At the California Cannabis Business Expo on March 8, 2017, entrepreneurs and investors interested in the science and technology of medical cannabis were given a crash course in the future of cannabis, and cannabidiol, as an alternative to pharmaceuticals by Hemp Business Journal founder Sean Murphy.
While many would liken the future of cannabis in medicine as a big idea to be discovered or a question to be solved, Murphy sees the situation as more of a dragon than a question — a beast to be slain, not a riddle to be solved.
With more than 70 million Americans set to reach age 60 within the next decade, according to Murphy, the dragon that needs slaying is the one that will solve how to provide those 70 million people with quality healthcare; and Murphy sees it leading to medical cannabis and one of its most useful compounds, CBD.
Currently there are two ways of producing CBD, one that involves growing cannabis and one that involves growing hemp, with hemp carrying only .03% THC. While both processes produce similar results, Murphy said that cannabis-based CBD is subject to more restrictions than hemp-based CBD.
Although pharmaceutical companies still sell the lion’s share of CBD-based products, Murphy predicts that the internet and wellness retailers will start to catch up, setting the stage for conflict.
“The data would suggest it’s going to be a battle,” Murphy said. “People don’t like it when I get up and I tell them that this is going to happen, but it’s in the data and every conversation.”
Without calling a winner, Murphy predicts that the market’s evolution will create new channels in which one will be able to acquire CBD and CBD-related products, which in turn will change the way in which we classify both CBD and medical cannabis.
“I don’t want to say that medical cannabis is going to replace pharmaceuticals, but there’s going to be different channels of sales,” said Murphy. “If you’re in the pharmaceutical world, you’re in pharmaceuticals. If you’re in natural product supplements, and you aren’t in the pharmaceutical game, you’re in one of these other categories or several of them.”