The Future of Cannabis Health Products Look Bright
When you hear the word cannabis, visions of a marijuana leaf likely pop into your head, or perhaps a scene from the movie Dazed and Confused? The association of stoners and cannabis is a hard image to alter, but lately, marijuana’s more wholesome cousin hemp, and its ‘do-gooder’ derivative cannabidiol, or “CBD” for short - have been stealing the limelight for health - not highs.
From pain relief to reducing anxiety and depression, from aiding in eliminating acne to helping lower blood pressure; people are claiming that CBD helps. It is because of these healthful properties – and the absence of a high - that the rules which once kept cannabis hidden in gym lockers, and more recently in heavily regulated cannabis dispensaries - may soon change - placing CBD products proudly on the shelves of your local grocer in the health & wellness aisle - where they belong.
And while the idea of selling CBD-based goods in pharmacies and health-food stores is not new (the US has been doing it for a while now), it is high time (pun intended) that Canada joins the fray.
The Unintended Consequences of The Current Regulation
Currently, all cannabis products in Canada, regardless of THC or CBD levels, must be sold through provincially regulated, legal cannabis dispensaries or through medical cannabis channels. Branding is scrupulously curtailed. Packaging allows for a logo, solid colour, THC / CBD ratio + big yellow warning label. Any health claims or brand messaging are strictly prohibited.
The purpose of these regulations is to discourage impressionable folks from inappropriate cannabis use and, of course, to ensure any health claims are substantiated. However - the unintended consequence of this approach is that the healthful benefits of CBD and the planet-friendly credentials of sun-grown hemp (more on that later) are overshadowed by marketing THC potency and the right kind of high to recreational users.
A Change Is On The Horizon
While Health Canada is mindful that Canadians have a desire to include non-prescription CBD in our legal market, it does have reason to pause. It fears that cannabis products, including cannabidiol (CBD) products with presumed and unsanctioned health claims, have already been selling through unregulated channels and are being promoted to treat ailments, from muscle pain to joint inflammation.
For Health Canada to sanction an over-the-counter market of Cannabis Health Products (knowns as “CHPs” for short), not only will further consultation be required, but specific protocols will also need to be in place. They want to ensure that these procedures will protect vulnerable people, namely the youth, and that health benefit claims will be based on strong and supported evidence.
The current blanket approach to all the regulated sale of all cannabis products was acceptable back in October 2018 at the onset of legalization - but it's due for some needed finesse. As such, in June 2019, Health Canada reached out to individuals, health practitioners, and industry participants to gauge their views on creating a new framework for CHPs.
And The Results Are In…
Overall, consumer participants felt that cannabis is safer or healthier to use than many pharmaceuticals and they would prefer to access products approved for safety and efficacy without the need to obtain them through regulated retailers or through a medical doctor.
Consumer reasons to seek out cannabis health products
Source: Health Canada
Product formats of interest among consumer respondents
Source: Health Canada
In general, industry respondents indicated they were working to generate evidence and recommended further guidance from Health Canada, including guidance on how to conduct research involving cannabis.
Main reasons why industry representatives are interested in bringing CHPs to Canadian market
All Other Participants
This includes health care practitioners, veterinary professionals, academics, and more.
Overall, industry groups and representatives from healthcare organizations demonstrated support for further research and evidence on the safety and efficacy of cannabis in producing a specific health effect for humans or animals. Written submissions from all government respondents emphasized the need for strong evidence requirements.
Main reasons for use according to other interested parties
Source: Health Canada
There was a great sigh of relief from many who have been watching the industry closely. Whether it is the consumer who wants to purchase CHPs in a more convenient setting, like a pharmacy, or industry contributors who are excited to not only bring their products to market but also are anxious to ease restrictions on advertising, packaging, and labeling.
Further to these groups, the health care professionals and those within the veterinary world, have had their interests piqued even with a cautious eye as they wait for more scientific proof of the promised health benefits.
What we do know is that the more Health Canada discusses the topic and seeks guidance from outside experts on CBD products, the more we can expect CHPs to not only be produced in Canada but sold in our market.
Overall, regardless of each group’s stipulations or personal desires to move forward, even small progress is progress, and the path we are on to include CHPs in the Canadian market is well-supported.
Demand and Supply
Whether CHP’s come into effect this year or five years from now, growth in CBD products is inevitable. Where once there was simply CBD oil, we are now finding many entrepreneurs developing cosmetics, sleeping aids, and sports supplements, to name a few, and there is every reason to believe that the big pharma and health and wellness industry will want a piece of the pie.
While CHP’s will change where and how CBD products are sold, all of the same cultivation and processing regulations will remain and the industry will need reliable Health Canada Licensed partners to generate CBD from cannabis and hemp.
The need for a trustworthy, capable, and sustainable wholesale CBD supplier is, without a doubt, an essential requirement. And this is Blue Sky Hemp Ventures’ (BSHV) vision. When BSHV set out back in 2017, we had the concept of becoming front-runners in whole hemp plant utilization enabling us to supply large volumes of high-quality CBD extracts at a lower cost to our customers and the planet.
Blue Skies Ahead For CHPs
We do this by using the grain for food products, the flower for CBD extraction, and husks and stalk for industrial products, allowing us to monetize all parts of the plant. Simply put, we can deliver top-quality CBD extracts at the lowest price. Zero waste. More Value.
Knowing the future that CBD-based products have in store, we understand the growing demand for providing enough products whether through extracts or as co-pack CBD-based products on behalf of the client. We are prepared to take on this growing demand and expand production as necessary. On the Canadian prairies, production is limited only by imagination and Blue Skies! We have total confidence in our production and processing, as we control our product and processes every step of the way, from seed to sale.
Cannabis has come a long way over the past few years, from being viewed as simply a way to get high, to being regarded as a nutritional and healthy product that can help resolve issues of daily discomfort, through to improving serious chronic health issues. This growing awareness has truly helped to propel the industry forward, and we’re ready for the future of CBD development. Blue Sky Ahead!