How is cannabidiol different from marijuana?

CBD stands for cannabidiol. It is the second most prevalent of the active ingredients of cannabis (marijuana). While CBD is an essential component of medical marijuana, it is derived directly from the hemp plant, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. While CBD is a component of marijuana (one of hundreds), by itself it does not cause a “high.” According to a report from the World Health Organization, “In humans, CBD exhibits no effects indicative of any abuse or dependence potential…. To date, there is no evidence of public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”

Is CBD is legal?

CBD is readily obtainable in most parts of the United States, though its exact legal status is in flux. All 50 states have laws legalizing CBD with varying degrees of restriction, and while the federal government still considers CBD in the same class as marijuana, it doesn’t habitually enforce against it. In December 2015, the FDA eased the regulatory requirements to allow researchers to conduct CBD trials. Currently, many people obtain CBD online without a medical cannabis license. The government’s position on CBD is confusing, and depends in part on whether the CBD comes from hemp or marijuana. The legality of CBD is expected to change, as there is currently bipartisan consensus in Congress to make the hemp crop legal which would, for all intents and purposes, make CBD difficult to prohibit.

The CBD Industry Is Growing

In April of 2019, a study found that there were 6.4 million searches for CBD on Google alone. The study, published in October 2019 by the Journal of the American Medical Association or JAMA, also found that these searches are expected to continue to increase in popularity as interest grows.

So the question to ask is, why is interest in CBD growing? There are a lot of factors that are playing a part in the growth of CBD.

One is the legalization of hemp farming. Toward the end of 2018, a new farm bill made industrial hemp farming possible nationwide. That makes it easier and more affordable to obtain CBD for products, experiments, and medical studies.

Another major factor is the legalization of marijuana in many states for recreational use. In fact, the JAMA article notes that searches for CBD in those states increased dramatically when compared with states with legal medical marijuana or states that restricted it completely.

Other factors that can’t be ignored is the growing aged population of the United States and the opioid epidemic. With 72 million Americans born before 1964, there is a growing population of baby boomers looking for alternative and safe medications to help with arthritis, sleep, and other conditions related to aging.

CBD in Beverages

Right now, CBD beverages are trending, including seltzer water and other “health” beverages. However, despite their popularity among consumers, many companies have put a hold on CBD drinks and foods until FDA approval on CBD as an ingredient, but that might take years. That could slow the growth of the CBD market, but you will see more indie brands as a result.

Smaller startups are more likely to create and market these products than big name brands because if the FDA pulls products, they have less to lose. This means that we could be waiting a while for large brands to expand into the industry.

CBD is a Booming Market

Despite the FDA approval issue, analysts expect to see an increase in CBD interest among baby boomers. This is the age group that has the most to benefit from CBD. Their support of CBD products is driving the market and that means more products will be targeted to their needs.

Supplements containing CBD oil that improve arthritis pain and those used in sleep aids are likely to grow in popularity over the next several years. Other areas where we might see expansion are homeopathic cancer treatment and the use of CBD in the treatment of neurological disorders.

Whereas THC products are being targeted toward millennials, it is the boomer generation that is going to continue driving CBD sales in the coming years. As more states accept CBD and THC products, this will also increase the popularity and interest in CBD based products.

CBD for Beauty Products

CBD has both anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties which make it a great option for products in the beauty industry. Most skin problems, like acne, eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea have an itchy, painful, and/or inflammation component to them. Therefore, CBD can benefit people with these conditions and there are early studies that support this.

The beauty industry will likely continue to expand its CBD products in the coming years. Expect to see it in lotions, creams, face wash, serums, and beauty masks more frequently.
A Growing Market and Industry

The CBD industry is expected to become a $16 billion dollar industry by 2025. With that kind of rapid growth, it is an important industry to watch. Whether you are a teen with acne or a baby boomer with arthritis pain, there are CBD products out there that could benefit you.

Once FDA approval happens, the market will be flooded by these products. This means that startups founded now have a really good shot at making a name in the industry before larger companies jump on the bandwagon.

How common is CBD use?

  • 33% of American adults have used CBD once or more. (SingleCare, 2020)
  • 64% of Americans are familiar with CBD and/or CBD products. (Gallup, 2019)
  • An estimated 64 million Americans have tried CBD in the last 24 months. (Consumer Reports, 2019)
  • Of those who use CBD, 22% said it helped them supplement or replace prescription or over-the-counter drugs. (Consumer Reports, 2019)

CBD statistics in America

  • Hemp-derived CBD products are legal in all 50 states, as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. (Food and Drug Administration, 2020)
  • In overall cannabis sales, Colorado tops the list, having sold over $1 billion since 2014. (CNN, 2019)
  • The top states for CBD sales in 2019 are California ($730 million), Florida ($291 million), and New York ($215 million). (Statista, 2019)
  • Of the Americans who use CBD, the most common uses are for pain relief (64%), anxiety (49%), and insomnia (42%). (SingleCare, 2020)
  • CBD web searches increased by 125.9% from 2016 to 2017 and 160.4% from 2017 to 2018. (JAMA Network, 2019)
  • United States hemp farmland increased from 25,713 acres in 2017 to 78,176 acres in 2018. (Food Business News, 2019)

CBD statistics by age

CBD user demographics skew young. Of all age groups, Americans age 18-29 are most likely to use CBD consistently, and its popularity decreases with age. (Gallup, 2019):

  • 20% of people ages 18-29 use CBD
  • 16% of people ages 30-49 use CBD
  • 11% of people ages 50-64 use CBD
  • 8% of people age 65 and older use CBD

And the numbers nearly double for adults who have tried it once or more. According to a 2019 Consumer Reports CBD survey:

  • 40% of people ages 18-29 have tried CBD
  • 32% of people ages 30-44 have tried CBD
  • 23% of people ages 45-59 have tried CBD
  • 15% of people 60 and older have tried CBD

According to our SingleCare survey, nearly half of CBD users prefer oils/tinctures, lotions/balms, and gummies. But there’s a growing market for CBD edibles.

  • 18% are interested in capsules/tablets
  • 18% are interested in topical sprays
  • 17% are interested in CBD-infused food, such as chocolate
  • 13% are interested in vaping products
  • 12% are interested in soap
  • 11% are interested in non-alcoholic, CBD-infused drinks
  • 9% are interested in CBD bath bombs and salts
  • 8% are interested in skincare products
  • 8% are interested in patches
  • 1% are interested in other CBD products

When it comes to where CBD users get their products, a 2019 Consumer Reports study says:

  • 40% purchase CBD from a dispensary
  • 34% purchase CBD from a retail store
  • 27% purchase CBD from an online retailer
  • 12% purchase CBD from another source

The evidence for cannabidiol health benefits

CBD has been touted for a wide variety of health issues, but the strongest scientific evidence is for its effectiveness in treating some of the cruelest childhood epilepsy syndromes, such as Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS), which typically don’t respond to antiseizure medications. In numerous studies, CBD was able to reduce the number of seizures, and in some cases it was able to stop them altogether. Videos of the effects of CBD on these children and their seizures are readily available on the Internet for viewing, and they are quite striking. Recently the FDA approved the first ever cannabis-derived medicine for these conditions, Epidiolex, which contains CBD.

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