Plant-Based Medicine vs. Big Pharma: What It Means for Your CBD Oil
More than half the world uses plant-based medicine. Will CBD oil provide Big Pharma with a way into this massive market?
Written by Cathy Rozyczko
Edited by Jason Brett on
September 27, 2021
The role of “Big Pharma” in healthcare is a contentious subject and one that’s working its way into discussions around the uses of CBD oil and plant medicine in general.
While there are certainly people on both sides of the debate who feel strongly about these issues, the situation is actually rather complex and nuanced.
CBD oil is growing in popularity and this has lead to increased interest in plant-based medicine. These ideological shifts have prompted many to wonder what it means for the future of CBD oil. Will Big Pharma restrict access and cause prices to skyrocket? Or will CBD oil remain an accessible plant-based supplement?
Let’s take a look at the good and bad of the pharmaceutical industry, and how it relates to CBD oil and you!
Why Are People Turning to CBD Oil and Plant Medicine?
Although cannabidiol (CBD) and other herbal remedies are seeing a rise in popularity in Western culture, plant medicine is by no means a new trend. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that around four billion people use herbal medicine for their primary health care—that’s more than half the world's population!
So, why is this shift towards CBD oil and plant medicine taking hold in the West?
Pharmaceutical options, while often very effective, come with high costs both financially and physically. The rising prices of health insurance in the U.S. are pushing affordable health care out of reach for many people, leading them to look for alternatives. Naturally derived products like CBD oil tend to be cheaper, because they incur lower overheads in their production and exist in non-monopolized, competitive markets that keep their price points lower.
In terms of health risk, many prescription medications come with potentially damaging side effects. A study by the University of Toronto looked into the frequency of serious adverse drug reactions, collecting information from U.S. hospitals over a 30 year time period. The study found that patients had a 7% chance of having a drug reaction that required hospitalization, was permanently disabling, or resulted in death.
As dramatic as those numbers are, an even more significant number of people experience mild to moderate side effects from their medication. Read any information pamphlet that comes with a pharmaceutical product and the lengthy list of side effects or possible interactions is dizzying.
It’s no surprise then that people are becoming disenchanted with the convenience of pharmaceuticals and Big Pharma, and are instead looking to CBD oil and plant medicine for a safer, lower-priced, and all around gentler option.
What Is Big Pharma and How Is It Involved with CBD Oil?
“Big Pharma” is the nickname given to the pharmaceutical industry as a whole. There are a number of conspiracy theories related to Big Pharma, but for the purposes of this article, the term is used simply as a familiar reference to the pharmaceutical industry.
By federal law, CBD oil and other cannabis products are classified as a Schedule 1 drug, making its use illegal. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has, however, made an allowance for some CBD products, namely the medicine Epidiolex, to be given the more lenient Schedule 5 status, if they contain only trace amounts of THC and are approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Big Pharma is, so far, the only manufacturer of a Schedule 5 CBD oil product.
So why would the pharmaceutical industry be interested in CBD and other plant medicines? The cynic would say money. The optimist would say regulation. To get the clearest picture, we need to explore both.
The Profitability of CBD Oil and Plant Medicines
Retail sales of herbal supplements in 2017 topped $8 billion in the U.S. alone, with CBD oil accounting for $358 million. Although it's not a large proportion at the moment, the meteoric rise of CBD oil is anticipated to change cannabidiol's contribution to the supplement industry's success. By 2022, over a period of just 5 years, CBD oil sales are expected to have increased five-fold, reaching $1.8 billion in the United States alone. That surely presents an enticing sector for the expansion of Big Pharma.
Allowing plant medicine to become the domain of the pharmaceutical industry is a controversial idea. The main concern around regulation is that Big Pharma will push smaller businesses out of the market, creating a CBD oil monopoly. This would be detrimental to the hundreds—possibly thousands—of small CBD oil producers making their living off the market today.
With the CBD oil market cornered, Big Pharma could easily push up prices, rendering it inaccessible to people with lower incomes. Already, Epidiolex, the medicine for children with epilepsy, comes in at a price of $32,500 per year.
CBD Oil Regulation and Research
One of the potential benefits of Big Pharma moving into plant medicine is that CBD oil can be better researched and regulated.
