It all starts with our hemp. All Cycling Frog products are made exclusively with hemp from our single-source farming partners at Lazarus Naturals farms. The hemp is grown, harvested, and extracted from our farm in Powell Butte, Oregon. At the farm, we harvest the organically-grown hemp from the expansive fields and stage it for extraction by drying, packaging, and storing it away from light and the elements.
Hemp is composed of several hundred unique compounds; the specific active compounds of interest are cannabinoids, namely the CBD and Delta-9 THC that goes into our seltzers, gummies, mints, and CBD softgels.
Extraction is the first processing step that separates these active compounds from the raw hemp plant. There are numerous extraction methods, but we’ve determined that chilled ethanol is the ideal solvent for extracting hemp at our production scale, especially when factoring in safety, associated equipment and process scalability, and cost.
Ethanol extraction is a process in which plant matter is immersed in chilled ethanol within a closed-loop centrifugation system, dissolving the target compounds into the extract solution and leaving most of the unwanted compounds behind with the biomass. Ethanol has a higher affinity for non-polar fat-soluble compounds (i.e., cannabinoids and terpenes) and a lower affinity for polar water-soluble compounds such as chlorophyll and plant proteins and sugars. According to the FDA, cold ethanol extraction is one of the safest methods for pharmaceutical and food grade processes. For these reasons, we use a chilled ethanol extraction process to create our hemp plant products.
After ethanol extraction is complete, a series of filtration steps are applied to remove plant particulate, lipids, and waxes after which all traceable amounts of ethanol are evaporated from the extract, leaving a full-spectrum oil consisting of cannabinoids — predominantly THC and CBD.
This oil is then processed into a distillate or proprietary nano-emulsion, which increases the cannabinoid potency and bioavailability, preparing them to be added to various product formulations.
The next step is deciding which products to make! Our dedicated R&D team is constantly exploring new product and flavor ideas, as well as innovative ways to produce the cleanest, highest quality hemp-derived THC and CBD products for people to enjoy! Below, you will find out how our most popular products, our thc seltzers and gummies, come to life!
We currently offer two strengths of THC/CBD Seltzers. Our classic seltzer line, available in Guava Passionfruit, Black Currant, Ruby Grapefruit, and Wild Cherry, contain 5mg THC and 10mg CBD in every can. Our line of “light” seltzers contain 2mg THC and 4mg CBD in every can.
The first step to making a good seltzer is to source good ingredients! For us, that means all-natural fruit juices and no synthetic or artificial flavors. We source our fruit juice carefully, with a majority of our suppliers located right here in the great Pacific Northwest! We craft our beverages with flavor in mind — if it doesn’t taste good, then what’s the point?
Once we have selected our ingredients, our research and development team sits down and adjusts the formulations, calculating for variables, and ensuring we have a tasty and consistent recipe. This includes shelf stability testing and taste testing until they’re confident we’ve got a winning product!
Once the recipe is finalized, the juice and other raw materials ship to our production facility, where our formulations team creates the beverage, adding the correct amounts of THC and CBD via a proprietary nano-emulsion of our hemp extract that is water soluble. Water solubility is important for creating a fast-acting, drinkable product, as it allows the THC and CBD to cross the blood-brain barrier, leading to full absorption in the body and a fast onset!
The concentrated formulation of our beverages is rigorously tested, then sent to our third-party canning facility where they dilute the product with filtered water to our specifications, carbonate it, and can it. The final stage before packaging is sending the cans through a tunnel pasteurizer to ensure safety and shelf stability of the finished product.
After a final third party lab test to ensure safety and advertised potency, these cans are ready for final packaging. Our finished product is then shipped back to our primary distribution hub in Portland, Oregon for shipment to your favorite local store, or, directly to your door!
Our gummies are currently offered in 2 strengths, a 1:1 ratio gummy containing 10mg of THC and 10mg of CBD per gummy, available in Bluerazz (Blue Raspberry) and Passionfruit, as well as a 5:1 ratio gummy containing 5mg THC and 25mg CBD per gummy, available in Watermelon, Huckleberry, and Mango Pineapple flavors! These gummies contain a hemp distillate containing THC and CBD. While not as fast-acting as our seltzers, they are just as potent and a convenient and tasty on-the-go option!
Once our team has undertaken the first steps in formulating our flavors and recipes, the ingredients, including glucose syrup, juices, hemp distillate, flavors pectin, sugar, and sodium citrate are weighed out, blended together and deposited into silicone molds. Our team then waits for the gummies to cool down and remove the gummies from their molds, finishing the gummies with sugar sanding and moisture conditioning to ensure the correct water activity and texture and so the gummies don’t stick together in their package.
Once the gummies have conditioned, final testing occurs, ensuring accurate potency and safety before they are packaged into our convenient 10ct bags or 40ct bottles for your enjoyment!
Third Party Testing
Any hemp-based cannabis products you are purchasing or consuming should come with test results verifying their efficacy and safety. While testing labs serve an important and irreplaceable role in any responsible consumer product industry, it can be a big ask to expect people to understand what the test results actually mean.
Because the FDA has yet to establish federal regulations for hemp-derived products, we take on the responsibility of making sure our products are accurately labeled and safe for consumption. This involves third-party testing laboratories checking products before they're made available to the public.
How Product Testing Works
All of our products are tested through the process of analytical chromatography, just like any other organic consumer product. This involves dissolving a product sample into a mixture known as the “mobile phase,” a solvent or gas that — when subjected to intense pressure — allows said mixture’s unique chemical components to be separated from one another. This separation is usually accomplished via High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) if the mixture is a liquid, or Gas Chromatography (GC) if the mixture is gaseous.
In either case, lab scientists are able to separate and analyze each individual component of the sample by slowly heating it up, which allows for the separation of each component as one by one they reach their various boiling points. They can then measure and record the sample’s individual components by exposing them to electromagnetic radiation (AKA light) and analyzing the results.
In fact, many times products are tested using both methods. The HPLC process has proven particularly useful for detecting cannabinoid potencies (THC and CBD content) , while GC is apt at detecting more volatile compounds (such as terpenes, pesticides, and any residual solvents).
High potencies usually make for the best selling point in the Hemp-based Cannabis industry. One unfortunate side effect of this trend, however, is that some companies are exaggerating (or flat-out inflating) the THC content of their products. That’s why Cycling Frog always lists total THC and CBD content for every product, and makes sure it matches what’s on the label. One of our primary goals is to never short our customers on product potency.
Potency test results should describe the product’s cannabinoid profile: this number is usually dictated as a percentage that represents how much of each cannabinoid is in the product. Oftentimes however, companies will also include cannabinoid totals in milligrams—and list how many milligrams are present in an average serving.
Heavy Metals, Microbials, and Pesticides
Hemp is an amazing bioremediation crop — meaning that it’s excellent at cleaning contaminated soil through absorption. Unfortunately, this also makes hemp-based products particularly susceptible to contaminants like heavy metals and pesticides. As a result, any reputable hemp provider will provide lab tests upfront that verify product safety.
Where is your testing performed?
Depending on the product, we utilize two established, respected, and accurate analytical laboratories:
COLUMBIA FOOD LABORATORIES
12423 NE Whitaker Way
Portland, OR 97230
15300 Bothell Way NE,
Lake Forest Park, WA 98155
REVIEWING A TEST RESULT
You can view the test results section on our website HERE for third party certificates of analysis for every batch of product we offer.