‘Not all CBD is created equally, and since there are no regulations in place in the CBD business, there are unfortunately many who are looking to take advantage of this…’
FROM A LEGAL PERSPECTIVE, CBD IS THE GREATEST THING YET TO HAPPEN IN HEALTH CARE — CBD business ventures and products are legalized in some states, largely unavailable in others, and a grey area for many as patients clamor for tinctures, gummies and topicals to address inflammation, address anxiety, and provide help getting to sleep, among other applications.
The lack of national legislation, and especially regulation, has led to CBD products at gas stations and convenience stores that contain little to no CBD, sullying the reputation of the product. This comes at the same time as legitimate CBD/hemp companies are anticipating game-changing federal legislation to potentially bring CBD to the masses with quality control standards in place.
Our CBD Business Panel:
- BIOTONE, Jen Shea, President
- CBD CLINIC/CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Jen Palmer, ND, Director of Education
- CBD HEALTHCARE COMPANY, John Walsh, Managing Partner
- HAPPY BUDDHA HEMP, Kate Povondra, Co-Founder
- MYONATURAL, John Thompson, Chief Executive Officer
- SOMBRA® NATURAL WELLNESS PRODUCTS, Brian Riley, Chief Operating Officer
- SUSAN’S CBD, Susan Armitage, Owner and Founder
- SYNCHRONICITY HEMP, Steven Kraus, DC, President and COO
- TRUGEN3, Chris D. Meletis, ND, Chief Clinical Advisor
“As health care providers we must not allow political rhetoric and archaic confusion between CBD with less than 0.3% THC to be confused with recreational or medicinal marijuana,” says TruGen3 Chief Clinical Advisor Chris D. Meletis. “Still to this day much of the general public and health care providers do not appreciate the difference either legally or therapeutically.”
Legitimizing the CBD business in the U.S.
“Not all CBD is created equally, and since there are no regulations in place, there are unfortunately many who are looking to take advantage of this and ultimately it is the customer who is impacted,” said Kate Povondra, co-founder of Happy Buddha Hemp. “Make sure the company knows how and where their hemp is grown and make sure there are lab tests for the products.”
At the same time, chiropractors are dealing with increased demand for the inflammation-reducing cannabinoid.
“Many wellness professionals have realized if they do not carry them, their competitors will,” says Susan Armitage, owner and founder of Susan’s CBD.
John Thompson, CEO of MyoNatural, says chiropractors need to educate and guide patients who may be tempted by cheaper and inferior products.
“If the doctor does not sell it, the consumer will gravitate to other sources,” Thompson says. “That is a fact. Those other sources can, at times, not represent the best choice for the consumer. The provider has a tremendous opportunity to step in and educate and create a recurring revenue stream as patients become generational customers as they continue to purchase their CBD products from a trusted source.”
Chiropractic Economics spoke with some of the top CBD business company founders and executives for insight on regulatory and other changes coming in 2021, companies coming in (or being priced out) of the growing industry, CBG and other evolving cannabinoids, and CBD-integrated treatments on the rise.
What are you seeing consumers lean on the heaviest right now for CBD: Sleep? Pain relief? Other? And in what form?
SOMBRA, Brian Riley: Sleep had been the major driver. Gummies and topicals are where our consumers are leaning.
TRUGEN3, Chris D. Meletis: We are also seeing a new surge of interest for irritated GI tract symptoms tied to the growing concept called the endocannabinoidome, describing among many topics the interplay between cannabinoid receptors and the microbiome.
SUSAN’S CBD, Susan Armitage: Early in the pandemic we noticed an uptick in sales of our CBD and CBD/CBG oral tinctures that help our customers to reduce anxiety and get better quality sleep. As the pandemic matured, we saw a lot of retail customers purchasing our CBD and CBG topical products to help combat sports and overuse injuries … We strongly believe that CBG in conjunction with CBD will continue to dominate our sales in 2021 and beyond.
What is CBG?
