5 Questions With Derek Du Chesne, President Of Exactus Hemp
As a rule in my journalistic career, I’m pulling away from CBD, but Derek’s story made perfect sense to me and I felt that world deserved learning about his scene. I wanted to do this primarily because of his understanding of the pharmacological benefits of the plant. Not just another snake oil product. This is accurate for me because what Derek doesn’t do is CBD infused pain lotion, nor another CBD infused toothpick, but a philosophy that is grounded in deep healing. And after writing the book named Apothecary Cocktails, this path that he is taking is very familiar to me. It fulfills the desire to do well by others through healing. Thank you.
Warren Bobrow=WB: Please tell me how you discovered the plant? Who introduced you? How old were you? Where did you grow up? Now?
Growing up during the 90’s in the middle of Farmville USA (Shawano, WI) the beer and cheese mecca, alcoholism was everywhere, and cannabis was scarce. Drinking alcohol didn’t appeal to me growing up. After watching Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous, I was determined to become a music critic and was enamored by cannabis culture. I think the music videos we watched before the bus to school normalized cannabis use for me. It was a hot summer night after junior year and I was skateboarding to meet a group of friends by the lake. I sat down next to the bonfire prepping a tree branch to roast marshmallows when my best friend pulled out an empty soda can and began poking holes in it. She was crunching up the can in a peculiar way so I asked her what she was doing. She didn’t say a word, put headphones over my ears (Joker – Steve Miller Band), and pressed the can to my lips. Needless to say, s’mores never tasted so good and I finally understood the movie Half Baked. Some people are highly functional on THC, unfortunately, I am not one of those people. Eating. Sleeping. Laughing – anything outside of that I’m incapable of. The non-psychoactive cannabinoids are my personal preference.
Flash forward 20 years later and somehow I find myself in a different city weekly educating consumers/businesses alike on the pharmacological and economic benefits of cannabinoids. The home base is Los Angeles but due to the explosive growth of cannabis/hemp globally, I was on the road 300+ days in 2019. My mother has been very ill for the majority of my life and after witnessing the pharmacological benefits of cannabis 2016, I dedicated my life to helping companies incorporate cannabis-derived ingredients into their products.
WB: Please tell me about what you do? What obstacles do you face? Stigmas?
DDC: The most important aspect of what we do is education. There are over 113 cannabinoids in the cannabis plant, each acting differently upon our CB1 and CB2 receptors. These cannabinoids have varying effects on our bodies and it is crucial for consumers to understand the differences between them. By providing supply chain services, product development, and brand incubation for the wellness, cosmetics, pets, food, beverage, and pharmaceutical industries, our goal is to drive sector growth while making cannabinoids more accessible for all. In 2016 every major CPG brand and big-box retailer was rejecting the idea of including CBD/CBG/CBN/CBL/etc. into their products. After the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, the narrative quickly shifted and the demand grew exponentially. If you have a CPG company and you’re not having the “CBD talk” at a board level, you are being reckless. In a few short years it went from taboo to seeing toothpaste, make-up, hair products, lotions, nutraceuticals, face masks, muscle rubs, and beverages with CBD on the shelves at your local convenience store. More and more countries are legalizing cannabis-derived ingredients and we’re looking forward to developing those markets.
WB: What is your six and twelve-month goal? What markets do you want to enter? Why?
DDC: Within the next six months we are focusing on the empowerment of enterprises through mergers and acquisitions. The motivation for concentration comes from different objectives that encompass increasing revenues, penetration to new markets, overall cost reduction, and protection of the market from new arrivals by combining focus. Bringing lesser-known cannabinoids to the market at scale, and working with the world’s leading brands to develop products and educate consumers on their benefits is a primary objective. Within the next 12 months we would like to further explore opportunities in other uses, in addition to cannabinoid and terpene extraction, from this versatile plant: commercial and industrial products, including rope, textiles, clothing, shoes, food, paper, bioplastics, insulation, animal feed, and biofuels. The hemp industry in the United States is in its infancy and we are seeking opportunities to leverage our hemp supply chain while increasing shareholder value and improving EBITDA margins.
WB: Do you cook? Who taught you? Food memory?
DDC: At 12 years old I was a dishwasher at a restaurant down the street from the house I grew up in, by 14 I was prep cook. French cuisine is my go-to, a strong balance of healthy and delicious. Mm, mm crepes! Just kidding, the mastery of crepes is elusive. My Mom taught me how to cook, she is the most brilliant and strongest woman I’ve ever met. Cooking is therapeutic for me and provides a fun opportunity for family and friends to come together, strengthen ties, and build better relationships. Leaving people satisfied after a healthy meal is a win win!
WB: What is your passion?
DDC: Finding my passion has been an interesting journey for quite some time because as life progresses, so do ideas and interests. I am grateful for the years of working on films and television shows for the creative outlet and entrepreneurial thrill that inherently comes with each new project. After caring for my Mother and going down the rabbit hole of naturopathy, my life trajectory completely changed. Seeing first-hand how broken the medical system in the United States is and how aggressively addictive and deadly pharmaceuticals are prescribed, led me to seek alternatives. The more that I learned about plant-based medicine and environmental sustainability, the more determined I became. Sharing that knowledge with people became the type of interaction that sparked motivation. Cannabis can feed, fuel, and house us. Recently I have been researching mushrooms extensively and incorporating Turkey Tail, Reishi, Maitake, Shiitake, Chaga and Cordyceps mushrooms as part of my daily routine (Thank you, Paul Stamets). The applications for mushrooms are quite impressive as well: building materials, cleaning products, textiles, medicine, biofuels, and packaging to name a few. I am passionate about helping people achieve unimaginable goals. Focus on the value you can provide and success will follow. Between Cannabis and Fungi there lays extraordinary opportunities to help our friends, our businesses, and our planet.