hemp production legal nationally. “The main ‘pain point’ being addressed lands squarely on the stranglehold that big pharma has on our healthcare system which does nothing to promote a healthy lifestyle, and often does more harm than good by causing side effects like addiction. CBD simply offers an alternative for those not finding relief through mainstream channels.”
According to Craig, the hemp industry is largely unregulated, with few rules defining what hemp companies can or cannot do. Since the founding of the company, Extract Labs has strived to set itself apart by obtaining certifications that show how honest and clean its manufacturing process is. “Our facilities are certified Vegan and Kosher. We have obtained cGMP certification,” he explains. “Our labs are in the process of obtaining ISO 17025 accreditation. Every product we produce is tracked by our Batch Database. Everything we do is in the interest of transparency to our loyal customers.”
To further set Extract Labs apart, they offer a complete line of cannabinoids available on the market. Most of the competition is focused on producing as much CBD as they can as quickly as possible. “Our focus lies on the other 120-something minor cannabinoids that we know very little about. We see the future of cannabis medicine as something much more diverse than it is today,” says Craig. While some will claim CBD as a generic cure-all, the minor cannabinoids found in cannabis can dial into the relief that a consumer is looking for. Studies show CBN helps with sleep, CBC with pain, and CBG with memory issues. “We want to offer consumers a way to dial in their wellness routine which is largely unseen in today’s market.”
Extract Labs’ tinctures contain CO2-extracted CBD and organic coconut oil – that’s it! Tinctures are favored among consumers due to their easy dosing and quick results. Since tincture is taken sublingually, CBD enters the bloodstream directly and may yield a quick result. “Our most popular products aside from tinctures are our capsules. While tinctures are easy to use, some consumers don’t like the taste of hemp or the feeling of oil in their mouths,” explains Craig. “Capsules give them away to consume cannabinoids more comfortably – simply swallowing a capsule as needed. This avoids any taste concerns and provides an exact, convenient dose.”
As per Craig, CBG is the first minor cannabinoid he extracted. Today Extract Labs has others like CBN and CBC, but CBG remains their flagship minor cannabinoid product that sets them apart from other companies. Big names in the industry later launched their own CBG products, but did so by adding CBG isolate to a full spectrum CBD oil. “They often come up with tricky names like, “CBG + CBD” that speaks to the way CBG has been “added” to “CBD,” which allows them to avoid the term “isolate” altogether, and use “full-spectrum” instead,” says Craig. “Extract Labs, in contrast, sources hemp rich in CBG, so we are able to perform a full spectrum process as we do with our other lines. The only other CBG products that are full spectrum are often in ratios of like 20:1 CBD to CBG, which again, pales in comparison to our 1 to 1 ratios.”
Extract Labs is currently finalizing the development of new products that feature cannabinoids other than CBD. One of their current projects is to extract a cannabinoid requested by one their legacy customers. “For the days to come, we are looking to expand our offerings and continue to refine existing products in order to better serve our customers and accurately address their problems,” adds Craig.