Cannabidiol AKA CBD may be one of the biggest health breakthroughs in recent history, but unfortunately its industry is mired in chaos allowing some companies to operate with the values of a street corner drug dealer. In fact, ex-drug dealers run many of the companies producing CBD. How could that be? The answer is simple and obvious.
Being involved in the cannabis game for years, weed slingers of old were the first to learn about the health benefits of cannabis, and in a prime position to take advantage of shifts in the marketplace. When it became clear that CBD offered a chance to go legit, lots of them packed up their scales and poured their earnings into new barely-legal cannabis and hemp-based ventures.
Some of them bring their street values to these new ventures. On the street, the dealer has one goal: Make a fast buck. He knows how to do one thing: sell. He sets the terms because he’s the one brave enough to take the risk of operating in a black market. He employs a heady menagerie of chemical references and psychedelic poetics to close a sale because on the street, he can say whatever he likes.
His customers are uninformed, dependent or sick. But that’s not his fault, or his concern. His job is supply them with illicit substances they can’t get anywhere else. He prides himself on infiltrating underground markets, overcoming distribution challenges, and creating a protected front from which he can operate. A mutated version of this dynamic currently shapes much of the CBD industry.
The Dealers Are Not the Problem
Cannabis research is still in its infancy, and while the results of completed studies are compelling, the only thing scientists agree on is that a lot more research is needed before they can begin to give accurate guidance on dosage and efficacy. They’re not saying it doesn’t work, in fact they agree it does, but they’re still learning how exactly it works. The data that exists to date is based on lab animals and tiny groups of people.
There are two factors that complicate the job of scientists. First, the draconian laws banning cannabis prohibit proper research into its properties and benefits. Second the effect of cannabis varies widely, as it’s determined by the physiology of the person taking it. That’s why one person can hit a bong, go to a concert and have a great time, while another might want to crawl into a corner and hide.
Lack of regulation has allowed this industry to emerge as if from nowhere and consumer demand is keeping it alive despite its grey existence. It’s really the reluctance of authorities to recognise their wrong thinking on cannabis, and move more swiftly to meet the tidal wave of consumer demand that’s created the vacuum in which these companies operate.
So far, regulatory efforts are as diverse as they are chaotic. This summer, California banned hemp-derived CBD oil in a move that locked dozens of companies out of the industry even though the DEA has now re-classified Epidiolex, the CBD product made by GW Pharmaceuticals as a Schedule V drug. In Spain, companies had been selling CBD oil as a food supplement but a policy change means that’s no longer possible. Epidiolex was recently entered into the Spanish pharmacopeia.
In October, the UK’s Medical and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued letters to the industry informing them that to sell CBD they must have either “marketing authorisation” or a “traditional herbal license” from the MHRA. Many of the larger CBD companies are ignoring the letter until they receive notice of a change in law. Each country has its own policies in relation to CBD, further complicating the situation.
Regulation is Part of The Solution
In coming years tighter regulation will force CBD companies to comply with evolving standards but until that happens the industry is a street corner full of mad claims and in some cases, devoid of scruples. Many CBD companies have one goal: Make a fast buck. They will say anything to close a sale. Their websites are a heady menagerie of chemical references and psychedelic poetics designed to lure uninformed and/or sick people.
They use words like organic, omegas, bio, gluten-free, and vegan because they appeal to a health-conscious target audience. They bandy about terms like CO2 extraction, whole flower and full spectrum, which are meaningless to most consumers. Some say their products can treat everything from mood swings, MS and menstrual cramps to fibromyalgia, diabetes and insomnia, but they’re crossing a line by stepping into the role of medical professional when neither they nor their products are qualified or tested for that purpose.
This is one of the reasons governments are jumping in with ill thought-out policy changes, as they rush to curb the industry’s ambition, earnings and market penetration. The cannabis pioneers who have been campaigning for the right to produce medical marijuana for decades are a casualty of the chaos, as they get penalised in the same manner as unscrupulous CBD dealers. This is currently happening in Canada.
It’s not that the industry doesn’t care about compliance. For now, it’s self-regulated, meaning lab-test centres have emerged to meet industry demand as opposed to state laws. Current testing methods only measure for quantities of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and CBD, and for the absence of pesticides, or other contaminants. However, this information only confirms the material won’t harm consumers.
Unfortunately, until anything can change two shifts must occur. First, the UN has to release cannabis from the grip of its narcotics conventions to allow for regulation and more extensive research worldwide. Secondly, governments have to get on board with the massive education programme needed to educate the medical community and general population on cannabis. Until then, my freaky friends, choose CBD wisely.
In future posts, I’ll describe how CBD treated my anxiety, discuss the markers of good quality CBD, explain the importance of Entourage/Ensemble Effect and interview industry experts to answer more questions on testing and standards.
#chooseCBDwisely #regulate #legalizecannabis