Charlotte, NC—From the start, cbdMD, Inc., was looking to elevate the cannabidiol (CBD) market. The company launched the cbdMD brand in December 2018, and in FY22 reported net sales of $35.4 million. What sets the company, which was the first American CBD company to be traded on the NYSE American, apart from so many CBD companies that have come and gone since the CBD market boomed? A clear mission, focus on quality, and vision to innovate and evolve to meet market needs.
The mission: Enhance people’s overall quality of life through innovative, natural products developed and manufactured under industry-leading standards. “Naturally, we don’t just stop there,” Shannon Charles, Chief Marketing Officer and Natural Products Industry Marketing Expert, tells WholeFoods Magazine. “As an industry leader, our goal is to prioritize CBD education, awareness, accessibility, and consumer advocacy in our pursuit to solidify our position as a trusted authority in health and wellness. We believe that personal empowerment starts with proper education. Start here, stay well – with cbdMD.”
On the quality front, cbdMD offers award-winning, clinically supported products for humans and pets. Offerings include high-grade, premium CBD products such as CBD tinctures, CBD gummies, CBD topicals, CBD capsules, CBD sleep aids, CBD drink mixes and an array of Farm Bill compliant Delta 9 products that are available at cbdMD.com, PawCBD.com, and thousands of retail locations, including a growing retailer and distributor base.
While the products are high potency, the price aligns with the company’s mission to help consumers while delivering quality. “Efficacy happens at higher doses, so this is really where we lead the category for the right dosage at the right price,” Charles says. All cbdMD products are also third-party lab-tested for quality and consistency, and derived from U.S. hemp. That's not just good for consumers. As Charles notes: “By formulating effective products, you can level up the entire industry.”
Innovating in 2023
cbdMD is expanding its offerings, branching out into non-CBD categories such as nutraceuticals and nootropics to diversify. This summer, the company launched hemp-derived Delta 9 THC + CBD gummies: UPLIFT, ELEVATE, and RELAX. This is the brand’s first line designed to give a specific strain-like experience, and the products are formulated to provide users with a gentler experience and a daily routine for energy and focus, stress relief, and calming effects. The gummies are vegan and gluten-free, as well as Farm Bill Compliant, and legal to purchase in most states.
• UPLIFT provides 25mg of caffeine for extra energy with the THC & CBD for a Sativa-style experience, all in a watermelon flavor.
• ELEVATE features a bright lemon flavor in a balanced hybrid Sativa & Indica style blend to provide a better mood and steady chill.
• RELAX offers an Indica-style experience for chilling out, with a fruity Tropical Punch flavor.
“As a company dedicated to being at the forefront of innovation, we are excited to launch our first specific strain-like experience, including our first Delta 9 Hemp Gummy with Caffeine,” said cbdMD’s interim CEO & CFO, Ronan Kennedy, in the product announcement. “Our mission is to deliver the highest-quality health-focused products that consumers can trust, and our latest launch is no different. By combining high-quality U.S. hemp with bold flavors and benefit-driven products, we hope to reach even more consumers and show them just how easy it is to make hemp a part of their everyday wellness routines.”
On the horizon
Expect more innovation from cbdMD. Charles says, “cbdMD never intended to be the same as other wellness brands, that’s why we focused on CBD. We realized that there are emerging wellness categories on the shelves in natural that CBD products were not sitting next to, and we wanted to again pioneer new trends and provide access to the highest efficacious products at the right price.”
The idea is to leverage the core brand as the foundation, then take off from there. “cbdMD is the foundation of the house,” Charles explains. “Now we are building upon the cannabinoids as novel wellness ingredients with new, cutting-edge functional ingredients to give our customers the natural options they are looking for to improve and maintain their health and wellness.”
There’s more on the horizon. The company is evolving. Charles explains that cbdMD is continuing on its path as a cutting-edge health and wellness company by:
• Scaling e-commerce through smart, profitable marketing investments.
• Leveraging the right partnerships and advocates to scale traffic and brand awareness.
• Entering new categories to expand the customer base and add wallet share.
• Adding sales resources with specific channel expertise.
• Adding key retailers, distributors, and brokers to scale wholesale reach.
• Looking at select international opportunities (UK, Japan, Central & South America).
“Now with a new executive team, we can actually grow this company to its full potential,” Charles says of the leadership team featuring natural products industry veterans. In addition to Kennedy and Charles, the team is lead by Dr. Sybil Swift, CSO & VP Regulatory Affairs, and Lance Blundell, General Counsel (the quartet, always aiming to innovate, grace WholeFoods Magazine's first-ever AI-generated cover this month). Charles says the combined team has experience in turning products into brands with rich stories, amplifying the product sets with the kind of proprietary formulations consumers want, and understanding how to stay agile enough to join with key partners to make those products work within their retail setting.
Going back to the company’s mission, that core focus on the consumer is they key to greater success, not just for this company, but for the industry. “We as an industry have an opportunity to make a difference in our customers’ lives,” Charles says. “We offer them non-pharma alternatives to improve their health and wellbeing. If we stay true to health and wellness and put our customers first, we will succeed as an industry.”