5 CBD Industry Predictions for 2022
There’s no doubt that the CBD industry has exploded quickly since hemp first became federally legal in 2018. With the passage of the US Farm Bill, congress opened the door for an entire new industry to grow out of thin air.
From farming to production, manufacturing to sales and everything in between, CBD is expected to grow into a $7.8 billion industry in 2022.
But much like the gold rush in the Wild West, the ‘green rush’ has begun to settle. Consumers are becoming loyal to certain brands. Demographics are starting to shift. And sales are starting to move from in-store retailers to online.
Four years on from the industry’s creation, what does the CBD industry look like now, and what will it look like in the year to come? Here are our predictions for the CBD industry in 2022.
1. Target Audiences Will Shift (And So Will Your Strategy)
When you think of the average CBD user, what do you picture? Is it a mustachioed hipster wearing a man bun and capris? Is it an exercise enthusiast interested in CBD’s supposed health benefits? Or is it a 50-something dad who heard an ad for CBD on the radio?
The demographics for the average CBD user might surprise you. 31% of CBD users are between the ages of 35 and 49. 22% are between the ages of 22 and 35, and another 22% are between 50 and 64. Not what you expected? Then you might have some work to do in your marketing and sales strategy. While consumer preferences have shifted quite a bit through the COVID-19 pandemic, different demographics still expect different things out of their shopping experience.
For instance, 66% of Gen Z shoppers will use social media to research a product before purchasing it, while Millennial buyers are far more independent than Generation X or baby boomer buyers during their path to purchase. They conduct extensive research on their own before making any purchasing decisions.
These are important factors to take into consideration while creating a marketing strategy for your CBD business. Pay attention to who your customers are, and cater to their individual expectations.
2. Legalize It
2021 saw a mass of new THC isomers come into popularity, like Delta 8 and Delta 10 THC. These products saw wide adoption among consumers, but faced fierce legal challenges in courts. A recent trend has found some states modifying their definitions of “THC” to include all THC isomers and are requiring that consumable hemp products have a total THC concentration of less than .3% of all THCs and THC isomers, rather than just delta 9 THC.
This back and forth will surely continue throughout 2022, as cities, states, and even the federal government take another look at CBD, hemp, and marijuana laws. While the trends show a wider acceptance of marijuana (and therefore hemp) as a whole, there’s no telling what individual states might do in the face of opposition.
3. Payment Processing Challenges Continue
Many in the CBD business will tell you that finding a quality payment processing partner can be a huge challenge. CBD itself is considered a high-risk vertical, categorized with the likes of cryptocurrencies and online gambling. This means many payment processors will not work with CBD businesses to perform transactions in-store or online. Those that do often charge exorbitant fees, are difficult to integrate with, and use heavy contracts to ensure less liability.
As legal battles continue over the status of CBD, hemp, and marijuana, many payment processors are sure to stay at arm’s length from this industry. While still high-risk, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t plenty of payment processors available to merchants. BigCommerce works with a variety of payment processors, like Pinwheel and Inovio, to help our CBD customers grow. Learn more about CBD payment processing in our deep dive here.
4. Marketers Will Find New Ways to Adapt
Payment processing isn’t the only side of the business that leaves merchants with a headache. Marketing and advertising have proven to be a huge challenge over the years since legalization. In 2021, Google updated its Paid Search Policies to include cannabidiol (CBD) as an unapproved substance search term. Google also released a “Three Strikes” rule to penalize accounts that violate their policies. Accounts that violate the policy three times within 90 days will be suspended.
While some may look at this trend and ask ‘How am I supposed to reach my audience,’ others are finding unique ways to get their message in front of prospective customers. Influencers, brand ambassadors, and affiliate marketing are becoming more popular in these verticals, and some merchants are even turning to more traditional advertising avenues like radio.
Last year, our friends at CBDistillery joined us to talk about their strategy and how they work around some of the more strict rules regarding digital marketing and advertising. Check out the talk here.
