Understanding your legal obligations and playing it safe is key in a highly scrutinized industry. While CBD businesses everywhere await clearer regulatory guidance, it is important not to craft your marketing strategy around the supposed benefits of CBD. It's also important to stay apprised of new developments as the FDA moves forward on crafting new regulations.
CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids, which are compounds found throughout the cannabis and hemp plants. The most famous cannabinoid is undoubtedly tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is responsible for the intoxication associated with the consumption of cannabis. CBD, however, does not produce an intoxicating effect; instead, it offers potential therapeutic and health benefits, though research into its potential medical applications is ongoing.
"I think the FDA does have to step in, and they will," said Slovik. "I expect a lot of changes to labels; we're seeing a lot of businesses out there now using the term 'hemp extract' instead of CBD, or they're not thinking of health benefits so much. Many companies are doing different things, but no one really knows [what the regulations will be] until it happens."
Understand your legal obligations
Needless to say, society is growing more open-minded and accepting of CBD. Many individuals are turning to it for pain relief, stress management, better sleep, and more; and many gas stations, restaurants, and local CVS stores now sell it.
The 2018 Farm Bill essentially removed CBD from the federal Controlled Substances Act and the oversight of the Drug Enforcement Agency. Instead, it placed governance of the hemp industry and CBD oil in the hands of the FDA.
There are countless unique opportunities for new businesses to sell CBD. Starting a CBD business includes all the hard work and effort of launching any other company in addition to the uncertainty of a shifting regulatory landscape (and all the issues that accompany it). However, in a fledgling industry projected to undergo explosive growth, the heavy lifting today might be well worth it tomorrow.
CBD products are generally created in several steps. First, the raw material needs to be cultivated and harvested. For example, if you plan on using industrial hemp to create your CBD products, you will either need to cultivate or purchase a large amount of the plant. From there, CBD oil is extracted from the plant using a variety of methods. Again, you can do this yourself or outsource the process to an extraction company. Once you have extracted the CBD oil, it can be sold as a concentrate or used to infuse a variety of products. Some of the most common CBD products on the market today include sublingual tinctures, infused edibles and topicals, like gels or creams.
Endoca is among the leading CBD oil companies and one of the largest CBD oil manufacturers by volume. The company is based out of Europe with an office in the US. It claims to manufacturer products from certified organic and natural cannabis (hemp) plants, grown and cultivated without pesticides or herbicides. Endoca produces hemp products such as CBD oil and other cannabinoids, and it grows, harvests, and processes its plants itself, using its own equipment and machinery to deliver the finished products. The company also has its own shipping and warehouse facility. Endoca’s next big step is to use solar energy as a sustainable source of power.
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Medical Marijuana is an industrial hemp and cannabis-based products vendor. The company has become a market leader in CBD oil products manufactured specifically for nutraceutical, cosmeceutical, and pharmaceutical industries. Today, Medical Marijuana operates through various subsidiary companies, including HempMeds, Wellness Managed Services, Red Dice Holdings, CanChew Biotechnologies, Hempwire, Kannaway, HempVap, and HempMeds Brasil. In 2017, HempMeds Brasil, Medical Marijuana’s subsidiary, received authorization from the Brazilian government to sell its products in the country for the treatment of individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), multiple sclerosis, and Alzheimer’s disease.
CBD derived from marijuana and hemp is touted as having many health-promoting benefits. Vendors in the market have been offering CBD oil as prescription drugs to licensed medical practitioners. CBD oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and is used to treat epilepsy. Moreover, CBD oil has gained significant use among smokers who want to quit and want to minimize withdrawal symptoms. These beneficial factors are expected to contribute to CBD oil market growth over the forecast period. Identifying future growth opportunities, vendors have started focusing on product innovation to increase their consumer bases.
CV Sciences is a manufacturer and supplier of hemp-based phytocannabinoids such as CBD oil to the beauty care, pet care, nutraceuticals, specialty beverage, and functional food sectors. It is also a maker of pharmaceutical therapeutics. Formerly known as CannaVest, CV Sciences reported impressive growth and profitability this year that has demonstrated the power of its products and brand recognition with the CBD oil industry. The company PlusCBD product line is well positioned for mainstream approval and expanded distribution as the health and wellness sector continues to embrace CBD standardization and commercialization. CV Sciences recently increased its retail store count to 1968 organic health food stores, making it one of the world’s largest CBD oil companies.
When this is done well, CO2 extracted CBD oil is some of the world’s purest, but there is ample room for error when done in less-than-optimal conditions. That potential for error is why subcritical CO2 extraction is used mainly by more “boutique” CBD brands.
The idea of using a liquid to absorb CBD oil from the cannabis plant doesn’t stop with CO2 or ethanol. Naturally liquid substances are also used, including butane, hexane, or isopropyl alcohol. The process works much like the CO2 or ethanol extraction process, as a liquid solvent is run through decarboxylated hemp to remove cannabinoids and terpenes.
Oil infusion is one of the oldest techniques for extracting CBD oil, and many home growers and producers still use this method today. It’s one of the most straightforward ways, but it does come with some drawbacks.
For further CBD oil refinement, it is run through a process called short path distillation. This secondary takes advantage of the fact that different CBD oil compounds each have their own boiling point. Short path distillation starts by slowly heating the CBD oil until the unnecessary substances such as terpenoids, flavonoids, and contaminates, begin to boil off. Sometimes a vacuum is also used to separate the vapors with a lower boiling point.
The process starts with a solid piece of CO2 in a chamber that is then pumped into a second chamber containing the cannabis material. The second chamber is kept at such a pressure that the CO2 stays in a liquid-like state and absorbs the plant’s oils and flavors. Then, the CO2-cannabinoid mixture is pumped into a third chamber where the CO2 returns to a gas state, leaving behind the plant’s oil and flavors. CO2 extraction is exact and can produce some of the purest cannabinoid extracts when done correctly. However, this is not always the case because of the high cost of equipment and the steep learning curve.