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CBD: Cooperation to Outdo Competition

At the CPA 2020 Annual Meeting, Bruce Bernstein, President of UBIX Processing, talks about the opportunities for CPGs and contract packagers in the growing CBD market.

AM Mohan
Anne Marie Mohan, Editor, Contract Packaging magazine

Much attention has been given to the business opportunities around legalized medical and recreational marijuana. However, there has been less “buzz” (pun intended) about CBD, or cannabidiol, and the emerging market for CBD products.

At the CPA 2020 Annual Meeting in February, Bruce Bernstein, President of UBIX Processing, took the stage to provide clarity on CBD. UBIX is a co-pack/co-man of CBD products, including capsules, tinctures, gummy drops, salve, vape oil, and more. Said Bernstein, who is prostate cancer-free after treating the disease with CBD, “People should know this is a powerful compound for good.”

CBD is essentially industrial hemp, a compound of cannabis that contains less than 0.3% of the psychoactive component of marijuana, or THC, thus it does not produce a “high.” According to Bernstein, CBD provides relief for neurological, gastrointestinal, mood and behavior, pain, and sleep conditions, among other health issues, and is one of the most effective natural anti-inflammatory compounds available.

Given its efficacy, “CBD is gaining in popularity to the point of ad nauseum,” Bernstein shared. He added that according to Brightfield Group, the CBD market is on-track to grow to $23.7 billion through 2023, with the bulk of the growth coming from large retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger. In addition, CPGs and big box stores are now analyzing CBD products, and big box, convenience, and airport stores are test marketing the items.

But there are challenges with building a CBD business, he noted. Among them, the FDA has yet to come out with CBD guidelines, a strict GMP (CFR 11) operation is recommended, and there are a lot of “shady suppliers,” among other hurdles. “CBD will be the most highly scrutinized product for the foreseeable future,” he advised.

But Bernstein believes the market is so big, cooperation will outdo competition. “CBC will become another ingredient that private-label manufacturers and co-packers must learn about to experience the benefits of this personal health opportunity,” he said. “Organizations like the CPA create partnering opportunities that will help scale and solve massive order requests.” For those willing to meet the challenges, CBD appears to be fertile ground for solid business growth.

View the February 2020 edition of Packaging World magazine, with a special focus on cannabis packaging here.

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