- A small but blossoming corner of the marijuana industry is set for a boom.
- Cannabidiol, or CBD, is a marijuana compound that has been linked to a range of potential health benefits but does not get you high.
- The roughly $1 billion CBD industry is already shifting into high gear, with retailers selling everything from CBD teas and beer alternatives to CBD dog treats and coffee.
A small but blossoming corner of the marijuana industry is set for a boom.
The compound in marijuana that’s been linked to a range of potential health benefits — but doesn’t cause a high — is increasingly popping up in everything from beverages to salves, oils, balms, and even dog treats. It’s called cannabidiol, or CBD, and it’s also the active ingredient in a prescription drug that became the first federally-approved medicine of its kind last month.
CBD is estimated to make up a roughly $1 billion industry, but the recent federal approval could make it even more lucrative by jump-starting demand for CBD-based products— even those that have not been rigorously studied. Many of them are sourced from hemp, which is currently legal from the standpoint of the federal government. CBD can also be sourced from marijuana, however, and products made with marijuana-derived CBD are only legal in states where marijuana has been legalized.
Here’s a look at a handful of the CBD-based products that are already available.
Lotions, balms, and creams infused with CBD are sold in dispensaries and corner shops.
Advertised for its ability to help soothe pain (a claim that thescientific literature appears to support), CBD-based lotion and creams can be found in corner stores and dispensaries across the US.
As with all CBD products, lotions and creams derived from marijuana are only available in dispensaries where cannabis is legal, but hemp-derived products may be found in corner shops and grocery stores as well.
Although research on marijuana is limited, some of the most conclusive studies we have suggest that CBD may be helpful for pain relief. That said, most of the research has involved marijuana strains that have both THC and CBD, so it’s tough to say that the CBD on its own is what’s responsible for the benefits. Pain is also “by far the most common” reason people request medical marijuana, according to a recent report.
Dispensaries offer a range of CBD-only and CBD-THC combination products, such as vape pens and gummies.
In states where cannabis has been legalized, marijuana-derived CBD products include everything from gummies and vape pens to flower with a high CBD-to-THC ratio.
Because recent evidence has suggested that CBD is a key compound in marijuana linked with many of its therapeutic benefits, there’s a sudden surge in interest to make products with a higher ratio of CBD compared to THC, its main psychoactive component.
Boutique grocery chains and dispensaries sell CBD water, juice, and tea.
Water, teas, and even kombucha strains made with CBD are popping up in grocery stores around the country.
Berkeley, California-based retailer Berkeley Bowl recently began selling a juice drink called Vybes which contains 15 milligrams of hemp-derived CBD as well as a type of kombucha called Cannabliss by GT that is made with CBD. Both drinks are advertised as having calming and soothing qualities, but any alleged health benefits have not yet been borne out by scientific research.
Regardless, another company in Denver called Phoenix Tears recently signed an agreement with MarketHub Retail Services, a distributor that works with 7-Eleven franchisees, to get its hemp-derived CBD products in up to 4,500 stores by the end of this year.
“This agreement confirms our belief that CBD’s status as a mainstream wellness option has arrived,” Phoenix Tears founder Janet Rosendahl-Sweeney said in a recent statement.
Beer makers are even transitioning to CBD-infused drinks.
Brewing companies are capitalizing on the nascent CBD boom, too. California-based Lagunitas is debuting two non-alcoholic cannabis drinks on July 30; one with 5 mg CBD and THC and another with 10 mg of THC only.
The canned drinks are called Hi-Fi Hops and will be made in collaboration with vape cartridge company CannaCraft. They’ll sell for $8 each throughout California and be calorie-free.
A handful of pet stores sell CBD treats for your pooch.
I knew I’d arrived in California when a friend offered me an edible — for my dog.
It turns out that dozens of pet treat manufacturers make hemp-derived CBD treats for four-legged friends that can be purchased in stores and online.
These treats contain zero THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis that animals can be highly sensitive to (and even die from), so be sure to verify that the treat you’re giving your pet is CBD-only.
CBD coffee is a thing too.
Colorado-based coffee companyStrava Craft Coffee began selling coffee made with CBD oil last year.
“These specialty-grade coffees are craft roasted in Denver, Colorado, and precision infused with CBD-Rich Hemp Oil to bring balance and natural plant wellness to every cup; including powerful antioxidants and neuroprotectants,” Strava wrote in a press release.
But for now, purchasing products made with CBD is somewhat of a gamble. Based on the current research, it’s premature to claim that the ingredient would have any measurable health benefits for most people. That said, it’s clearly a lucrative — and blossoming — industry.