5. Increased Competition
While 2020 was a challenging year for the CBD industry, businesses that survived see greener pastures ahead. Those pastures won’t come without their fair share of challenges, however. As CBD becomes more widely accepted, larger, national brands will begin creating and selling their own CBD products. Brands like Sephora and Urban Outfitters have already begun selling CBD products, and 2022 is sure to see many more national and international brands follow suit.
What does that mean for small- and medium-sized CBD retailers? You’ll need to be at the top of your game to stick up to the competition. To do that, look for a partner that can help give you the tools you need to succeed, like BigCommerce. Our ecommerce platform allows sellers to adapt their store quickly and easily depending on market changes. It comes standard with SEO and marketing tools to help you ensure your marketing dollars are being spent where they need to. And we partner with a variety of payment processors to help ensure your checkout process is seamless and easy.
Ready to take your CBD business to the next level in 2022? Check out our comprehensive guide to growing your CBD business, and learn about marketing, payment processing and more.
This material does not constitute legal, professional or financial advice and BigCommerce disclaims any liability with respect to this material. Please consult your attorney or professional advisor on specific legal, professional or financial matters.
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CBD statistics 2022
22% of people say they don’t trust CBD, but 68% of CBD users find it effective. Get your CBD stats straight before you try this natural remedy.
There’s no getting around it: CBD is officially everywhere . Its popularity has skyrocketed. What started as a niche alternative health treatment has become a nationwide craze. And it doesn’t just show up as oils and tinctures anymore. There is whole array of curious CBD products, including lattes, makeup, bedsheets, bath bombs, and even dog treats.
But is CBD a wonder drug, or just another health fad? There’s no shortage of opinions out there, but we can discern a lot from CBD statistics. We’ve compiled reliable research and conducted a CBD survey to put the prevalence of CBD use and its potential health benefits into perspective.
What is CBD?
When some people hear “CBD,” their minds immediately jump to marijuana. And while there is a connection, it’s not as close as one might think. Since recreational and medical cannabis is available in several states now, it’s important to note the differences. CBD is primarily a hemp derivative, which is like a cousin to marijuana, but not the same plant.
Let’s take a step back. Both hemp and marijuana fall into the cannabis genus. Cannabis plants contain two naturally-occurring compounds: cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD and THC are both cannabinoids but have different effects on the body. Most prominently, THC has psychoactive effects and CBD doesn’t, which is why CBD doesn’t make you feel high.
Marijuana and hemp each contain both compounds but in different ratios. Hemp has much lower levels of THC and larger amounts of CBD, which is why it’s often used for CBD products. Marijuana, on the other hand, has significantly more THC.
People use CBD for almost everything. Name a medical condition and there’s likely someone out there treating it with CBD or other cannabis products. But when someone claims that CBD cured their migraines or skin rash, take it with a grain of salt. Because the CBD industry is so new, there simply hasn’t been enough research to fully understand its effects yet.
While it shows plenty of promise in treating various conditions, “it is not a one-size-fits-all [remedy] to treat specific conditions or symptoms of those conditions for every individual,” says Manisha Singal, MD, the founder of Aethera Beauty . “Research on the benefits and action of CBD in topical formulations as well as ingestible forms is ongoing. That experimentation is in its preliminary stages and there is a long way to go. The medical potential for CBD and other cannabinoids is undeniable, but medical research takes time and careful analysis.”
That said, it has shown efficacy in treating chronic pain and anxiety (two of its most common uses), as well as insomnia and arthritis. And the only FDA-approved medication that contains cannabidiol so far is Epidiolex , which treats childhood seizures associated with Dravet Syndrome or Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome in patients two years of age and older.
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
CBD statistics by method
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
CBD and overall health
CBD enthusiasts will tell you that it changed their lives, citing all sorts of positive effects. Skeptics will tell you that it’s all hype and has no actual benefits. The truth falls somewhere in between. Our survey found that 32% of people who’ve used CBD did not find it effective. While there hasn’t been extensive research on its effects, it shows promise as an anti-inflammatory , anti-anxiety treatment, as well as a sleep aid . And this can give us some insight into CBD’s appeal as a new addition to holistic wellness routines.