Pharmaceutical companies like Britain’s GW Pharmaceuticals have been using their resources to advance the use of cannabinoids in medicine. Having already successfully created the aforementioned Epidiolex, and Sativex, a THC-CBD combination medication for multiple sclerosis sufferers, GW is already ahead of their Big Pharma competitors.
In order to gain approval for their cannabis-based prescriptions, GW and other Big Pharma companies have to produce conclusive research on the benefits of utilizing compounds like CBD and THC. The research produced is valuable for the manufacturer and consumer alike. Having reliable, scientific proof that plant-based medicine can produce beneficial results adds credibility to its use as a legitimate medical treatment option.
The legitimacy and authority established by researching supplements like CBD are jeopardized if the resulting products are not regulated. Without regulation, there is no control over the manufacturing process; it can be difficult to ensure what you’re buying is as safe and effective as the research showed.
If Big Pharma is able to push CBD oil products through the FDA clearance process it will become much easier to purchase quality CBD oil across the country. Only approved manufacturers will be able to make and distribute their CBD; shady manufacturers who may have been using harmful chemicals, insecticides, or dishonest business practices will be phased out.
Is Big Pharma the Future of CBD oil?
The general consensus is that it’s likely that the FDA will loosen their stance on CBD oil in the near future, and with that, begin to regulate it. Will Big Pharma be the future of CBD oil though? It’s certain that CBD will begin to pop up in more and more pharmaceutical products. With its health benefits targeting everything from inflammation to anxiety, this is an ingredient that is sure to be capitalized on by drug manufacturers. Only time will tell if (and how) Big Pharma could impact your local dispensary or favorite CBD oil producer.
If you found this article helpful you may also be interested in:
Learn More About CBD
Athletes who participate in impact sports put a great deal of stress on their minds and bodies. Unfortunately, current methods ...Learn More
If you spend a lot of time with horses, then you know that they are incredibly intelligent and sensitive animals ...Learn More
With the passage of the Farm Bill in 2018, CBD became effectively legal in the United States. This ground-breaking legislation ...Learn More
All professional sports require a certain amount of athleticism and endurance, but there is perhaps no sport as physically and ...Learn More
Elevated cholesterol is something many people will have to contend with during the course of their life. So what is ...Learn More
If you’re a regular CBD oil shopper, you may have come across the US Hemp Authority certification seal on CBD ...Learn More
CBD oil is increasingly popular these days; there is a large market of CBD oil products, along with a growing ...Learn More
Whether your menstrual cycle brings abdominal heaviness, mild cramping, or several days of intense, throbbing pain, you're likely not looking ...Learn More
Anyone investigating the therapeutic potential of CBD has likely encountered more than a few sources claiming CBD products are legal ...Learn More
CBD and yoga can – and should – go hand-in-hand. These two vitality boosters are the perfect complement to one ...Learn More
The hemp plant harbors many potential benefits when cultivated and processed cleanly. While the euphoria cannabis is known for comes ...Learn More
CBD oil products are everywhere now, but ambiguity surrounding the use of CBD oil still abounds, especially in the world ...Learn More
Imagine this: you're curled up on your comfortable couch, surrounded by soft throw pillows, sipping a cup of hot chocolate ...Learn More
Though many people are still learning about cannabidiol (CBD) and its many natural benefits, the naturally occurring chemical compound has ...Learn More
A lot of people ask this question - is CBD oil legal in Florida? It appears that there has been ...Learn More
If you're just starting to learn about CBD and its potential benefits, you likely have many questions. There is so ...Learn More
Every plant on the planet has a purpose. Every piece of the ecosystem serves a purpose, and some lucky plants ...Learn More
For decades, people have been raving about the endless benefits of the hemp plant. Surprisingly though, some people may still ...Learn More
I’ve been poking around the interweb a bit for travelling with CBD tips and was a little surprised… I think ...Learn More
Delta 8 THC is the hot new cannabinoid on the wellness scene. As was the case with CBG a couple ...Learn More
The term ‘seed to sale’ is thrown around a lot in CBD marketing. CBD companies that claim to be seed ...Learn More
Delta 8 THC is one of the many cannabinoids found in the hemp plant. Like cannabidiol aka CBD oil, delta ...Learn More
We don’t have to tell you. You already know that CBD oil is one of the most important wellness discoveries ...Learn More
