What Grows in the Shade

As the CBD industry continues to rise in value, it casts a longer shadow for predatory companies to operate in

January 11, 2021
Shady CBD

Several years ago, my mom handed me a CBD supplement she picked up at from the food co-op. She told told me that she heard it could help with my anxiety. Considering that this was the same woman who once bought me a supplement that could “melt” my kidney stones, I was skeptical, but I took it occasionally whenever I remembered its existence in the back of my kitchen cupboard. I had no idea what it actually was, and I couldn’t tell you whether or not it actually did anything.

Fast forward to now, when you can purchase anything from CBD-infused beer to CBD-infused workout clothes. A “shot” of CBD in my drink costs the same price as the drink itself at my local coffee shop. Last year, Kim Kardashian held a CBD-themed baby shower, and ex-directors of the notorious lifestyle brand founded by Gwyneth Paltrow, GOOP, are starting a venture they describe as the, “Sephora of CBD.” Despite its proliferation in the consumer market, many people seem about as clueless as I was about CBD, despite regarding it the same way one might regard a daily cup of coffee, or a multivitamin.

Minimal research and a plethora of anecdotal evidence show potential benefits, but what those benefits are exactly, aside from treating a rare form of epilepsy, researches can’t say for certain yet. That’s why, in November of 2019, the FDA sent letters to 15 different companies regarding claims they made about CBD. Upon inspecting some of these letters, I read statements companies had made on their websites and social media accounts about CBD being able to do everything from improving cholesterol to curing cancer cells.

And it’s no wonder companies would want to stand out in the CBD industry. In the United States, it’s now expected to grow to $20 billion in sales by 2025 according to BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research. Moreover, the Global Wellness Institute valued the global wellness industry to be 4.2 trillion dollars, or over 5 percent of all total global economic output. Add to that the manufacturing of CBD products is unregulated and what you’ll find are products that could potentially contain pesticides, heavy metals, carcinogens, and other toxic compounds.

That being said, I have met individuals first-hand who are deeply passionate about the products they’re making and the effects those products have on their customers, and I have experienced the way the right CBD product can help with things like anxiety, insomnia – even tremors caused by other medications. But it’s essential, particularly as the industry continues to grow, that people do their research and demand that companies offer products that are both high-quality and safe.

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