It is estimated that the global CBD market could hit $ 20 billion by 2024! This is against the backdrop of a dwindling pharmaceuticals market. Why are so many people shifting their attention to CBD and other natural remedies? This is possibly due to the increasing side effects and risk of addiction that comes with this class of drugs, not to mention the exorbitant pricing. It’s only natural for people to seek for alternatives that may be more suitable for their health needs. That said, can CBD really rise to the occasion and offer an effective solution for patients? The answer to this is, it depends.
This article lists 4 factors that need to be addressed speedily if CBD is to go mainstream seamlessly.
CBD is an issue that affects everyone; governments, business, and individuals. The mother whose child has seizures wants to know where she can get good quality CBD. The veteran struggling with opioid addiction needs a safe source of CBD that has not been laced with potentially addictive compounds. And so does the CBD business owner who’s struggling to match the price of snake oil sellers masquerading as genuine CBD sellers.
Speaking of pain, the opioid addiction crisis is forcing many to reconsider their use of opioids. This, in turn, is increasing the popularity of CBD. But unless the market is streamlined, this has the potential of being one massive failure.
The Current CBD Use In The USA
According to the consumer reports survey, about 64 million Americans have tried CBD since 2017. This is almost one in five Americans. People have tried CBD for various reasons including pain management, treatment of mood disorders, epilepsy management, nausea, and neuroprotective benefits.
CBD or cannabidiol is a compound found in hemp that offers therapeutic benefits by interacting with the endocannabinoid system. Unlike THC, CBD does not have psychoactive properties. This also makes it relatively safe for use.
Unfortunately, the years of prohibition of cannabis did a lot to impede cannabis research. Even to date, medicinal cannabis is still prohibited in a number of states in the US as well as around the world. What this means is that the data are not just there. It is hard to rubberstamp the effectiveness of CBD in treating any condition without conducting large randomized clinical studies. With this data for specific conditions as regards the efficiency of CBD is lacking. Patients are lost between missing statistics (if and how CBD helped). What is available is general information such as how many people are using CBD.
If CBD is to go mainstream, the industry will need concrete figures on CBD use and the effectiveness of CBD in addressing different conditions. If this is sorted out, we will be halfway there.
Obvious Problems In The CBD Industry and How To Streamline Them
Lack of adequate statistics is not the only problem plaguing the CBD industry. The industry has a myriad of other problems that need to be sorted out as well.
1. Conflicting Laws
The international, state and federal laws are in constant conflict. For example, medicinal cannabis has been legalized in 33 states so far, however, cannabis as a whole is illegal in all states, going by federal law.
This confusion serves as a barricade that limits the adoption of CBD as a mainstream therapeutic agent. It also contributes to the unfair segregation of CBD related businesses by banks and other federal agencies that may benefit CBD businesses. CBD businesses in many areas are not only unable to access credit facilities but they may also be denied basic banking facilities.
Way to streamline this:
This can only be streamlined by the full legalization of cannabis at a federal level. This will help to open up doors for research, implement strict regulation of the industry and improve people’s perceptions of the CBD industry.
2. Lack of Regulation
With haphazard laws comes rampant lack of regulation in the CBD industry. Patients needing CBD have no starting point on where or how to source for good quality cannabidiol.
The current CBD market largely operates online, and there are many unverified CBD sellers. Due to this, it is easy for CBD products to substandard. This may mean that the CBD could be having impurities or not being of the said potency. The greater risk is when CBD products are laced with unsafe ingredients such as psychedelic drugs.
How to streamline this:
This must be done at the state level, but with the persuasion of both CBD buyers and sellers. The regulation would mean that all CBD sellers are forced to abide by certain standards that apply to both the manufacturing and packaging of CBD products. This would also mean that all CBD needs to be registered, licensed and monitored at a state level.
3. Poor Quality of products
With the lack of regulation, the CBD market is bound to be flooded with fake products of diminishing quality. For example, a product may claim to be free of impurities, but when accompanying third party certificates are lacking this claim may be nothing but hot air. The other mishap is falsified product reviews. Online CBD sellers pay to have people review their products and make falsified claims and exaggerations, even when they have not used the products. This greatly misleads consumers who purchase products and end up getting very disappointed with “CBD.” Lastly, products may be inaccurately labeled. This happens when manufacturers make false claims about their extraction process, the source of the hemp, the amount of CBD contained, as well as other ingredients added to the products.
Way to streamline this:
First, consumers should always demand third party certificates to confirm the purity and potency of the CBD products. This document should contain potency testing for cannabinoid content, contaminant testing for residual solvents, and heavy metals. Secondly, consumers need to verify the authenticity of the product reviews; if something about the claims is not backed, up chances are that positive reviews may be falsified. Lastly, consumers need to do background checks on CBD companies to verify their physical location and manufacturing practices that they employ.
4. Lack of trust
Conflicting laws, lack of regulation, and poor quality of products leads to an even greater challenge which is the negative perception by the public. The government has not made an effort to help people distinguish between marijuana which is illegal in many states and CBD. This has made a good majority of people to shy away from trusting or even trying CBD products, as much as they may be tempted to. The skepticism is greater where there is no conscious effort to educate people on CBD.
How to streamline this:
Trust can only be established when the market is free of unscrupulous dealers. This means ensuring that the consumers are equipped with the knowledge to be able to identify the genuine from the fake. Consumers should also be equipped with the right information on the potential benefits that CBD can offer them. Laws should be implemented to ensure that fake CBD sellers are barred from accessing the market. Should these issues be sorted out, definitely more consumers will be seen streaming into this niche.
Ultimate Solution: offering cannabis education
In order to streamline the CBD market, consumers will need to be educated about CBD. CBD sellers should also take it upon themselves to offer accurate and unbiased information to their consumers and allow them to make informed decisions. Even at the state level there need to be awareness created around CBD. This calls for clinical research to validate anecdotal and preliminary evidence.
Streamlining the CBD market will take the involvement and effort of all stakeholders. Considering the massive potential that this industry represents, this should happen sooner rather than later.