CBD companies were not spared the impact of Covid-19 in March. Not only did a falling stock market affect the economy of CBD companies, but major events like the Expo West in Anaheim, California, had to be cancelled because of the newly classified pandemic.
Expo West is called the “go to event for CBD brands”, bringing in approximately 85,000 attendees with an interest in natural products. However many CBD-related events have been cancelled or postponed, all the while manufacturers with operations in China have shut down.
Some believe the entire cannabis industry might suffer as well, though it could also be argued that American hemp industries will benefit from China’s problems. Many companies are second-guessing outsourcing their manufacturing needs to China and reinvesting in American products, including hemp.
Still, financial ripple effects from the crashing stock market will probably dissuade investors that were considering cannabis stocks.
CBD – Not the Cure for Coronavirus But…
While some journals have issued warnings about sharing marijuana and smoking it, since it can worsen symptoms of the flu, others have boldly stated that CBD oil might help in treating coronavirus symptoms.
It didn’t take long for an e-merchant to suggest that CBD oil, along with other herbs, might be part of a “coronavirus protocol.” It also didn’t take long for the FDA to issue a warning, stating that no allusion is necessary or allowed.
The FDA and FTC later issued warnings to seven different companies that claimed their products might treat or prevent coronavirus.
Willamette Week suggested a compromise, saying that while there’s no evidence showing CBD can treat Covid-19, it might actually treat certain flu symptoms.
Scientific studies have consistently shown that CBD reduces the severity of self-harming autoimmune and inflammatory diseases, at least in limited studies.
Covid-19 is similar to the flu, although a mutation. CBD may very well:
- Support immune system health
- Reduces pain
- Work as a sleeping aid
- Work as a bronchodilator, which relaxes the muscles and opens the airways for the lungs
Does Cannabis Have Antibiotic Potential?
McMaster University’s study also shows that cannabis has antibiotic potential. Researcher and microbiologist Eric Brown says a chemical compound in cannabis could possibly treat a resistant superbug.
According to the study, mice infected with “methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus” showed positive response to an administering of CBG, or cannabigerol, a non-THC extract.
Researchers also note CBG administered along with polymyxin proved most effective in treating pneumonia.
The FDA might not be too happy at researchers or merchants making bold claims about CBD or CBG treating pneumonia, but it’s safe to say the agency has its hands full with other pressing matters.
FDA Questioned by Congressional Hearings
The new FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn appeared before congress to provide an update on establishing CBD regulations.
He provided updates on enforcement actions the FDA took against companies making unsubstantiated claims. He parroted the words of other spokespersons, suggesting additional research is needed before the agency can make decisions about lawful marketing or additional enforcement policies.
“We have a knowledge gap that makes it difficult for us to know how to proceed in several areas,” Hahn said.
Promising though, was Hahn’s acknowledgment that the public wants CBD products and that the FDA is officially, finally, looking at the extract as a probably dietary supplement.
Hahn was most adamant about CBD companies targeting “vulnerable populations”, such as Alzheimer’s sufferers and pregnant women.
The FDA is specifically looking for research data on CBD as regards:
- Sedative effects
- Effects of Long-term exposure
- Safety in pet treatment
- Effects of transdermal, topical and oral treatments
THC Caps for Cannabidiol
At the state level, some authorities are approving CBD sales but limiting the cap on THC levels in those products. In Iowa, lawmakers approved a bill that allowed for CBD treatment for certain qualifying conditions, but also put a cap on THC grams, which is not to exceed 4.5 per for 90 days.
This hurts companies like MedPharm, which would prefer 17 grams per 90 days, since that would allow them to serve 97 percent of their Iowa patients without a problem.
CBD Lawsuits Are Coming – But For Unlawful Termination
In San Antonio, we read of a different kind of CBD lawsuit, one not involving the FDA or disgruntled consumers, but of ex-employees who claim they are being targeted and terminated solely for CBD use, without committing any offenses.
Even worse, the ones targeted are not using CBD recreationally, or for minor discomfort, but for multiple sclerosis treatment.
San Antonio counselor Melanie Farr says after failing a drug test because of CBD use, she was let go by her employer. She claims the company’s action is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
She claims her use of CBD never made her feel intoxicated, nor did any of her business associates complain of such.
CBD Creature Comforts Are Increasing
Indeed, the more creative the use for CBD, the more some people feel threatened, including the FDA, which made it clear the drug should not be used as a food additive.
That dire warning hasn’t stopped experimental chefs, including the likes of Andrew LeStourgeon (of Milkweed in Vermont) from creating CBD-laced truffles, gun drops, and candies that contain full spectrum CBD, with the intoxicating tetrahydrocannabinol. Recreational marijuana is also legal in Vermont, as of 2019.
Finally, how could one not be impressed with the idea of a CBD-infused blanket to help a person get a good night’s sleep?
Over at the Curfew Company, we see a new Dream Blanket that has micro-encapsulated beads that release through friction. The blanket lasts 20 wash cycles or approximately two years.
While the encapsulated bead technology is untested, many who take CBD capsules or gummies swear by its sleeping aid properties.
While coronavirus fear is doing a number on the stock market, the entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in this particular industry. Perhaps that is why the FDA is slowly but surely planning for a future with dietary CBD in stores.
WHO DID WHAT
Congress confronted the FDA even while the CBD and cannabis industry faced challenges related to coronavirus.
WHAT WENT DOWN
The FDA explained their stalling to congress, essentially echoing the same sentiments, that more research time is needed. However, Commissioner Stephen Hahn did imply that CBD will likely become a dietary supplement in time.
WHAT TO LOOK FOR NEXT
Will American CBD-based companies thrive or go bust in a post-coronavirus economy?
Written by Michael