CBD Surges into Mainstream with New Products, Celebrity Endorsements and Emerging Consensus about Benefits

CBDWire Editorial Coverage: Analysts at Brightfield Group see CBD (cannabidiol) gobbling up a sizeable chunk of a projected $100 billion nutraceuticals 2022 U.S. market.

  • Growing CBD market could eclipse broader cannabis market
  • Consensus about health benefits backed by clinical work, personal endorsements lead to heightened interest
  • CBD found in vast array of new products

As CBD moves into the mainstream, opportunities are likely to grow exponentially for a variety of companies, including plant-based health and wellness product developer Wildflower Brands Inc. (OTCQB: WLDFF) (CSE: SUN) (WLDFF Profile). Canadian company Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is riding the wave by acquiring Manitoba Harvest, the world’s largest hemp foods company. Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) recently announced it has closed a billion-dollar equity investment from an outside company. Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) just received a cultivation license from Health Canada for its facility in New Brunswick. Aphria (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) also received additional licensing approval from Health Canada, permitting the company to commence production in an additional 800,000 square feet of facilities.

An Established Wellness Ingredient Goes Mainstream

The recent passage of the Hemp Farming Act in the 2018 U.S. farm bill made hemp an ordinary agricultural commodity, swinging open the door for hemp-derived CBD. The industry is seeing everyone from A-list celebs at the Oscars to noted medical professionals such as American neurosurgeon Dr. Sanjay Gupta extolling the therapeutic benefits of CBD.

Already incorporated into to a wide variety of functional foods and beverages, CBD has also started to show up in coffee and cocktails, with specialty CBD drinks joining the menus at bars and coffee shops across America. Many users swear by the efficacy of CBD to combat ailments such as anxiety, sleeplessness or physical pain.

With mounting therapeutic credence and a raft of celebrity endorsements, its little wonder that CBD has exploded into the mainstream. Product developers have been scrambling to incorporate cannabidiol into every kind of consumer product imaginable, from health and beauty items for the skin to tasty treats for the family pet. The accumulating evidence for CBD’s health benefits also owes a great deal to watershed achievements such as Epidiolex, a CBD-derived anti-seizure medication that has been through numerous clinical trials, becoming the first FDA approved cannabis-based drug utilized to treat severe forms of childhood epilepsy.

There’s an emerging consensus among consumers that CBD has broad ranging medicinal benefits with the ability to treat something as serious as epilepsy yet also safe enough to be used for daily aches and pains or address a myriad of anxieties and ailments. This awareness, combined with the rapid proliferation of CBD consumer products ranging from vape pens to functional foods, has led to a veritable grassroots market revolution.

Any lingering stigma or confusion between CBD and THC is rapidly eroding, particularly with the likes of homemaking legend Martha Stewart now providing her knowledge of consumer products to CBD developers. And household names such as Kim Kardashian, Olivia Wilde and Jennifer Aniston are also going on record as having enjoyed the health benefits associated with their personal consumption of CBD products.

Growing Consensus about Healing Power of Plants

Grabbing A-list celebrity attention, the Wildflower Brands Inc. (OTCQB: WLDFF) (CSE: SUN) CBD+ Healing Stick was in each of the gift bags of the stars during Oscar weekend 2019. Packing 500mg of highly concentrated, full-spectrum CBD, Wildflower’s cooling and soothing stick is easy to apply for targeted pain relief and skin care, providing relief through a unique CBD blend that includes therapeutic ingredients such as arnica, wintergreen and other essential oils.

An established, respected brand, Wildflower Wellness’s overriding mission is to connect people to the healing power of plants via the company’s increasingly sophisticated line of CBD vaporizers, capsules, tinctures, soaps and topicals – formulating its extracts with essential amino acids and beneficial terpenes, the organic compounds that provide flavor and scent. A testament to the popularity of Wildflowers’ proprietary formulations can be found in a NY Magazine article “The Best CBD and Hemp Products for the Tasteful Non-Stoner” touting the company’s CBD Immunity Vaporizer, stating that, “Wildflower also made the perfect CBD starter kit…”

The company’s products are made in the United States at Wildflower’s GMP facilities, third-party lab tested and backed by a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee. Wildflower’s well-formulated, convenient and consumer conscious products such as its disposable ACHES CBD+ vaporizer are increasingly enjoying widespread acceptance, in part due to education of the consumers by cannabis and wellness influencers.

