Any industry would find it hard to survive if consumers did not trust producers. That does not seem to be a problem in the CBD industry, particularly because consumers are largely ignorant of the products they buy. This is not because processors and manufacturers lack transparency. It is because there is a disconnect between transparency and trust in this particular industry.
A recently released Consumer Brands Association survey analyzed by CBD Oracle demonstrates a surprising dichotomy in the CBD industry. While the study found that most CBD processors and manufacturers strive to be transparent about what they do, consumers are lacking in their knowledge of the products they buy. As such, they do not know whether to trust manufacturers or not.
- CBD Products Mostly Unregulated
The Consumer Brands Association survey covered some 520 companies producing more than 20,000 retail products. In addition, the survey asked consumers about their knowledge of the products they buy. It turns out that 92% of them are ignorant in terms of federal regulations. In short, most people buying CBD products are unaware that there are no federal regulations governing them.
Even more interesting is this little tidbit: upon learning of the lack of federal regulations, 84% of the consumers expressed concern about the safety of CBD products in general. Would those same consumers continue to buy the same products without doing any further investigation on their own? The study does not answer that question.
We can extrapolate from the study and assume that the vast majority of CBD users trust the manufacturers from whom they buy. However, that trust is based on blissful ignorance. They just assume that CBD products are regulated for safety purposes. Unfortunately, this blind trust is not limited just to CBD. Consumers blindly trust manufacturers and government entities alike without researching things on their own.
- Good News for the Industry
Consumer ignorance aside, the study has plenty of good news for the CBD industry. Study data shows that almost 90% of U.S. manufacturers and processors have their products tested and certified by accredited labs. One executive who participated in the study says that transparency is important to the industry as a way of overcoming current regulatory shortcomings.
Other positive findings include data that shows 89% of CBD manufacturers fully disclose information about hemp sourcing and cultivation. Manufacturers are also pretty open about the products they make. Approximately 72% of them make CBD tinctures; 65% make topical CBD oils.
On the downside, only 42% of the surveyed manufacturers were willing to reveal their extraction methods. This is a big deal. Given that there are multiple ways to extract cannabinoids and terpenes, CBD users really should know what they are dealing with.
Houston’s CedarstoneIndustry suggests that CO2 extraction is one of the more popular methods utilized by large operations. Solvent extraction is another option, with ethanol being the solvent of choice. The Consumer Brands Association study seems to concur.
- Getting the Two Sides Together
Right now, there is a definite disconnect between transparency and trust in the CBD industry. It is generally good that consumers trust the companies that manufacture their CBD products. But that trust should not be based on ignorance. At some point, the two sides need to come together so that both have a full understanding of one another.
Federal regulations could eventually break the current disconnect. But for now, Washington shows very little interest in getting involved. States are left to pick up the slack along with manufacturers and processors. As long as they continue to strive for transparency, the industry will continue moving forward.