Excitement over the potential universal health benefits of CBD is hampered by the lack of regulation that leads to general mistrust of CBD products. The FDA essentially washed its hands of responsibility over CBD when it removed the substance from its Controlled Substance List in 2018, then the FD&C disclaimed regulation when it issued a statement asserting that CBD is not approved for food, supplements, or therapeutic treatment.
As a result, the mad rush of CBD brands popping up everywhere includes companies with unsavory business, agricultural, and safety practices. This is a rather unfortunate situation, given that one of the most important factors in a consumer’s decision to invest in a new health product is trust. The best CBD gummies brands have the potential to contribute a significant support to people suffering from the current state of healthcare in the United States, and to people who may be looking for more natural routes to wellness in countries where healthcare is affordable. But when consumers are wary about the safety of what they are putting into their bodies, no one benefits.
Even though the pace of growth in the CBD industry is still quite rapid, reputable CBD companies suffer most from the consequences of consumer suspicion. They are putting the money and care into making sure their products are the highest-quality and safest products out there, but they are almost indistinguishable from CBD companies that lie because documents and packaging can be altered, faked, or tampered with.
You may have heard about blockchain in the context of cryptocurrency, or the popular brand name Bitcoin, but financial services is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to what blockchain can do for the way businesses run in the future. For anyone who is fresh to the concept of blockchain, here is the quick (incredibly simplified) rundown:
Blocks refer to sets of data that are input into a system. The chain refers to the history of every change that has ever been made to that set of data. So blockchain, then, means sets of data and their input and editing history. The thing that makes blockchain so exciting is that none of this data is stored in one centralized location. Instead, blockchain data gets stored and verified over an entire peer-to-peer network of servers, and no part of the data is ever deleted. Instead, edits are simply added to the chain.
Let’s say you start with a data set, 123. Then you go back and edit that data set to be ABC instead. On a centralized system of storage, you could completely get rid of the 123 in your data set. On a blockchain system, however, the 123 entry cannot ever be deleted, and it is stored on every system that is part of the network. The data set will show as ABC, but it will have the 123 attached to its history forever. So long as the peer-to-peer network is public, anyone can access the information stored at any time.
What Does Blockchain Have to do With CBD?
Besides the fact that these are both disruptive industries fairly new to the market, blockchain can be a major support to the CBD industry as a whole. The main tenets of blockchain are decentralization, transparency, and immutability. Society as a whole could use a lot more of all these tenets in the way businesses and industries operate, but reputable CBD companies could be the big winners in their corner of the market, with the addition of blockchain.
Problems With the CBD Industry
Hemp is a bioaccumulator, which means that organic farming is essential to ensure a safe end-product. As of right now, substandard companies may or may not even know where the hemp used to make the CBD in their products came from. They could be cutting corners, buying cheaper hemp from companies entirely unregulated by agricultural oversight in other countries. When companies do get their hemp from domestic farms, they may or may not be involved in any part of the farming process.
Once the hemp has been harvested and the CBD distilled, the best CBD gummies companies have their products tested by a third-party lab. The unfortunate end of this, is that disreputable companies can fake third-party lab testing and tamper with results. Packaging for CBD products is often mislabeled as a result. Products may or may not contain the amount of CBD and/or THC listed. They also may or may not contain contaminants, heavy metals, and dangerous bacteria. True and accurate third-party lab testing verifies the safety, potency, and purity of CBD, but it doesn’t help consumer trust when results can be faked.
Blockchain Solves the Issue of Trust
Blockchain-based software can fix the problems of consumer trust from seed to product. When seeds are planted, information about their origin is input into the system, along with details verifying soil quality and exact GPS coordinates of the crop. Everything about the care of the plants gets included in the data. Some information is automated to avoid human tampering, and other information is verified.
The extraction process gets recorded before the final product is sent off to a third-party lab, where testing is also verified. Everything, everything, everything, from seed to sale gets recorded on the blockchain, accessible to everyone and never to be deleted, altered, or falsified. Consumers can look at where their CBD started, what the weather was on the second Tuesday after the hemp used in their product was planted, where the distillation process took place, which tools were used to test the final product, and what the results were.
When consumers can see everything about the ingredients in their CBD products, confidence and trust will no longer be in question. When reputable CBD companies embrace blockchain technology, that will be the beginning of a true health and wellness revolution.