Market Overview

CBD: A Year In Review And A Look Ahead

CBD: A Year In Review And A Look Ahead

Jay Hartenbach, CEO and co-founder of Medterra CBD.

A few years back, CBD was an unknown word to most people – and in the past few months, it has become one of the most Googled words, with over 6 million searches a month.

Looking Back At 2019

Just over a year ago, the 2018 Farm Bill was passed, which established CBD - along with other cannabinoids derived from hemp - as permanently legal substances. Since then, the industry has made huge strides, and it’s safe to say that the CBD boom is fully upon us. In 2019, we witnessed tremendous growth in sales across the industry, a surge of funding for important scientific research, and a wave of new CBD companies introduced. Yet with so many brands selling nearly identical products, it’s becoming increasingly challenging for new and established consumers alike to determine what to purchase, and from whom.

As far as CBD adaptation goes, 2019 had its ups and downs. The 2018 Farm Bill created a safe space for major retailers to start considering CBD, and we saw major pharmacy and grocery retailers embrace the opportunity to make CBD products readily available to their shoppers. Yet, the FDA’s hesitation on the product and direct warnings to specific brands has caused delays in carrying ingestible CBD products and prevented for brands from advertising on platforms like Google and Instagram.

As with any industry that experiences accelerated growth like ours has, we’ve seen brands excel and rise to the top, while others continue to grasp for traction. While 2019 was a year of expansion and introduction for many, 2020 will be the year of establishment and continued innovation from those companies who are able to evolve with the space and meet consumer demand.

CBD As A Unifying Force Across Politics

While the sector has certainly experienced some growing pains, CBD continues to be one of the few political initiatives on which both sides of the aisle agree. Democrats and Republicans alike are recognizing the rapid growth of the CBD industry, which requires guardrails to grow sustainably, like many other sectors that came before it and are now integral parts of our economy, such as pharmaceutical and banking. With major legislative wins in 2019 like the passing of the SAFE Banking Act - which officially recognizes that hemp companies can operate in a federally compliant way - the industry continues to become even further legitimized, opening even more doors to opportunity for entrepreneurs and businesses.

Continued Regulatory Progress

As we head in 2020 and beyond, there’s still work to be done. We’ll continue to see the FDA and Congress work in tandem to make progress on a finite decision regarding CBD. We look at the recent announcement regarding the Association's concerns around the safety of CBD as a positive update that shows CBD is being taken seriously, as it should be. We’re moving in the right direction, and continued progress will dramatically increase opportunities for academic and third-party research around the possibilities for innovation and evolution of this industry, especially considering that major consumer packaged goods companies like Coca-Cola, Anheuser Busch InBev, and Unilever have already expressed they are eager to explore the CBD space once cleared by the FDA.

Peak Innovation

What many people don’t yet realize is that the reason the CBD industry is so exciting is because of the vast opportunities for innovation in front of us. CBD-only tinctures and gel capsules will eventually become a thing of the past. Companies are experimenting with other cannabinoids like CBG and CBN and creating new delivery methods that increase the efficacy of CBD at an incredible rate. We’re also seeing the development of functional products and products that pair CBD with natural ingredients, like turmeric and ginger, all of which will evolve and improve the consumer experience.

Ultimately, the future of the CBD industry expands far beyond traditional CBD offerings and provides some truly exciting possibilities. With more effective and personalized products, consumers interested in CBD have a lot to get excited about going into 2020 (and beyond). For many brands - like my company, Medterra - this means a renewed opportunity to meet that demand, offering our tried-and-trued products, but also those that embrace an appetite for innovation, a continued focus on health and wellness, and an opportunity to drive an industry forward.

Photo by Javier Hasse.

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.


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