Are mainstream wellness consumers ready for cannabinoids? With the right delivery format, they could be.
At last count, there were over 2,000 CBD brands on the market, ranging from your garden variety (and sometimes questionable quality) “gas station” products available almost anywhere to high cost “premium” products. sold in boutiques and specialties. websites. Additionally, new regulated markets for adult-use cannabis continue to come online in the United States, and sales of cannabis products continue to rack up record numbers state after state.
There is no doubt that cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), terpenes, and a host of other cannabinoids are being embraced by consumers across the country, from those who use cannabis strictly as medicine to recreational consumers pursuing wellness goals like relaxation and anxiety. relief. Always on the lookout for the next big thing, wellness consumers have always been early adopters of new ingredients once they become available. This seems to be the case with cannabinoids as new consumers flock to CBD and become more interested in other cannabinoids.
However, the lack of knowledge of certain delivery methods as well as the desire to avoid products requiring inhalation keep some consumers away from well-being. When CBD hit stores and the first regulated cannabis markets were created, the first users were medical patients seeking an alternative to ineffective or risky treatments, and lifelong cannabis enthusiasts. There was limited appeal to the mainstream wellness consumer, and there was often little information about cannabis efficacy to be found for those intrigued.
The importance of becoming familiar with a product cannot be overstated, according to Bridget Williams, MD, an Ohio physician with a medical cannabis license. “For a patient to take treatment seriously, they need to feel comfortable and credible about how it is administered. I think even the gummy form factor can be a challenge for some people. They find it difficult to consider it a “medicine”. For many consumers, what they really need is something like any other treatment they might find in their medicine cabinet.
Today, an explosion of new cannabinoid products is reaching the public and encouraging long-time resisters to consider cannabis more. Over the past 12 months, manufacturers have been racing to incorporate “minor cannabinoids” into new products. These are compounds found to a lesser degree than CBD or THC in hemp and marijuana plants that have demonstrated positive effects but are generally not psychoactive. Examples include cannabinol (CBN), which is often used as a sleep aid, and tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), which many consider to be an effective appetite suppressant.
Often what makes these new products appealing to mainstream consumers is that they don’t look like “cannabis” products. They don’t need to be smoked or vaporized or inhaled, and they’re not oils that need to be placed under the tongue or mixed into a drink. Most popular is the “gummy” form factor that consumers have long known, but many still typically associate with candy.
“Consumers who use products for specific wellness purposes expect those products to ‘look and act the way they should,’ says Andrew Wolf, CEO of hemp CPG company AllyMack. “They want a form factor that they are comfortable using and familiar to them, and they want it as an integral part of their daily health regime.These consumers are looking for traditional formats like mints, chewable tablets and capsules.
They also want precise dosing and consistent results, which have often been elusive for cannabinoids. As a growing number of wellness product manufacturers attempt to incorporate CBD and other cannabinoids into their products, their efforts have been thwarted by the very nature of the ingredients. When cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the hemp or marijuana plant, the result is an oil in the same way that fragrances and cooking oils are extracted from organic materials. Unfortunately, oil-based cannabinoids do not work well with many nutraceutical ingredients. It can be extremely difficult to balance the ratios between different ingredients, which ultimately leads to inconsistent products.
Today, the race is on to develop consistent and versatile ingredients that can be used in a variety of products, providing broad consumer appeal. Technology and innovation are beginning to break down the barrier of oil-based cannabinoid ingredients through the development of fully miscible pharmaceutical grade cannabinoid ingredients. This breakthrough promises to open up wellness products to a whole new class of ingredients just as cannabinoids become popular with consumers. Additionally, the growing acceptance of cannabinoids is accelerating research efforts to confirm and expand existing knowledge about these compounds.
When wellness consumers recognize that they can experience the benefits of cannabinoids and terpenes without inhaling or ingesting nasty candies or oils, the floodgates will open for new product innovations. Propelled by this growing consumer interest, an era of consistent and reliable integration of cannabinoids into mainstream nutraceutical and pharmaceutical ingredients may soon materialize.
Derek Odette is CEO of the Tennessee-based company Volunteer Botanicalsdeveloper of precise cannabinoid formulations that provide manufacturers with consistent and versatile hemp-based ingredients for use in a wide variety of products meeting the specific demands of product creators inside and outside of the hemp industry .