When I first came to Colorado in 2014 as the Senior Sales Engineer for Apeks Supercritical (a CO2 extraction technology industry leader), cannabis was starting to absolutely blow up. CBD and industrial hemp, however, were nowhere near where they are today. Besides people who were really in the know, there was almost no public knowledge of CBD and its potential benefits. Many of my current employees had never even heard of it back then.
When I first started hearing about it, I was incredibly interested right away. All of the medicinal benefits of cannabis, without the high that many people don’t want...and it’s legal in all 50 states? It honestly sounded too good to be true. I spent all of my free time learning as much as I possibly could about it, and by the end of 2016 I decided to take a leap of faith and start Extract Labs.
In the time since the company was formed, the CBD market has absolutely exploded. Public knowledge and acceptance is finally starting to catch up a bit, and a lot of people are willing to give it a shot. This market boom comes with some tremendous positives, and some concerning negatives.
On the positive side of things, so many people have improved their lives with the help of CBD. There are seriously countless stories - this is by far the most rewarding part of my job. Hearing about how this naturally occurring, non-psychoactive compound has helped people get off harmful prescription drugs, helped alleviate their crippling pain, helped them overcome serious anxiety...these stories really make everything worth it.
On the other hand, there is a serious lack of quality control and transparency throughout the industry as a whole. There are a ton of people out there who see the money being made in this industry, and they want their piece of the pie. There’s nothing inherently wrong with this - it only becomes a problem when the bottom line is the only priority. A lot of these companies are selling isolate that came from halfway across the world, and there’s been no lab testing done on anything. Some people are just middle-manning as much as they possibly can, with no emphasis on quality. A lot of them never even have the isolate in their own hands, it is strictly bought and sold like a commodity.
While there are still a lot of kinks to work out across the board, I am still very optimistic about the future of CBD and the industry surrounding it. There’s a lot of catching up to do to get where the marijuana industry is, but I have faith that collectively, we will figure it out. CBD is such a game changer, and I think more and more people will begin to realize that.
Author Bio: Craig Henderson is the founder and CEO of Boulder, CO based Extract Labs. Extract Labs is producer of high quality, hemp derived CBD products. Craig is originally from California, but has spent years living all over the country; Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky and even Hawaii were all once home for him. Craig holds both a Bachelor’s and Master’s of Engineering from the University of Louisville. He is considered an expert of cannabis extraction, and has spoken at over a dozen industry trade shows.