Coronavirus and the Hemp & CBD Industry: Here’s What We Know
We all know the drill by now – no large gatherings, social distancing, travel restrictions, store, restaurant and bars closed. Business and commerce is grinding to a slow crawl for the vast majority of the population. It’s almost impossible to not see daily coronavirus (or COVID-19) updates everywhere you look – the news, social media, company websites, local and community updates (the latest from the CDC can be found here). We wanted to do a round up on what we know so far about how the coronavirus is impacting the hemp and CBD industry.
Let’s break it down.
Trade Shows & Expos Cancelled
Trade shows and expos, regardless of industry, are taking a hit, the hemp and CBD industry included. ExpoWest, the largest natural products tradeshow in the world with an anticipated 85,000 attendees, was cancelled. Every other industry event, festival or expo coming up – internationally – has been cancelled. SXSW in Austin, NoCo in Denver, Spannabis in Spain, CannaTech & PsyTech in Isreal, 420 Vacncouver, just to name a few. Some of these have already been rescheduled – check the show websites for the latest – others will most likely come back bigger and better next year. Right now it’s looking like the back half of 2020 will be heavy with shows, but we’ll have to sit tight for specifics, once we come out of this initial forced isolation (as of the time of this article writing, California is basically on lockdown).
That doesn’t change the fact that companies and businesses that were counting on the bump in customers, sales and leads that would come from having a presence at these big shows. Many had already secured printed materials, giveaways, made travel and staffing arrangements for the shows scheduled in March and April. These companies are going to be forced to pivot and get creative, rethinking or retooling their strategies.
Supply Chain Changes
China has worn the crown of being the largest hemp producer in the world and also manufactures a significant percentage of vape hardware (like LED hardware, vape cartridges and batteries) and packaging for both CBD and THC products sold in the US. It’s also ground zero for the coronavirus (specifically, Wuhan City in Hubei Province). Exporting and transportation is on lockdown to try and control the spread of the virus even more. What does that mean for companies and manufacturers stateside? The first thing, obviously, is they have to take a look at their own supply chain and find alternative suppliers of either the raw goods or hardware and packaging components.
The hardest hit are those brands who rely on the inexpensive, lower quality products imported from China that they relied on. “It’s going to hurt everyone, especially low-cost crappy vape companies, hardware companies, anyone who’s undercutting big brands, anyone who does their manufacturing (in China) – it’s going to hurt all of them,” Nic Easley, CEO of 3C Consulting said.
The lack of imported (and lower quality) hemp crops from China could, on the other hand, mean more opportunities for US farmers, in the US market and with international demand. US hemp crops are higher quality and lead to a better end product. All this will help chip away at China’s dominance in the industry. On the flip side, joint research that is taking place between US and Chinese researchers on hemp crops is severely impacted. Impacting joint research that is going on between US and Chinese hemp camps. But it’s not just oversees research that is impacted. The National Hemp Research & Education meeting was also
postponed. This meeting of the minds, sponsored by the USDA and National Institute of Food and Agriculture was going to focus on hemp genetics, management practices and supply chains. They also planned to unveil the results of the national hemp survey. This information would have been especially useful for first-time growers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York.
The Consumer Demand for CBD
Proponents have long championed the benefits of CBD, including anti-anxiety, anti inflammatory, anti-nausea and vomiting, anti-bacterial, and more. While the only FDA approved treatment is for seizures, many would argue that the benefits are irrefutable. I don’t think anyone is arguing that CBD is going to fight the coronavirus, it can help strengthen the immunity system and provide overall health benefits. But brands are well served to stay far away from making any claims about CBD and the coronavirus, there just isn’t any proof.
Hemp is full of beneficial ingredients that are good for us – Omega 3, 6 and 9, fiber, protein, over 100 phytocannabinoids, minerals, vitamins. Learn about these details in a recent article where we highlighted the language of hemp and CBD. These are all things that will help boost our immunity systems, and in the case of the coronavirus or the flu or a common cold, a stronger immunity system will better position you to put up a good fight.
But consumers don’t just want CBD for themselves. There is a huge market for CBD-based pet products, particularly for dogs. CBD offers the same benefits to dogs that it does to humans, and pet parents are taking notice, giving their dogs the same opportunity to benefit. In 2017, the pet CBD industry was estimated to be $8 million. In just five years, that number is expected to jump to nearly $1.2 billion. CBD is said to play a more significant role in treating canine coronavirus than the human variation, mainly due to its anti-inflammatory, anti-viral and anti-nausea and vomiting properties. In canines, the virus presents as an intestinal infection.
We’re learning more about the coronavirus everyday, and as we adjust to our new reality, whether it proves to be temporary or long-term, industries will learn how to adjust so they can continue to thrive. The hemp and CBD industry is just getting started in the States, and still has a lot to be figured out, even before the onset of COVID-19.
It’s a lot to keep track of and a lot to follow, but we’re here to help. If you have any questions or need to find resources, reach out to our team of qualified consultants here at WhereZhemp. Don’t forget to join the WhereZhemp directory if you haven’t yet, now it’s more important than ever to stay connected and be a part of a nationwide network of hemp and CBD professionals.
Visit www.wherezhemp.com or call 1-800-242-5917 to get started today.