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is still determining just how to break those segments out,
especially as new products emerge. One simple option is
categorizing products as edible, nonedible, ingestible or
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seemingly looking at the category in the same light. The agency
has stated its authority to regulate food and dietary supplements containing CBD. Nonedible products are not under
the same restrictions as long as they do not make specific
health claims. So it’s not surprising that more retailers are
turning to nonedibles as a low-risk entry into the CBD business or as a profitable way to grow an existing CBD set.
Defining the ‘Nonedible’ Subsegment
Nonedible CBD products include topicals as well as beauty
and pet products.
Topicals: “Topicals are primarily focused today in the
form of balms and creams, though we expect rapid innovation,” says Ashley Grace, chief marketing officer of Roswell, Ga.-based HempFusion Inc.
Topical products can also include sprays, roll-ons, salves,
bath bombs and patches. Though these products typically
don’t enter the bloodstream in the same manner that an
ingestible product would, Blake Patterson, founder and
CEO of MarketHub Retail Services, a Denver-based distributor of hemp products, says good topical products can
be just as effective. “Any time you put something on your
skin, if it’s a good product, it’s going to find its way deeper
into your body,” he says.
Alexandra Merle, president of Floyd’s of Leadville,
Leadville, Colo., says topicals have proven especially effective for active consumers of any age.
“A tweak in the knee, tennis elbow, it gives them relief,”
she says. “With the right products, this stuff really works.”
Beauty: Somewhat adjacent to topicals, the beauty
subsegment includes CBD-infused makeup, hair products
and even beard care. While topicals tend to be used to ease
physical symptoms—stress, migraines or pain—beauty
products focus more on appearance.
“Once you drift over to the beauty category, it’s a whole
new animal,” says Patterson.
Cowen estimates that CBD beauty products will reach
$1.12 billion in sales by 2025 (on par with CBD food sales).
“There’s a new product every week,” Patterson says.
“It’s going to be in just about everything that we can consume or put in our bodies because it’s so good for them.”
Pet: Technically, pet products are edible—just not
by humans. This subsegment includes a wide variety of
options, including pet food, treats and tinctures similar
to those meant for humans. It’s fast becoming a popular
subsegment for consumers, retailers and manufacturers.
Martha Stewart is even launching a line of CBD pet prod-
ucts with Smith Falls, Ontario-based Canopy Growth Corp.
t may still be the early days of cannabidiol—a
naturally occurring compound found in can-
nabis and hemp that reportedly relieves stress
and other ailments—but the category is grow-
ing rapidly. With the potential to reach $16 billion in U.S.
sales by 2025, cannabidiol (CBD) has retailers pondering
which forms and products to invest in.
For many, the most prominent forms of CBD fall into a
segment Vivien Azer calls “nutraceuticals,” which includes
tinctures, capsules and gummies. But nutraceuticals are
hardly the only option.
“Interest is broad-based across multiple form factors,”
said Azer, managing director of New York-based Cowen,
while presenting at the CBD and the Future of Cannabis
Forum in April, an event held by WGB sister brand CSP.
“Even in the early days, usage is diverse.”
Cowen tracks six different segments: nutraceuticals,
topicals, beverages, food, beauty and vapor. Worth an
estimated $6.4 billion, nutraceuticals is the largest form.
Topical products are worth an estimated $4 billion—more
than food and beverage products combined. The industry
Nonedibles a “safer space” for retailers eager
to enter the category. By Melissa Vonder Haar
We are all
one or two