Tags: regulation | cannabidiol | mainstream | cbd

Regulation Pushes Cannabidiol Treatments Into Mainstream

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Aleksandr Kravtsov | Dreamstime.com

By    |   Tuesday, 22 January 2019 12:21 PM

While the debate about the legalization of cannabis continues across the United States, the discussion around CBD has been significantly less controversial.

While derived from the same source as THC, CBD (short for cannabidiol) has become increasingly popular due to its proven medical qualities and the fact that it is non-psychoactive. 2018 saw the compound make its way into several products, and countries around the world have turned a much friendlier eye to its unique properties rather than cannabis as a whole.

With the impending passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, CBD products are set to become legal across the country, and the compound is set to enter a whole new realm—mainstream acceptance. Most importantly, perhaps, the market, which has so far gone the way of most unregulated markets, will finally be brought into line. While there are some in the industry who would argue that this is decidedly a bad thing, this legitimization is undoubtedly a sign of changing tides.

For one thing, regulation brings with it a freedom that lets companies be more creative in the products they offer. Moreover, it paves the way for treatments to become more accessible and provide better quality of life to those who have begun using the products. Alongside the legalization of hemp cultivation (for CBD), regulation will also make it easier to understand the effects and benefits CBD delivers, bringing it further into the light. Without this new framework, however, none of this would be possible.

Farm Bill Brings CBD Legitimacy

Despite its increasing popularity across the country, CBD remains in a legal gray area as it continues to be sold in several forms, but without any real oversight. This is a great thing for the many companies offering CBD products, but it is a decidedly bad situation for consumers. With the CBD market expanding at breakneck speed—a Rolling Stone report puts its value at $22 billion by 2022—there are real concerns that this “wild west” mentality could do serious harm to the industry before it truly takes off.

One big problem until now has been the lack of FDA regulation for many of the health products being sold. Despite CBD’s rising popularity in the “wellness” industry, many of the goods offered still lack real oversight. This can expose consumers to greater risks than benefits and gives the broader market a bad reputation. Even so, that is set to change soon, as legalization will also open the sector to broader regulation and oversight by the federal government.

With the passage and enforcement of the 2018 Farm Bill—which, to many observers’ surprise was passed by a Republican White House and Congress—the CBD industry will for the first time have the ability to truly spread its wings and begin to roll out tested, researched, and valuable products. Some companies have jumped on the bandwagon beforehand and may have a decided market advantage.

CBDMEDIC, for instance, offers one of the first fully FDA-registered treatment options for a variety of pains, including athletic injuries and even arthritis. By operating within a regulated framework, the company, and others like it, can begin to offer products that are tested and offer real relief to those who need it. Earlier in 2018, the FDA approved its first CBD-based drug, the seizure treatment Epidiolex, a landmark for the industry and a sign that the regulator is willing to accommodate with the sector.

Unlocking the Market’s Potential

For many observers, outside of the legitimacy regulation brings, the biggest benefit of the Farm Bill is the path it paves for the industry to explore new products and innovations. The introduction of standards (such as minimum requirements of CBD to be declared a CBD product) will help prune many of the products that only claim to use the compound from actually reaching the market. Moreover, they’ll allow for the introduction of protein-powders, vaporizer pens, and even product lines pushed by larger pharmaceuticals and corporations (Coca Cola is said to be testing CBD-based products in Canada).

Moreover, regulation and oversight means that CBD products can also be sold at establishments like pharmacies, department stores, and more, opening new pathways for profits, product lines, and even taxation. Most importantly, however, regulation will help demystify CBD, removing the stigma that comes with its association with cannabis and THC while showing the world the true value of the compound as a health and wellness product.

Companies like Aspen Valley, which sells pre-rolled CBD cigarettes, will be able to take advantage of this new legitimacy and mainstream appeal to bring their products to a much wider audience. Additionally, these companies will be able to list CBD as an ingredient (something that until the Farm Bill was passed was technically illegal, as it was prohibited by FDA restrictions). Perhaps most crucially, however, it will help consumers and researchers begin to discern the facts about CBD’s benefits from the myriad claims being parroted by wellness companies.

Opening the Gates

CBD is here to stay as the industry’s profit potential is simply too valuable to ignore. Its impending entry into the regulated light will help give it new recognition and will also reignite conversations about broader legalization efforts. However, it is hard to argue that a compound with such potential for healing and medical value could be kept out of the consumer aisles forever. By providing a strong regulatory framework and oversight, the government has ensured that CBD will reach its full potential while providing much better market conditions for consumers and businesses alike.

Jim Hoffer is founder and managing director at Hoffer Financial Consulting. Follow him on Twitter.

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CBD is here to stay as the industry’s profit potential is simply too valuable to ignore. Its impending entry into the regulated light will help give it new recognition and will also reignite conversations about broader legalization efforts.
regulation, cannabidiol, mainstream, cbd
Tuesday, 22 January 2019 12:21 PM
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