Miami Beach August 2019

CBD has definitely entered the hype phase.

The USA CBD Expo in Miami Beach showcased the exploding popularity of all things hemp – especially CBD.

It was an extremely energetic and flashy affair. It was loud, colorful and even sexy – just like Miami Beach itself.

The spirit of this show reflected the current wide-open, unregulated period of the CBD industry.

Possibilities are endless, rules are few while the FDA mulls over what exactly to do about this most trendy of molecules.

Exhibit Floor

Many jars of CBD gummies on a long table
Gummies – A Little CBD and LOTS of Sugar

There were over 700 exhibitors representing well over 1000 brands from the CBD world.

It’s easy to see why the industry is in the hockey stick phase of growth.

Aside from an exponential surge in demand, right now the barrier to entry is extremely low. There were dozens of manufacturers at the show who will readily slap your logo on a bottle of hemp extract.

And voila! You have a brand.

Of course all the other segments of the CBD industry were in attendance.

Genetics labs, hemp farms, extractors, retailers, packaging designers, wholesalers, vape device manufacturers and marketing consultants.

More mundane organizations were on hand as well – such as insurance companies, non-profit cannabis organizations and merchant processors.

But the CBD vape and beverage “booths” were far from humdrum however.

Sexy CBD Flash

Stoked CBD Energy Drink with Dancers

The largest, loudest and craziest areas were sponsored by the vape juice and drink manufacturers.

They brought the energy and excitement of South Beach inside the Miami Beach Convention Center.

Break dancers, cheerleaders, bikini girls, loud music, free booze – all in celebration of CBD.

Who would think that the humble cash crop, hemp, could be so titillating?

Well, we are definitely in the craze/hype/fad phase of the CBD movement.

CBD Education

Speaker talking about CBD bioavailability

Of course there was a more serious side competing for the attention for the attendees.

The scientific evidence is mounting behind all this excitement.

For three solid days there were two tracks of talks and panel discussions about everything from the biology and science of hemp extracts to legal issues, branding and marketing of CBD.

The main stage was exactly in the center of the show floor. The presenters had theirs mics turned up to 11 to be heard over the cacophony of the convention.

It was a fairly apt metaphor of where CBD is right now: real science and health benefits at the core, surrounded by a lot of flash and noise.

CBD: Fad or Here to Stay?

So all the buzz and excitement of CBD was in full display at this convention. But it’s hard to imagine that this kind of hype can be maintained for the long run.

CBD is basically a dietary supplement that has incredible potential to help people with everything from anxiety to migraines to menstrual cramps.

That’s wonderful, but not very sexy.

The CBD fad phase will most likely wear off over time. This, combined with upcoming FDA regulations (expected by next year) might turn down the volume on this party.

CBD conferences a few years from now might be quite a bit different – perhaps more substance and less sizzle. More scientists and doctors but fewer brands and fewer bikini girls.

John Astrab

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