Published on: August 7, 2019
Content Guy’s Note: It has been my pleasure in recent years to have the opportunity to guest-teach (i’d never call it a “lecture”) at Siena College, in classes taught by my old friend Dr. Russell J. Zwanka, who I think is doing tremendous work bringing his experience as a retailer and marketer into the classroom. He’s also a serial author, having written a number of books about retailing and, most recently, CBD marketing.
Russell’s newest book is entitled “CBD Reality: A Consumer's Guide to Cannabidiol,” which is a broad look at this rapidly changing market segment. And so I am happy to offer the following guest column, adapted by Russell from his book, which I think is chock-full of good and useful information.
The majority of the CBD being sold today is either through natural and organic food stores, vape shops, or Amazon. The larger consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies have been averse to the potential negative stigma of CBD, so have been only hinting they want to enter the market.
The fact is, though, if the larger CPG companies would enter the marketplace, we would have better oversight and clearer regulation. Yes, in this case, we want regulation. The number of products being found as labeled CBD, but containing no CBD, means we need the government to take control of the regulation of the contents- clearly defining sourcing and packaging regulations.
Stop debating legality, and start regulating the contents to keep the public safe!
CVS and Walgreens have announced their intent to sell creams, sprays, roll-ons, lotions, and salves in 2,300 stores, over the counter - CVS in 800 of their stores (in California, Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, and Tennessee), and Walgreens in 1,500 of their stores (in Oregon, California, New Mexico, Kentucky, Tennessee, Vermont, South Carolina, Illinois, and Indiana). Two of the largest drug stores in the country, and they chose only four of the same states! Yes, there is significant confusion. Sheetz is also going to be carrying similar products in 140 of their stores.
Notice, the larger companies are still shying away from any CBD products you ingest. Externally applied CBD seems to be legally interpreted as okay, at least in the states chosen by CVS and Walgreens. Other retailers will not be far behind, as we have expected all along. The nature of competition means others are not going to let the store across the street carry something they don’t.
Of the five main ways CBD is being used (lotions and salves, tinctures, infused food and beverage, vape, and pets), the link between CBD and vaping is the most stigmatized - as one would expect, since smoking has such stigma to it. Moving CBD products into the mainstream resellers can only help in awareness as well as regulation.
In other developments, and highly encouraging, reviews of how CBD is sourced, processed, and the integrity in the process, has come to the forefront of customers’ minds. In our work with resellers, we have found certain best practices being used in choosing the CBD suppliers.
As a consumer, it is suggested you follow the same methods of choosing your products as the stores do - at least until mainstream retailers like Target and Walmart carry all CBD options.
Here are the questions that everyone has to ask:
• Review the third-party lab testing. Is the certifying party accredited, is the product free of contaminants, is the cannabinoid content listed, etc.? Are all ingredients listed? Yes, make sure it’s third party, and not supported by the company that could benefit.
(As an aside, did you know all the health benefits claimed by Subway are based upon reviews by “Doctor’s Associates”, a group of doctors formed by Subway?....always read the fine print).
• Does the product contain less than .3% THC? Yes, you need to check, especially if your employer randomly drug tests. You’re usually safe if the hemp source is from one of the industrial hemp farms in the United States (see below).
• What is the hemp source and cultivation method? United States hemp is best, and there are some specific hemp farms in Colorado, North Carolina, and Kentucky. Make sure it is U.S. hemp!
• What is the type of CBD used? Is it labeled Isolate, Full Spectrum, or Broad Spectrum? Full Spectrum is your best bet, based upon the entourage effect of the other cannabinoids. Isolate, though, may be used if you experience stomach issues from CBD, etc.
• How is it extracted? CO2 extraction is standard, where pressurized carbon dioxide preserves the terpenes.
• How much CBD is in each dose? This is surprisingly quite confusing for CBD products. Issues range from needing 25 CBD gummy bears for any impact to not really understanding what a label might mean when it states “10 mg CBD per serving, 600 mg total CBD, serving size 1 ml” when you are taking it in a dropper (tincture).
• Is it a fair price, for the dosage? Once again, the amount of CBD in each product will reflect the potency. When you vary by potency, but the product looks the same, it can be confusing. If the same bottle of CBD has either 600 mg total or 1,200 mg total, and the bottle looks the same- the consumer is confused when the 1,200 mg is twice the price. As with most products, value is in the eye of the consumer, as long as they can trust you are labeling properly.
• What is the reputation of the producer? Yes, websites are the first place to look, although a company’s own website is probably not going to point you to any issues about their own company. Why would they? Find third party sites like CBD Origin.
• Is this product legal in your state? Simple, right? Legality has been so clearly interpreted by each state. What’s so hard about this step?
You can reach Dr. Zwanka at firstname.lastname@example.org .
- KC's View: