Thanks to exploding interest in the supplement, the U.S. now features a billion dollar CBD market according to a recent report.
According to predictions in the 2019 Hemp & CBD Industry Factbook from Hemp Industry Daily, CBD sales could reach up to $1.3 billion this year. CBD, short for cannabidiol, is a massively popular supplement made from industrial hemp. Consumers take CBD to relieve a host of diverse symptoms. It’s believed to help balance the human endocannabinoid system when used regularly.
According to the Hemp Industry Daily predictions, CBD sales are up 133% over last year. If growth continues along the same path, CBD sales could reach over $10 billion dollars by 2024.
Of course, while many experts predict increased interest in CBD, the market could also reach a saturation point. Alternately, consumers could be put off by the hype and miss out on CBD’s actual benefits.
In any case, the billion dollar CBD market fulfills an old prediction, in an unexpected way.
From ‘Billion Dollar Hemp’ to billion dollar CBD sales
In 1938, Popular Mechanics famously promised that hemp could become a billion dollar crop. However, the authors of that report could never have predicted how their prediction would come true.
We’re going to see plenty of excitement but it’s not going to keep quality products from getting into people’s bodies and improving their lives.”Joy Beckerman, president of the Hemp Industries Association
While humans used hemp as medicine as far back as ancient China, scientists didn’t isolate CBD in laboratories until the 1940s. When Popular Science predicted billion dollar in hemp sales, the focus was on hemp’s many other benefits. Hemp makes great paper, clothing, rope and other textiles, even building materials. It can even converted into a fuel source, among almost countless other uses. You can find articles about many of these uses for hemp on our website.
U.S. hemp growing expanded in 2019, as reflected by the massive increase in hemp growing licenses. Almost all of that hemp is grown for CBD. As a result, fiber or other forms of hemp are usually imported from China, Canada, India, or Eastern Europe.
A recent Gallup poll reported that 14% of Americans have tried CBD. Younger people make up the majority of those polled that said they’d tried CBD. However, even 8% of those over 65 reported using CBD products. 40% of CBD consumers said they used CBD products for pain. Another 20% used for anxiety, and 11% to help them sleep better.
What about the FDA?
One unknown factor in the future of the billion dollar CBD industry is how the Food and Drug Administration will rule.
Although many consumers don’t realize it, currently the CBD market is almost entirely unregulated. However, under the terms of the 2018 Farm Bill, which legalized hemp in America, the FDA will regulate the future of over the counter CBD supplement sales.
CBD is in a unique place since it’s both a medication (sold under the brand name Epidiolex as a high-end epilepsy drug) and an over-the-counter supplement, putting the FDA in a challenging position.
As Joy Beckerman, president of the Hemp Industries Association recently told us, members of Congress like Sen. Mitch McConnell would like the FDA to offer guidance as soon as possible, but that guidance could still be months or years away.
“Both congressional chambers are attempting to direct the FDA to take various forms of action via their respective Agriculture Appropriations Bills, but creating a regulatory framework could still take years depending on what directive language makes its way into law.”
A billion dollar CBD industry … and beyond?
At the same time, a billion dollar CBD industry has a lot of weight to throw around when it comes to lobbying. There’s also support in high places (like McConnell) for a path forward. It’s unlikely that this supplement will disappear entirely.
As our understanding of the human endocannabinoid system deepends, we’re likely to increase our appreciation for how CBD and other natural compounds found in hemp can help us live more balanced lives. Discerning consumers are also beginning to educate themselves about what makes a quality CBD product.
“We’re going to see plenty of that excitement,” agreed Beckerman, “but it’s not going to keep … wonderful quality-assured products from marching themselves down the field and getting into people’s bodies and improving their lives.”