Regulatory changes driving industry growth
The past 12 months have been a period of rapid growth for both the cannabis industry and Elixinol Global. This growth has largely been driven on two levels: Firstly, US consumers seem to have been adopting hemp CBD (Cannabidiol) due to its health benefits; secondly, governments have been transforming their views on hemp and cannabis.
One of the most significant events to occur was the passage of the US Farm Bill in December 2018, which saw hemp de-scheduled from the Controlled Substances Act. This has removed substantial barriers to trade for hemp, including water rights, access to finance, banking and insurance services, the ability to advertise in mainstream media, and most importantly, it has opened up the possibility of partnerships with major multinational FMCG/ CPG players.
This historic legislation legalized hemp production and in follow up, the FDA has just announced that its first hearing on CBD will occur in May 2019 in order to determine how to regulate CBD in consumer products, including topicals and food and drinks. Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb stated that the move is part of an effort to build “lawful pathways by which appropriate products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds can be marketed” and made “more predictable and efficient”. This is encouraging news and we welcome the creation of a legal framework in the US that will protect both consumers and the industry.
Further supporting industry growth at the macro level was the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) recent recommendations to the United Nations (UN) that marijuana and its key components be formerly rescheduled under international drug treaties. The United Nations represents 193 countries - if they adopt WHO’s recommendations, this will undoubtedly lead to significant expansion and growth opportunities world-wide.
Identifying quality products in a noisy market
While all of these regulatory developments are extremely encouraging and will continue to drive growth for the industry, they also open up the flood gates to many more competitors.
As many more companies emerge to fight for this lucrative, yet crowded CBD marketplace, the quality and integrity of the product will become even more important. For consumers it is paramount that they fully research the brands and products on the market to ensure they are in fact getting what they pay for.
Five questions to ask before purchasing CBD
- Is the hemp source organic?
Because hemp is a plant, it can be exposed to chemicals and toxic pesticides, or be genetically modified. Purchasing organically grown CBD oil ensures that you get the purest, cleanest product possible.
- Are independent certificates of analysis available?
Product purity is vital when it comes to what you put in or on your body. Contaminants can affect quality and effectiveness. Before you purchase CBD oil from any source, you need to ensure that it contains what it says it does on the label plus be free of mould, bacteria, pesticides, and heavy metals. A certificate of analysis will provide you with relevant data on the product, allowing you to make an informed buying decision.
- How is the hemp processed?
When shopping for CBD oil, take time to find out how the hemp is processed. Carbon dioxide (CO2) is often used in the extraction process for high-quality CBD. This process is considered greener than other methods such as fossil fuel-based extraction. It is a costly production method, but also the cleanest. Look for products that use CO2 supercritical processes to ensure the utmost purity, potency and palatability.
- Is the product full-spectrum or broad-spectrum whole-plant?
A CBD oil that is labeled “full spectrum” or “broad spectrum” means that the whole plant was used in its production and contains numerous cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids. This full-spectrum approach is far preferable to the isolate form of the oil. There was speculation that the isolate oil was more potent, but a 2015 research study published online by Scientific Research Publishing debunked that claim and showed that full-spectrum formulas are indeed superior.
- What other ingredients are in the product?
You may notice that hemp oil has a list of “other” ingredients in addition to CBD. Not only is this perfectly normal, it is preferred and necessary to ensure that you get the highest-quality product possible. Of course, quality depends on the other ingredients listed, so it is important to read the label to understand what you are purchasing. Each of the other ingredients has a specific job, whether it’s making the product easier for your body to absorb, more palatable, or easier to blend.