CBG is present in only small quantities (less than 1%) in most cannabis strains. According to Leafly.com, CBG has been found to act on very specific physiological systems and problems:
- CBG is thought to be particularly effective in treating glaucoma
- In animal experiments involving mice, CBG was found to be effective in decreasing the inflammation characteristic of inflammatory bowel disease
- In a recent 2015 study, CBG was shown to protect neurons in mice with Huntington’s disease, which is characterized by nerve cell degeneration in the brain
- CBG is showing great promise as a cancer fighter, blocking receptors that cause cancer cell growth
- European research shows evidence that CBG is an effective antibacterial agent, particularly against methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) microbial strains resistant to several classes of drugs
Because it is non-psychotropic, CBG has a promising wide range of potential applications in the CBD business and product space, including as an analgesic, therapy for psoriasis, and as an antidepressant.
“Hemp-derived CBD and CBG are powerful anti-inflammatories and work together to block pain receptors and give relief,” Armitage says. “We are eager to see more studies on this, but it seems as if these two elements of hemp may act on more receptors to block pain and ease inflammation. As an oral supplement, CBG is being studied for its effectiveness in treating inflammation of the gastrointestinal system and for its neuro-protective benefits. Many people are reporting that this combination helps them with various conditions, such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome, colitis and Crohn’s Disease.”
MYONATURAL, John Thompson: The biggest growth sector for us has been in products that address sleep issues and anxiety. We introduced the world’s first intra oral CBD sprays in 2017 and we have experienced continuous growth since then. In 2020 we introduced a gummy that offered 50 mg of CBD per gummy, making it the most powerful gummy available. At the present time I am testing a new 50 mg sleep gummy that we will debut shortly.
CBD HEALTHCARE COMPANY, John Walsh: Since its legalization in 2018, the predominant form of CBD that we had seen has been tincture and gummy oriented with numerous claims and a wide range of product quality. Distribution varies from head shops and gas stations to grocery stores, doctors’ offices and spas. Professionals are beginning to see that the better way to address skeletal-muscular and skin care is to provide high-quality broad or full spectrum CBD in a product that delivers to the CB receptors in the target area for treatment and care.
CBD CLINIC/CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Jen Palmer: Sleep gummies is currently one of our top-selling products in our health care practitioner channel. Many of our professional customers report difficulty keeping up with the patient demand for these gummies and other products.
What is your opinion on how state- or federally-mandated hemp/CBD legislation will play out in the U.S. this year?
BIOTONE, Jen Shea: It would be good if we could all agree that CBD with less than 0.3% THC does not pose a problem. We are all aware that CBD with little-to-no THC will not get a person high. It is a real benefit for relaxation and pain relief and when you combine it with other ingredients that yield results — the benefits are amplified.
SUSAN’S CBD, Susan Armitage: We compete against companies that make outlandish claims or put so little CBD into their products that consumers may be left with the impression that CBD does not work. Currently, some states are enacting their own legislation, which can make it difficult for companies like ours to follow many different state rules as opposed to one federal standard.
MYONATURAL, John Thompson: It is no longer an efficacy issue, it is a legal one and it is sad that there has not been more done to educate the health care providers. In our most successful practices there is a product expert at checkout that can identify issues and offer solutions. The doctor recommends it and the designated staffer closes the deal.
HAPPY BUDDHA HEMP, Kate Povondra: It is a little scary that the FDA will put in regulations that will close a lot of small businesses, which we have seen before. When vaping became federally regulated, they required an ISO lab to manufacture products and these labs became inundated with requests and would not take any client on for less than $100,000. This forced a lot of vape startups to close their doors because they could not comply. Companies are marketing CBD products that do not contain any CBD at all, which has led to a lot of people thinking CBD doesn’t work. Without proper manufacturing guidelines and testing standards, many companies are looking to take advantage of customers to make money, which is very sad to see. It is very confusing to try to keep up with state regulations, because certain states have regulations that others don’t. When CBD was legalized, it was still illegal in some states and you could not ship to certain states, so we had to work to block purchases from certain states, then it became legal in those states.
CBD HEALTHCARE COMPANY, John Walsh: Various studies show that 70% or more of the products in the market do not contain the level of CBD listed on the label, and in too many cases contain none at all. Such regulations will eliminate many bad actors in the market and make the benefits of CBD more obvious.
What are you seeing with CBD integrated into other treatments, in both professional and personal health care?
