BERLIN, GERMANY – MAY 20: CBD (Cannabidiol) hemp oil products are seen for sale in a shop window on … [+] May 20, 2019 in Berlin, Germany. The European CBD hemp oil market surged from 12.41 million dollars (11.31 million EUR) in 2013 to 45.43 dollars (40.67 million euros) in 2018, and is expected to continue to grow in the coming years. (Photo by Adam Berry/Getty Images)
CBD is being labeled as one of the fastest growing industries. Yet with some calling it nothing more than the latest wellness fad, the new ‘avocado on toast’ and others describing it as natures miracle, consumers are confused and skeptical about which brands to trust.
In 2019 UK market is estimated to reach a modest £5.5m ($7m), with the global CBD industry estimated to be £2.2bn by 2020 and £1bn by 2025 in the UK alone, the equivalent to size as the current entire UK herbal supplement market. As a result of the rapidly growing industry new brands and products are coming to market in such a speed that it is leaving consumers confused as to which brands are the market leader, which ones to trust.
Leaders in the industry understand this. Clemens Boeninger, co-founder of TheDrug.Store Europe’s leading CBD retailer offering customers a curated collection of the world’s best CBD products explained that the majority of their costumers are new to CBD and are often confused by the range of options available. As a result, a lot of their work is around helping educate consumers to help them understand various product categories, potencies and application methods.
Lack of Regulation
One of the problems for consumers is a lack of regulation in this space.
As George Thomas, founder of UK based Goodbody Botanicals, part of the Sativa Group PLC realized when they conducted a trial at their laborites or many different CBD products. The laboratory output reported that over 45% of manufactories didn’t match the specifications as detailed on their labels. And one product in fact did not have any CBD in it all and was just made up of low quality olive oil.
The Journal of the American Medical Association reported in 2017 that out of 84 products it tested, 26 percent contained lower doses of CBD than as noted on the bottle.
So which brands to trust?
One of the most telltale signs of a goodCBD brand is that they send their products to third-party labs for testing. These labs will analyze for purity and potency and compile the results into what a Certificate of Analysis. The CBD brand should make its Certificates of Analysis (they also may simply be called “lab results”) easily accessible on their website.
Transparency about where its hemp comes from is also key. Some businesses grow their own, while others buy their products from third-party manufacturers and resell them. Different countries and states are subject to less stringent testing procedures, so CBD advocates tend to gravitate toward oils made from hemp grown in CBD-friendly states like Colorado and Kentucky.
5 New CBD Brands To Watch
US based Verma Farms, inspired out of the culture in Maui, creates what they claim to be the most high end and tasty CBD products on the market. Founded early 2019, the brand has been able to grow rapidly through their obsessiveness over quality ingredients and chef-inspired flavors. All the company’s oils are organic, made with the American hemp, and most importantly are free of pesticides. They’re also the only CBD brand to offer a whole day solution, creating custom oils for custom times of the day.
Like many of the top quality CBD products on the market, Verma Farms makes its lab results available online to help encourage transparency and quality in the industry. Mike Montes, head of Customer Experience at Verma Farms said that they take the position that “We believe the CBD industry needs to be open, fair, and transparent to consumers. We spend a ton of time and resources on all of our formulations, so it’s to our advantage to show our test results. More importantly, it’s the right thing to do, and we hope more brands follow a similar mindset.”
Priced at an affordable $45 to $55, which for the highest quality product on the market is a decent price.
UK based Goodbody Botanicals is one of just a handful of fully compliant CBD brands in the UK and benefits from wider recourses, both research, development and education, within the Sativa Group PLC, the UK’s first listed Medicinal Cannabis and CBD wellness company.
Having raised £5million, and launched their brand on 1st October 2019 Goodbody Botanicals is based out of Somerset on a farm which contains; a hemp plantation, research facility and the UK’s leading cannabis laboratory and our manufacturing plant.
Founder and MD George Thomas claims “There is no one offering the same range of input to create the quality of products we bring to market.” He believes that when it comes to CBD “Fads come and go. This isn’t a fad. It maybe trending at present, but it will become a staple part of the UK health and wellbeing market. We are looking at a trajectory of £1bn market value by 2025 in the UK alone”.
Currently selling online and stocked in over 500 pharmacies and health foods shops in the UK, their average price point is a fair £34.99. Their products include capsules and oil and the brand is focused on being fully compliant, safe and efficacious.
With an amazing ethos of planting a tree for every product they sell, another US based CBD company is Plant People is getting a lot of attention. Plant Plant people calls on not only CBD, but other minor cannabinoids, terpenes and herbs from Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine and western herbalism for solution oriented products. This is is a relatively new and exciting trend in the CBD space.
Launched in 2017 and based out of New York the founders Gabe Kennedy and Hudson Gaines-Ross began Plant People with the shared vision to celebrate the healing properties of all plants after suffering traumatic spinal injuries earlier in their lives. Having bootstrapped the business and then taking a small amount of capital for expansion Plant People is in 900 locations with a healthy direct to consumer business as well.
The founders have publicly stated that they believe the industry needs more regulation and clarity so that consumers can experience the benefits of plant medicine in a safe environment.
Grass & Co.
Another UK based CBD company getting good traction is The Grass & Co. range which harnesses the power of premium quality organic CBD blended with therapeutic botanical ingredients. Founded by brothers Ben and Tom Grass, the company has raised just under $1million.
Since launching in July 2019, the brand has experienced strong demand, from both consumers and retailers, including an exclusive partnership with luxury department store Selfridges, and from January 2020 Boots and Ocado. Their CEO Toby Gordon-Smith, emphasises their commitment to ethical sourcing, and, like the other CBD brands listed here, offers full transparency around its sourcing, extraction and submit their products for rigorous testing complete with independent certification confirming its exact CBD concentration.
New York based Aurelian Life also launched in summer 2019. Founded by actor Nick Hoge, who after a decade of trialing different medications and therapies to deal with anxiety and panic attacks, started using CBD in 2017 and found it life-changing. At the time Hoge struggled to find good and legitimate CBD brands who were transparent about their offering. As a result he decided to launch his own brand, with a focus on appealing to men who are living with mental health issues.
Currently retailing in high profile stores such as Saks Fifth Avenue and Urban Outfitters, Aurelian Life is at a high price point as a premium brand. Like the others on this list Aurelian Life is highly transparent about where their hemp is sourced and third party lab tested.