Looking Ahead: What’s in Store for CBD in 2022?

Last week, we looked at CBD’s potential role in this seemingly endless pandemic. While it may not be the miracle cure a lot of people want, it certainly raises some questions about other ways COVID-19 might affect the CBD industry.

Understandably, media focus is mostly on the human element, such as number of infections and deaths. Antiviral drugs and vaccines are also central to the current narrative. But there are other issues lying beneath the surface that could affect several industries, CBD being just one of them. 

These issues are concerning from a business perspective, but they’re equally impactful to consumers like you. 

However, the CBD industry faced many challenges over the years, proving its resilience against constant attacks from overzealous regulators and closed-minded medical professionals. But given the extreme situation we face, can CBD businesses weather the storm and come out unscathed? We can only theorize, but based on the news we’ve seen, it’s possible to make some loose predictions. 

Pricing

One unfortunate consequence of state lockdown measures is their effect on the prices for food and commodities – which mostly show an upward trend. This problem is further compounded by the dire financial situation experienced by millions of would-be consumers. Many of these individuals struggle to pay rent, let alone invest in premium CBD supplements. 

So are consumers and businesses out of luck, or is there a silver lining? As it turns out, we’re not the first ones to ask this question. Cannabis Business Times explored the issue in 2020, with some interesting findings.

While it’s true that loss of income affected the purchasing power of middle-class earners, the resulting drop in CBD sales triggered higher supply and less demand. 

The free market did the rest. As supply grew, raw material costs went down. This allowed CBD businesses to drop prices, which suddenly made their products more accessible. 

Of course, the downside for the industry is reduced profits per item for the foreseeable future. 

But one look at the current landscape proves it’s not 2020 anymore. A lot has changed with the pandemic situation. But CBD businesses continue to roll with the punches as they did in 2020, so it’s safe to say consumers will still be able to get their hands on their favorite CBD products.

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Supply Issues

The pandemic is a logistical nightmare for several industries. We’ve all seen the reports of grocery store shelves sitting vacant as supply lines struggle to recover – an uphill battle to say the least. 

So is CBD about to face the same problem? Philipp Fuhrmann, CEO of Canx CBD Processing Corp, believes it all depends on the vendor. In his analysis of the U.S. and European CBD industries, Fuhrmann points to the same problems.

“Route changes, employee layoffs, and production shortages have all disrupted the CBD industry and its stakeholders,” he explains. The main problem, Furhmann argues, is how well-prepared a company is.

“Distributors with poor supply management solutions in place, however, may have especially struggled,” he adds. Sadly, it seems a lot of CBD vendors weren’t prepared. According to Fuhrmann, “…the U.S. CBD market growth was 10-15% of its pre-COVID projections for 2020.

Essentially, the CBD market was hit so hard that growth dropped by 85-90%. That’s jaw-droppingly horrifying for hemp extract supporters, but there’s one bit of good news. As Fuhrmann explains, the lack of growth “…was largely due to a change in consumer behavior as opposed to a change in demand.” 

In other words, the problem isn’t that people don’t want to buy CBD. They don’t have the disposable income to spend on what many consider a luxury rather than a necessity. People who can live without it have no problem cutting CBD from their monthly budget, but they plan to buy again once the pandemic stops affecting their wallets.

New Research and New Hype

Sales figures aside, one thing that seems unstoppable is public interest. Even the FDA recently allowed a clinical trial to test CBD’s effectiveness against certain drug addictions. 

Then there’s the biggest piece of CBD news since the pandemic started. A recent study, in the eyes of many, “proved” that CBD can “cure” COVID-19. Although the study’s results were promising, the experiments were done using synthetic CBD and conducted on human tissues, not live subjects. 

But to the average layperson who’s both tired and afraid of the virus, this kind of news is more than welcome. After all, CBD is readily available while antiviral drug supplies are still short. 

However, as we mentioned last week, the study isn’t conclusive. People need to set realistic expectations. It’s quite possible CBD can build up a strong defense against the novel coronavirus, but we need a lot more research to prove it. 

On the other hand, jumping to conclusions about CBD is still better than drinking bleach. 

Why Does This All Matter?

The current situation matters for different reasons, depending on who you are. For some, CBD may no longer be accessible, even with the sudden price drops. 

