CBD Playing an Increasing Role in Health & Wellness
September 17th, 2019
App, Exclusive, News, Top Story
The legalization of cannabis has enabled far greater research into the potential medicinal benefits offered by the plant – especially cannabidiol (CBD), the most abundant non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in both cannabis and hemp. This increased research has led to the creation of hundreds of new and innovative alternatives to health and wellness products.
Rapidly Changing Landscape, Growing Market
The CBD market has seen rapid growth, faster than any other aspect of the cannabis industry. In 2015, the modest CBD market spiked into the hundreds of millions, nearly doubling in 2016. Industry analysts predict that the market will continue to grow and become a multi-billion dollar industry by 2020. What was once a subcategory of the industry is now an established category of its own, driven by public interest in alternative options, an awareness of CBD-rich products, and companies developing a range of health and wellness products to capitalize on this interest. What was recently only available through dispensaries will soon be sold more prominently in major, big box retailers.
Hemp-derived CBD has proven to be especially lucrative, and a 2017 report by Brightfield Group predicted a per annum increase of 55% over the next five years. But, prior to the 2018 US Farm Bill, hemp – defined by the legislation as the plant Cannabis sativa L. and any part of the plant that contains less than 0.3% THC – carried the same legal classification as THC-rich cannabis. Aside from a handful of pilot projects, the mass production of industrial hemp and the clinical study of its possible medicinal benefits were illegal. The U.S. was the last industrialized nation with a ban on industrial hemp, placing U.S. based researchers and companies at a distinct disadvantage.
U.S. demand for CBD jumped following the passage of the Farm Bill, and the most recent report by BDS Analytics shows those initial estimates were far too low. The U.S. CBD market alone is expected to surge from a $1.9 billion market (in 2018) to $20 billion by 2024. Canada legalized cannabis nationally in 2018, although the sale of extract-based products is restricted until later this year, setting Canadian researchers ahead of their foreign contemporaries.
A Role in Addressing the Opioid Crisis?
The $572 million U.S. penalty recently imposed by an Oklahoma court on Johnson & Johnson for its role in the state’s opioid crisis, and an October federal consolidation of over 1,500 lawsuits against Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin, reinforced the sheer scale of the opioid crisis and made it front of mind once again for many people.
While CBD’s success in pain management, and a host of other common ailments, is becoming well known, recent research has also shown it can be a powerful alternative for battling drug addiction, in detoxification protocols, and preventing relapse into drug addiction.
So not only does CBD provide a potential alternative to addictive pharmaceuticals and their often negative side effects, it may be an important part of the effort to address opioid addiction.
One company that has led the push for reform is Oregon-based Hemptown USA, a multi-state operator with facilities in its home state as well as Colorado and Kentucky. Hemptown USA has near-term plans to expand into California. The company currently grows hemp on 1500 acres across three states, with plans to double its acreage in 2020. A relationship with its key supplier enables it to produce hemp with exceptionally-high cannabinoid content – up to 20%.
While Hemptown aims to be a leader in the CBD space, its focus on lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG, the precursor of THC and CBD, has garnered a lot of attention.
Like CBD, Cannabigerol (CBG) is a non-intoxicating cannabinoid, but it occurs in very low levels in most strains, making it rare and due to its potential for medical breakthroughs, much more valuable. On average, CBD currently demands $6-8,000 per kilogram, while CBG is upwards of $27,000 per kilo. Over 500 acres is currently focused on rare genetics, and Hemptown expects to control 40% of the total North American supply in 2019 Q4.
Early research has found CBG to be an effective anti-inflammatory, as well as an effective neuro-protector, offering hope for those afflicted with neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinsons and Huntington’s. CBG is also a powerful antibacterial agent, especially against drug-resistant microbes like the Staphylococcus aureus superbug. CBG has proven an effective tool for treating eczema, psoriasis, and related skin conditions, and a recent study even found CBG inhibited the growth of colorectal cancer cells in mice.
The Supreme Cannabis Company
The Supreme Cannabis Company (TSX: FIRE) (OTCQX: SPRWF), based in Canada, is a global diversified portfolio of cannabis companies, products, and brands. Supreme Cannabis has emerged as one of the world’s fastest-growing, premium plant-driven lifestyle companies.
Its portfolio includes 7ACRES, its wholly-owned subsidiary and multi-award-winning brand; Cambium Plant Sciences, a plant genetics and cultivation IP company; Medigrow Lesotho, a cannabis oil producer located in southern Africa; and a brand partnership and licensing deal with Khalifa Kush Enterprises Canada.
Supreme recently added Truverra Inc. to its portfolio, a Toronto-based cannabis company focused on the production of cannabis derivatives for sale in the Canadian and European markets. Truverra Europe B.V. is the subsidiary based in the Netherlands, producing hemp-derived CBD products for sale in the UK and the Netherlands, as well as direct to consumers through the company’s e-commerce website. Supreme Cannabis intends to address international medical opportunities under the Truverra brand, and with evolving Health Canada regulations, the ability to research and create products with evidence-based benefits is becoming increasingly important. Supreme is currently gearing up for the release of finalized Health Canada regulations for topical, edible, and extract products, expected in October.
On June 24, 2019, Supreme announced the creation of Supreme Heights, a European CBD investment company designed to focus investment into CBD and wellness entities based in Europe, an emerging market twice the size of the U.S. and Canada, combined. The rapidly evolving CBD markets in the UK and Europe present compelling investment opportunities given the promising environments for new health and wellness companies to establish differentiated brands and capture market share. Supreme Heights is positioned to quickly act on attractive opportunities and establish an early mover advantage in the space.
A third company gunning for a major piece of the CBD pie is cbdMD (NYSE: YCBD), best known as the first American CBD company to be publicly traded on a national exchange. cbdMD is also the founder and creator of National Hemp Day (February 4th) and National CBD Day (August 8th). Last December, cbdMD became the first CBD company to advertise in New York’s famed Times Square. The company’s robust marketing campaign, including full-page ads in national publications, aims to raise awareness of its CBD product offering. The company also raises awareness through CBD Nation, an organization that supports athletes ranging from olympians, bodybuilders, golfers, motocross and X Games participants, to a partnership with Ice Cube’s professional 3-on-3 basketball league, the BIG3.
cbdMD offers a comprehensive line of naturally sourced, hemp-derived CBD products including capsules, tinctures, gummies, topicals, bath bombs, and and entire suite of premium, veterinarian-formulated pet products. All cbdMD products are made with CBD from U.S. hemp grown using organic farming methods, free of synthetic pesticides, 0% THC, and utilize a unique manufacturing process that preserves the wholesome properties of the hemp plant. Its products are available in over 3,000 U.S. retail locations and through its website. Discussions are currently underway to expand distribution through grocery, drug, natural/specialty, fitness, pet, and big box retailers.
Research = Opportunity
Because the scientific research into the benefits of cannabinoids has been hampered for decades by both regulation and the negative stigma surrounding cannabis, we’ve really only scratched the surface – and the possibilities truly appear endless.
It’s a new era of discovery which will be interesting to watch as an industry still in its relative infancy evolves and responds to new possibilities.
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