CBD in the New Year

Since the passage of the farm bill and more states embracing sensible cannabis policy, CBD has been a central topic of discussion for the media, health care providers, and consumers. Products focused around the multiple benefits of CBD will continue to flood the market, so what makes a particular brand more successful?

The key will be engagement with the consumer base. A simple online search results in thousands of products addressing common ailments such as dry skin or chapped lips. So how does a consumer, or rather a patient, know what product to try? It all comes down to savvy marketing and word of mouth. I have purchased some brilliant CBD products to address the side effects from an autoimmune disease that was recommended to me by a friend. Since then, I have shared these products with my network. Companies producing CBD products will be relying on these types of marketing tactics this year as more competition enters the market.

I’m skeptical of celebrity endorsements, despite their initial pizazz, may backfire for brands seeking to truly define themselves as providing an effective quality product. There will be plenty of companies jumping on the CBD bandwagon, but few will truly distinguish themselves by unlocking the holistic qualities of CBD to benefit patients inflicted with a variety of illnesses.

As both an attorney and rare disease patient, I am anxiously monitoring CBD product lines to see who will create the next product to improve my quality of life. I believe 2019 will be the year that CBD is found in most Americans’ medicine cabinets.

Growing Your Cannabis Business in a Regulatory Firestorm

Until cannabis is legalized at the federal level, companies working with marijuana-based products will continue to face regulatory burdens that make conducting business rather difficult. Every week, I hear of a new hurdle for patients and companies, these roadblocks leave cannabis businesses at risk for regulatory action.

A strong business strategy for those producing, selling, promoting, and providing cannabis, whether it is recreational or medicinal, is to get involved with state legislators who are creating business guidelines. Far too often, companies wait until proposed rules are up for a vote to get involved. This leads not only to a significant amount of stress and last minute scrambling, but the fall out from burdensome regulations can kill cannabis businesses all together. If your company doesn’t have someone paying attention to your state’s legislative and administrative actions of cannabis regulation, you have a major problem.

It is important to protect your intellectual property, have properly executed contracts, put plans in place to protect patient data, and form a solid business plan. However, this means little if these contracts, agreements, and plans are not being reviewed by an attorney who understands the complexities of state regulatory actions and legislation on the horizon. Your business should be able to adapt to the ever evolving world of cannabis, and so should your legal counsel.

Is Kratom The New Marijuana?

While the war against opioids rages on, chronic pain patients are struggling to find a suitable alternative to manage their condition. As a chronic pain sufferer myself, I am always concerned about any action taken by state governments and the FDA to limit access to medication. 

Kratom is a tree from Southeast Asia, with leaves that contain compounds that have psychotropic effects. Two compounds in kratom leaves, mitragynine and 7-α-hydroxymitragynine, interact with opioid receptors in the brain, producing sedation, pleasure, and decreased pain, especially when users consume large amounts of the plant. The FDA has identified Kratom as an opioid like substance with similar properties, creating a wave of regulatory actions that impact both industry and patients.

Some states are banning Kratom by classifying it as a Schedule I controlled substance, like in Ohio. Unfortunately, it may be years or even decades before enough research is conducted to prove the medical benefits of Kratom for chronic pain. Ideally, the FDA would hear the patient voice about the potential clinical benefits and investigate further. Unfortunately, as we have seen with cannabis, this is not the case.

Actions to ban Kratom and limit research initiatives hurts patients. Congress passed major opioid legislation this week that was signed into law, again showing that our government knows we desperately need to do something about the opioid crisis in our country. Limiting access to alternatives like Marijuana and Kratom is counter productive. Instead, we should be actively researching the medicinal benefits to help pain patients. They do not deserve to suffer and have their medication taken from them.

Until the FDA recognizes the potential benefits, Kratom will end up in the same battle as marijuana.