Some CBD businesses might suffer if they can’t push their products due to supply chain issues. 

Fake or unproven medical claims have always been a problem. But considering the high stakes, we can’t afford any more misguided hype or false information. 

Finally, there’s the biggest problem plaguing the industry. Unscrupulous vendors are everywhere, and they’ll capitalize on the COVID-19 research. An unsuspecting customer might let their guard down and feel invulnerable to the virus simply because someone marketed a lie. 

Tessera Naturals has always stood by its products for quality, purity, and safety. We also won’t misrepresent industry news, no matter how flattering it may be. Whether it’s the virus, the economy, or exaggerated hype, we all need to remember to stay grounded in reality.

Key Takeaways

  • COVID-19 has reduced demand for CBD, resulting in price drops.
  • Supply issues could make it harder for customers to buy their favorite CBD products.
  • Research into CBD continues, but misunderstandings generate hype.
  • Never use CBD in an attempt to protect yourself or treat COVID-19.

Can CBD Treat COVID-19? What’s Changed Since 2020

In March of 2020, we took a look at the novel coronavirus and CBD’s place in the pandemic – if any. To say a lot has changed would be an understatement. 

Although a lot of uncertainty remains, we’ve managed to unravel a lot of the mystery behind COVID-19. Unfortunately, the virus quickly skips ahead researchers, leaving the medical community spinning its wheels in the mud. 

Of course, the endless swarm of Google-educated doctors hasn’t helped, nor did the many unscrupulous CBD vendors pushing cannabidiol as a miracle cure for COVID. 

The irony, however, is that these malicious parties may have accidentally been right – albeit for the wrong reasons. New research into CBD found potential evidence that CBD could help treat the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

Naturally, this is huge news for cannabis medicine and CBD proponents, but is it concrete enough to take seriously? How can CBD help with COVID, if at all? Before getting too excited, let’s dig deeper into the surprising discovery. 

Where We Are Now (January 14th, 2022)

It seems like forever ago that COVID-19 first made a name for itself. Initially discovered in Wuhan, China, experts believed the virus came from bat carcasses in so-called “wet markets.” 

Many argue that the virus resulted from an alleged lab leak and some wild conspiracy theories involving Bill Gates, 5G, the NWO, and more. 

But one thing we can’t deny is COVID’s impact on the world. Economies are in shambles, while healthcare workers quit in swarms, unable to handle the influx of patients. Debates rage on about vaccine mandates while caseloads and death tolls mount. 

And let’s not forget how much the virus itself changed. The Delta variant threw us for a loop, but our vaccines held their own. Now, the Omicron virus is in full swing. Unlike Delta, Omicron is more virulent and has an easier time evading the immunity provided by COVID-19 vaccines. 

When we looked at the situation in 2020, around 200,000 COVID-19 cases were reported across roughly 170 countries. Those numbers didn’t age well.

According to the World Health Organization, there have been over 315 million cases, with nearly three million in the last 24 hours – a far cry from the mere 200,000 in 2020. Despite COVID’s low mortality rate, the sheer volume of infections has so far led to over 5.5 million deaths worldwide.

But on a positive note, many countries boast high vaccination rates, and approvals for groundbreaking antiviral drugs could change the game. 

So while the number of cases (and deaths) has grown exponentially since our last check-in, recent discoveries provide renewed hope rather than a dark tunnel of uncertainty. 

And CBD may finally have a place among the latest COVID advances. 

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CBD and COVID: What Does the Research Say?

Before we dive in, there’s the obligatory disclaimer. Although the research we’ll look at is promising, it’s far from conclusive. This isn’t an open invitation to rely on CBD as your sole protection (or cure) against the novel coronavirus. 

However, the recent findings are huge eye-openers that help us further understand CBD’s impact on the immune system, along with its antiviral and antimicrobial properties.

Additionally, some studies suggest a connection between the endocannabinoid system (ECS), immune system, and CBD. With those in mind, it’s not a massive leap to at least hope CBD could arm our bodies against a potential COVID invasion. 

The Study

Researchers from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada, examined the effects of synthetic CBD on the SARS-CoV-2 virus. The study, available in BioRxiv, still hasn’t gone through peer review – so again, take it with a grain of salt.

