Ever since the government legalized hemp in December 2018, and along with it, hemp-derived CBD, the demand has been insatiable. Fortunately, farmers have also benefited by growing hemp for CBD products and need seeds from i49. From this point forward that things get interesting.
It’s the superfood du jour. It’s also Hollywood’s favorite beauty product. It also seems to be everyone’s newest miracle drug. It’s the oil everyone appears to be scrambling for. It’s CBD, and whoever is after it, there never seems to be enough to satisfy everyone’s demand for it.
Last year, retail sales of CBD products in the U.S. were estimated conservatively between $600 million and $2 billion, according to research firm Cowen. The bank forecasts sales to reach more than $16 billion by 2025, with health and wellness products leading the way and beverage, food, beauty, and vapor also playing a role.
The trouble is not with sales or markets. The problem is with growers and the relative newness of the crop. Experts agree that growing cannabis is not like growing tomatoes, grain, or anything else, for that matter. Everyone in the supply chain, from seed to CBD, is new to the business, and it’s a business that is riddled with issues.
Out of the Shadows
Cannabis has been grown illegally for years, of course. As a result, farmers have kept their crops and their growing methods to themselves until recently. The trouble is that, once hemp became legalized, those who wanted to get into the business applied their already established growing methods to the new crop, and they didn’t work.
The trouble is that the methods used to grow traditional crops were time-consuming and expensive when used to farm cannabis. As a result, farmers scrambled to relearn the ways they would need to farm cannabis. This led to long delays between farmers trying to produce crops and those who wanted to process and sell it.
Making matters worse is the fickle nature of the market, with CBD users being between 18 and 34 years old, which is a demographic most farmers are not accustomed to dealing with.
Another problem that farmers have had to deal with in answering to the CBD market is the expense. Cannabis is a fast-growing crop, but to produce enough CBD to meet market demands requires a huge crop.
Although there are firms currently experimenting with growing cannabis strains with a higher percent of CBD, farmers never know how much CBD they will produce from a given crop until they have harvested, dried, and extracted the oil. This makes producing CBD for a demanding market an iffy proposition at best.
Welcome to the Wild West
Until things solidify in the market, farmers will continue to do their best when providing a quality product, whatever that means. Consumers shopping for their CBD happen upon many different and even conflicting terms such as full-spectrum, isolate, water-soluble, and much more, with producers each claiming to offer the best products, or at least better than the next guy’s.
However, what troubles most people is that while everyone is claiming to sell the best products. Most have trouble seeing past the claims for the dollar signs in their eyes. It’s the wild west all over again.