As hemp industry “matures,” the future is new products, less CBD

The boom has turned bust with CBD. But there's a lot more hemp has to offer.

Todd Runestad, Content Director,

August 29, 2022

3 Min Read
As hemp industry “matures,” the future is new products, less CBD
Industrial Hemp Manufacturing LLC's hemp decortication facility in Spring Hope, NC. Image courtesy of Hemp Inc.

Hempsters know the mighty Cannabis sativa plant is more than CBD and weed. As the hemp side of the trade met up at the annual Southern Hemp Expo, the word was “matures.”

That means more than CBD. To that end, producers and innovators are already at the helm steering hemp to be used in everything from botanicals, bioplastics, fiber and building materials to plant-based protein foods, textiles and even guitars.

Along the way, nature’s most nearly perfect plant holds the promise of maturing into also being a climate savior to boot.

“We as an industry need to rethink how we’re going to take hemp from where it is now into the future,” said Morris Beegle, president and co-founder of We Are for Better Alternatives (WAFBA), which also produces the expo. “We are taking the steps to make a truly robust industry that can change the world.”

Steps are pretty much mandatory at this point because the fortunes of hemp CBD have passed through the boom cycle and are not firmly in bust territory.

Market leader Charlotte’s Web, for example, filed its latest quarterly report with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the quarter ending June 30. Its total revenue for the six months of 2022 was $38.2 million—which is a decrease of 19.6% compared to the six months ended June 30, 2021.

Related:The Many States of Industrial Hemp

Charlotte’s Web holds the No. 1 share position across major retail channels, including food/drug/mass market retail, natural grocery and vitamin retailers, and e-commerce.

With that gloomy news surrounding hemp CBD, the 4th annual Southern Hemp Expo set out to diversify the fortunes of the plant.

Held in Nashville, Tenn., the Southern Hemp Expo is the largest hemp trade show and conference in the southeastern U.S. covering the entire supply chain. It brought together the expanding hemp industry on Aug 18-20.

The event featured more than 70 speakers at The Fairgrounds Nashville. The expo showcased the range of hemp applications—fiber and building materials if not also medicinal cannabinoids.

Southern Hemp Expo keynote speaker Dr. Charlie Hatcher, DVM, Tennessee’s Commissioner of Agriculture, made remarks on his vision for hemp in Tennessee and beyond.

“While the future remains uncertain due to regulatory measures and pending legislation, the state of Tennessee continues to support hemp agriculture for economic growth, developing plastic alternatives and much more,” he said.

As the hemp industry has matured, especially in the southeast U.S., the Southern Hemp Expo created opportunities for attendees to build connections for the future.

Patrick Brown, a 4th generation farmer based in North Carolina, shared his successes with the audience.

“While I try to stay in my lane as a farmer, I also understand what it takes to be a good business partner,” said Brown. “Producing a quality product is the first step to a successful hemp agriculture business. The hemp from our family farm is now manufactured within our home state of North Carolina, all the way to Montana.”

Renowned author and regenerative hemp farmer Doug Fine led conversations on the importance of regenerative farming, including the carbon cycle, reducing pollution, bioremediation and sustainable agriculture.

“A commitment to soil health and regenerative agriculture is essential for the future of hemp. Producing organic and sustainable hemp harvests will promote long-term business growth and protect our earth.”

Christie Apple, soil health expert and agronomist, would double down on the need for regenerative agriculture in the hemp industry. “When done properly, regenerative hemp farming can cure our soils and save our planet," Apple said. "The hemp farming community has an opportunity to lead the way in regenerative agriculture and leave behind monoculture and conventional farming.”

Meanwhile, Beegle concluded, “As the industry matures, we have even more confidence that the hemp revolution and this platform will provide solutions that will restore this planet and bring economic prosperity."

About the Author(s)

Todd Runestad

Content Director,, Natural Products Insider

Todd Runestad has been writing on nutrition science news since 1997. He is content director for and Natural Products Insider digital magazines. Other incarnations: supplements editor for, Delicious Living!, and Natural Foods Merchandiser. Former editor-in-chief of Functional Ingredients magazine and still covers raw material innovations and ingredient science.

Connect with me here on LinkedIn.


Todd writes about nutrition science news such as this story on mitochondrial nutrients, innovative ingredients such as this story about 12 trendy new ingredient launches from SupplySide West 2023, and is a judge for the NEXTY awards honoring innovation, integrity and inspiration in natural products including his specialty — dietary supplements. He extensively covered the rise and rise and rise and fall of cannabis hemp CBD. He helps produce in-person events at SupplySide West and SupplySide East trade shows and conferences, including the wildly popular Ingredient Idol game show, as well as Natural Products Expo West and Natural Products Expo East and the NBJ Summit. He was a board member for the Hemp Industries Association.

Education / Past Lives

In previous lives Todd was on the other side of nature from natural products — natural history — as managing editor at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science. He's sojourned to Burning Man and Mount Everest. He graduated many moons ago from the State University of New York College at Oneonta.


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