The hoopla surrounding CBD has become so loud that even CBD companies are starting to get annoyed. One Colorado CBD brand recently went so far as to buy ads in New York's Time Square to attack gimmicky products and marketing campaigns that push CBD into everything from candles to hotdogs.
CBDistillery, a company known for hemp-derived CBD edibles, oils, capsules, vaporizers and more, wants people to be more discerning about how they consume CBD. But where is that line drawn, and who should be leading the conversation? We chatted with CBDistillery chief marketing officer Chris Van Dusen to see what he thinks.
Westword: How are CBD and its benefits being oversold to the public right now?
Chris Van Dusen: The products and claims companies are currently making are getting out of hand. While we fully support and acknowledge the benefits of CBD, until further studies are conducted and the FDA passes formal regulation, companies should not be making any medical claims on behalf of CBD products. As leaders in the industry, our mission is to provide the highest-quality hemp-derived CBD products at fair prices. Luckily, there are other excellent companies in the industry who are also providing high-quality products that are actually effective.
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However, there are still poor trends throughout the industry and companies selling ridiculous CBD products, which nullify the importance of CBD. These companies are adding the three little letters ‘CBD’ to products like toothpicks and candles, making outrageous claims, being deceitful about the CBD potency and lacking transparency about where the CBD in these products is coming from. Thus, we launched this campaign in order to put the industry on notice and make a call to action to consumers to pay attention. Together we need to stop this amazing compound from being diminished to a trending buzzword.
Is there a line that should be drawn for how we consume CBD?
Yes, absolutely. As a company that is consistently engaged in R&D with the goal of providing consumers access to innovative and effective delivery methods, we know what works and what doesn’t. When we see products that play on different ways to consume CBD that provide little to no bioavailability, we can only encourage consumers to educate themselves to avoid wasting their money. We highly recommend downloading a free copy of the Ultimate CBD User Guide on our website, which specifically details the various delivery methods of recommended CBD products.
What about how we talk about CBD?
The discussion around CBD needs to evolve as more studies and research become available. Currently, companies should stick to what we actually know, which is how CBD is the most abundant of the 113-plus potentially beneficial cannabinoids found in the plant cannabis sativa L. Unlike THC, found in the marijuana plant, CBD does not produce any psychoactive or "high" effects, and it supplements the endocannabinoid system, which plays a vital role in optimal human performance. By talking about these facts and directing the focus on consumer education for what to look for when purchasing CBD products, we can hopefully stop the spread of false information that will skew the public’s perception.
Where does the federal government's oversight (or lack thereof) play a role in the company's inspiration for this campaign?
With over 3,000 companies currently occupying the space, CBDistillery's Gimmick-Free campaign was born out of a necessity to highlight the misuse of CBD that has spread throughout the industry. As industry leaders, we are taking on the responsibility to set the standards, democratize CBD and provide a call to action for consumers to pay attention and look beyond the marketing ploys before making purchasing decisions.
How can consumers figure out if the CBD products they're buying are tested and verified by proper labs and regulators?
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Reputable companies publish their third-party test results on their websites and packaging. Products and ingredients are third-party tested for potency, residual solvents, heavy metals and to ensure that delta-9 THC levels do not exceed 0.3 percent. Even though there is no current FDA regulation, consumers should check to see if the company is certified by the U.S. Hemp Authority, which sets the most stringent guidelines in the industry to ensure a safe product. Consumers should also be able to scan a QR code on their product in order to view test results for their exact batch.
Checking all of these boxes will ensure their product is a high-quality one that is as pure and potent as the manufacturer claims. At CBDistillery, we proudly display all of this information on our labeling, packaging and website, and highlight it in our educational materials, making it easily digestible and simple for our customers to make an informed decision.
We've seen CBD-infused hot dogs and firewood. What are some of the most ridiculous CBD products you've seen marketed?
Where do we begin?! From a bioavailability standpoint, there are plenty of ridiculous products that consumers are being targeted with. Products like CBD mascara, toothpicks, air diffusers and candles are great examples, as they really embody the call for this campaign. Slapping those three little letters before any old product really nullifies the actual importance of CBD, and makes education in our industry that much more challenging. As a company founded on transparency, we will always stick to products that are proven to be effective, without any gimmicks.