KANSAS CITY – Many companies are entering the market for edibles infused with cannabinoids (CBD) despite the potential for legal hurdles. New applications span sparkling waters, sparkling teas, candy, chewing gum, condiments and more.

The Food and Drug Administration does not currently recognize CBD as a food or beverage ingredient nor as a dietary supplement. But the agency is not stopping its use and some manufacturers are taking their chances. It’s a confusing situation that has left risk-averse food and beverage manufacturers on the outside looking in.

“The environment is actually not clear as to where we are and where we should be with CBD,” said Hilton H. Schlosberg, president, chief operating officer and chief financial officer of the Monster Beverage Corp., Corona, Calif., during an Aug. 5 conference call to discuss second-quarter financial results. “So, at this time, we have products in development, but we — it's something that we're looking at from the sidelines. And if things clear up and there are opportunities that will present themselves, it's something that we definitely will look at going forward, but not right now.”

Gummy and beverage applications are currently over 90% of the CBD edibles market with gummies the No. 1 deployment application. In 2020, the US CBD market is projected to reach $4.7 billion in sales, with 14% growth from 2019 sales of $4.1 billion, according to the Brightfield Group, a market research company that studies the market. The group forecasts CBD sales in the United States will reach $16.8 billion by 2025.

The trends driving the growth include a growing awareness of CBD’s health benefits among consumers and expanded distribution at such nationally known chains as CVS, Walgreens, Kroger and Albertson, according to the Brighfield Group.

What may drive the category even further is the awareness and usage of cannabinoids like CBG, CBC and CBN. These lesser known cannabinoids are currently being researched and may one day become additional tools in the product developer’s toolbox individually or as a blend with other cannabinoids.

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