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Using technology to make a stand for quality CBD

At Chow420, the motto is that a CBD brand is nothing without the guarantee of safe products for its customers.

Chow420
Image courtesy Chow420
Image courtesy Chow420

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

At Chow420, the motto is that a CBD brand is nothing without the guarantee of safe products for its customers. The ethic at the base of this Philadelphia-based CBD outfit, according to its operating team, is ‘ having the buyer’s back,’ in a space that is otherwise murky and opaque. Whether gummies or oils, full spectrum or broad spectrum, Chow420 is determined to provide customers with a safe space for a fulfilling CBD shopping experience. This underlying motive has led Chow420 to chart new paths in the CBD commerce segment. 

Here’s how they did it. 

BACKGROUND 

Back in 2017, a study by PennMedicine revealed that as much as 70% of products in the CBD market were mislabeled and ,as a result of, or in some cases as a precursor to this default, contaminated. The most common manifestations of this problem were reported as being centered around THC and CBD content misinformation which has the potential to affect dosage and regimen arrangements of users. Under such circumstances, users who need CBD products to alleviate health-related issues would most likely find themselves short-changed or their conditions possibly worsened. Also, the study discovered that there was a non-reportage of contaminants such as chemicals, microbial elements and heavy metals. This, of course, meant that the generality of CBD consumers are unnecessarily exposed to the risk of consuming potentially harmful substances. 

Now that was back in 2017 and the CBD sector has come a long way since then. The following year, the  2018 Farm Bill legalized and defined hemp CBD as cannabis plants that contained THC of no more than 0.3% delta-9-THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) by dry weight. Consequent to this development, the market underwent tremendous growth as a variety of brands rushed to meet emergent demand. The outcome has been an explosion of quantity at the expense of quality. This development has become a bane to the market, directly impacting its reputation and the the willingness of potentially enhancing would-be stakeholders (e.g. finance providers, advertisers & retailers). 

In 2022, a Leafreport study, using a sample of sleep-focused CBD products, concluded that possibly up to half of ‘sleep CBD’ products are mislabeled. The problem was detailed to be centered on labeling information concerning CBD & THC content. The study revealed that it discovered  deviations from labeling when screening products at independent labs. Not surprisingly, this is an aggravating factor to the legitimacy problem plaguing the sector. In a survey carried out by SingleCare, 22% of people were reported to have voiced a distrust of CBD products. Surely, mislabeling and other factors that perpetuate opacity in product content and misrepresentation are prominent contributory drivers to the said customer dissatisfaction. 

Several variants of this problem have been exposed by other investigations, so the question remains; how do we solve this issue?

This is where Chow420 enters and provides a robust solution that was carefully crafted to meet this challenge. 

CHOW420’s Stand for Trust 

 Launched as the Know What You Buy program, the solution implemented by Chow420, to tackle the trust problem, is a comprehensive answer to the peculiar concerns of CBD sector stakeholders such as customers and regulators. Given the inadequate regulatory coverage by the FDA regarding the sector, there is a real need for an actor with a creative answer. This is why Chow420 has constructed a system around the recording of verified certificates-of-analysis (COAs) of CBD products onto a blockchain-based platform. 

Leveraging the DLT (distributed ledger technology) feature of blockchain networks, the COAs are inputted into a secure platform where they are immutably accessible. Chow420 intends to use this system as a tool to reinforce confidence in its customers and send a signal to the general market. All listed products on chow420.com and in its automated stores are covered.  Appropriately, each of these listed products on the chow420.com platform come equipped with lab results and blockchain network ID details as proof of product conformity with content labeling and verification respectively.

Chow420
CHOW CBD + THC MULTI-FLAVORED VEGAN GUMMIES. – Image courtesy Chow420

HOW IT WORKS 

For example, the image above shows a listing for our all-natural Chow Multi-flavored CBD Vegan Gummies. This is an exciting plant-based CBD gummy derived from a whole plant extract containing the full spectrum of cannabinoids and terpenes. For quick assistance, Chow420 product pages display creative graphics which highlight information about cannabinoid content, effects and purchase popularity. Accordingly, a customer can easily glean all the relevant information needed to responsibly make a decision. Nested in the upper left is the PASSED LEGIT CHECK notification which  indicates that the product in question has been successfully verified by the company’s internal processes. This badge accompanies all Chow420 listings as proof of compliance and content confirmation. 

The protocol starts with the submission of the lab report details of a product. The report is first checked against the database of the referenced laboratory (all reputable laboratory establishments maintain databases of issued lab reports). When the result authenticity has been verified and the actual details of the report cross-checked for legal & labeling compliance, the details are uploaded to the site and also entered into the Chow420 blockchain network where a unique identifier hashcode is generated. 

