When I booked my flight and ticket to the first-ever World CBD Awards in Barcelona, I did wonder whether it was going to be worth the money, so I decided to go for the cheapest option and only attend the conference.
As it turned out, my only regret was the fact that I didn’t attend the full two and a half days because the organisers put on a very impressive event, from the location – the Pullman Skipper hotel, to the line up of expert speakers and from what I gathered from the other delegates, the evening entertainment!
Considering the current popularity of CBD, it would have been easy for the organisers to indulge in a dose of back-slapping and self-congratulations but instead they chose the theme ‘We can do better.’
When they decided upon this, they weren’t to know that a few weeks before the Awards a major report highlighting concerns over the quality of CBD products currently being sold in UK retailers and online would be released.
It was both a timely reminder and a timely theme from the WCA that acknowledged the work that needs to be done to improve standards in this growing but still unregulated industry.
“The CBD Awards will act as the Gold standard of the industry”James Cumminskey, Group CEO
The international audience came from all sectors of the industry and included CBD brands and businesses, investors, scientists, industry experts and farmers.
The speakers, experts from the worlds of CBD and cannabis, came from the fields of medicine, product, compliance and research and didn’t shy away from detailing the problems the industry is facing.
There were some hair-raising stories about the early days of CBD in the US and predictions for just how big this market will become.
One of the predictions was that whilst Europe is currently around five years behind the US, the European market, due to its size, is eventually expected to overtake the US.
On the subject of regulation, the opinion was that once the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has decided how it wants to regulate the US CBD market this will likely become the standard adopted internationally.
It was refreshing that the conference was so open, not just about the industry’s challenges but also in recognising the need for it to raise the bar and work together towards developing a level of self-governance and standardisation on things like labelling and product testing, sooner rather than later.
This can only be a good thing and will help to build trust and transparency so that consumers have the information they need to be able to recognise a good CBD product from a bad one.
For me, one of the biggest surprises of the conference was the level of innovation that’s quietly taking place within the industry to overcome some of the most common challenges. Here are my key takeouts.
Using DNA profiling to find the right dosage
When it comes to taking CBD oil a frequent question is how much should we be taking for it to be effective. This particular concern could soon be a thing of the past thanks to DNA profiling technology which is helping to remove the trial and error aspect by providing consumers with personalised recommendations on the correct dosage, as well as information on how your particular genetic makeup will metabolise cannabinoids like CBD and THC.
Building trust with blockchain
With recent reports raising concerns about the quality of some of the CBD products currently being sold in stores and online, blockchain technology could be a potent weapon in helping to build more confidence in the industry.
Blockchain provides complete transparency by ensuring the complete manufacturing chain – from soil to bottle – is tracked so the true quality of CBD products can be recorded which will help to give consumers greater knowledge and trust in what they’re buying.
In keeping with the overall theme of ‘We can do better,’ the Awards recognised the achievements of companies that are striving to stand out as ‘clean, ethical and innovative’ in a wide range of categories. The winners were:
- Best Clinically Proven Brand: Hemptouch
- Bests Social Media Campaign: Mile High Labs
- Product Safety Award: Mile High Labs
- Most Charitable Company: Warfighter Hemp
- Industry Recognition Award: Canateq Holdings Corporation
- Best Tincture: Relyf
- CBD Innovation Award: GrowthCell Global Corp
- Most Loved Brand: Quantum Biomed Farms
- Best Pet Range: Mojo Pet Supplements
- Best Cream/Balm: Nature’s Root
- Best Vape: Happease
- Best CBD Flower: CBD420 by JKB Research SA
- Best Edible Product: Relyf
Roll on next year
Although I didn’t attend the entire event, I saw enough of this year’s to know that The World CBD Awards are set to become a highlight in the CBD events calendar. If the organisation and calibre of speakers are as good as this year, next year’s event will be even bigger and better.