A Retailers Guide to CBD Products During COVID-19

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In these challenging times when people are stuck at home and distanced from family and friends due to the coronavirus pandemic, many are looking for something to take the edge off. While drinking may be a popular choice, alcohol can fuzz the mind and the effects can linger into the next day. A more natural alternative is CBD which also may produce good feelings and positive vibes, but without any of the negative side effects. Research has touted CBD for anxiety relief, reduced inflammation, and better sleep.

Understanding CBD


Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than eighty cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. Unlike the more well-known cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), CBD is not psychoactive, meaning it will not produce a “high.” All mammals have an endocannabinoid system, and this system is involved in a variety of physiological processes including appetite control, pain sensation, mood, and memory. Cannabinoids interact with endocannabinoid receptors to cause a variety of outcomes.

When looking for CBD products, it’s important to note that some are derived from marijuana, which is regulated by each state, and some come from hemp, which is available everywhere. Marijuana is cultivated for consumption, and bred to produce flowers, which is where the cannabinoids concentrate—the flowers are what users typically consume. Traditionally, the plants we refer to as hemp were grown to make paper, clothing, and other materials. They were bred to have stronger stalks with less focus on flowers.

When the CBD craze started to take off, people began breeding and growing cannabis with less than 0.3 percent THC so it could be classified as hemp and, therefore, not regulated as intensively. Some makers still use stalk-heavy hemp material, while others now breed and grow plants with a focus on flowers that produce less THC.

Sorting through which company does what takes a bit of digging. One thing to know: Marijuana CBD available from a licensed retailer has gone through strenuous testing, as defined by each state. Tests include verifying cannabinoid content, absence of pesticides, etc. Anything sold as hemp is not subject to testing, but there are a number of “artisan hemp” producers who put their own product through testing and publish those results.

Topicals for tension

CBD is a great tool for calming anxiety and tension, and with all the newfound stressors in our current environment, this may be the ideal time to incorporate it into people’s wellness routines. Topicals are a great starting point, especially for the canna-curious. These balms, lotions, and oils are applied to the skin and can reduce tension directly where they’re applied.

Did your customer have a particularly strenuous day resulting in shoulder tension? Did they try a new home quarantine workout? Suggest a CBD lotion that can be applied before bed to help relax muscles and aid recovery while they sleep. A high-quality CBD product may even help them sleep more soundly without tossing and turning from being sore and stiff.

Balms are great for the neck, joints, and specific muscles because they really stay in place for maximum absorption, though they can be pricey. To cover a large area, like full legs or back, suggest a massage oil that can be applied liberally.

For a full body experience, look to oral CBD

In light of the COVID-19 health crisis, consumers may be hesitant to puff and pass a smokeable product. Luckily, tinctures, edibles, and sublinguals are readily available to help keep such individuals active and healthy during these stressful circumstances.

A tincture is an alcohol or oil-based formula that comes in a dropper bottle and is consumed orally. Tinctures are a safe and smokeless way to consume CBD without potentially compromising respiratory health. Tinctures can contain a variety of cannabinoids and can be strain-specific or contain complementary herbs. There are many tinctures created for specific use cases, such as sleep or calm. Tinctures are fairly popular among all types of consumers because dosages are highly customizable. They may be placed directly into the mouth or diluted in a beverage.

Edibles act in a similar way and usually are found in the form of a mint, gummy, or candy product. Because these go through the digestive system first, effects take a while to set in but last for several hours.

For a feeling closer to smoking and vaping, sublingual strips and tablets can be more fast-acting and potent compared to other types of oral CBD. Sublinguals are placed under the tongue and absorbed through the lining in the mouth directly into the bloodstream. Because they bypass the digestive system—unlike other oral methods—they have a quick onset.

The bottom line

Customers are turning to CBD because it is a plant-based alternative that can help with anxiety, tension, and stress. Remaining calm and present is more important than ever, and CBD can play an important role in alleviating both the mental and physical discomfort people are experiencing during this quarantine period.

Topicals and oral products are great ways to start experimenting. As with any cannabis journey, recommend this to your customers: Start with a low dose and go slow. Suggest that they keep a record of dosages and how it makes them feel so you can better help them dial into the right dose and product for their needs.

As a trusted resource, you can help your customers navigate this new world and curate a list of products to incorporate into their wellness regimen.

Andrea Brooks-SAVA-CBD-CBDTodayAndrea Brooks is founder and chief executive officer at Sava, a digital platform that provides e-commerce solutions for curated, high-quality cannabis goods to consumers throughout California. Since founding Sava in 2015, Brooks has applied her expertise in conducting needs assessments, developing strategic partnerships, and creating new revenue sources for the company. Under her stewardship, Sava has grown to thirty-five employees and expanded its product offering to more than forty-five brands and 400 SKUs.

Prior to Sava, Brooks served as a principle at Brooks Consulting and has consulted with non-government organizations around the world including Israel and the Palestinian Territories, Tanzania, Nigeria, and the United States. She is a co-founder of WEmpowered, a business community for female leaders in the cannabis industry, and a former recipient of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission’s Fair Housing Award for developing new programming in the fields of fair housing and reasonable accommodation for individuals with disabilities.