CBD and Cannabinoid Industry Association founder Celeste Miranda highlights the importance of education and regulatory oversight.
As the leading trade body for the US CBD industry, the CBD and Cannabinoid Industry Association (CBDIA) aims to educate, inform and advocate for the industry’s unique needs.
Celeste Miranda, the association’s founder, tells MCN about the role of regulatory standards in consumer protection and the significance of CBDIA’s educational certification programmes.
What is the role of the CBDIA within the US CBD landscape?
I founded the association and put together an inaugural board to launch it, and we founded it because the CBD landscape is so very scattered. We want to help provide some consistency in the industry and to deliver resources that can help share knowledge and experiences.
We want to inform people and the industry about trends, technologies, legalities, developments and so on; and we want to promote knowledge and provide resources to benefit both the consumer and the industry, and to protect people because while a lot is being said about the CBD industry, not all of them are true. So, we want to help protect the consumer and offer to self-police our industry as far as the products are concerned. We are working, then, to add consistency and standards.
How should the regulation of CBD and medical cannabis in the US change in order to meet evolving consumer needs and demands?
It all comes down to standards and standardisation, and until that happens we will the landscape will continue to look a little like the Wild West; until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Consumer Protection Board all agree on what standards should be in place nothing will change.
Many of the products on the market are being tested for CBD, and often it is being found that the CBD or THC levels being advertised on the label are incorrect. That needs to stop, and self-regulation within the industry could play a role in that until we get a higher level of regulations brought in and until there is an official standard in the industry. Self-policing is the most that we can do at the moment.
The CBDIA offers a number of accreditation courses for industry members. What do these courses entail? What benefits does certification confer for practitioners?
We started the certifications because at that time none were available elsewhere; there was no credible educational or learning institution not only for the entrepreneurs in the industry but for everyone else involved in the value chain, too. And so, we started a programme and hired a CMO and went on to compose different certification courses. The difference between these and the regular CBD courses which people could find is that the curricula of those endorsed by the CBDIA have been written by a physician and are also taught by a physician. If it is a course that is more scientific, then it is written and taught be someone with a PhD in a relevant subject. Once each course has been developed it goes through the CMO for revisions and approval; they are very high level and very tightly put together. The courses differ in length. For instance, the longest one we offer, which is the certified CBD consultant course, is an eight hour all day course. Though we also offer shorter courses which are just four hours, as well as some small certifications like those on flavonoids and terpenes, which are two and a half hour courses.
They offer a benefit for practitioners or entrepreneurs in this space purely in the form of the education they are able to get, because knowledge is something that is lacking in a lot of quarters at the moment. We enable people to become educated by physicians on the endocannabinoid system or by a PhD on the science behind how cannabinoids work.
Those who undertake one of the courses receive very intense training. After they have completed the course they take an exam, which they have one chance to resit should they fail; otherwise they have to retake the course. The certifications need to be renewed annually. The students also receive quarterly calls with the teachers and curriculum creators, and once they pass they continue to receive that mentorship, answering people’s questions and so on. We have received great feedback from those who have sat the courses.
How can consumers ensure they are receiving a high quality, effective CBD product?
At this point, all you can fall back on really is testing to ensure that the product you are taking has been tested by a third party facility, maybe even two of them, and so you can be sure about what ingredients are contained therein. However, it never hurts to have the product tested yourself by taking it to a lab – although, of course, not every consumer would want to do that. If you are going to stick with a brand or product, then perhaps it isn’t such a bad idea to spend a bit of your own time and money on making sure you know as much as you can about them. Consumers can also check whether the companies they are considering buying products from are registered with the CBDIA, because we will hold them as a member to some standards as well.
As a consumer, there isn’t much more that you can do at this stage; you can self-check on what you are consuming, and that goes for anything and not just CBD. And you can make sure that the companies you are using are following every safety protocol they can. You can ask whether the lab they used for their testing has ISO certification, for instance, or whether it is GMO or not; is it organic, and so on. Consumers should educate themselves in all of these areas so that they know more about them and so know which questions to ask.
Are there any recent developments or issues facing the CBD industry you would like to highlight?
It is all going to come down to how the FDA helps us to look at this and how they go about enforcing things. The FDA’s stance on what they are going to do as far as CBD being in a consumable is going to send out some powerful signals as to how this industry is going to play out in the longer term.
CBD and Cannabinoid Industry Association
This article appeared in the second issue of Medical Cannabis Network which is out now. Click here to get your free subscription today.