CBDWire Editorial Coverage: Recent growth in the market for cannabidiol (CBD) products has been strong and appears poised to continue.
- CBD is an active ingredient derived from industrial hemp that does not contain the psychoactive or “high” effect of marijuana.
- CBD is used in a wide range of products, from cosmetics to pet supplements.
- The recent acceptance of a CBD-based medicine by U.S. authorities creates potential for legal change that could make the sale of CBD easier.
- Attention in the mainstream press has created a measure of gravitas for CBD.
Marijuana Company of America Inc. (OTC: MCOA) (MCOA Profile) has produced a diverse range of CBD products to promote well-being. Cannabis company Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC) has created a range of CBD oils for its customers while expanding its global reach. Aurora Cannabis, Inc. (OTCQX: ACBFF) provides pain relief through a range of cannabis strains and is set to expand its R&D potential through a takeover. Terra Tech Corp. (OTC: TRTC) provides equipment to cultivate cannabis and would benefit from a change in the legal landscape alongside its customers. PotNetwork Holding, Inc. (OTC: POTN) holds several subsidiary companies benefiting from cannabis and CBD products, thanks to the diversity of the sector.
U.S. Authorities Consider Legal Changes
For decades, federal rules have held back cannabinoid-derived medicines in the United States. Though the majority of states now allow medical marijuana and associated cannabinoid-derived products, national legislation is still grounded in the war on drugs. The cannabis and hemp plants are classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it is legally seen as both dangerous and without medical benefits. Even treatments using cannabidiol (CBD), an active ingredient found in hemp and cannabis that is nonpsychoactive, currently fall under this classification.
That may be about to change. Following the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) ground-breaking acceptance of prescription drug Epidiolex, the future of CBD products for medicinal use appears to be up in the air. Meanwhile, legislation from both sides of America’s political divide offers the possibility of bigger changes.
Tackling the Law
Progress on the legal status of CBD is being eagerly watched by companies such as Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTC: MCOA). With a focus on industrial hemp and hemp-derived cannabidiol products, MCOA doesn’t produce and sell medical or recreational marijuana. But because hemp products are derived from the same family of plants, they fall under the same stigmas associated with the plant.
Increasingly liberal legislation at the state level has allowed companies such as MCOA to thrive in the United States. But that evidence-based liberalization is in conflict with the federal government’s decades-long prohibition, which some within the current conservative government are looking to reinforce rather than relax.
Despite this, the FDA approved CBD-based Epidiolex in June. Epidiolex has been developed to counter the seizures brought on by two rare ailments. Its approval for sale as a prescription medicine doesn’t mean that similar medications will automatically be approved, but it does open the possibility. In light of the approval, repeated calls have been made for the FDA to look again at the scheduling of certain cannabinoids and the broader picture of cannabis-derived medicines.
At the same time, several pieces of legislation that could change CBD’s status are being considered by Congress. Some of those are actually being proposed by Republicans, making it appear less likely that they will be blocked by America’s more conservative party. It looks increasingly likely that rescheduling or other legislative changes may soon make it easier for companies to cultivate industrial hemp as well as produce and market CBD products.
When such change comes, companies with a wide array of products are likely to be the ones that will benefit most. With a range that already runs from pain treatment to therapies for pet care and memory enhancement, MCOA’s line of products is representative of how versatile the use of CBD can be. A loosening of restrictions would make it easier to both broaden this selection and make it available to a wider market.
CBD Goes Mainstream
The growth of companies such as MCOA is helped by increasing mainstream attention on CBD. Forbes has reported on research into the product by the World Health Organization. Esquire has profiled the rise and diverse uses of this ingredient. The Washington Post has explored the growing popularity of CBD among celebrities, consumers and wellness professionals.
Because CBD doesn’t get a user high, it might seem strange that the marijuana derivative is becoming one of the most popular hemp-derived products. But the wellness market is big business in America as consumers clamor for ways to improve their energy levels and reduce the low-key aches and pains of everyday life. CBD’s reputation for improving health is making it popular among people who want the reported medical benefits without having to deal with the high.
