CBDWire Editorial Coverage: Growing public acceptance of medical marijuana is having secondary effects on other industries.
- Products using cannabidiol (CBD) are increasingly popular in areas such as wellness and cosmetics.
- Hemp production is growing, with experimental projects improving cannabis cultivation techniques.
- Services needed to support these markets, such as payment systems, are growing.
Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTC: MCOA) (MCOA Profile) is benefiting from this in many ways, having invested in hemp, CBD products, rentable cultivation space and payment systems. Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY) is producing CBD oils and has become one of the first companies to sell these for medical use in the United Kingdom. Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) has received a massive investment from a drinks company, with the aim of producing CBD-infused drinks. GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) created the first prescription medicine derived from cannabis plants to receive U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval and is now heavily involved in research into using CBD to tackle epilepsy. Such drugs may also become useful for fighting insomnia, the subject of a new study by Cronos Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON).
Public Acceptance of Medical Marijuana Growing
Attitudes towards cannabis and industrial hemp have shifted significantly in the United States in recent years, reflected by legal changes at the state level. The majority of states have legalized these substances for medical use, and a significant proportion now allow their sale for recreational purposes. Increasing access and legitimacy have encouraged an already existing trend toward more liberal views. As a result, 74 percent of Americans now support legislation that would protect states from federal prosecution for legalizing the drug.
Most tellingly, major companies are looking to tap into the popularity of industrial hemp. Coca-Cola, not a company known for taking great risks, is in talks with a major grower about a potential collaboration. This would involve producing drinks infused with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive chemical found in industrial hemp. A growing body of research into CBD’s potential to relieve pain means that it is an increasingly popular part of the industry. As recreational marijuana use is legalized in Canada this month, companies such as Coca-Cola will use that country to develop and market test products that may later be sold in the United States.
Turning Public Approval into Profits
Reports about this shift in attitudes provide inherently useful information for politicians and public health officials. But for businesses such as Marijuana Company of America (OTC: MCOA), this information only becomes useful if they can turn it into profit.
MCOA is doing this by diversifying its activities and expanding upon existing work to strengthen its position within the market. The industry is now about much more than just growing and selling cannabis. It covers industrial hemp, plant processing, support services, technology and a wide range of products, some a long way from the smokable plants many people picture when they hear the word hemp.
The part of MCOA’s work that most obviously benefits from changing attitudes is its hempSMART line of products. These timely products are infused with hemp-derived CBD, the same chemical Coca-Cola is considering putting into drinks. But while it isn’t yet producing beverages, MCOA has found a wide variety of other ways to use CBD.
Most of the hempSMART brand is targeted at the wellness market. Products such as the recently relaunched hempSMART Brain are formulated to improve the well-being of consumers, in hempSMART Brain’s case by helping maintain mental clarity, alertness, focus and concentration. HempSMART has also entered the cosmetic and skin care realm with its hempSMART Face, a CBD facial moisturizer, which aims to refresh, replenish, and restore skin providing long-lasting hydration and balance.
The production and marketing of these products is made easier by the shift in public perceptions of industrial hemp. As it becomes more accepted, even consumers who aren’t interested in the substance itself are sometimes willing to try ancillary products.
For centuries, hemp was grown as a source of fiber. A plant related to marijuana but without its psychoactive properties, hemp is now seeing a revival, thanks to legal changes in both Canada and the United States.
The purposes of these projects include increasing understanding of hemp, developing better cultivation methods, and creating improved strains. Staff at both sites are carrying out research, with support from the local government at the Canadian site. This work covers a range of issues important to hemp cultivation, including pest control and improving soil quality. Drones are used to oversee progress in New Brunswick, giving the company a good overview of how crops are progressing.
By gathering data on plants and cultivation methods, MCOA and Global Hemp are giving themselves an important advantage in a growing industry. Hemp fibers can be used to produce cloth and rope, adapting a historically popular use to the modern world. Perhaps more valuable financially, CBD oil can be extracted from the plants, providing biomass for the market. Growing strains with rich CBD content is an important part of the work at the Oregon site, work that could give the companies an edge over their competitors in the strains they grow.
The work on these sites is providing plenty of practical insights and experience, sometimes in unexpected ways. A bean harvester was recently used to harvest crops in New Brunswick, maximizing profits despite higher than normal weed growth. Experts such as Anthony Rushford, who has brought 20 years of experience in hemp breeding and genetics to the Oregon project — have also been recruited to provide insight on relevant issues.
The growth of the marijuana, hemp and CBD markets has led to a need for support services. By expanding into these services, MCOA is further strengthening its position.
The company’s significant investment in MoneyTrac Technology represents a similar step toward diversification. MoneyTrac is a pioneer in alternative banking and electronic finance systems, using blockchain technology to power an accessible payment service. This can be accessed anywhere in the world and used by sellers to track their business and ensure legal compliance, as well as to easily take electronic payments.
As the industry grows, it will need technological solutions for the challenges it faces, and MoneyTrac provides one of those solutions. This technology has potential use beyond the cannabis market as a payment system for other under-served businesses. Both business practices and technology are changing as companies adapt to the emerging commercial environment in the United States.
The Commercial Power of Marijuana Derivatives
The growing acceptance of medical marijuana is providing impetus for many businesses within the sector that are exploring the other products these plants can provide.
Tilray, Inc. (NASDAQ: TLRY), a leading medical marijuana company, sells cannabis flowers and extracts to patients and medical providers on five continents. With a strong investment in research and development, Tilray has been creating other products derived from these plants, including a range of CBD oils. As a result, it is one of the first companies to sell CBD oil into the United Kingdom following a high profile legal change that allowed British patients access to these oils for the first time.
Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE: CGC) is already one of the leading marijuana companies working in Canada, one with extensive deals to make use of that country’s growing market. Canopy Growth has received a significant financial and publicity boost thanks to a recently approved $4 billion investment from American drinks giant Constellation Brands. This collaboration between the two companies is expected to lead to CBD-infused drinks, another innovation within the industry.
A company with 20 years’ experience developing cannabinoid treatments, GW Pharmaceuticals Plc (NASDAQ: GWPH) created the first prescription medicine derived from cannabis plants to be approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. GW Pharma has been carrying out research on the use of CBD in tackling rare and dangerous forms of childhood epilepsy, and recently presented data on this work to the 13th Annual European Congress of Epileptology. This research is creating greater support for the safety and effectiveness of CBD in dealing with these diseases.
Research is widening the number of ways in which cannabis and cannabis-derived products can be used. Cronos Group Inc. (NASDAQ: CRON) recently announced a study to research the use of cannabis in tackling insomnia.
A diversity of products and uses is allowing marijuana companies to grow in strength, providing support services, medicines, research and rented cultivation facilities alongside their core products of cannabis and CBD oils. It’s a path that can only strengthen the industry.
For more information on Marijuana Company of America, visit Marijuana Company of America, Inc. (OTC: MCOA)
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