Depending on to whom you listen, Cannabidiol (a.k.a. CBD) is a miracle elixir, snake oil or something in between. As an industry, CBD is a wild, wild and totally unregulated world. That can lead to outlandish claims, occasional charlatans and marketing hype that makes the golf industry look like a church bake sale. Kanibi – a higher-end maker of CBD oil – is looking to change that.
Kanibi, among others, is taking a long, slow approach to building a sustainable, profitable business. MyGolfSpy’s CBD Buyer’s Guide was our first attempt to help you separate the wheat from the chaff. That piece went into great detail on the pros, cons, myths and realities of CBD as well as what to look for when researching CBD. The purpose of this article is to share Kanibi’s unique and self-described boring approach to the industry.
Kanibi – The Boring CBD
“We’re OK being boring,” says Peter Van Newhyzen of Kanibi CBD. “We don’t need to see huge wins immediately. Our whole approach is that we’re kind of crazy about every aspect of our business. We want to be the best in every single phase.”
Pop culture has always been rife with miracle cures. Back in 1885, pharmacist Charles Alderton sold his new soft drink, Dr. Pepper, as a digestive aid that “restores vim, vigor, and vitality.” In the 1950s, Geritol was the cure for “iron-poor, tired blood.” And what your mom told you about carrots being good for your eyesight? Yeah, carrots have Vitamin A but British Intelligence concocted the eyesight story during World War II. They leaked that RAF pilots were shooting down more Nazi bombers thanks to their love of carrots. Better that than to let the Nazis know the real reason: the RAF’s new Airborne Interception Radar system.
Today, the hype over CBD seems like carrots, Geritol and Dr. Pepper all rolled into one.
“That comes back to viral marketing,” says Van Newhyzen. “Everyone wants to create a story that goes viral and gets them or their product all over the airwaves. With CBD, the people it helps are very vocal about it and that creates a lot of hype.
“If something makes you feel better, people then start to think it must have some nutritional properties or it must be some sort of antioxidant, which it’s not. As information goes from person to person, stories can change.”
Sure does sound a little like the golf industry, doesn’t it?
If you’re into analogies, then CBD is to recreational marijuana as your golf game is to Tiger’s. The materials may come from the same place but the similarities end there.
“There are a lot of educated people who take CBD who don’t look at it as being linked to marijuana,” explains Van Newhyzen. “But the less you know, the more likely you are to think it’s more of a recreational product.”
In other words, leave your weed misconceptions – and jokes – at the door.
“Kanibi wants to force some maturity into the CBD industry by driving a stiff boundary between the marijuana industry and nutraceutical-grade cannabidiol production,” says Van Newhyzen. “We aim to make CBD outgrow the stigma of its origins.”
One major stigma comes from the fact the FDA hasn’t approved CBD for much of anything. The agency has approved Epidiolex, which contains purified CBD for the treatment of epilepsy, but that’s about it. The 2018 Farm Bill legalized the sale of hemp-related products and that ultimately let the CBD genie out of the bottle.
“To give you an idea of how shady the CBD industry is, there’s a particular product that’s branded as being Hawaiian,” says Van Newhyzen. “But they’re not based in Hawaii. They have a mailbox in Hawaii but then it goes to a mailbox in Washington DC. That mailbox is owned by a media company in Belgium.”
Without industry guidelines, Kanibi is left to self-regulate, which it does diligently.
“All our products are sourced from organic hemp grown in the U.S.,” Van Newhyzen says. “We double test everything we receive. And we focus on our purity – we use clean, high-grade facilities and we focus heavily on customer service.”
Did you know CBD companies are not allowed to promote their products for pain relief?
“If you see a company doing that, they’re violating the law,” says Van Newhyzen. “It can be worked around by having a separate advertising entity making those claims, though.”
You will see companies tout their hemp cream as a pain reliever but hemp cream and CBD aren’t necessarily the same thing.
“Amazon, for example, does not allow the sale of CBD products,” says Van Newhyzen. “They do allow hemp oils, which may or may not contain CBD in them. But looking at those price points, I don’t think they’re very concentrated. I think they’re trying to sneak in with people making assumptions and trying to get a deal.”
Still, many do use CBD for pain relief. For others, CBD can help with anxiety and restlessness.
“That has to do with the body’s natural endocannabinoid system which, like all systems, can get out of balance,” he says. “That’s where CBD can have a good effect on people; it makes them feel better if they’re out of balance.”
Just in case you’re wondering, according to UCLAHealth.org, the endocannabinoid system is linked to basic bodily functions such as appetite, metabolism, pain, sleep, mood, inflammation, memory and learning.
“For some people, it can work very well at easing anxiety,” says Van Newhyzen. “But if you don’t have a problem and you take it, it’ll do nothing. We definitely don’t think everyone should be taking CBD. Not everyone needs it.”
Your Typical CBD Customer
As an aging former Deadhead, the idea of cannabis derivatives isn’t an altogether foreign concept. But one would think the primary customer for CBD would be a millennial.
One would be wrong.
“We market to our own age group mainly for anxiety, sleep and pressures people face today,” says Van Newhyzen. “But our most diligent customers are the older generation who take it for pain.”
Even though it can’t be advertised directly as a pain relief product.
“Again, according to the FDA, CBD companies can’t advertise CBD as a treatment or cure for any condition,” explains Van Newhyzen. “At Kanibi CBD, we abide by the FDA’s advertising regulations and recommend caution with brands that ignore legal compliance.”
Van Newhyzen says golfers are using Kanibi-flavored tinctures which has the highest concentration of CBD, as well as creams for topical sensations. Again, he won’t make any claims as to what they’ll do for you but he does say people have found both helpful for anxiety and pain.
“If you’re new to CBD and don’t know if you need CBD, then gummies may be your go-to product,” says Van Newhyzen. “There’s no dropper, no cream. You just pop a gummy and it tastes like a chewable vitamin.”
The Regulation Stabilization
With no industry regulation, weeding through CBD offerings can be challenging. Van Newhyzen says whatever CBD brand you choose, your first step should be to vet the company.
“I would look for third-party testing. It should be very easy to find on product pages,” he says. “If you look at some of our competitors, you’ll notice they say they do third-party testing and that they disclose it. But when you go to the product page, it’s not there.”
According to Van Newhyzen, a brand that’s highly ranked on the Forbes list of CBD companies has a third-party test page on their website. However, when you visit that page, all you’ll find is a pixilated image of a test.
Like any emerging business, you’re going to see two types of companies evolve. First will be what Van Newhyzen calls the “race-to-the-bottom” suppliers.
“They’re going to compete the only way they know how: by lowering prices and cutting corners,” he says. “This may create speed bumps for the professional adoption of CBD but we expect that to be short-lived.”
Alternatively, as the industry grows, so will professionalism.
“Professional approvals, regulatory use cases and the prevalence of CBD as a natural household item will all come,” says Van Newhyzen. “That means open and honest usage and promotion of CBD in sports, health products and personal applications.”
With so many companies popping up, it’s hard to envision any sort of regulations being enforced. That’s why Kanibi focuses on self-regulating, quality control, testing and all that other “boring” stuff.
“We’re just awaiting the purge of all these other companies,” says Van Newhyzen. “That’s when we’ll be able to make our mark.”
For more information, visit www.Kanibi.com
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