Hemp based CBD products hit Lucky Brands shelves last year when no other big retailer would even consider selling the then controversial product. This week though, CBD products were featured at the Natural Products Expo West as the biggest natural product since Vitamin C.
Natural products are a $140 billion industry and CBD products are expected to be a leader in the industry already contributing $190 million in 2017. Its popularity is staggering not only for the amount of sales but also because just a year ago it was considered a taboo product and groups like Target refused to have hemp based CBD products on their shelves.
“It’s like anything that’s innovative and on-trend and disruptive — it tends to start in health foods stores, whether it’s pomegranate or plant protein or almond milk or CBD,” said Todd Runestad, the ingredients and supplements editor for New Hope Network, the Boulder-based media company that puts on the expo, now in its 38th year.
“This is the hottest product in the history of natural products, and there’s an opportunity for retailers to really sink their teeth into this whole hemp category,” Josh Hendrix, director of business development for Las Vegas-based extract company CV Sciences Inc., told some 500 people in attendance.
Natural and specialty retail stores accounted for approximately 14 percent of the $190 million in U.S. hemp-based CBD sales in 2017, according to according to Hemp Business Journal data presented Wednesday.
Hemp based CBD is not psychoactive and should not be confused with marijuana though the two plants are close cousins. CBD has been deemed non-toxic by the World Health Organization and there is strong evidence that it has pain relief properties along with other potential medicinal properties. Chronic pain is one of the core challenges facing the country and current policy directs patients to strong prescription based opioids that can be addictive. CBD or cannabidiol may be an intermediary solution to pain relief without the addictive nature.