In the early 1990s, Morinda’s founders stumbled upon an exotic island fruit that would help breathe life into what is now a fully fledged industry—superfoods.
Noni had been used for centuries by Polynesians to enhance health and well-being. Once introduced to the consumer market in 1996, noni took the world by storm, which inspired Morinda to invest years of time and finances to discover new and effective uses of both the noni fruit and noni seed. Today Morinda offers an extensive collection of noni products including juices, oils, supplements and skin care designed to improve health, boost immunity and increase energy.
Several years ago, Morinda scientists began to study the striking similarities between Tahitian Noni, their muse of more than two decades, and cannabidiol (CBD). Both naturals could enhance health, both could directly impact the endocannabinoid system and both had numerous effective applications. But this interest was taking shape in a hazy regulatory environment and Morinda scientists were hesitant to pursue product development.
“There was reticence,” says Adam Olsen, the director of marketing and communications for Morinda. “The climate around CBD was so unknown at the time.”
In 2018, following the passage of the new Farm Bill, everything changed. Not only did the Farm Bill legalize industrial hemp as a crop, Morinda gained the resources and momentum to pursue CBD as a viable product through its merger with New Age Beverage Company (New Age). The New Age Health Sciences division had also been studying potential applications for CBD and was ready to share what they’d discovered and partner with Morinda to create something new.
Introducing ‘NHANCED CBD
Together, the newly merged scientific teams developed Morinda’s ‘NHANCED CBD collection, featuring three CBD-infused products—a CBD oil, body cream and roll-on gel. But creating a product in a lab is one thing, producing it for customers around the world is a far larger task. Luckily, Morinda had already been down this path before and had established some best production practices in its years of distributing noni products. The team knew just what to do.
“We went in search of the best CBD we could find,” says Senior Product Line Manager Laura Kimball. “We knew we wanted farm-grown, minimally processed, responsibly farmed hemp so we could ensure its purity.”
Currently, Morinda’s hemp is sourced from farms in Oregon. “With our Tahitian Noni, we contract our harvesters; we know who picks the fruit; we control the process. Our CBD process is similar,” Olsen says. “We’ve inspected the farms; we know where it’s coming from. We’re proud of our sources and the robust certificates of analysis we have from every product we’ve produced. The thing about the CBD landscape is that there’s no shortage of players right now. But we feel that we’re doing the very best for our customers and have a product we can be proud of.”
The Future of CBD
With the launch of the ‘NHANCED line, Morinda is just getting started when it comes to CBD. The company operates in 60 countries throughout the world, so some Morinda products in the pipeline will be available abroad before they are released in the U.S.
The most exciting prospect is the pairing of CBD with Tahitian Noni. “Like noni, CBD influences the function of the endocannabinoid system,” says Brett West, Morinda’s senior director of product research. “In our bodies we have cannabinoid receptors—the two primary receptors are CB1 and CB2. We’ve found that noni does a better job impacting one of those receptors and CBD does a better job impacting the other. The two working together can have a profound impact on the body.”
Tahitian Noni + CBD will be a CBD-infused noni juice that is expected to deliver stronger benefits than a topical application. Another CBD-infused beverage soon to be available from the broader New Age product portfolio is Marley Mellow Mood, a CBD-infused flavored tea that will contain 25 mg of CBD per serving. Both products will launch first in Japan with distribution to follow in the U.S. once government regulations allow.
“We’re excited about the synergistic effect of the combination of noni and CBD,” Kimball says. “It’s an exciting arena, because the CBD world is just opening up. When we first started studying CBD years ago, we could see the tremendous benefits and perfect tie-in to our product line. It’s a natural way of helping people and that’s what we’re most interested in—bringing healthy products to the world.”