LONDON, United Kingdom – CBD brand i-cann is one of the latest UK companies permitted to be sold on eBay UK after the retailer dropped its global ban on the products last month. However, the influx of brands to the platform comes as consumer and investor appetite in the category is reported to be wavering.
Short for cannabidiol, CBD is a naturally occurring compound in the cannabis plant. The sector has exploded in popularity in recent years due to claims it can help reduce anxiety, relieve insomnia and even treat chronic pain.
While CBD is legal, these claims remain unverified by medical authorities and a verdict from the UK’s Food Standards Agency (FSA) is imminent, which could lead to many products being wiped off shelves by local councils.
Last week The Times poured further cold water on the sector, reporting that the UK’s CBD market is forecast to shrink due to tightening regulations, strict rules on advertising and waning appetite for the products.
The newspaper pointed to data from cannabis industry data group Prohibition Partners, which predicts that the UK’s CBD market will shrink every year from 2022 until 2026 – from $573 million (£431 million) this year to $530 million in four years’ time.
The stock market performance of two British CBD brands that have earned the backing of high-profile celebrity endorsements, yet seen their stock market performance slump is further indication of this reversal in fortunes.
Love Hemp, which is backed by British heavyweight boxer Anthony Joshua, has seen its shares tumble from above 6p a year ago to below 1p.
Similarly, Cellular Goods, which floated in London last year with former England football captain David Beckham taking a 5% stake, initially saw its price surge from 5p to 13p, before dropping back below 4p.
Opportunity to reach a new audience
Despite these ominous projections, Love Hemp is one of several British CBD brands that has jumped at the opportunity to be listed on eBay’s new dedicated category.
“This is a significant development for the company,” commented Love Hemp group chief executive officer Tony Calamita. “Ebay has 1.7 billion monthly visits, and its health and beauty segment caters to an extremely wide-ranging market, providing Love Hemp with the opportunity to reach a new audience with its high-quality health and wellness products.”
This week, Pure Origin Group’s i-cann became the latest British brand to follow suit. The group’s Managing Director, Tony Rolfe, hopes the listing on such a high-profile platform will give consumers greater confidence in the quality and efficacy of its CBD range.
“We have been working tirelessly with eBay’s category specialists to ensure that our i-cann CBD products meet the high standards set out in eBay’s CBD policy,” Rolfe said, noting that as the category is gated, all sellers have been thoroughly vetted to ensure products are approved for use in the UK.
“As the CBD industry grew, so did the need for auditing compliant CBD products… And we are so proud that our products are now listed on the UK’s first mainstream marketplace to sell CBD.”
“Big step for the CBD industry”
While not currently listed by the online retailer, the founder of fellow British CBD brand Puresport is equally optimistic that eBay’s move will prove to be a watershed moment for the sector. However, for any CBD brands not currently listed on eBay UK, he urged consumers to do their own due diligence.
“Ebay accepting CBD brands is a big step for the industry in helping to break down the stigma surrounding these products, making them more accessible to people, and projecting CBD into the mainstream,” Founder Grayson Hart told Welltodo.
“However, eBay can accept products from private sellers, and one of the things we believe holds the CBD industry back is a lack of transparency from many brands, allowing lower-quality products into the market.”
While welcoming that the FSA are soon to announce its list of approved brands, which would further help regulate quality, he advised anyone trying CBD to “seek out the best quality products that are backed by science, making sure they’re exactly what they say they are with third-party lab testing certificates to prove label claims”.
Puresport’s CBD products are triple lab-tested, and the company was the first brand in the world to have products approved by the Banned Substances Control Group (BSCG), making them safe for drug-tested athletes and professionals.
The company sells a range of CBD and nootropic supplements that are sold direct to consumers via its site, as well as by selected retailers. “In the coming months we’re looking to expand our retail network, as well as offer products through wholesalers,” Grayson added.