- A small but blossoming corner of the marijuana industry is set for a boom.
- Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a marijuana compound that has been linked to a range of potential health benefits but does not get you high.
- The roughly $US1 billion CBD industry is already shifting into high gear, with retailers selling everything from CBD teas and beer alternatives to CBD dog treats, coffee, and supplements.
A small but blossoming corner of the marijuana industry is set for a boom.
The compound in marijuana that’s been linked to a range of potential health benefits – but doesn’t cause a high – is increasingly popping up in everything from beverages to salves, oils, balms, and even dog treats. It’s called cannabidiol, or CBD, and it’s also the active ingredient in a prescription drug that became the first federally-approved medicine of its kind last month.
CBD is estimated to make up a roughly $US1 billion industry, but the recent federal approval could make it even more lucrative by jump-starting demand for CBD-based products – even those that have not been rigorously studied. Many of them are sourced from hemp, which is currently legal from the standpoint of the federal government. CBD can also be sourced from marijuana, however, and products made with marijuana-derived CBD are only legal in states where marijuana has been legalised.
Here’s a look at a handful of the CBD-based products that have recently become available.
Lotions, balms, and creams infused with CBD are sold in dispensaries and corner shops.
Because CBD can be manufactured from hemp, which is legal in the US, a handful of boutique companies are increasingly making lotions and creams infused with the ingredient – which can be sold both in dispensaries and traditional stores.
Los Angeles-based Humble Flower Co. sells its lotions, creams, and massage oils at select dispensaries only, but several other companies, like Blue Ridge Hemp, sell their goods online as well as in stores.
Numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies support the idea that CBD can help soothe pain and potentially decrease inflammation, making CBD-based lotions and creams a logical focus area for emerging companies. One caveat: many of these studies have involved marijuana strains that contain both CBD and THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient. That means further research on CBD alone is likely needed.
Heineken and other beer labels are betting on brews made with CBD instead of alcohol.
Lagunitas, Heineken’s fast-growing California beer label, bills its new brew as “hoppy sparkling water.”
That’s because these cans of brew contain zero alcohol. Instead of booze, the beer-like beverage is made with 5 mg of CBD and 5 mg of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana responsible for a high.
Called Hi-Fi Hops, Lagunitas’ new cannabis drink is part of a larger movement of established companies diving into the marijuana industry. In addition to its CBD-THC brew, Lagunitas’ new “beer” is also available with 10 mg of just THC.
CBD vape pens and gummies are becoming increasingly popular, too.
While some of the most popular vape pens and e-cigarettes contain either nicotine or THC, several companies are beginning to produce cartridges and disposable devices made with CBD only.Cura Cannabis Solutions, a startup pegged at a $US400 million valuation last year, sells several vape pens under the Select brand that are CBD-only; they are currently only available at dispensaries where marijuana has been legalised, however. Colorado-based CBDistillery sells oils, vapes, and gummies online.
A handful of pet stores sell CBD treats for your pooch.
I knew I’d arrived in California when a friend offered me an edible – for my dog.
It turns out that dozens of pet treat manufacturers make hemp-derived CBD treats for four-legged friends that can be purchased in stores and online.
These treats contain zero THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that animals can be highly sensitive to (and even die from), so be sure to verify that the treat you’re giving your pet is CBD-only.
Boutique grocery chains and dispensaries sell CBD water, juice, and tea.
Water, teas, and even kombucha strains made with CBD are popping up in grocery stores around the country.
Berkeley, California-based retailer Berkeley Bowl recently began selling a juice drink called Vybes which contains 15 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD as well as a type of kombucha called Cannabliss by GT that is made with CBD. Both drinks are advertised as having calming and soothing qualities, but any alleged health benefits have not yet been borne out by scientific research.
Regardless, another company in Denver called Phoenix Tears recently signed an agreement with MarketHub Retail Services, a distributor that works with 7-Eleven franchisees, to get its hemp-derived CBD products in up to 4,500 stores by the end of this year.
“This agreement confirms our belief that CBD’s status as a mainstream wellness option has arrived,” Phoenix Tears founder Janet Rosendahl-Sweeney said in a recent statement.
CBD coffee is a thing too.
Colorado-based coffee company Strava Craft Coffee began selling coffee made with CBD oil last year.
“These specialty-grade coffees are craft roasted in Denver, Colorado, and precision infused with CBD-Rich Hemp Oil to bring balance and natural plant wellness to every cup; including powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” Strava wrote in a press release.
But for now, purchasing products made with CBD is somewhat of a gamble. Based on the current research, it’s premature to claim that the ingredient would have any measurable health benefits for most people. That said, it’s clearly a lucrative – and blossoming – industry.
Supplement-makers are adding CBD to their formulas and making new pills crafted with the ingredient.
Omax Health, the supplement maker behind several formulations including those containing ingredients like vitamin D, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics, claims that its newest CBD-based formula helps reduce stress and promote relaxation and sleep. So far, the scientific evidence backing those claims is lacking, however.
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