News and Best Practices

Being Smart about CBD

October 17, 2016

Acne. Sleep disorders. Irritable bowel syndrome. Liver disease. Post-traumatic stress disorder.

These are just a few of the conditions for which cannabidiol (CBD) may provide therapeutic benefits, according to Project CBD. The California-based nonprofit focuses on disseminating research that sheds light on the medical uses for CBD and other elements of the cannabis plant, according to the organization’s website.

Products containing this non-psychoactive cannabinoid can be applied to a wide spectrum of ailments. CBD’s versatility, coupled with its status as an alternative to pharmaceuticals, make cannabidiol-based products an ideal addition to your dispensary’s product line. However, to avoid making yourself and your customers the victims of a scam, you should exercise judgment when deciding which products to put on your shelves.

‘For a lot of people, it just simply works’

Nutritionals Logo

To Graham Sorkin, Director of Business Development at Mary’s Medicinals, the popularity of CBD-based products is based on a simple but powerful factor: effectiveness. “I think the appeal is that it’s natural and it’s consistent, and for a lot of people, it just simply works,” he said.

Mary’s Medicinals provides THC-infused products to more than 1,000 dispensaries in seven states. Mary’s Nutritionals, its sister company, specializes in making non-THC products infused with hemp extracts and other plant-based ingredients.

Sorkin added that the company doesn’t create its CBD-based products for any specific range of ailments, nor does it dispense medical advice regarding its products.

Instead, the company partners with groups, such as the American Cannabis Nurses Association, that “specialize in helping patients figure out what is the best product and dosing protocol that’s going to work for them,” Sorkin said.

Customer feedback at Mary’s Nutritionals indicates that patients use these products find relief from a wide range of maladies. “We hear from customers that are using our products for just about everything that medical cannabis is used for,” Sorkin said. That includes all of the more than 50 conditions listed on Project CBD’s website.

Many customers note that CBD products don’t come with a litany of side effects, he added, which makes these products a preferable alternative to other forms of treatment.

The demand for CBD-based products is substantial enough to drive a sizeable chunk of the domestic hemp market. An estimated 50 to 60 percent or more of hemp grown in the U.S. is dedicated to CBD purposes, Marijuana Business Daily reported.

Recently, from what Sorkin has seen, the demand for these products has grown. “I’d definitely say there’s been quite a spike of growth as more people become aware of CBD and its potential,” he said. “The market’s definitely continued to grow quite a bit.”

Use sourcing, test results to avoid scams

CBD-based products come in a wide range of forms, including topical sprays, patches and tinctures. Deciding which delivery methods to carry can be daunting. However, the most pressing issue you should consider is whether these products are legitimate. Recently, this flourishing market has become a target for fraudulent behavior.

In February, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued eight warning letters to companies that marketed products that supposedly contained CBD. Lab tests revealed that many of these products didn’t contain the CBD levels that they claimed, according to the FDA.

“Over the last couple of years, at least twice the FDA has sent out a round of warning letters to a handful of CBD marketers,” warning them that they are selling mislabeled and mismarketed products, Sorkin said.

Scams such as these, which involve products that contain little or no CBD, are likely to continue. When it comes to identifying whether a product is legitimate, two main factors come into play:

  • The first is sourcing—or knowing the origin of the plant from which the CBD is derived. Recently, products have emerged from China and Eastern Europe, Sorkin said. In some cases, the source plants are grown with pesticides, while others are grown primarily to remediate contaminated soil.
  • Reliable test results are the second critical factor. Any reputable firm should be able to produce third-party test results to verify the CBD content of their products. “And if you ask and they don’t have it, run,” he said. “If they try to make excuses or anything, that’s a huge red flag.”


By Bridget Manley
Image Credit: Mary’s Nutritionals
Dispensary Management Today articles are for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal guidance or advice on dispensary operations. You should contact an attorney or a qualified cannabis consultant for specific compliance and dispensary/retailing advice.
© 2016 CAN Performance Group, LLC. All rights reserved.


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