Friday, April 15, 2022

Winning cannabinoids in health market remains open question – Natural Products INSIDER

Which cannabinoids will win the larger health and wellness market? That’s the question we have been asking ourselves at CV Sciences since we launched +PlusCBD three years before the 2018 Farm Bill even passed. By putting consumers as our number one priority, we developed a robust legal cannabinoid market that addresses safety and customer needs to create a solid foundation for our growing industry. 

National hemp legalization 

The 2018 Farm Bill was widely believed to signal the opening of the legal hemp CBD market and usher in a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity across the U.S. Today, four years later, industry insiders are still seeking clarity from regulators, who are seeking clarity from Congress, who are seeking clarity from voters, who in turn, are seeking clarity from the market.  

In many ways, the entire CBD sector has less clarity now than it did back at the beginning in 2015, but that may be a blessing in disguise. That’s because we may be able to objectively determine which cannabinoids will win in which markets, based on our collective industry experiences and existing regulatory structures. It has been said many times before and has become an axiomatic truth that hoping for regulations is always a very bad strategy.  

The good news for the natural products industry is we understand current regulations and what is required to effectively introduce new ingredients into the market. A close examination of each phytocannabinoid through the lens of existing regulations and past case precedent reveals that some cannabinoids currently selling themselves off the shelves—free of restrictions and regulations—are destined to face tremendous uncertainty.

Rise of low-dose THC 

Delta-9 THC has long been considered nothing more than a tool for intoxication. However, we are beginning to see potential health benefits from THC doses right at the threshold of intoxication, forcing a re-examination of this cannabinoid’s role in the cannabis conversation.  

Existing restrictions on THC are now being challenged based on the absolute vs relative toxicological risks of THC in the food supply. According to Bernhard Beitzke & David W. Pate (2022), from A broader view on deriving a reference dose for THC traces in foods, published in Critical Reviews in Toxicology, we already have the safety data needed to establish a market for low-dose THC food products.  

The review, which is sponsored by the European Industrial Hemp Association, the EIHA Advisory Committee and the NICM Health Research Institute, suggests the permissible amount of THC currently allowed in food can be increased considerably based on all currently available safety data. This would establish a clear lane for hemp-derived, low-dose THC products to be used safely and effectively by consumers.  

Safe amounts of CBD and hemp-derived, low-dose THC products offering 10:1 and 20:1 ratios of CBD to THC are already selling well, getting great reviews and proving safe, all while remaining compliant with the 2018 Farm Bill. This provides a great example of how CBD and THC are winning in the marketplace and hopefully gaining consumer trust along the way.

This market trend is persuasive and suggests CBD and hemp-derived, low-dose THC products will ultimately emerge as the dominant extracts by fitting both the medical and consumer markets.

Safe cannabinoids for consumer needs 

Picking cannabinoids that meet consumer needs, rather than exploiting the “flavor-of-the-month” extracts and magical thinking, will better serve society and our public health. Consumer confidence in cannabinoids is in its infancy, and we must demonstrate that whatever cannabinoids we bring to market are safe for the intended use.

Putting consumers and their safety as a priority is the best way to broaden the current customer bases, overcome stereotypes and win the public’s trust. Safety first is the only way cannabinoid wellness products, adult-use cannabinoid products and pharmaceutical cannabinoids can exist harmoniously together, allowing each one the very best opportunity to meet the needs of consumers and patients. 

Stuart Tomc is vice president of science, regulation and education at CV Sciences, makers of +PlusCBD. With over 30 years of experience in the nutritional health industry, Tomc is regarded as an authority on functional foods and dietary supplements. Prior to joining CV Sciences, he was spokesperson and global educator for omega-3 market leader, Nordic Naturals, and vice president of North American Herb and Spice.


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