SupplySide
CBD Summit 2019

CBD summit at SupplySide West keyed in on supply chain issues

Attendance last month during an all-day summit at SupplySide West reflected that CBD is on the minds of most executives in the natural products industry.

Oct. 16, I had the opportunity to host an all-day summit on CBD at SupplySide West that featured a diverse range of perspectives on the supply chain.

A few themes in particular struck me.

First, the obvious. CBD is on the minds of most executives in the natural products industry.

We had 320 registrants for the event, and the room was packed throughout the day—a testament to the blistering demand for CBD products. In a January 2019 survey of the natural products industry conducted by Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), 65% of companies surveyed revealed plans to launch a CBD/hemp extract product in the next one to two years.

NBJ projects sales of hemp-based CBD products to reach more than $2.8 billion by 2023 for supplements alone, according to Claire Morton Reynolds, senior industry analyst with NBJ. That’s up from $297 million in 2018, she noted in her presentation during the CBD summit.

My second observation won’t come as a surprise either: marketing claims and other hype over CBD and “hemp extracts” often fail to match reality. For example, James Ott, CEO of CFH Ltd., presented findings published in 2017 in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), showing 70% of 84 CBD products purchased online did not match the claims.

But discrepancies between a label and what’s in a bottle aren't the only marketing misrepresentations plaguing industry. Justin Singer, CEO of Caliper Foods, highlighted a statement often pronounced in marketing materials, interviews with the media and during live events: Full-spectrum hemp extracts are more effective than CBD isolate. As Singer suggested, that’s a loaded statement.

What cannabinoids, terpenes and other substances are found in a “hemp extract” and in what amounts? And what health conditions is the extract purportedly able to promote?

“Is fruit salad more ‘effective’ than blueberries alone?” Singer asked in his written presentation.

My third observation: The cannabis plant is a complex botanical, and researchers are still investigating how CBD and other cannabinoids interact with our bodies. Lest we forget, hemp wasn’t removed from the Controlled Substances Act until late 2018, and consequently, research into its health benefits has been relatively scant.

Besides the more than 100 cannabinoids identified in the plant, cannabis contains other substances said to contribute to the “entourage effect” in full-spectrum hemp extracts. 

Consider, for example, terpenes found in cannabis. Andrea Holmes, chief growth officer of Precision Plant Molecules, said one cannabis flower alone contains more than 100 terpenes. She described many of the terpenes and their associated properties related to such things as anti-inflammation, digestion and relaxation.

Some of our readers may be starving for comprehensive information about supply chain issues involving CBD, but you didn’t have an opportunity to attend the live event at SupplySide West. If that’s you, check out the entire recording of the summit. Experts explored extraction processes, farming, other cannabinoids like CBG, legal issues and more.

If you have any feedback about our summit—good, bad or ugly—drop me a line at josh.long@informa.com, and I'll share it with our education and content team. So long for now. 

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