Flexing its branding and marketing muscle, Wildflower Wellness partnered with Bridges General to take that company’s reimagined convenience store concept to the next level. The partnership fuses together the immense popularity of the Bridges General design-centric retail space that delivers convenience for the on-the-go urban professional with an engaging opportunity to experience and learn about the benefits of CBD. The partnership is already serving some of the most powerful and influential people in the country at its Lower Manhattan store, as well its Madison Avenue Bridges General store. Further expanding reach, Wildflower has also engaged Retail Worx to establish shop-in-shop retail availability at more than 20 locations in the heart of New York City’s booming cannabis market.

Industry Seeing Retail Renaissance in Consumer Products

Wildflower continues to expand its impressive retail reach, with the Wildflower Wellness brand already enjoying distribution in key states, such as Washington at more than 200 retailers. The company’s California-based King Extracts brand is focused on cannabis technology and delivery systems. The company’s King Extracts product, the King Recharge, is a discreet but powerful little pocket vaporizer that comes in its own sleek charging and storage case, which has room for two 500mg cartridges and a backup battery.

King Recharge offers fractionally distilled CO2 extractions in exceptionally clean and sophisticated blends that utilize proprietary terpenes in order to deliver a full, robust flavor profile. Sativa, Indica and Hybrid, as well as two limited-edition Sativa flavors (watermelon and bubble gum), are currently available. Additionally, Wildflower’s growing national distribution arm includes over 80 other wellness and healthcare practitioners, bringing the company’s total to some 300-plus stores nationwide.

The company has even branched out into physical retail itself, harnessing the power of increasing brand recognition, a firm footing in the California market and tightly knit relationships with local hospital oncology departments and community programs. Wildflower has launched its own dispensary in Los Angeles and provides on-demand, legal and licensed cannabis delivery services to adults in the L.A. area. The second quarter of 2019 saw the 10th consecutive quarter of increased revenue for Wildflower, with $1.4 million in sales underscoring a burgeoning direct-to-consumer online channel that witnessed 300 percent growth last year alone.

Many analysts are saying that the CBD rush is just getting started. One recent estimate indicates that the CBD market alone could eclipse the entire remainder of the cannabis market combined. Wildflower is making all the right moves to capture an outsized share of the CBD bonanza.

A Rising Tide Lifts All Boats

Other companies are recognizing the potential profit CBD may provide. Canadian company Tilray Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) just finalized its acquisition of Manitoba Harvest, a move Tilray president and CEO called a milestone for the cannabis industry. “It builds on the strategic partnerships we have formed with consumer brand industry leaders and demonstrates our track record of disrupting the global pharmaceutical, alcohol, CPG, and functional food and beverage categories,” said Brendan Kennedy. The deal gives Tilray access to a broad portfolio of food products that are distributed in 16,000 stores across the United States and Canada, as well as the opportunity to expand beyond the food category, possibly including extracts.

Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) (TSX: CRON) just closed a C$2.4 billion investment from Altria, the American company behind brands such as Marlboro and Benson & Hedges. The move is a sign of the huge interest the CBD market is generating from companies both in and outside the industry. Cronos operates two wholly owned, Canadian-licensed producers and has multiple international production and distribution platforms and partnerships across five continents. Cronos intends to continue to expand its global footprint as it focuses on building an international iconic brand portfolio and developing disruptive intellectual property. The company is committed to building industry-leading companies that transform the perception of cannabis and responsibly elevate the consumer experience.

Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) (TSX: WEED) predicts the new facility in Fredericton, New Brunswick, will produce more than 5,000kg of cannabis annually, with first harvests expected to become available to the market within six months. In addition, the company expects to create more than 130 jobs at the plant. “New Brunswick has emerged as a leader in the legal cannabis sector, and the province is an excellent place to do business,” said co-CEO and Canopy Growth chairman Bruce Linton. “We will leverage our existing operational expertise to ensure we support the needs of our customers while making a meaningful contribution to the local economy primarily through new job creation.”

As part of its Part IV and Part V expansions, Aphria (NYSE: APHA) (TSX: APHA) is increasing production at its Aphria One location. The expansions brig industry-leading automation to the company. While critical phases such as initial cuttings, trimming and pruning mature plants will be performed by hand, the in-house designed technology will automate key steps, including transplanting cuttings, transplanting plans through harvesting, de-budding and rough trimming, drying and curing, and waste disposal.

With the 2018 Farm Bill thrusting hemp-derived CBD into the limelight, the broader industry likely stands to experience a rising tide that will lift all boats.

For more information on Wildflower Brands, visit Wildflower Brands Inc. (CSE: SUN) (OTCQB: WLDFF)

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