According to the University of Waterloo’s news report, scientists examined the antiviral response in human kidney cells, specifically against three proteins from the novel coronavirus genome. 

Lead investigator Robin Duncan explains that they used kidney cells due to how they react to infection. According to Duncan, cells in areas like the lungs and digestive tract respond to infections before the immune system joins in. This acts as a sort of “first line of defense.” 

When working correctly, the antiviral reaction attacks and destroys the virus’ genome, triggering a sort of “controlled cell death” known as “apoptosis.” This helps reduce the viral load by killing off many infected cells before your immune system joins the fight.

The problem is that this initial reaction is weak with COVID-19, making it much easier for the virus to slip by virtually unchecked. But according to the study’s findings, CBD could be the solution.

Duncan and his team combined CBD with the viral proteins responsible for triggering apoptosis. He explains that adding cannabidiol substantially improved the healthy cells’ activation of apoptosis. 

This discovery could mean that, while CBD won’t cure COVID, it could strengthen us against it to reduce the severity of infection, lightening the load on hospitals and bringing down death rates. 

Fellow researcher Maria Fernandes reached a similar conclusion. “This suggests CBD at the right dose could help cells be in a better state of readiness to respond to a virus, but it doesn’t cause a response unless there is a need,” she says.

What Does This Mean?

The discovery – like all preliminary research – means we should perform more detailed, controlled experiments. The experts behind this study all emphasize that no supplement – CBD or otherwise – is a viable substitute for conventional health measures, such as masks, social distancing, approved antivirals, or vaccines. 

But as the reality of COVID’s permanency sinks in, the idea of synthesizing a CBD-derived antiviral drug seems increasingly appealing. Perhaps Epidiolex, a CBD-derived epilepsy drug, could find a new use to provide some relief in this pandemic. 

Or perhaps CBD holds more secrets in the fight against COVID-19. Wherever the truth lies, we can’t deny that cannabidiol’s skill set seems to grow by the day. 

Key Takeaways

  • The COVID-19 situation is undeniably worse.
  • New research suggests CBD could help the body respond more effectively to a COVID infection.
  • CBD may also prepare healthy cells to form a more robust defense against COVID.
  • Research is still preliminary and hasn’t been peer-reviewed.
  • CBD is not a substitute for conventional medical care.

Can CBD Help Treat Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder (a.k.a. “alcoholism”) is one of the most common – and notorious – addictions, affecting roughly 15 million people in the U.S. every year. What’s even more alarming is that just 10% of those with alcohol use disorder obtain treatment.

There are many reasons people don’t seek help, such as economic and environmental factors that limit access. Consequently, death rates from alcohol consumption continue to mount, costing about 88,000 American lives every year. 

Recent CBD research, however, has shown promising results for curbing addictive tendencies. While far from conclusive, some experts believe that CBD could help treat alcoholism.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder? 

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, alcohol use disorder (AUD)  refers to “…a medical condition characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite adverse social, occupational, or health consequences.”

In other words, if your life revolves around consuming alcohol – regardless of how it affects you or others – there’s a good chance you have AUD and should seek help. 

Health Risks of Alcohol Use Disorder

It’s no secret that alcoholism carries a wide range of risks that take their toll on your physical and mental health. Some of these consequences range from minor to potentially life-threatening. 

A few dangers of alcoholism include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Liver damage
  • Cancer
  • Risky behavior
  • Accidents
  • Negative social and family consequences
  • Job loss

These are just a few of many possible problems that may permanently harm your life and potentially drag down those around you. 

If you think you have an alcohol abuse issue, it’s critical that you speak to a doctor. Meanwhile, however, let’s see what CBD can offer. 

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Alcohol and the Endocannabinoid System

The endocannabinoid system (ECS) is a complex network of receptors (CB1 and CB2) and internally-produced cannabinoids (endocannabinoids). The CB1 and CB2 varieties – located in the central and peripheral systems respectively – bind to cannabinoids, allowing our bodies to harness their benefits. 

While nature developed this system for endocannabinoids, it works the same way with external ones (phytocannabinoids) like CBD and THC. 

