CBD update: Hemp cultivation surge, Hudson News teams up with Docklight Brands, Bolthouse Farms develops CBD beverages

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Getty Images  Aleksandr_Kravtsov
Picture: Getty Images Aleksandr_Kravtsov

Related tags cbd beverages Cbd Bolthouse farms

The vast majority (87%) of hemp grown in the US is expected to be used for CBD processing in 2019, according to a new report from cannabis researcher Brightfield Group, which estimates that 285,000 acres of industrial hemp were planted in the US in 2019, up from 78,000 acres in 2018.

The report ​was published as Bolthouse Farms told Yahoo Finance​ that it plans to launch at least 25 CBD-infused beverages in January, and Docklight Brands struck a deal with Hudson News Distributors​ to make its portfolio of hemp-derived CBD-infused products available to retailers across the Northeast US.

The US is now the global leader in hemp cultivation​” with the highest acreages in Colorado, Oregon, Montana, Tennessee, and Arizona, said Brightfield Group, which says hemp farming offers a chance for family farms facing low commodity prices for corn and dairy to increase their incomes and pass down their farm to the third or fourth generation.

“On a per acre level, hemp for CBD could potentially lead torevenue of over $40,000, compared to less than $1,000 per acre for corn," ​predicted Brightfield Group, which estimates​ that the US market for foods and beverages featuring hemp-derived CBD – from relaxation drinks to gummies – could be worth $2.5bn by 2023, or 10.5% of an estimated $23.7bn market for CBD products (spanning everything from pharmaceuticals to petfood).

Hemp for CBD could generate $40,000/acre vs less than $1,000 for corn

While it’s too early to say whether snacks and beverages with small amounts of CBD promoting general wellness or relaxation will prove a hit with consumers in the long term, a new global survey​ of 3,500+ CBD users (80% from the US) from California-based nonprofit Project CBD suggests that those regularly buying CBD supplements report high satisfaction rates for managing pain, improving mood, and supporting sleep.

A small group of respondents (10%) said they used CBD because they had medical conditions including epilepsy or Parkinson’s Disease.

The majority of those surveyed reported taking CBD at least once a day, while over half reported taking it multiple times per day.

Pain, mood, sleep…

The vast majority of participants reported using CBD to alleviate pain (particularly inflammatory pain) and to improve mood and sleep, with almost 90% of respondents taking CBD for pain reporting an improvement, although it’s not clear how representative they are, given that the survey only focused on regular CBD users (who presumably find it beneficial or would not be habitual consumers).

40% of respondents reported one or more side effects, such as dry mouth, tiredness, dry or bloodshot eyes, and increased appetite.

Half reported using CBD from hemp (ie. with less than 0.3% THC), while 40% reported using CBD from marijuana plants or in combination with cannabis, meaning they take some THC (a psychoactive cannabinoid) as part of their CBD routine, though amounts varied wildly.

Dosages anywhere from 2mg to 1,000mg

Few repondents in the Project CBD survey were able to say how much CBD (or THC) they were taking, “suggesting an urgent need for both better product labeling and consumer education​,” noted Project CBD. “Those that did answer this question indicated that they take anywhere from 2mg to 1,000mg.

The study showed that CBD is not a panacea – as some would claim – for all that ails us. Some symptoms were decidedly less responsive to CBD products. For example, CBD was not particularly useful in helping people with gastrointestinal diseases maintain a healthy weight.

"Nor did it have much of an impact on PMS-related bloating, cancer-related diarrhea and constipation, or low sex drive during menopause. Nonetheless, it was astonishingly effective at simply making people feel better – most likely because of its impact on pain, mood, and sleep.”

Docklight family of CBD brands

Docklight Brands has struck a deal with Hudson News Distributors​ to make its portfolio of hemp-derived CBD-infused products available to retailers across the Northeast US.

Under the deal, brands including Marley Mellow Mood CBD-infused Tea​, Marley Wellness CBD Shot​, Marley CBD-Infused Chocolate​, Goodship CBD-Infused Confections​ and Irisa CBD-infused Sparkling Water​ will be available to major retail accounts within the drug, mass, grocery, convenience, airport and independent channels across the Northeast US including CVS, Walgreens, Target, Walmart, Stop & Shop, GIANT Food Stores, ShopRite, Shaw’s Supermarkets, Market Basket, Hannaford, Acme Markets, and Safeway.

Asked how this deal squared with the FDA’s current stance that CBD is not a legal dietary ingredient in foods/beverages or supplements, Hudson News chief revenue officer told FoodNavigator-USA:

Although everyone is waiting for revised FDA guidelines on CBD a growing number of states have approved its use and sales. As you know the big moment for the industry nationally will be approval by the FDA. Until then it will proceed state by state.

The legal status of CBD


While the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has consistently stated that it does not consider CBD to be a lawful dietary ingredient as it was first investigated as a drug, its enforcement activity has thus far been focused on companies making egregious claims, prompting many players to wade into the market at their own risk.

Some states, meanwhile, have cracked down on firms selling hemp-derived CBD, and most larger companies are waiting for clarity from the FDA before introducing products into interstate commerce.

However, several states have explicitly authorized the general sale of hemp-derived CBD products including Alabama, Kentucky, Colorado, Alaska (in licensed adult-use dispensaries and retail stores), Florida, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, Oregon, Texas, Vermont, and Washington (at licensed cannabis retail stores and dispensaries).

(Several other states only permit its sale from licensed medical cannabis dispensaries for patients with a qualifying medical condition.)

Right now, California defers to the FDA regarding CBD as a dietary ingredient. Assembly Bill 228​​​, which would permit retail sales of hemp-derived CBD-infused food, beverages and supplements, was recently set aside by the Senate Appropriations Committee, meaning it is effectively on hold until at least 2020.

Sen McConnell pushes FDA to clear path for hemp-derived CBD products


Given that a formal rulemaking and comment process for authorizing CBD could take years, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell recently introduced language into a congressional spending report that would require the FDA to issue formal enforcement discretion on the sale of hemp-derived CBD products within 120 days, clearing a path for the lawful marketing of such products.

Read more HERE.​  

CBD 3 © Getty Images  MysteryShot

NSF International has unveiled a new certification program for the hemp industry, which the organization says will help address the ongoing quality questions in this sector. Read more HERE ​at our sister site NutraIngredients-USA.  

Source: Brightfield Group

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