If you were to associate any three letters with the word cannabis, they’d most likely be THC. But there’s a new term that’s rising to challenge that position: CBD. Unlike the aforementioned chemical, CBD is a non-psychoactive strain of Cannabis Sativa that is making a name for itself in the health and wellness industry. More than 1 in 4 Americans have tried using this ingredient to relieve pain, stress, and anxiety. Due to the variety of uses and multiple benefits, the CBD industry is projected to hit $20 billion by 2024. The business of hemp has only recently been legalized, but the explosion of its popularity has led to a quick realization of its bright future.
The hemp market is extremely varied having uses in personal care, industrial applications, foods, textiles, and supplements. Most popularly, hemp oil is also used to make CBD which is commonly used for anxiety and stress, joint inflammation, and poor sleep. This ingredient can be found in a motley collection of products and has been grabbing the attention of consumers in a profound way. The only proven use for CBD is reducing epileptic seizures, but many users continue to report significant results.
In 2017, the FDA approved Epidolex, which is a CBD-based medication used for epilepsy. The extracts sourced from CBD have been shown to reduce seizures by up to 71%. But early studies suggest CBD might be beneficial for more than epilepsy and can be beneficial for a wide variety of conditions. For example, it can be used to improve mental health and increase neuroplasticity. CBD has been shown to regulate the production of serotonin, the chemical in our body that contributes to happiness and wellbeing. One study called CBD a “useful new approach to treat several neuropsychiatric disorders,” and has been shown to reduce inflammation-associated neurodegeneration. Times are tough for people, and the beneficial effects lead the market for hemp CBD alone to be predicted to grow to $22 billion by 2022 – up to 67X from 2017.
Within the past two years, the use of hemp CBD has spread across generations. The majority of those who use it range from ages 18 to 29, with the average percentage of people using CBD slowly decreasing as they get older. Those who choose to use CBD typically purchase it at dispensaries, but can also find products at retail stores and online. There they can buy their CBD pills, topical creams, vapes, oil drops, or the most commonly used – edible foods or drinks.
Scientists still are unable to identify every single benefit that CBD targets in the body, but the possible medicinal benefits have still prompted many to incorporate the hemp oil into their healthcare. Some people use both their over-the-counter medicine and CBD products concurrently in their health routine, with 22% replacing their medicine completely. According to Consumer Reports in 2019, the drugs replaced by CBD include prescription sleep-aids, anti-anxiety medication, and prescription opioids. Additionally, almost half of the people that use CBD as a healthcare replacement use it instead of over-the-counter pain reliever. The changes in medicine are followed by changes in regulation. This poses unique challenges for the hemp industry as it tries to keep up with the rapid evolution of their market.
Although the Farm Bill legalized hemp-derived CBD at the federal level, many states have confusing and contradictory laws. The popularity and inconsistent regulations also make it difficult to prove the quality of hemp products. Lab results, certifications, transparency, and contact information are ways the hemp industry is moving forward and preparing for the bright future of hemp. Learn more about the future of the hemp business from the infographic below.
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