One of the largest marijuana delivery companies in California is leaning into CBD sales.
Digital cannabis marketplace Eaze announced Wednesday that it will launch a separate platform called Eaze Wellness specifically for products containing CBD. Cannabidiol, commonly known as CBD, is a cannabis compound that does not produce a high, but is used for its relaxing effect to treat maladies from anxiety to chronic pain. Eaze has operated in California since 2014, partnering with dispensaries to offer customers legal cannabis products on demand, but the announcement marks the company’s first nationwide expansion.
“Eaze’s mission has always been to educate consumers and provide safe, legal access to cannabis. The launch of Eaze Wellness is a natural next step in our mission,” CEO Jim Patterson said. “Americans are curious about CBD and asking for high-quality CBD products, but until now, there’s been no singular destination where consumers with a variety of experience levels can find the products that are right for them. Eaze Wellness changes that.”
The company decided to develop the new platform after seeing CBD sales more than double among their customers last year, according to Sheena Shiravi, director of consumer communications at Eaze.
Despite accounting for nearly $600 million in U.S. sales this year—and the potential to grow that number to as much as $22 billion by 2022—CBD remains a legal gray area. While marijuana is still illegal at the federal level, CBD products can also be derived from hemp—cannabis plants that contain less than 0.3% of THC, the compound that produces a high.
Because hemp-based CBD is indistinguishable from that extracted from higher THC content cannabis plants, the Drug Enforcement Administration considers CBD in the same category as cannabis: a Schedule I drug and federally illegal. However the DEA has also told agents not to pursue hemp-based products and the Senate version of the Farm Bill currently being considered by Congress could give protection to hemp growers.
“We’re in this stage where we have non-enforcement at the federal level, non-enforcement at the state level,” Cristina Buccola, a New York-based attorney who advises cannabis-related businesses, told Quartz. “For all intents and purposes [CBD] looks like a legal substance.”
As the buzz about CBD has grown, so have concerns over the quality and contents of the products available to consumers, which in many states are sold in unregulated markets. Eaze saw this as an opportunity to provide shoppers with more information about available CBD products.
“What we found is, you can go to Amazon, you can go to Walmart and type in CBD, but what shows up is a bunch of hemp oil, so it’s unclear,” Shiravi said. “There’s a lot of confusion.”
Eaze Wellness features CBD products sourced from the 41 states that have created their own pilot programs to regulate the hemp industry. Shiravi says Eaze hopes to give consumers one app and site where they can access to a variety of vetted brands.
“We require a certification of analysis from all brands on the platform” she said, and the company regularly conducts focus group testing to offer shoppers additional details on the products.
While users in California will continue to be directed to their on-demand platform, which offers both CBD and traditional THC-heavy cannabis products, shoppers across 41 other states will now find Eaze Wellness when they log into the site or app.
The Eaze Wellness platform currently carries more than 20 brands of CBD offerings, from pills and gummies to cosmetic creams, lip balm, and bath bombs.