Hemp CBD has a confusing history of legalization that it shares with its intoxicating cousin, marijuana. Both the federal and ...Learn More
Like many people, it is likely that you have seen an increase in the popularity of CBD in the last ...Learn More
These days, it seems like everyone is talking about CBD oil and the benefits it can provide. Yet, if you ...Learn More
If you are interested in using CBD oil, but you live in Tennessee, you may have a lot of questions ...Learn More
Although the CBD industry continues to grow by leaps and bounds, many people interested in the cannabinoid's therapeutic potential are ...Learn More
If you live in Virginia, and you are interested in buying CBD oil, you may be wondering several things. For ...Learn More
CBD oil products have come to the forefront of discussions about non-traditional solutions to anxiety, pain, and other ailments that ...Learn More
CBD oil products have gained popularity in Michigan and across the nation because of the potential benefits they offer consumers ...Learn More
For fans of soccer (or football as most of the world calls it), there is likely a lot of speculation ...Learn More
A hemp flower is the most basic form of CBD and serves as the foundation for all other CBD products ...Learn More
The safety, legality, and absence of mind-altering properties make cannabidiol (CBD) a popular choice for those who want to reap ...Learn More
Between 2021 and 2027, the weight loss industry will benefit from a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.6%. As ...Learn More
If you live in Ohio and you are curious about using CBD, you may have a lot of questions. For ...Learn More
Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of more than 100 active compounds found in the cannabis plant. CBD oil manufacturers extract cannabidiol ...Learn More
If you were to ask a group of CBD enthusiasts for product recommendations, you'd soon discover that CBD users seem ...Learn More
In 2014, when the industry was still quite new, CBD generated nearly 50 million dollars in sales. That's pretty impressive ...Learn More
Industrial hemp was one of the very first domesticated crops, a plant harvested throughout history for its protein-rich seeds and ...Learn More
As you have likely heard by now, CBD has quickly become one of the biggest trends in the world of ...Learn More
Surprisingly enough, there are a lot of misconceptions floating around when it comes to cannabidiol. Cannabidiol, more commonly known as ...Learn More
CBD products are becoming increasingly popular in 2021, and CBD concentrates are no exception. If you've thought about trying CBD ...Learn More
Let's talk self care. Though you might think of self care as simply "pampering" yourself, it goes way deeper than ...Learn More
Texas Governor Abbott signed legislation clarifying which hemp products are legal and which are not. Looking for CBD in Texas? ...Learn More
CBD oil has many helpful-- not to mention, natural-- benefits physically and mentally. CBD has been heavily studied to relieve ...Learn More
If you are an avid runner, you are always looking for safe and healthy ways to improve your performance and ...Learn More
Can you use CBD if you are sober? Recovery from drug or alcohol addiction isn't just about abstinence. For many, ...Learn More
If there's anything we've learned from the last few years of incredible development, it's that the cannabis plant can take ...Learn More
By now, you are probably aware that there are a lot of CBD products on the market that can help ...Learn More
If you have never tried CBD oil and you live in Indiana, you probably have a lot of questions. You ...Learn More
CBD (short for cannabidiol) has become an alternative consideration for many parents around the world. Countless families swear by CBD ...Learn More
Birth control remains one of the greatest biomedical advances in the last century, giving women and couples the opportunity to ...Learn More
When shopping for CBD, it's essential to find the best product for your needs and your lifestyle. While CBD tinctures ...Learn More
For people who are considering CBD or have already started trying what is available, one of the most common questions ...Learn More
CBD oil is well known for its ability to regulate pain and inflammation, making it a valuable tool in the ...Learn More
Cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) is a true mystery. It can pop up out of nowhere for chronic cannabis users, and ...Learn More
When you first begin researching CBD oil, it can be hard to understand what you are reading. What exactly is ...Learn More
Death by overdose has become the largest killer of Americans under the age of 50, and with opioids responsible for ...Learn More
The most famous cannabinoids are tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD). THC is most widely known for its mind-altering, high-inducing properties, ...Learn More
Because harvested and dried cannabis or hemp material only contains trace amounts of cannabigerol (CBG), it is often considered to ...Learn More
With cannabidiol (CBD) oil becoming more widely available, it is being sought out by an ever-growing number of people due ...Learn More
