By now, most people have heard of CBD, also known as cannabidiol. As its retail presence has spread from Sephora to gas stations, it’s hard not to know about it, and by the numbers that’s not going to change. In 2020, CBD was a $4.5 billion category in the U.S., a number that is projected to grow to $16 billion by 2025 according to the Brightfield Group. As the market continues to grow at a rapid pace, the key now is to help consumers understand what makes a quality product.
In the sea of CBD products that hit the marketplace since the Farm Bill legalized hemp in 2018, it can be tricky to distinguish the good from the bad. Following the Farm Bill, a tsunami of hemp-derived CBD products became available, however, not all products are created equal, making it tricky for consumers to navigate this marketplace. “Unfortunately, if you don’t know where to start, this can undermine all of the great benefits that hemp-derived CBD has to offer,” says Kenzie Spears, Uleva Brand, maker of high quality, healthy lifestyle-focused CBD products.
Yet with the evolution of the industry, there are starting points that can help retailers and consumers find quality products. Just as with dietary supplements, this is a category where transparency, quality and consistency count.
Seed to Shelf Transparency
Just like with dietary supplements, it’s important to have transparency across a supply chain to verify that what a product says it contains is exactly that. By definition, hemp products contain no greater than 0.3% tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the compound that produces the intoxicating effects associated with marijuana. Both marijuana and hemp come from cannabis plants, but they derive from different species of these plants, allowing for them to be very different in nature. Having transparency to the seed and how a product is grown, is one key piece of ensuring a CBD product doesn’t contain more THC than it should.
That’s why creating quality CBD products truly means doing the right thing from the ground up. “Being transparent about our seed procurement, farming, manufacturing, and testing is important to us, because it allows our customers to be confident in the quality of our products. The hemp contained in Uleva-brand capsule products is grown without use of herbicides or pesticides on the crops. The seeds are carefully selected from more than 50 hemp genotypes that are government licensed for each specific crop. This, says Spears, allows Uleva to benefit from premium cultivated hemp strains.
In keeping with consumer demand for sustainable products, the farm also is Ecocert certified, which requires that the land and water meet standards for five years before the first crop. The crops are also on a four-year rotation, which, Spears adds, keeps plants and soil happy. The processing facilities are FDA/FSMA-registered and use clean CO2 extraction. There is also an annual on-site agency audit of the soil, water, and farm production records.
In a marketplace as undefined as hemp, a large part of ensuring top quality across the supply chain has to do with choosing the right partners. Partners you can trust and who have a proven track record. Final production of Uleva capsules takes place in New York, where the brand’s manufacturing partner has been focused on creating quality dietary supplements for 50 years. The facilities where Uleva is manufactured are cGMP certified and agency-inspected regularly to meet the highest standards of production. The capsules are also third-party tested for purity and quality, with results made available via a QR code on each box of Uleva.
But Uleva isn’t just about the hemp. Many Uleva formulations blend CBD with herbal and nutritive ingredients such as ashwaghanda, and melatonin that work in harmony to support your desired need state, while also generating maximum benefits. “This is the power of pairing,” says Spears. Uleva Sleep combines CBD with melatonin to help support sound sleep, while Uleva Relax harnesses the stress relieving power of ashwagandha. Intended to enhance or supplement a healthy lifestyle, these are products thoughtfully designed to provide balance to everyday life. In capsule form, projected by Brightfield Group to be the number one dosage form by 2026, they are easy to take. “At Uleva, the quality on the inside of the product is meant to enhance quality of life beyond the product,” adds Spears.