As the legalization of marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use expands across the nation, medicinal and therapeutic cannabis products are becoming increasingly more commonplace in health and wellness stores. Although the popularity of cannabis products was easy to predict from a pop-culture point of view, nobody could have predicted the financial implications or how high the demand for cannabis products, especially CBD, would be.

Cannabidiol otherwise known as CBD is a natural compound found in the flower of cannabis that has been used medicinally for centuries. CBD is a compound found in Marijuana that has been shown to have healing properties, yet unlike its main counterpart THC, it produces none of the “high” that THC does. This is the main draw towards CBD, and what has lead it to flourish in the market. In the past decade CBD has increased in popularity and as a result scientists have begun to study CBD more.

Early results of studies on CBD suggest that there are far more health benefits than previously thought. People tend to use prescription or over-the-counter drugs to relieve stiffness and pain, including chronic pain. Other benefits that early studies are showing is cancer prevention, epilepsy. Complete research on the long-term effects of CBD inconclusive at the moment, as CBD has not been widely used enough to study it. This being said there are currently no studies released with negative long-term effects of CBD. In fact, many people believe that CBD offers a more natural alternative. Authors of a study published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine found that CBD significantly reduced chronic inflammation and pain in some mice and rats.

Despite not delivering a high sensation like THC, until very recently CBD was fairly regulated. Considered as a byproduct of Marijuana in many states, CBD was not allowed to be sold. This lead to CBD primarily being available in states where Marijuana was either legal recreationally or medically. None of this however has stopped CBD from managing to take the market by storm. In 2018 alone, the market for CBD in the United States was around $591 million, despite all of the regulations imposed on it. Though these restrictions are currently being lifted.

Who is using CBD in America?

In the 2018 United States Farm Bill, Hemp has been removed from the list of controlled substances, leaving the market wide open for Hemp Based CBD. With the loosing of regulations as well as consumer mindsets shifting on the issue CBD is increasing in popularity. Today in America, it is estimated that 7% of all Americans use CBD. This is comparable to 19.6% of Americans who consider themselves tobacco users. This is a relatively large number when taking into consideration the fact that with around 3.3 million Americans using CBD despite the regulations in place against CBD.

One of the primary uses for CBD is to treat depression, which is one of the most underdiagnosed conditions in the country. For many, there is no medication besides CBD that can effectively manage their condition and allow them to feel that they are unaffected by their anxiety. The fact that in even some cases, CBD has shown a decrease in anxiety, is extremely promising. This will also most likely lead to many new CBD users in America, as there are an estimated 40 million people suffering from anxiety in America whether it goes diagnosed or slips through the cracks.

“Today in America, it is estimated that 7% of all Americans use CBD. This is comparable to 19.6% of Americans who consider themselves tobacco users. This is a relatively large number when taking into consideration the fact that with around 3.3 million Americans using CBD despite the regulations in place against CBD.”

The Economics of CBD

Now that the patchwork of regulations surrounding CBD are beginning to go away, it has opened the floodgates of both entrepreneur and corporations attempting to capitalize on the CBD market which is estimated to reach $22 billion in the next three years. Companies like Coca-Cola have begun looking into CBD products (thought the FDA still prohibits placing CBD in food or beverages) to tap into this market. Regulators have been cracking down on CBD products in some jurisdictions. Earlier this month, New York City health officials ordered bakeries and restaurants to stop adding it to beverages and food, while Maine and Ohio have also curbed sales of the compound.

Big Brands Buy In

One of the biggest players in this market however, is big chain stores. In early 2019, both CVS and Walgreens announced that they would be testing CBD products in select stores. Barney’s has announced that they plan to open over a hundred locations in the US in the coming years in order to increase their presence in this market.  Realistically for a company like Walgreens, carrying CBD allows the company to only expand the diversity I products in which they carry, but a chance to become an industry leader in what is the apogee of emerging products. In February 2018, Inc. announced that its foreign enterprise, known as CBD Biotech, is launching four new skincare products infused with hemp for the Chinese market. The firm is also releasing a state-of-the-art magnetic mask for the same market. This news follows on from the company’s successful launch of its hemp-infused skincare line, called the CBD Magic Hemp Series.

Meanwhile, CV Sciences announced plans to launch a range of products in a bid to take advantage of CBD market growth in the United States; in February 2018, the Nevada-based firm announced it would be exhibiting a wide range of cutting-edge CBD products, including PlusCBD Oil.

It is the culmination, of a product with real medicinal power, in a space that could use it desperately. Despite regulations CBD has managed to soar to 7% of the population, and now that the regulations are slowly going away, that number will most likely sky rocket. The link between CBD users and big chain retailers has almost become symbiotic. The customer needs the retailer to provide competitive pricing and the retailer is reliant on the customers to have a desire for the product. Without a doubt, we can expect both of these to grow as we further into a more CBD friendly world.