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Canopy Growth, the biggest cannabis player in Canada is finally entering the US

Canopy, the biggest player in Canadian cannabis, is finally entering the US

CBD has been trending for the past few years with an array of products ranging from CBD-infused oil to lotion, creams, tincture, gummies, chocolates, and what not! 

Another new CBD venture is likely to make an entry into the US market. On Tuesday, BNN Bloomberg, a Canadian Business news network reported Canopy Growth- the world’s biggest legal cannabis company, worth about $6.4 billion has quietly launched a new line of CBD, called First & Free.

On its website, First & Free is selling CBD tinctures and capsules for prices ranging from $14.99 to $64.99 to customers across 31 US states. The company says a cream infused with CBD will be releasing soon in the market as well. Martha Stewart has been tapped to help enhance pet products by Canopy. A representative from the company said the website is in its testing phase right now and it is showing early signs of positive. 

First & Free represents the Ontario, Canada-based organization’s first foray into the United States market. In Canada, Canopy Growth operates prominent cannabis brands and retailers including Tweed and Tokyo Smoke. It also announced new cannabis-infused beverages, vapes, and chocolates- all newly legal categories for the consumer market in Canada. 

Since the US government has set strict limitations on the concentration of THC as 0.3% by dry weight, it is something of a Trojan horse for Canadian producers to tap the US consumers without breaking any laws. 

Back in January, Canopy Growth had announced a $100-150 million investment in a New York state “Hemp industrial park”. Then CEO Bruce Linton said he expected to roll out CBD products in the US market by the end of this year (2019). 

The Cowen and Company’s analysts estimate that US hemp-derived CBD sales in 2018 were worth between about $600 million and $2 billion. That’s a fraction of the legal cannabis market in the US including THC, that analysts at the New Frontier Data estimated was worth about $10.4 billion. 

In April, Canopy Growth made a deal to buy the New York-based Acreage Holdings, a cannabis producer for worth $3.4 billion, contingent upon federal legalization in the US. 

Cannabidiol or popularly known as CBD is a hemp-derived compound that is touted for its medical benefits. CBD is a non-psychoactive and anti-inflammatory substance that is used to alleviate the symptoms of severe diseases such as cancer, epilepsy, Alzheimer’s and even Tourette.

Many people also use CBD on a regular basis to help deal with stress, anxiety, insomnia, depression, acute pain, chronic ache, inflammation, muscle injury, back pain, etc. From celebrities to athletes, CBD has garnered a big fan base over the past year to be specific. 

The US Federal government legalized hemp, a Cannabis Sativa plant, and its derivatives with a maximum limit of 0.3% THC, the psychoactive compound in marijuana plants. When someone smokes weed or a joint, it is THC that is responsible for causing hallucinations and giving the feeling of euphoria. It tends to alter the mental balance and is often known to trigger seizures. 

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That’s why the government has put a limit to the maximum amount of THC that is permitted legally. In addition to this, the US Food and Drug Administration has not approved CBD infused products in the consumer market as it is yet to create regulatory guidelines and authorize companies to sell CBD products. 

It has only approved one cannabis-based medicine named Epidioelx, an oral solution for alleviating the symptoms of two rare and severe forms of epilepsy most commonly found in children. Apart from this, the agency hasn’t really approved any CBD product for consumption and sales. 

Despite the stringent warning from the FDA, companies continue to sell and market their CBD products with heavy medical claims. These products are usually unregulated, unauthorized and not approved clinically. The agency sent out warning letters to 15 companies that either marketed their CBD products with medical claims or did not contain what their labels read. 

The FDA seems to be scouting its way through CBD companies to identify which of them are actually working within the legal federal limits and which are running in an unregulated market. Also, consumers are recommended to properly read the labels before they buy a CBD product and verify if its legal, authorized and tested. 

Ivan writes about Cannabis at The Cannabis Radar. He has a degree in Nutrition Sciences from University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre. He likes to spend his spare time reading to his daughter or spending time with his wife.

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