LAS VEGAS — Caution was the main theme for panelists discussing new products containing cannabidiol (CBD) at the recent Tobacco Plus Expo (TPE) conference, with speakers advising retailers to ask tough questions about product quality, labeling and sourcing.
Quality control for CBD-infused products should be a high priority for retailers, said Laura Fuentes, CEO and co-founder of Green Roads, Deerfield Beach, Fla. Among the things suppliers should test for are pesticides, molds, microbes, toxins and levels of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive element in marijuana, she said. Hemp, which legally produced CBD comes from, must have a THC level of 0.3% or lower, according to the federal government.
Other important indicators of product quality are the QR codes that track product sourcing and testing, as well as third-party test results, said Bethany Gomez, managing director of Brightfield Group, a CBD research firm based in Chicago.
“No one wants to get someone sick,” Gomez said.
Held Jan. 29-31 in Las Vegas, the TPE conference and trade show featured speakers on tobacco-related topics such as vaping, nicotine pouches and combustibles.
While CBD products are somewhat of a crossover in the tobacco category, because many products are smokeable or use vaping devices, many exhibitors on the show floor featured gummies, topicals, capsules and other wellness-focused delivery forms.
Jacopo D’Alessandris, president and CEO of E-Alternative Solutions, Darien, Conn., was also on the panel. Be wary of CBD suppliers that make health claims, he said, because they could run into issues with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which is still developing its standards for CBD-infused products, especially for products people may eat or drink.
Retailers should ask suppliers tough questions, he said, such as: Are they insured? What happens in a recall?
As regulatory agencies such as the FDA begin to establish rules, D’Alessandris said many suppliers will disappear. “There are lots of cowboy brands,” he said. “When the sheriff comes to town, a lot of companies will have left. It’s a lesson we learned from vape.”