Matcha (tea) might be having a moment, but it’s another green plant-based product that’s currently taking the health and wellness world by storm. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is one of more than 100 cannabinoids present in a marijuana plant and is being used around the world to treat conditions such as pain, insomnia and anxiety. While some people may be wary of CBD products because of the substance’s association with Mary Jane, CBD actually won’t get you high. Regardless, this year, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) began regulating the use of the term CBD on health products—including lattes, serums and supplements. In the face of these pesky new rules, many CBD companies have opted to use the term “hemp,” the plant from which CBD is extracted, on their CBD products.
So the CBD craze has now become the hemp craze. And given that it’s a multimillion-, and soon to be multibillion-dollar industry, it’s no surprise that our special corner of the globe has taken notice; this past summer, in the span of just two months, four CBD- (or shall we say hemp-) focused stores popped up in the Capital Region. One of the oldest companies in the area, which helped fuel our local boom, is the Johnsonville, NY-based Gnome Serum, whose products can be found in stores from Saratoga Springs to Palo Alto, CA. “We saw the craze coming, so we planned for it well in advance when we started the company two-and-a-half years ago,” says Greg Kerber, Gnome Serum’s CEO.
Kerber is no stranger to the confusion that’s come with the new FDA regulations, saying that Gnome Serum has opted for “a more informational packaging strategy this year.” As a wellness and holistic company, Gnome Serum also doesn’t mind shifting the focus away from just CBD to the hemp plant as a whole. “We see the value in all the plant has to offer and deliver that to the market,” Kerber says.
It’s next to impossible to know precisely what the FDA’s next move will be, but Kerber’s hopeful that CBD will be more than just a passing fad in New York State. “The state government has been supportive of the hemp industry, and we’re optimistic of the future hemp crops that will be available,” he says.
Here’s to the CBD/hemp industry’s demand growing higher and higher—even if its users won’t be.