But what’s surprising is that alcohol can directly affect the ECS. Persistent, excessive drinking can throw off the delicate balance of endocannabinoids, enzymes, and compounds the ECS relies on to function properly. 

One 2007 study on rodents discovered a direct link between alcohol and endocannabinoids. Specifically, researchers noticed that long and short-term alcohol use affected the levels of anandamide and 2-AG – the two main endocannabinoids – in the brains of rats. 

The ECS is critical for maintaining a state of internal equilibrium called “homeostasis.” When thrown off by alcohol or any other substance, the resulting imbalance can lead to a host of mental and physical health issues.

Consequently, people may experience problems like depression and anxiety, which are contributing factors in the development of alcohol use disorder.  

What Happens When You Take CBD With Alcohol?

Nothing will happen if you take CBD with alcohol. While CBD is known to reduce cannabis intoxication by blocking the reuptake of THC, the same can’t be said about CBD.

For instance, a 2015 review of existing literature in Sage Journals discovered that CBD didn’t reduce or prevent alcohol intoxication.

CBD’s reported anti-nausea effects may help prevent vomiting from excessive alcohol consumption, but this is dangerous. While unpleasant, throwing up is your body’s way of purging harmful substances. Suppressing that reaction increases the risk of alcohol poisoning. 

CBD and Addiction

Over the past few years, preliminary research showed promising results for CBD as a treatment for drug addiction. The opioid epidemic is a huge concern for public health and law enforcement officials. This prompted the FDA to greenlight a human clinical trial to see whether CBD can help reduce or eliminate dependence on narcotics. 

Once complete, this will be the most in-depth, conclusive study of its kind, rivaling the groundbreaking CBD epilepsy studies that gave rise to Epidiolex. 

But could CBD be effective at curbing alcohol use as well? 

Can CBD Reduce Alcohol Consumption?

Evidence is slim, but it still shows that CBD could help reduce the desire to use alcohol. One 2018 rat study showed that cannabidiol provided impulse control that helped curb consumption among cocaine and alcohol addicted rats. Most notably, however, was that these effects lasted up to five months after the researchers stopped CBD treatment. 

A large 2019 review of existing literature covered a broad mix of human and animal research. Not only were there clues that CBD could reduce human alcohol intake, but it may also offer neuroprotective benefits to mitigate alcohol-related brain damage. 

CBD and Other Treatment Methods

While some researchers look for evidence that CBD alone can help treat alcohol use disorder, some experts explored it as a tool to boost existing conventional options. 

Naltrexone is an FDA-approved drug designed to help treat people with AUD. But in 2018, researchers wanted to see if CBD could help boost Nalterxone’s success rate. 

The study, which was performed exclusively on mice, showed that CBD and Naltrexone were more effective together than individually at lowering alcohol use. 

CBD for Harm Reduction

Unfortunately, substance abuse isn’t an easy thing to address. That’s why harm reduction should also be an important tool as patients continue their journey to recovery. 

It’s common knowledge that alcohol affects your liver. While drinking in moderation makes the organ work harder, continuous and excessive alcohol use significantly increases the chances of permanent liver damage. 

But a 2019 review published in Frontiers in Pharmacology noted that CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties may help prevent liver inflammation. Mitigating this response can help protect the liver from long-term damage. 

The Bottom Line: Can CBD Help Reduce Drinking?

Unfortunately, all the evidence we have is preliminary and mostly animal-based. While there’s plenty of hope, we don’t have nearly enough proof to conclusively say if CBD can curb drinking. 

But with the FDA already (finally) looking into CBD’s role in fighting drug addiction, there’s a chance they may expand to AUD research as well.

Meanwhile, we shouldn’t jump to conclusions. Until experts learn more about the link between CBD and alcohol use disorder (if any), it’s best to stick with conventional methods.

If you have a drinking problem, there are plenty of resources and options out there, so speak to a doctor or mental health professional to see what’s available. 

Key Takeaways

  • Alcohol use disorder affects about 15 million Americans
  • 88,000 people in the U.S. die every year as a direct result of alcohol consumption
  • CBD may help reduce the urge to drink
  • Cannabidiol’s anti-inflammatory and neuroprotective properties might protect the brain and liver from alcohol-related damage
  • Speak to your doctor immediately if you think you have alcohol use disorder