SUSAN’S CBD, Susan Armitage: We see CBD and CBG becoming mainstream in massage therapy and in retail settings, such as chiropractic and wellness practices. These products have been a game-changer in massage therapy for pain relief during and after a massage. Our customers have reported that using a CBD and/or CBG massage product greatly reduces the soreness from deep tissue massage the following day, as well as offers wonderful relief during the treatment.
HAPPY BUDDHA HEMP, Kate Povondra: We have seen that chiropractors and doctors have been slower to adopt it than the holistic wellness practitioners. From the feedback they have given us it is because their insurance does not cover them selling, using or promoting CBD to their patients. I believe with federal regulations this will start to change … banks and insurance companies see it as high risk and are still refusing to get involved.
TRUGEN3, Chris D. Meletis: Professional sports organizations such as the NFL have great interest in the benefits of CBD, and clinicians across North America and the world are using CBD successfully each and every day to help their patients. Once CBD is no longer a political topic, rather it is considered a cost-saving tool with additional benefits to fight the opioid crisis due to chronic pain, the popularity will grow even further. Put simply, CBD needs to be demystified and the bountiful peer-review and research papers shared with the general public and health care providers alike.
CBD HEALTHCARE COMPANY, John Walsh: Whether at home or in concert with their treatments, we see protocols like soft tissue manual manipulation and massage, IASTM (instrument-assisted soft tissue mobilization), cupping therapy, and active release technique leading in the way of protocols utilizing CBD topicals.
SOMBRA, Brian Riley: We are seeing a lot of excitement, with an ever-increasing number of studies published and usage trials initiated. We’re only at the beginning stages of finding out all of the benefits of cannabinoids and the best practices for administration.
What does the remainder of 2021 hold for CBD popularity and growth?
CBD CLINIC/CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Jen Palmer: Consumer insights data projects excellent industry growth in 2021; the total CBD market could grow up to 29%. The CBD business product categories which are predicted to drive growth include CBD drinks, gummies, pet products, and topicals and pharmaceuticals.
MYONATURAL, John Thompson: 2021 is a benchmark year. Many CBD suppliers have been crushed by a steep decline in the cost of CBD itself. The last trade show I visited prior to COVID was the CBD EXPO in Las Vegas in February 2020. With literally hundreds of companies all selling essentially the same product offering with different labels and the excitement of the explosion of a new industry, the growth curve was stopped almost instantly for these new companies trying to get a foothold. I believe that many have already failed due to their inability to connect with their customers. Unfortunately, it does not bode well for new companies trying to penetrate the large and growing demand for CBD products. With so many new products just released we are projecting an increase of more than 100% for 2021.
CBD CLINIC/CHARLOTTE’S WEB, Jen Palmer: We will soon be launching an on-demand learning management system to share the science of the endocannabinoid system and CBD research. We are also heavily invested in ongoing clinical research studies, such as the partnership between CW Labs division and Dr. Staci A. Gruber, Ph.D, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, to conduct two clinical studies on CBD.
SOMBRA, Brian Riley: We are encouraged by what we have seen proposed. The logical regulatory status is that any cannabinoid-containing product that is not psychoactive should be regulated the same way we have always regulated hemp products, as a generally-recognized-as-safe cosmetic ingredient.
CBD HEALTHCARE COMPANY, John Walsh: Increasing education, advent of state and federal mandated legislation, and more widespread adoption for specific applications and protocols. There is still apprehension in the professional sports and medical communities, inhibiting the recognition and adoption of CBD products.
SYNCHRONICITY HEMP, Dr. Steven Kraus: We anticipate that there will be more information about full-spectrum hemp oil vs. the isolate CBD, where consumers will choose the full-spectrum because of the array of multiple cannabinoids (over 120 cannabinoids have been identified in the hemp plant). Terpenes, phenols, antioxidants and other beneficial phytonutrients found in the hemp plant have such a better effect on the human body compared to just one cannabinoid, i.e., CBD.
TRUGEN3, Chris D. Meletis: We can expect that 2021-22 will bring growth based on a deeper appreciation of the concept termed “Clinical Endocannabinoid Deficiency” that is based both on the concept that just as a person can experience adrenal fatigue, so can they experience a dysregulation and diminished resilience of their endocannabinoid system from ongoing stress and demands.
RICK VACH is editor-in-chief of Chiropractic Economics and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.