A year ago, on a crisp, sunny November morning just a stone’s throw from the Oval Cricket Ground in South London, the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) was launched by a group of cannabinoid enthusiasts and experts, many of whom are CBD consumers themselves.
Several of the core team had previously worked in an organisation called the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC). The CMC founder, Steve Moore, had played a significant role inensuring that Medicinal Cannabis was made legal in the UK in 2018. In the summer of 2019 a market research study, undertaken by the CMC, identified the need for an association to ensure cannabinoid consumers were not being misled by unscrupulous companies.
As part of the study, the CMC discovered some shocking results. They blind tested 29 popularCBD products and found that a significant proportion did not contain what they stated on the label. One was even found to contain no CBD at all and a couple contained so much residual alcohol from the CBD extraction process they should have been classified as an alcoholic beverage! A third of the products tested contained less CBD than advertised. The sad thing wasthis was just one of several similar studies, all with similar findings, released around that time.
Even today studies still show that not all products on the market can be trusted. In the report, CBD in the UK, the CMC also identified the size of the CBD market. Back in 2019it was estimated to be worth a staggering £300M and was growing at such a rate it is expected to hit £1B by 2025.
However, despite the market being bigger than vitamin C and D combined it was existing in alegal grey area. UK regulators had had a hands off approach and as a result companies keen toexploit the popularity of CBD products filled the void. As no authority was responsible for testing products on the shelves some companies felt no obligation to play fairly. This reflected poorly onthe CBD industry as a whole, including companies that cared about their customers, and alsogave those taking advantage of the situation an unfair competitive advantage.
The ACI, which is a industry membership organisation, was created to find a way to engage CBD companies, retailers, regulators and trading standards on the importance of ensuring that CBD products are not only safe but accurately reflect what is indicated on the label. A year later, the ACI has made great strides in highlighting the importance of adequate regulations and gaining the necessary support from trading standards to ensure that the retailers, whom you buy your CBD products from, are playing by the rules.
The ACI is committed to the development of a legal, safe and regulated cannabinoid market. A fundamental aspect of achieving this is ensuring that consumers have confidence in the products that are sold. To this end the ACI has a certification scheme that will help consumers and retailers easily identify honest, safe and legitimate products.When we launched a year ago, a study undertaken by YouGov, on behalf of the ACI, showed that only half of all CBD consumers had trust in the products that they were buying. It has always been ACI’s goal to increase that figure and it has guided our actions so far.
For more information on the ACI please visit our website, theaci.co.uk.