In light of our one year anniversary and National Hemp Day, we sat down with our founder, Anthony Saniger, to talk the current state of CBD, from the 2018 Farm Bill to the future of regulation and the industry as a whole.
How did hemp become legal?
The 2014 Farm Bill originally introduced hemp. It had been used for a long time in fabric, but people realized that hemp had high concentrations of CBD (which is found in the entire cannabis family of plants as well). In December of last year, the 2018 Farm Bill passed, which further defined hemp as cannabis and derivatives with less than 0.3% THC, separating it from marjuana. This bill also removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act (CSA), allowing for its cultivation, possession, sale, and distribution.
What does regulation look like right now, and what do you think will happen in the future?
The FDA has put out some statements, but has not formally created guidelines for hemp. We created Standard Dose out of that absence of regulation -- we wanted to be a place that vetted and curated brands and ensured that the products people were using were safe and effective. Regulation is something we strongly believe the industry should have, and I think that the FDA will come out with a formal ruling on hemp and CBD with guidelines for how it will be applied to beauty and nutritional supplements, for example. How that will manifest, we’re unsure. But eventually I believe there will be guidelines on things like how to label packaging properly, how to test the products, how to manufacture and have good manufacturing processes. All of these elements will be separate from initiatives like the Safe Banking Act, which concerns the monetary side including payment processing and banking for brands in the space. I think that will come this year as well.
In early January of 2020, House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson introduced a bipartisan bill that would include hemp-derived CBD in the definition of dietary supplements under the Federal, Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. This bill would require the US Department of Agriculture to study the obstacles facing farmers involved in the production of hemp, both from a regulatory and market perspective. Standard Dose is in support of this bill, and we think it’s a big step toward regulation that will help ensure hemp-derived CBD products are accurately-labeled, safe, and effective.
What do you think will be the catalyst for further FDA regulation?
Right now, people are searching for products that can help with everyday problems, and I think that’s led to a rise in interest around CBD and the possible benefits. But there’s also a political side: there’s been a big push by farmers who are growing hemp. As a result, we’re going to reach a point where legislators will have to create guidelines and make decisions. Otherwise, the market will become saturated with poor-quality products that will present a significant health risk.
What would those regulations mean for the industry?
I think for the industry, creating regulations will mean that small brands will have to re-do their packaging and possibly even their product formulations depending on where they are and where these new guidelines come into play. That will have a big impact on the industry, but I also think that once the legality is clarified, more and more bigger players will be joining in. So you’ll start to see hemp and CBD more in fashion and apparel, you’ll start to see it more in ingestibles, you’ll see it more in beauty -- from these major companies. Right now, bigger companies don’t want to risk things like their insurance provider not accepting them anymore or their payment processing going down, as it would cause a lot of problems. They aren’t willing to take that risk, and that’s why small brands are able to be nimble and move in this market right now.
What’s your stance on THC? And do you ever see it being a part of Standard Dose?
When it comes to THC, I believe that a full-spectrum CBD product with trace amounts of THC can be great for specific purposes, like sleep for example. I could see those small concentrations being a part of Standard Dose as the science develops, but I don’t see us ever being a THC or cannabis dispensary -- that’s definitely not us.
What does the future of CBD look like at Standard Dose?
CBD is one super powerful ingredient that we see across a lot of different categories, but I see that being just a single ingredient. I think it’s about a bigger conversation around the terpenes and other cannabinoids in the plant like CBG, CBC, and CBN and how those are applied. As the legality is clarified and more research is done, companies will take a deeper look at their product formulation, and specifically how they can combine minor cannabinoids and terpenes. I think that’s the future, and I think for Standard Dose, CBD is just one powerful ingredient, we also look at things like ashwagandha, reishi, and turmeric. To us, it’s ultimately about how we can harvest the power of what nature is giving us. CBD will always be a strong element of our brand, but it will be a part of the bigger picture of plant-based wellness.