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Running Dry: A Look at Canada’s CBD Shortage

Since the legalization of cannabis in 2018, cannabidiol (CBD) has etched a notable place for itself in the Canadian cannabis industry. People from all walks of life have touted CBD as an inexplicable health discovery. CBD, most commonly sold as an oil, has been widely promoted as a natural cure for pain, anxiety, insomnia and a slew of other health problems. The medicinal benefits of this trendy cannabis extract have made it an extremely popular product on the Canadian market. Consequently, Canada is now faced with a dwindling supply and a growing number of bare shelves across retail stores. Provincial distributors have confirmed that the CBD shortage is affecting jurisdictions across the country, from British Colombia to Newfoundland and Labrador.

It seems both our governments and licensed producers have underestimated the demand for legal cannabis…how did this happen and what does the future look like? 

While retailers across Canada are struggling with a shortage of all cannabis products, it seems like one product in particular has become impossible to keep on the shelves. In the time leading up to legalization, licensed producers were ramping up cannabis and hemp growth and production with the assumption that most of the demand was going to be for cannabis products high in THC. Unlike CBD, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), is a cannabinoid that produces intoxicating effects. These are the effects that are often associated with marijuana consumption. In an interesting turn of events, however, the popularity of CBD oil and CBD products in general have far exceeded anybody’s expectations.

Is it possible that CBD oil has become too popular for its own good?

A number of licenced producers have confirmed that they have started ramping up their hemp and cannabis growth to meet future demand. However, the industry continues to be under stress. Analysts are expecting that the CBD shortage will persist until late this year.

With this concerning shortage, a number of provinces are making moves towards increasing cannabis supply. In Alberta, for example, a moratorium on new cannabis retail store licences was recently lifted. In Ontario, there have been speculations that a second wave of retail licences may be in the works. The cannabis shortage that has been plaguing the country since legalization may finally be coming to an end.

But it doesn’t end here.

These significant changes to the cannabis industry are leading a number of analysts and industry experts to speculate that Canada may be faced with an entirely new problem as early as next year. Is an oversupply of cannabis on the horizon?