In 2018, the United States saw exponential growth in CBD oil product development and sales. Halfway through the year, the ...Learn More
The cannabis sativa plant contains hundreds of cannabinoids, each one presenting its own unique qualities and potential benefits. You may ...Learn More
Cannabinoids have taken over the natural health discussion, and with good reason. Research is continuously finding new ways in which ...Learn More
One of the lesser-known cannabinoids, cannabichromene (CBC) may be able to do some pretty incredible things. Recent scientific study has ...Learn More
Learning about the phytocannabinoids that exist in the cannabis plant family can feel a little bit like sifting through alphabet ...Learn More
Cannabidiol (CBD), is becoming widely used for its reported therapeutic benefits, which include pain reduction, nausea relief, and mood elevation ...Learn More
Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is probably the best-known cannabinoid found in the cannabis plant. THC is the psychoactive, intoxicating, and mind-altering compound ...Learn More
Of the many phytocannabinoids found in cannabis plants, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) are likely the most well-known. That's why ...Learn More
With more and more research coming out that shines a light on the reported health benefits of CBD and essential ...Learn More
Researchers are finding that CBD oil may be able to treat the symptoms of a whole host of diseases and ...Learn More
When you first decide to use CBD oil, it can be hard to know where to start. With so many ...Learn More
Health supplements are becoming increasingly commonplace as average Americans struggle to meet their recommended daily intake of vitamins and minerals ...Learn More
If you've spent any time reading about CBD oil and cannabis lately, it is likely you've seen terpenes mentioned more ...Learn More
If you’re interested in purchasing CBD oil but aren’t sure if it’s legal in your state, you’ve come to the ...Learn More
The CBD oil industry is one of the fastest-growing in North America and as such, it should come as no ...Learn More
Not long after the first cannabinoid was isolated from the cannabis plant, scientists discovered the human body produces similar substances ...Learn More
Those friendly neighbors on the northern U.S. border have a reputation for being fairly liberal minded. In fact, as of ...Learn More
As people continue to abandon cigarettes, vaping is becoming increasingly popular. And, as the range of vape oils, vape juices, ...Learn More
Ready to make your first CBD oil purchase but aren’t sure where to start? Well, you’ve come to the right ...Learn More
With so many CBD oil products and delivery formats available for purchase, knowing which one is right for you can ...Learn More
The hemp plant produces flowers just like its THC-toting cousin marijuana. Typically, this flower is processed and cannabidiol (CBD) is ...Learn More
CBD oil drops are one of the most popular ways to take cannabidiol (CBD). They are a cost-effective and convenient ...Learn More
If you’re new to the world of CBD oil, there’s a lot of new terminology to take in; one term ...Learn More
Is there nothing cannabidiol can’t do? The wonder compound—more commonly known as CBD—has been hailed as everything from a digestive ...Learn More
As an athlete, the less time you can spend doing online research, the more time you can devote to your ...Learn More
CBD oil microdosing is a concept that gets thrown around a lot these days, but what does it actually mean? ...Learn More
Because CBD oil has also been shown to reduce inflammation and swelling while promoting cell reparation, CBD topicals (e.g. balms, ...Learn More
When investigating cannabis products, it’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the varieties available. Cannabis oil, hemp seed oil, CBD ...Learn More
People are quickly becoming aware of the potential benefits of CBD oil, but this awareness has lead to one very ...Learn More
Today, it’s hard to go a day without hearing something about CBD oil, and for good reason. Cannabidiol (CBD) is ...Learn More
There are tens of millions of Americans who smoke cigarettes and millions of others who are suffering from smoking-related diseases ...Learn More
There are two main types of cannabidiol (CBD) extract utilized by vendors - purified, crystalline isolate, often labeled as ‘CBD ...Learn More
With frequent news reports about newly discovered uses for cannabidiol (CBD) in healthcare, a number of parents are investigating its ...Learn More
There is an increasing amount of coverage in the media about CBD oil and its potential uses and benefits. Everywhere ...Learn More
CBD oil interacts with the brain and central nervous system to produce a number of beneficial outcomes from reducing inflammation ...Learn More
The short answer: Yes...and no. If you’ve been following the national conversation about cannabis, you may have felt confused at ...Learn More
If you’re an athlete or fitness enthusiast who has heard about the many health benefits of cannabidiol (CBD), you may ...Learn More