Since its legalization, CBD has dominated headlines, being lauded as an answer for pain relief and mental health. In the UK, CBD as an industry is still in its infancy, however it has been forecasted to be worth £1bn by 2025.
One company keen to be a pioneer within the industry is Serena Organics. I got the chance to talk with the companies co-founder Joe Alabi to find out more about his journey in the CBD industry, Serena Organics and the future of the industry.
Serena Organics’ story first started when Joe and his co-founder David were working for a medical cannabis company in the US and Canada. Whilst working in North America, they saw the benefits of CBD in the midst of the continent’s opiod crisis, as well as a growing market for CBD across the pond.
“There were a lot of CBD companies starting out here in the UK, but the quality of the products wasn’t so great. There were a lot of people that would say things like, ‘Well, I’ve tried CBD before, it’s not for me, or, it makes me or it makes me feel groggy, or it gives me headaches. CVD shouldn’t do that. If anything, it should actually alleviate some of those things.
“We realised that there was a lot of people in the UK that just wanted to make a quick buck. So they weren’t really focusing on quality of the products. And we know there are benefits of CBD, of course, but if the quality of products failed, then you’d never really experienced the benefits (of CBD).
“We decided to start Serena Organics as a way of bringing one quality product to the market that people could trust. And to address the misconceptions that people have (surrounding CBD).”
Naturally as a relatively new industry, many people were skeptical of CBD, especially considering its derived from cannabis. This was a hurdle Joe and David were keen to face head on.
Joe said, “everybody has their misconceptions as to what CBD is. We on-boarded a scientific adviser called Professor Mike Barnes. He’s the first doctor in the UK that was allowed to prescribe medicinal cannabis and he worked very extensively with Theresa May at the time in getting CBD approved.
“So we used him as the voice of the medical and scientific voice. We started our podcast bringing on different people in the industry. (We brought on) for instance, the first lawyer to practice within CBD cases, CBD medicinal cannabis cases in the UK, as well as Professor Mike Barnes for people to be able to understand and hear from people who actually work within the field.”
In recent years, attitudes surrounding drinking have shifted as people swap hedonism and hangovers for wellness, which has been part of the draw towards products like CBD. Whilst millenials, gen x and older generations are Serena Organics major audience, they have seen attitudes towards drinking encourage Gen Z to give CBD a try.
“We have seen people within Gen Z, moving towards drinking less and looking at other alternatives, which is something that we do very well. We host events, like cocktail class making, on how to kind of make non alcoholic drinks, and include CBD and as a kind of like an alternative way for people to unwind the band are themselves.”
Joe told me that he believes more people will be set to use CBD in the years to come, however, the industry still faces challenges. In spite of its legality, CBD products still face scrutiny from the FSA, making it hard to bring new products to market.
Joe said, “It makes it much more difficult for us as a company to get the right products to the end consumer at the end of the day… But I think it’s also a good thing because, like I said, a lot of people had started CBD companies just to make a quick buck and they weren’t really focused on quality… so I think it does kind of stabilise the industry.”
As the CBD industry finds its footing, it’s safe to say that the Serena Organics team will lead the way, all the while, making sure to inform the public of how CBD products can help them.
By Mark Adair – Correspondent, Bdaily
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