Selecting this notification gives the user access to the blockchain network where product-specific information is stored.  

Chow420
‘PASSED LEGIT CHECK’ NOTIFICATION. – Image courtesy Chow420

Clicking the unique hash ID opens up the actual binance-based blockchain platform where more detailed aspects of product lab report verification are detailed. These include the status of the entry (success/failure), entry timestamp, hash and contract identifiers. 

Chow420
PRODUCT ID & STATUS DETAILS ON BLOCKCHAIN PLATFORM. – Image courtesy Chow420

The outcome is that every product listing has an entry on this blockchain layer. Chow420 has envisioned this procedure as a security layer for CBD products on its platform and a veritable solution for customer protection in the CBD space. Using this protocol and infrastructure, Chow420 is focused on regularizing transparency as a part of CBD commerce. 

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS ? 

Product Validation and Consumer Assurance: The primary advantage of the Chow420 system is a better understanding of product content by customers. Trust as a factor is especially weakened when there is opacity or a partial lack of clarity which obstructs customers’ understanding of the product. With improved transparency, legal compliance is improved, nutrient benefit and cannabinoid consumption targets can be better understood and more accurate side-effects estimations made possible. Improved consumer trust is a requirement for the future growth of CBD. Chow420 is committed to serving the consumer with assurance that is needed for continued patronage of CBD products. 

Legal Compliance: The 2018 Farm Bill clearly stipulates a THC limit of 0.3% for CBD products. Nevertheless, the emergent nature of the industry creates a situation where enforcement of standards is rather lax. As earlier noted, issues with THC, CBD and contaminants content have been discovered by studies looking into the state of the market. That there is a need for standards-monitoring is not in question. The real issue is how ? This protocol by Chow420 presents a workable approach to the bedeviling issue of legal compliance. With its multi-layered verification procedures, it is impossible for products that fall short of legal compliance to get listed on chow420.com or at the company’s retail stations. To top it off, Chow420 delivers this compliance in a convenient, non-intrusive way.

A WHOLE NEW WORLD FOR CBD: Extending the benefits of Improved Transparency 

The sector has trust-impacting considerations that go beyond product validation. The blockchain solution can be applied towards the broader cannabis industry supply chain for improved customer welfare. Some of such areas include:  

Traceability: As the industry matures, there is an increasing need to satisfy the needs of informed consumers regarding the source of hemp cannabis used in the manufacture of CBD products. Details about location, planting and labor practices are important to consumers in the current economy. The emergence of quality-denoting  standards certifications like those by bodies like the USDA lends further credence to the importance of traceability as a legitimate factor. Chow420’s brand development strategy is presently exploring opportunities to see how current and future in-house brands can integrate more comprehensive traceability features for the satisfaction of its valued customers. 

Production Methods: Production details such as organic solvents and methods of CBD extraction are important qualifiers of the quality of the CBD end-product. Further up the supply chain, farm cultivation practices and post-harvest handling are also important details. There are specific guidelines at these stages that have to be followed in order to meet certain acceptable  quality standards. In this area, the blockchain-based platform of Chow420 can also play an important role in enforcing validation and infusing transparency. 

Operational Efficiency: For companies that intend to maintain the aforementioned standards and procedures, it is compulsory that the operational and financial impact of these activities be reasonable. However, the additional work costs time and money since resources must be expended.  Blockchain technology allows the execution of transparency with light resources. Provided that a framework of activities (shaped into standard protocols) are in-place, CBD brands can cost-effectively manage and administer transparency into its activities. Cumulatively, this provides better supply chain visibility at a lower cost than otherwise. 

CHANGE & THE STAND FOR QUALITY

To maintain sustainable growth and development in the CBD sector, improved trust is a requirement. In a space characterized by aggressive marketing and narrowly-defined sales targets, it takes a concerted and deliberate attempt to effect the needed change. First the solution, then the method of execution. Chow420 is the most serious company devoted to promoting and sustaining a transparent CBD sector. It is a well-funded firm, built around an ambitious team of professionals and headed by a visionary CEO, David Obasiolu, who believes in pushing boundaries in a controlled and targeted manner. This is how it has come to build its own eCommerce platform, an automated store network, launch several product lines and construct the very foundation of transparency-enforcement in the CBD sector. The stand for quality, as the company terms it, is really all about upholding the best market practices. From the origin of the hemp plant, through to the production processes that are used to form the final product and finally, the provision of certified laboratory test results which allow customers to frequently buy and use CBD with confidence and assurance.

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Written By

George Nellist is a public relations, marketing and strategic brand expert who has executed social media and strategic marketing campaigns for a variety of Fortune 500 companies and small businesses. For more information, visit Ascend Agency.

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