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Cashing in on the CBD craze: What you should know

(This is an abridged version of a story that appears in the September issue of Marijuana Business Magazine.) (This story has been updated to correct the THC-threshold set by the DEA.) If it seems you’re seeing CBD everywhere these days, you are. CBD products are being sold at grocery stores, convenience stores and chiropractic offices. The letters are splashed across storefronts even in the most cannabis-averse jurisdictions – such as Kansas and South Carolina. CBD also is grabbing headlines: In a landmark decision, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in June approved a naturally derived CBD drug to treat two kinds of epilepsy, and the Drug Enforcement Administration followed that on Sept. 27 by removing CBD with THC below 0.1% from Schedule 1. Unlike THC, cannabis’ most famous cannabinoid, CBD doesn’t intoxicate users but offers a tantalizing array of health benefits. It’s a proven anti-inflammatory agent and can bind to the body’s cannabinoid receptors to induce feelings of calm and relieve pain. Moreover, CBD offers much less regulatory and tax baggage than THC-laden marijuana – particularly if it’s derived from hemp. Products containing CBD can be sold across state lines, for example, and are available in non-marijuana markets. And, in the case of hemp, growers are free of seed-to-sale tracking requirements and the onerous 280E section of the federal tax code. Throw in growing consumer interest in all things CBD, and it’s no surprise the market is exploding. “It’s kind of a movement,” Dr. Priyanka Sharma, owner of Colorado-based CBD company Kazmira, said of the burgeoning market. “It’s like everybody wants to use CBD – from elderly people who have arthritis to young people who want to vape and want a recreational way to relax. It’s transcending all age groups.” But navigating the CBD market has its own complexities, particularly if you’re coming from the marijuana industry. Selling CBD products, for starters, requires a different approach than marijuana retailing. Federal laws governing CBD are confusing, and the legal landscape is changing rapidly. Moreover, a boom in CBD products has fanned worries that the market may be overheating. Marijuana Business Magazine gathered information companies will need to capitalize on the current CBD boom.