(And the Inherent Danger it Presents)
Managing CBD Supply Chain Critical to Consumer Safety
How the world has changed! Consumers are now looking for CBD products in supermarkets, drugstores, and pharmacies, and are excited about the potential benefits. While a great deal of positive information about CBD and its potential as a health promoter has entered the minds of consumers, there is a lack of research and regulation to support products entering stores. Consumers may be expecting to buy a CBD infused smoothie, coffee, or sparkling water, but what are they really getting? The answer isn’t quite clear.
Regulations just aren’t there yet Legislation on CBD to date is far from easy to interpret. The FDA is slowly addressing CBD, and has approved specific states to allow CBD to treat child epilepsy. Many organizations interpreted that to mean CBD is legal – which is not necessarily the case. In fact, the FDA has warned organisations against making unverified health claims when adding CBD products to their shelves. Former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb said it could take years before CBD is fully legalised for food and dietary supplement products. The 2018 Farm Bill allows American farmers to grow hemp in most states, but doesn’t permit the sale of hemp derived CBD in food and health products.
So what does the new market look like?. The product offerings that are currently legal on the shelves include infused lotions, oils, and other topical products. CVS, Walgreens, and other retailers are looking to expand their product offerings quickly, as the projected demand is high.
The reality of CBD products today: should consumers feel safe? The grim reality is, consumers cannot be certain about what their product contains. According to Bethany Gomez of The Brightfield Group, a leading predictive analytics and market research firm for the legal CBD and Cannabis industries, states, "the challenge here is that there are no regulations on the fly by night brands that don't test their products, and consumers have a hard time differentiating between brands with high quality products and those who have poor manufacturing practices, or don't even have CBD in their products at all." CBD is so fresh and new that researchers are unsure if it is safe to add to food, according to Marcel Bonn-Miller, a scientist who investigates cannabinoids at University of Pennsylvania. While consumers are eager to enjoy CBD products, it’s going to take time before the products on the shelves are verified.
CBD derived from hemp plants Jonathan Vaught, CEO of Front Range Biosciences, recognizes that farmers are still learning how to best harvest hemp, the plant in which CBD is derived from. Hemp has many different applications and needs to be grown, manufactured and finalized differently, depending on its use.
One of the varieties of hemp is grain, which yields high protein, fatty acid, and fiber content perfect for food and nutritional use. Vaught, instills the importance of “proper harvesting, processing, transportation, and storage” as it is “critical to prevent spoilage and ensure the highest value for the harvested grain.”
The second variety, cannabinoid hemp, yields numerous potential uses including supplements and medications. Vaught emphasizes the importance of knowing the “stress and growing variables (soil make up, moisture content, PH levels, etc.) in order to produce the highest yield of CBD, while keeping the THC within allowable levels.” Here again, farmers need time to master the process of farming safe, high quality hemp for use in consumer products.
Who’s ultimately responsible for consumer safety? The FDA will eventually set regulations on products, but consumers can (and should) take action now, investigating companies’ values and practices. A company with trustworthy suppliers, strong transparency, and data to back up their claims about its CBD product, is a company worth supporting.
The sales potential of CBD creates a rush into the market to share in the profits. Unfortunately, some of the products will contain no CBD at all, and those players will not be eliminated from the market until there is a regulation system in place. To prevent this from happening, honest companies need to be transparent in their practices, which will in turn expose illegitimate companies. And educated consumers must be able to identify verified information that allows them to support only companies they know they can trust. At this point, purchasing power holds companies accountable, and it is crucial that buyers only support companies that back their claims.
It’s truly an exciting time in the CBD industry, but the market should continue to practice patience to protect consumers against faulty products that have the potential to cause harm. With limited research and regulation, consumers should trust only the most reputable, transparent companies.
How can CBD companies better manage supply chain? For companies building a CBD product, their supply chain must be clean, efficient and trustworthy. The best way to manage supply chain starts with having knowledge of the current supply chain and then finding ways to increase operational efficiencies, reduce risk and possibly cut costs, which is not an easy task.
Blockchain technology presents immense opportunity for companies looking to improve their supply chain and gain trust from consumers. TagOne offers a unique blockchain enabled system to deliver transparency in the natural products and food industries. Our enterprise partners realize significant risk reduction, operational efficiencies and customer loyalty with streamlined transaction management capabilities. TagOne is changing the way natural products leaders build trust with their customers, support sustainable harvesting methods, and provide healthy solutions to consumers.
For more information or to invest in a better supply chain, email us.