CBD in 2021: What to expect

January 04, 2021

While 2020 was anything but predictable, we’ve not been deterred from sharing our predictions of what we expect to see more of in the CBD industry in 2021. Crystal balls at the ready, here’s what we think we’ll all be talking about this year.

The beauty of CBD

The beauty industry loves a “miracle” ingredient. From retinol to niacinamide, our bathroom shelves are filled with strange names promising impressive results. While some brands have already recognised CBD’s effectiveness at reducing inflammation, which makes it particularly helpful at targeting reactive skin, redness and acne, we expect more skincare brands to look into its benefits this year.

Existing products include nourishing face creams that calm and hydrate skin and masks that soothe distressed skin. Thanks to CBD being rich in fatty acids, we also expect to see more products that recognise its restorative qualities and help to keep your skin’s barrier function healthy and therefore your skin looking hydrated and younger.

L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Unilever are among the big names in the beauty retail industry that have already dipped their toes in with CBD product launches, while Sephora, owned by luxury conglomerate LVMH, created a curated section devoted to CBD products in its stores. We expect 2021 will see more top industry players battle for market share.

There’s a new cannabinoid in town

Just as CBD has been on everyone’s radar for the past few years, we expect CBG, or cannabigerol, to enter the conversation and more cannabis companies to look into how they can overcome its production issues. The main problem facing the mass distribution of CBG is its rarity – and therefore cost. As it’s mostly converted into other cannabinoids like CBD and THC, it takes huge amounts of biomass to produce even a tiny amount – whereas a high-CBD hemp strain can contain as much as 20 per cent CBD, it may only offer 1 per cent of CBG.

Tim Richardson, CEO of Puregenics, which launched its own CBG oil in 2020, believes there will be more to come. He told us: “CBG is a lot more expensive because there’s so little of it found in the hemp plant. That means it’s harder to isolate and extract, which involves a lot more production, and therefore, cost. But from the small amount of studies that have shown the potential benefits of CBG, researchers think it could be the next big cannabinoid to go mainstream.

“Farmers are already looking for strains with high CBG content and have recently been cutting their cannabis in the early stages of development (budding phase), which means scientists can extract far more CBGA than in the vegetative and flowering stages.”

Every man and his dog

Pet products are a fast-growing segment of the CBD market and we don’t expect this to change in 2021. According to cannabis market research company Brightfield Group, the pet CBD category grew 946 per cent in 2019 alone.

Although humans have been the subject of studies looking into the benefits of cannabidiol so far, more research is taking place to find out how CBD can also help our four-legged friends. Until then, the American Kennel Club and chief veterinary officer Dr. Jerry Klein say there is anecdotal evidence from dog owners to suggest CBD treats pain, in particular neuropathic pain, and seizures. According to Dr. Klein, it can also be used for its anti-inflammatory properties, cardiac benefits, anti-nausea effects, appetite stimulation, anti-anxiety impact, and for possible anti-cancer benefits.

In the UK, no CBD products have been approved by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate for sale or to be administered as yet. If you’re looking for more information on how CBD oil could benefit your pet, you should speak to your vet.

Deadline day is coming

The Food Standards Agency has set a deadline for CBD businesses to provide more information about their CBD products and contents of 31 March 2021. After this date, only products that have submitted a valid novel food authorisation application will be allowed to remain on the market. On the whole, CBD businesses have welcomed this move to introduce regulatory clarity into an industry that’s regularly been compared to “the wild, wild west”.

Emily Miles, chief executive of the Food Standards Agency, said: “CBD products are widely available on the high street but are not properly authorised. The CBD industry must provide more information about the safety and contents of these products to the regulator before 31 March 2021, or the products will be taken off the shelves.

“The actions that we’re taking are a pragmatic and proportionate step in balancing the protection of public health with consumer choice. It’s now up to industry to supply this information so that the public can be reassured that CBD is safe and what it says it is.”

With local authorities responsible for the day-to-day enforcement of food law, we’re interested to see what this will really mean come April.

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