By Abraham Villegas.
Just like the iPhone, CBD is one of those rare products that has made an explosive entrance into the marketplace.
One day most of society never heard of CBD. The next day, it seems that CBD products and their advertisements are everywhere.
Thanks to the Hemp Farming Act of 2018 signed by Donald Trump, CBD products are not only widely available in the US but is now very high demand. The farm bill made industrial hemp legal in addition to legalizing recreational and medical cannabis at the state level.
How pervasive are CBD products?
Depending on the state in which you live, you can buy CBD products at restaurants, gas stations or even your local CVS (NYSE: CVS).
Since last year, the sale of CBD products has increased by over 700% according to the reputable research firm Brightfield Group.
However, also spreading through society more quickly than CBD products is confusion about what CBD is and who should use it.
Without question, the popularity and revenue potential of CBD means it will be here for quite some time.
First, a brief refresher on CBD.
CBD 101: What Exactly is CBD?
One of the chemical compounds in the cannabis plant is cannabidiol, also known as CBD.
It’s a substance that’s naturally produced by the cannabis plant. Scientists have been able to identify over 100 different types of cannabinoids so far.
The one most widely known is THC due to its ability to create a sense of euphoria. CBD is swiftly gaining ground strictly because of its potential to reportedly help people manage several ailments ranging from stress and migraines to chronic pain and inflammation.
Our body maintains a state of homeostasis through several regulatory processes that are governed by the endocannabinoid system or ECS.
The endocannabinoids function as neurotransmitters sending messages throughout our body. The two receptors that interact with CBD are CB1 and CB2 receptors.
The former primarily exist in the brain. They help with memory, motor function, identifying pain, and cognition. CB1 receptors also exist in our liver, peripheral nervous system, thyroid, and other organs.
Research has proven that CBD coaxes the body into producing more endocannabinoids which may reportedly help people manage pain, inflammation, and anxiety.
The benefits of CBD are well-documented, but its future is still met with both optimism and concern.
The Future of the CBD
Ever-increasing awareness of the benefits of CBD will lead to an upsurge in the demand for CBD oil in beverages and food. This growing cognizance is expected to help propel the industry forward.
CBD and its related products are primed for expansion in the United States in three primary markets:
- CBD derived from hemp
- CBD derived from marijuana and
- Pharmaceutical CBD
The 2018 Farm Bill, recent developments in the hemp industry, and technological advancements have caused farmers and manufacturers to turn their attention to the commercialization of CBD as the path toward immense profits becomes more visible.
New genetically engineered crops as a result of cross-breeding will result in higher yields and better overall quality.
As the benefits of CBD become more widely published and accepted, funding for research and development will increase as well.
Though the future looks very bright for the CBD industry as a whole, there are still several concerns and a significant number of detractors.
Concerns About the Future of the CBD Industry
There is a constant battle between the millions of people who claim CBD helps them manage their health issues and scientists who still question whether CBD truly influences the body.
Many scientists and researchers debate whether people are obtaining relief or are experiencing a powerful placebo effect (meaning those who expect a positive outcome are more likely to see benefits).
Regardless of who is right, funding for CBD Research by the National Institute of Health skyrocketed from zero dollars five years ago to approximately $16M last year.
The march of CBD and its related products seems unstoppable now.
But unclear legalities and inconsistent regulation will put a ceiling on industry growth that was previously thought to be unlimited.
The primary hindrance to growth in the CBD industry will be lax oversight.
Because CBD is not yet fully regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, there’s no entirely accurate way to tell what’s inside oils, tinctures or creams unless a company's products are tested by a third party. Additionally, those results must be made available to the public or included in the product’s packaging.
Needless to say, you shouldn’t do business with any company that doesn't have information about how their hemp and CBD are manufactured clearly detailed on the label.
Also, stay away from any products that claim CBD will cure any ailment or condition. If the information on the label isn’t from a third party, be wary of what is stated.
Last year, the California Bureau of Cannabis Control tested almost 30,000 products ranging from cartridges from vape pens, tinctures, oils, edibles, material from plants and creams.
Approximately 15% of those products didn’t pass the state-run tests for purity or potency. This was due to improper labeling and residual levels of solvents, microbes, and pesticides that were found.
Until the cannabis industry is regulated on a federal level or until states create legislation that will strictly govern the enforcement of existing regulations regarding the manufacturing of CBD, the problems will continue.
As with most products, conduct your own due diligence and consult with your physician before considering the use of CBD for any health concern.
Photo by Javier Hasse.
The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.
Abraham Villegas operates the Medical Cannabis Community, a digital media company focused on empowering people to connect through advocacy, education, and community-based action. He also operates AV Social Strategies, Inc. a digital marketing agency where he regularly consults with brands in the cannabis/hemp/CBD industry on Web development, social media, advertising, and SEO.
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