Why is CBD all the Rage?
Author: Dani Lipkin, TMX Group
TMX POV | Why is CBD all the Rage?

It's only been in the last few months that consumers have been introduced to CBD and its potential benefits; we're at the beginning, the industry has just leapt out of the starting blocks. While CBD has been dominating recent headlines, many consumers and investors are left asking "what exactly is CBD" and perhaps, most importantly, "why is everyone talking about it"?

At the end of 2018, the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (the "Act") or Farm Bill 2018, as it is commonly known, was signed by President Donald Trump. The Act encompasses a wide variety of programs, ranging from food stamps and crop insurance programs, to subsidies for starting new farms and ranches, but what stood out for many was the legalization of industrial hemp.

Where does CBD fit into the Farm Bill?

The passage of the Act meant that hemp-derived products were no longer considered a Schedule I product under the Control and Substance Act. As a result, hemp-derived cannabidiol (also known as, CBD) is now legal.

Without getting into the science of CBD (if you are interested, you can learn more here), it's worth mentioning that CBD differs from marijuana because it contains no more than 0.3% (by dry weight) THC (THC is the psychoactive element of cannabis). While there is still vast amounts of medical research to be done on CBD, there is some evidence that it can help with children's seizures and can also help manage anxiety and insomnia.

What does this mean for the CBD industry?

A recent study by Cowen & Co. found that up to 7% of Americans are using CBD. It also found that in 2018, sales were estimated to be between $600M-$2B, but with the recent increase in awareness and regulatory changes, estimates show that the market could grow to $16B in sales by 2025.

You might be thinking, how is that possible? Well, it only took a few months before we began to see how this astronomical growth could actually happen; CVS and Walgreens have already begun to sell CBD across the U.S, and many apparel and accessories retailers, such as Designer Brands and Urban Outfitters, have also begun selling CBD products. In short, legalization opens many large distribution channels.

Last week TSX celebrated the listing of Charlotte's Web Holding, a pioneer in the CBD industry. This marked another milestone for the Stanley Brothers, who were joined by their mother in Boulder, Colorado, to celebrate the company they founded that became famous for developing a product that would alleviate the suffering of Charlotte Figi, who suffered from a severe form of epilepsy called Dravet's Syndrome. Overlooking the Boulder Flatirons, TSX celebrated this historic listing with the company founders and management team.

Deanie Eiser, recently appointed as CEO of the company, reiterated her comments from the Q1 analyst call at the market open, stating that a TSX listing will provide: "a larger reach to international institutional investors, enhanced liquidity, specialized indices, greater visibility and opportunities for greater coverage internationally."

And while I usually see fist pumping and hooting and hollering at market opens, this one truly had an uplifting, family feel, as the brothers hugged each other throughout the ceremony, and all made sure to hug their mother.

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