Is CBD a Growing Business Opportunity?

The CBD industry is expected to experience tremendous growth in the coming years, and many people are exploring how they can launch their own CBD business. However, the industry is not without its challenges, especially around the evolving legal landscape. To understand more about cannabinoids and the products that use them, it's important to first understand what CBD is and how it is produced. CBD is one of more than 100 cannabinoids, compounds found in cannabis and hemp plants.

Unlike THC, the most famous cannabinoid, CBD does not produce an intoxicating effect; instead, it offers potential therapeutic and health benefits. CBD products are generally created in several steps. First, the raw material must be cultivated and harvested. For example, if you're planning to use industrial hemp to create your CBD products, you'll need to grow or buy a large amount of the plant.

From there, CBD oil is extracted from the plant by a variety of methods. Once again, you can do it yourself or outsource the process to an extraction company. Once you have extracted the CBD oil, it can be sold as a concentrate or used to infuse a variety of products. Some of the most common CBD products on the market today include sublingual tinctures, infused foods, and topical products such as gels or creams.

Industrial hemp contains less than 0.3% THC and is considered legal under federal law to cultivate, harvest and process to obtain finished products. Cannabis, on the other hand, contains more than 0.3% THC (often much higher levels) and is still illegal at the federal level. The key difference between hemp CBD oil and cannabis-derived CBD products is THC. Depending on the extraction methods used, CBD oil obtained from the plant may contain other cannabinoids and compounds found in the source plant; this is known as full-spectrum CBD.

Full-spectrum CBD not only contains other cannabinoids found in the source material but also compounds known as terpenes which are responsible for creating the flavor profile, aroma and specific effects of the plant. CBD isolate is a concentrate that only contains CBD and no other cannabinoids or terpenes. While the purity of CBD isolate may seem desirable, there is some evidence to suggest that full-spectrum CBD promotes an “entourage effect”; that is, the compounds in a full-spectrum hemp extract work together to promote more significant effects. Society is increasingly open-minded and accepting of CBD; many people use it to relieve pain, manage stress, sleep better and more; and many gas stations, restaurants and local CVS stores now sell it.

Plus, CBD isn't just for humans; animals also experience calming effects when given small doses, and many companies offer CBD products for pets such as dogs or cats. Starting a CBD business includes all the hard work and effort of launching any other company plus the uncertainty of a changing regulatory landscape (and all the issues that come with it). However, in a fledgling industry that is projected to experience explosive growth, today's heavy lifting could well be worth it tomorrow. Understanding your legal obligations and playing it safe is key in a heavily analyzed industry; while CBD companies around the world expect clearer regulatory guidance, it's important not to design their marketing strategy around the purported benefits of CBD.

It's also important to keep abreast of new developments as the FDA moves forward in developing new regulations. To successfully advertise and sell your CBD products you'll need to be creative; setting up your own e-commerce store or taking your products to a physical location is a must. Marketing your product with an organic search strategy and customer loyalty programs is always safer than using paid advertising; plus every market is a little different so do your research and understand local and state laws. The key to gaining a competitive advantage with staying power in the CBD industry is to develop a high-quality product that will withstand upcoming scrutiny from both regulators and polite consumers.

If you want to differentiate yourself from other CBD companies it's key to provide third-party laboratory test results to validate the quality of your product; plus obtaining certifications such as USDA organic certification, good manufacturing practices and FDA facility registration are important measures to instill confidence in consumers about the quality of your product.

Tonia Kilcullen
Tonia Kilcullen

Freelance social media practitioner. Lifelong writer. Typical social media specialist. Award-winning internet advocate. Devoted beer scholar.