CBD, or cannabidiol, is often touted as a panacea despite a lack of research and market saturation, according to Miraculo Inc. CEO Michael Klein.
As a result, consumers may find that some products are a good choice for some conditions, but not others, and discerning the difference can sometimes be a daunting task.
Klein wants to change that via a new platform, askCMD. It's a product recommendation engine that utilizes artificial intelligence and machine learning to help curious CBD shoppers decide which products are best for them.
Each product, Klein says, is lab-tested and backed by up-to-date clinical research from vetted doctors or health professionals. Those doctors also devised a quiz, featured on the askCMD website, to help consumers figure out which product is best tailored for their specific needs rather than resort to a trial-and-error process.
Benzinga spoke with Klein about the launch of askCMD, how it came about and where it's headed:
BZ: Why was askCMD developed?
Klein: There is so much clutter and confusion in today’s CBD marketplace, with many brands focused on potency of CBD or process in manufacturing—both of which consumers really don’t understand. And more brands are crafting new products with a wide range of supplementary ingredients focused on issues and varying form factors — oil, balm, capsule or patch.
So askCMD was developed to help consumers navigate the myriad of choices and guide them to safely and effectively use products to address their need states, in a style that they appreciate.
What's your background prior to askCMD?
My background is in entertainment and digital content media companies. Prior to joining Miraculo — the B2B holding company of askCMD and other verticals (Miraculo raised a total of $6 million for all properties) — as its CEO, I headed up original programming at MTV, SundanceTV, Condé Nast and several others. I have consistently been drawn to discovering underserved audiences and driving a cultural conversation through products and talent. When I was approached about this opportunity, I could see there were a number of clear audience lanes across the digital landscape of CBD and medical cannabis that we could navigate—and build—successfully.
How did askCMD become a reality?
It began with our platform, cannabisMD.com. From the start, we have always differentiated the platform with authentic, premium content the consumer can trust. Leveraging the power and authority we have been building over the past few years, we recognized that CBD curious consumer really wanted more. They came to be educated about potential benefits, with intent to purchase once they figured it out.
I sat down with our Digital Director, Zack Holland from RLM PR, to talk about how we could address this burgeoning need. Rather than become yet another marketplace, we opted to create something much more engaging and not another cluttered wall of shelves of products without editorial guidance. We got to work on what has become our quiz, or a proprietary recommendation engine that uses demographic, behavioral, historical, and preferential user input to guide consumers to the CBD products meant to fit their needs. The best part: the platform is powered by the editorial authority from our team of experts.
How many products does askCMD cover?
AskCMD has launched partnerships with a group of the most well-respected brands in the industry, with more than 50 select products from oils and balms to products for pets. And we are just beginning. Our team is out there every day, seeking safe, effective, and innovative products to bring onto the platform. It’s not about volume, it’s about quality.
How do you properly vet contributors or health professionals?
We are fortunate to have a strong bench of leading voices in the industry that continue to contribute to our ever-growing library of editorial content. Each product featured on askCMD has been lab-tested by a verified third party, with results visible online, and crafted by a reputable brand publicly committed to safety and transparency. This absolute commitment to product quality, effectiveness and safety is at the core of the askCMD mission, and one that we pride ourselves on being able to authentically offer to curious consumers looking to try CBD or find their next favorite.
Lastly, what's next for askCMD?
Our number one goal with askCMD is to provide informed and intelligent product recommendations in a crowded industry. I believe our background and approach perfectly positions us to be that voice. Over the next months, we will be adding more categories of products, refining our quiz based solely on consumer input and machine learning, and amplifying the most innovative products entering the market via the platform.
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