“There seems to be a lot of companies trying to get into the popular space, and lots of new and different products coming out almost daily.”
All cannabinoids, including CBD which is most commonly derived from industrial hemp and contains less than 0.3% THC (meaning you can’t get high from it), are regulated under Canada’s new Cannabis Act implemented when marijuana was legalized on October 17, 2018. However, there continues to be a lot of “grey areas” within the regulations. Many Canadian grass roots companies who were operating prior to cannabis legalization are still trying to figure out, and catch up with, the new requirements and guidelines.
Maritime CBD, an Atlantic Canada company, sells its Monarch CBD products online and attends events and farmers’ markets to promote them. Some of the Monarch CBD products include: CBD oil, bath bombs, body butter and a balm. All of their products are made with a 99 per cent CBD isolate synthesized from the hemp plant. Their most popular product is the Monarch 1000MG CBD+MCT, which is a tasteless CBD oil with medium-chain triglyceride oils, like coconut, marketed as safe for all mammals – humans and pets.
The founder of Maritime CBD got into the business after seeing countless family, friends and pets find relief with CBD products, while having trouble finding them at a fair price. “Our sales have basically been the same since legalization,” says Jay (who didn’t want his last name mentioned, due to the aforementioned grey areas), founder of Maritime CBD. “We get a lot of repeat business. Once we sell to a customer, it seems they repeat the order every one to two months. We still carry the same Monarch products we started with and try to keep (the) selection focused around the oil with some creams and skin products sprinkled in.”
Another Canadian CBD company, KaliKare, is located on Canada’s west coast, but also ships their CBD wellness products across Canada. In fact, their oldest customer is a 100-year old Nova Scotia woman. “Our main demographic is actually seniors, because of their needed pain relief,” says Callie Barry, owner of KaliKare.
KaliKare carries three labels—a CBD line made from the bud of the industrial hemp, plus a THC line (derived from the marijuana plant) and a CBD/THC line. Their most recent CBD product, in response to covid-19, is a hand sanitizer, which gives you the anti-inflammatory and pain relief benefits of CBD applied topically when you’re needing to sanitize your hands frequently. Research has shown that the topical use of CBD helps relieve the inflammation and pain from osteo-arthritis.
“I started KaliKare because I have severe osteoarthritis in my foot,” says Barry. “It got to the point where I didn’t know what I was going to do to get around my house–I was using a walking stick. I thought what next? At the very same time a friend came by with CBD lotion and I used it on my foot. My husband used it on his hands, and gave some to my mom and friends, and pretty soon everyone was going ‘wow, this stuff is amazing’.”
But, not surprisingly, big companies are getting in on the CBD craze as well. An Arcview Market Research survey forecasts that the US market for CBD sales will reach more than $45 billion by 2024. In September of 2019, Shopify announced a CBD platform for hemp-derived cannabidiol products. So far, the platform is only available to US merchants, and the products can only be sold in certain states where CBD is permitted by law. Clothing retailer American Eagle is starting to sell CBD-infused lotions, muscle balms and aromatherapy.
A Belgian textile company, Devan Chemicals, is weaving microcaps of CBD into textiles like bedding and sleepwear, so when the fabric touches the body the caps break and release it into the body as a sleep aid. They have also partnered with Acabada, a luxury activewear brand, to launch a CBD-infused apparel line, recognizing the positive effects of CBD on pain and inflammation and the fact that athletes are already embracing CBD as part of their training and recovery programs.
“There seems to be a lot of companies trying to get into the popular space, and lots of new and different products coming out almost daily,” says Jay. “I think for a while, you are going to see CBD be almost like a gimmick—in every drink and water and thing you can buy for high prices.”
Most people purchase CBD for its health and wellness effects. Jay says he used to have crippling daily back pain and took every kind of drug imaginable. “Now I take 25 mg of CBD per day and my back rarely hurts anymore. It’s obviously not some miracle cure, and you do have to try living healthier as well, but it definitely helps your mood and just about every aspect.”
“CBD works differently for every person but almost seems to work like a vitamin and just makes you feel better overall,” continues Jay. “I’ve given it to just about every friend, family member, and pet that me and my wife know, and most of them take it religiously now. I find a pattern where almost every order I get turns into a monthly thing, so that, to me, shows that it is working.”
According to Harvard Medical School, the strongest scientific evidence for the effectiveness of CBD is treating childhood epilepsy syndromes. Studies also suggest that CBD ingested or applied topically may help with anxiety and sleep issues, chronic pain and arthritis inflammation. Studies to further substantiate CBD’s effects for these medical issues, and more, are continuing.
Although there’s not yet definitive scientific research on the effectiveness of using CBD to treat pets, there’s a ton of anecdotal evidence from pet owners. At least half of Maritime CBD’s customers also use their products on their dogs. “We also supply a few dog walkers and dog-sitters, and pets just seem to love the oil. They have CBD receptors in their brains just like all mammals, and it seems to make them more happy and healthy. I used to have an elderly cat that would come running from anywhere he was when he heard the clang of the bottle,” says Jay.
While all the science may not yet be in when it comes to this versatile wellness supplement, it certainly seems like its future is bright. “Just give it a try,” says Jay. “It’s not going to work for every single person but it might for you. I always tell people not to expect an instant cure–it needs to build up in your body like a supplement. Most people don’t even realize it’s working until they stop using it and start getting aches and pains again.”
Kate Robertson is a freelance journalist living in the Kootenay Mountains of British Columbia. She specializes in travel, food, wellness and outdoor adventure writing. She’s contributed to publications like Canadian Traveller, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet and Zagat Stories. You can follow Kate on Instagram @kateflysolo101 and on Twitter @kateflyingsolo, or check out her work at her website.
All photo credits: Courtney Edgar, a journalist, photographer and writer currently based in New Brunswick. She has worked as a reporter in Ontario, Quebec and Nunavut. Follow her on Instagram @marmaladedroppr.
All illustration credits: Megan Hunt, an Inuk artist and animator living in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Follow her on Instagram @mutecutes.
(Disclaimer: CBD companies emphasize that their products are intended to be used as a supplement and should not be used to replace any medications. Customers who purchase CBD products should speak with a medical professional before making any medical decisions.)