The result is a fast-growing market. Consumer sales of CBD amounted to $262.2 million in the United States in 2016, more than double what they had been only two years before. Based on the market’s ongoing growth, analysts have predicted that the market will hit the billion-dollar mark by 2021.
More than half of CBD consumers take the products every day with anxiety, anti-inflammation and joint pain being the top symptoms the products are designed to impact. Successful treatment of these conditions would likely create a large base of long-term consumers.
The Varied Uses of CBD
This large and growing consumer base is looking to CBD for potential impact on a wide range of wellness concerns. The ability of companies such as MCOA to provide a range of products aimed at these symptoms would allow those companies to tap into a broad share of the market. MCOA’s hempSMART™ products are a great example of how many uses a single company can find for CBD.
HempSMART Brain is a patent-pending nootropic product designed to support natural brain function, which fits with what many consumers expect from CBD because the product is focused on the mind. These innovative capsules can be taken to support alertness and concentration.
HempSMART Pain is designed to provide relief from pain associated with physical activity by combining CBD with botanical supplements. Their hempSMART Pain Cream is designed to provide temporary relief from and soothe sore, aching muscles and joints.
The company most recently launched a new cosmetic product, hempSMART Face, a CBD facial moisturizer that has been designed to refresh, replenish and restore skin cells on the face. And perhaps most surprising is the company’s offering of sublingual CBD tinctures, including hempSMART Full-Spectrum Drops and hempSMART Pet Drops, a bacon-flavored supplement formulated to provide cats and dogs with renewed energy as well as a tasty treat.
Such a diverse range of products could help a company such as MCOA attract the attention of CBD consumers. It might also allow consumers to use CBD in more areas of their lives, expanding the CBD market.
Companies Set to Benefit
It’s not just the variety of CBD products that bodes well for the industry — it’s also the range of companies. If the legal status of cannabis and cannabis-derived products changes, an entire sector is set to benefit.
Canopy Growth Corp. (NYSE: CGC), a leading player in retail cannabis, is using its research in the area to create CBD oils. By balancing the ratio of CBD and THC within its oils, Canopy Growth caters to differing wellness needs. Already a trusted player within the Canadian market, the company has acquired a subsidiary in the Kingdom of Lesotho and established another in Latin America. By looking to the wider world, the company is further expanding the global market for cannabis and CBD products.
One of the leading areas of interest for CBD is in pain relief. Aurora Cannabis, Inc. (OTCQX: ACBFF), one of the largest cannabis companies in the world, has established a strong position in this sector. The company has developed a large range of different strains of medical cannabis that can be used in developing new products as well as in retail. The Canadian Competition Bureau recently approved a takeover of MedReleaf Corp. (TSX: LEAF), a research-oriented company, by Aurora, leaving the company in a stronger position to make the most of the coming changes.
Rescheduling cannabis would benefit not just the companies selling cannabis and CBD products but also those supporting them. Terra Tech Corp. (OTC: TRTC) is a producer of environmentally friendly growing systems for cannabis growers. Its hydroponic systems use moving tables and recycled waste water to increase yields and reduce costs. As it becomes easier to grow and market cannabis, more growers may turn to Terra Tech for the equipment they need.
The maturity of the CBD and cannabis sector has also led to the emergence of several holding companies, including PotNetwork Holding, Inc. (OTC: POTN). This company’s subsidiaries include Diamond CBD, First Capital Venture and PotNetwork. Through these entities, PotNetwork benefits from growth across different parts of the industry, as well as supporting other companies in their expansion.
The market for CBD and other cannabis-derived products is already strong. With the prospect of legal rescheduling increasingly likely, these companies seem poised to benefit from changing attitudes in the United States and beyond.
For more information on Marijuana Company of America, visit Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTC: MCOA)
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