As more and more consumers embrace CBD and its reputed benefits, companies are jumping on the CBD bandwagon. According to the Brightfield Group, a CBD and cannabis market research firm, the legal CBD market is projected to surpass $23 billion in annual U.S. sales by 2023. The firm’s 2019 report on the U.S. CBD market, From Farm to Aisle, provides a revealing look at what is driving the massive growth. It notes that large retailers, such as CVS and Walgreens, are leading the charge in introducing the ingredient to mainstream consumers. The report also details what products are growing in popularity, such as tinctures, topicals, vape oil and cartridges, and capsules. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to provide clear standards and regulations in regard to CBD, the agency is under pressure from Congress and others to speed up the process in order to provide much needed legal clarity.
Recreational marijuana is legal in 11 states and medical marijuana is legal in 23 states. But despite the great strides that have been made in legalizing hemp-derived CBD, there still remain a fair number of hurdles that spas, retailers, and manufacturers must clear to attract consumers. Here, we ask some of our industry insiders to share their concerns about this emerging market.
“I think that one of the major challenges for spas is finding the right CBD products to offer, navigating the terminology used around CBD, and figuring out what is real and what is not. Because we still do not have clinical trials on things like how much CBD needs to be in the product to get the desired effect and how much CBD is too much in a service, it is hard for spas to figure out where to start. It is also difficult for estheticians and therapists to speak about CBD when it is all so new. Staff members need to get educated about CBD, and they need to do it smartly. There is a ton of click-bait information online and even more brands hoping to get noticed and making a lot of unrealistic claims.”—Janet Schriever, founder, Code of Harmony
“The biggest challenge facing the spa and wellness industries to gaining wide-spread adoption is the stigma from a 90-year smear campaign against the plant. People grew up hearing that cannabis was bad since the 1930s, but the internet, social media, and modern media channels can quickly educate people. Humanity has had a long, and I mean really long history—8,000 to 10,000 years—using cannabis as an effective source of healing.”—Chris Diaz, cofounder and CEO, Lacuna Botanicals
“The spa and wellness industries are very excited about the CBD products and very willing to add them to their offerings. They just want to get more information and know how to use and how to sell these products. They also want to know they are buying from a manufacturer who is there to answer questions or concerns if they arise.”—Jean Shea, founder and CEO, Biotone
“I think one of the biggest challenges I see not only in the spa and wellness industries but in all industries offering hemp and CBD products is the lack of information on THC versus CBD and overall transparency on the product. There are several white- label companies out there that do not disclose any information about the sourcing of their raw material or who is actually manufacturing the product. Many companies do not even provide certificates of analysis on the product to prove they are actually using CBD. This can lead to improperly made products with the wrong amounts of CBD and lead to the trending kitchen chemists you see within the natural and organic body-care space who do not have the proper tools or know-how to produce a safe product that works.”—Twompson Prater, founder and CEO, RXCannaCare
“I believe the big hurdle will be getting over the status quo belief that CBD, THC, and cannabis is a plant that will get you high or arrested. In our industry, there are many ingredients and practices that go back thousands of years—think holistic medicine. Many Americans want to believe there’s an alternative to surgery or invasive procedures and opiates. I think CBD therapy in spa treatments and retail is a great fit, and many people will be open to them if we can get past the idea that hemp gets you high.”—Tina Zillmann, LE, CLHRP, founder, Advanced Rejuvenating Concepts
“Hemp and CBD are still widely misunderstood, and the idea of an ingredient, with the name cannabis that was or may be a Schedule 1 controlled substance frightens many people. Clients are also concerned about using a product that is associated with getting high.”—Francine Kagarakis, founder, Lira Clinical
Learn more about CBD and the wellness industry by signing up for American Spa’s monthly CBD newsletter, Budding Beauty.