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As a CBD, cannabis and sexual wellness expert, Ashley Manta utilizes her expertise as she explains exactly what retailers need to know before they put CBD products on their shelves.

(Note: This article appears in the February issue of STOREROTICA Magazine)

With the rapid expansion of CBD in the mainstream, it feels like everyone is feeling the pressure to jump on the bandwagon. Even more novel is the notion that CBD could be an intimacy enhancement tool. However, it’s not as simple as buying the cheapest available products and filling your shelves with them. There are numerous factors that buyers and executives need to consider when stocking these products, and staff training protocols to put in place so that customers who come in with questions (and there will be plenty of them) can shop with confidence and receive solid information to make informed buying decisions.

“Understand the difference between hemp-derived CBD and hemp seed oil,” says CBD, cannabis and sexual wellness expert Ashley Manta. They are not the same, and hemp seed oil has no more sexual benefits (or benefits generally) than any other plant-based oil.”

Here are some general points that are good to commit to memory that aren’t product-specific. Customers are often delighted to learn that they don’t have to be intoxicated to incorporate cannabinoids into their sexual practices. Using these hemp-CBD products allows folks to avoid that “stoned” feeling that many attribute to THC-containing products, so they’re a great place to start to explore how nourishing the endocannabinoid system can impact one’s overall sexual health and wellness. People are also often surprised to learn that not all CBD products are created equal. There’s a lot of products on the market using sub-par materials or production methods, not being transparent about their lab results (or sometimes not testing at all), and many companies make hyperbolic claims about their product’s effects and purity without evidence to back it up.

Here’s a tip: If a product doesn’t have a specified amount of CBD (in milligrams) on the packaging it probably doesn’t have much or any. However, don’t go by packaging alone. Make sure manufacturers are backing up their claims with provided lab results. Cannabis media giant Leafly recently conducted independent testing on 47 different CBD products and shared their results on their website. They found:

“51% of products (24 of 47) delivered the promised CBD within 20% of the labeled dosage; 23% of products (11 of 47) delivered some CBD, but less than 80% of the dosage promised on the label; 15% of products (7 of 47) delivered more than 120% of the promised CBD; 11% of products (5 of 47) delivered no CBD whatsoever.”

Read that last sentence again: 5 out of 47 products tested delivered “no CBD whatsoever.” That is not a gamble you want to take if you’re stocking products. Imagine if you stocked a vibrator brand and 11% of the boxes didn’t actually contain the toy? That would probably lead to some understandably irate customers. Do your research. Check out Leafly’s list, and look at the FDA’s website to see which companies have received warning letters from the FDA.

Here are a few more tips for successfully incorporating CBD products into your store’s inventory:

1.) Understand the difference between hemp-derived CBD and hemp seed oil. They are not the same, and hemp seed oil has no more sexual benefits (or benefits generally) than any other plant-based oil. Many companies have relied on pot leaf imagery and buzzwords for marketing hoping to fool less than savvy retailers and consumers.

2.) Provide staff education so that when customers come in looking for CBD products, the sales associates are at least able to point them to resources, if not answer the questions directly. It’s like any other product your store carries–your staff needs to understand what it is and what it does in order to sell it effectively and offer customer education.

5 out of 47 products tested delivered “no CBD whatsoever.” That is not a gamble you want to take if you’re stocking products. Imagine if you stocked a vibrator brand and 11% of the boxes didn’t actually contain the toy? — Ashley Manta

3) Cannabis sativa and hemp are the same plant. Hemp is a legal distinction referring to any cannabis plant that produces less than 0.3% THC by dry weight. Also, most professionals in the industry prefer the term cannabis, rather than marijuana.

4) Don’t preach CBD as a cure-all. It’s not magic. Just like any other products, some folks will find it more helpful or effective than others. Be very cautious about making medical or health claims, especially with unrelated products. A CBD topical for genitals is not going to do a damn thing to help with anxiety, since cannabinoids don’t impact mental states if they’re not being inhaled or ingested.

5) Don’t reduce CBD to a novelty item. Skip the CBD boob gummies and CBD dick straws. It’s confusing to the consumer. And go easy on the pot leaf imagery. It’s already painfully overdone.

Ashley Manta has become a sought-after authority on mindfully combining sex and cannabis as part of her CannaSexual® brand. In summer 2019 she completed her certification as a Bodysex® Facilitator after studying with legendary pleasure pioneer Betty Dodson. She is a brand ambassador for Sybian and Foria. Ashley recently launched a new podcast called Elevated Intimacy, available through iHeartRadio. She recently finished writing a book on CBD and sex, in partnership with Merry Jane, which will be published in Summer 2020. She has been nominated for multiple awards in both the adult and cannabis industries including Sexpert of the Year, Influencer of the Year, Sex Educator of the Year, and WEGO Health Awards’ Best Kept Secret.

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