People tout CBD as a miracle treatment for heart disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, Alzheimer’s, acne, and much more. Researchers haven’t found substantial evidence that it can effectively treat any of these conditions, but we also know that inflammation and stress can be contributing factors to these conditions. So, there may be some truth to the claims that CBD is beneficial to everyday health. Whether it’s in a morning smoothie, part of a skincare routine, or something else entirely, regular CBD use can potentially be beneficial for some people, although it comes with risks too.
Recreational vs. medical cannabis use
Recreational cannabis use isn’t quite the same as medical use. CBD oil and other products intended for medical use typically come in smaller doses and aren’t full-spectrum CBD (or “whole plant” CBD), which contains THC as well.
“CBD can have varying strengths depending on if it is used in isolation or if used in conjunction with THC for entourage effects,” says Dr. Singal. And some people want these compound effects. However, there are a ton of CBD producers and retailers out there, and not all of them are reliable. Although 47% of the Americans that we surveyed think the government regulates CBD, it does not.
A recent study by Penn Medicine revealed that almost 70% of cannabidiol products sold online are mislabeled. So, products from online retailers that haven’t been properly vetted could contain higher levels of THC or other compounds. Our survey found that 22% of people won’t try CBD because they don’t trust the product or manufacturer.
CBD side effects
Like other medications, CBD can have side effects, too. In one study , one-third of CBD users reported a non-serious side effect, including dry mouth, euphoria, hunger, irritated eyes, and/or fatigue. And according to Michael Hall, MD, the founder of the Hall Longevity Clinic , the spectrum of side effects is even broader.
“CBD contains multiple oil-based terpenes, which can excite the immune system,” says Dr. Hall. “The most common side effects associated with CBD-based products include sleepiness, sedation, and lethargy; elevated liver enzymes; decreased appetite; diarrhea; rash; fatigue, malaise, and weakness; insomnia, and possible interaction with some prescription medications.”
Typically, these effects aren’t dire, but they can be inconvenient and disruptive to a person’s everyday routine.
As far as drug interactions go, there hasn’t been a ton of research and testing, so it’s hard to say. CBD can potentially interfere with tacrolimus , an immunosuppressive medication. Because there are a lot of unknowns, anyone looking to supplement their current medications with CBD should consult a healthcare provider first.
The cost of CBD
America’s CBD market has a near-vertical trajectory. With the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in numerous states, an increasing number of people are looking into the benefits of cannabis, and CBD sales reflect that interest.
- The United States CBD market value was just over $4 billion in 2019 and may top $25 billion by 2025. (Brightfield Group, 2019)
- The cannabis- and hemp-derived CBD market may see a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 49% by 2024. (BDSA, 2019)
- 44% of regular CBD users spend $20-$80 per month on CBD products. 13% spend more than $160 per month. (Brightfield Group, 2019)
CBD law and restrictions
Here’s the big question: is CBD legal or not? The laws around cannabis are frequently changing and vary from state to state. CBD derived from hemp is legal, as long as it meets certain requirements. The Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (AKA the 2018 Farm Bill) allowed for the production and marketing of hemp-derived CBD products without federal regulation as long as they contain no more than 0.3% THC. But these products should not be labeled or marketed as medications. The FDA has only approved one CBD-based drug (Epidiolex), so the sale of other CBD products as drugs for the treatment of specific medical conditions is not yet legal.
Additionally, the FDA has not approved products that contain cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds for medical use. In fact, at the federal level, all marijuana is illegal (medical or otherwise). It’s still classified as a Schedule I substance (along with heroin and LSD) by the DEA under the Controlled Substances Act . However, 33 states have legalized it for medical purposes, and 11 of those have approved recreational use for adults 21 and older. Technically, federal law supersedes state law, but the federal government has not chosen to prosecute businesses and/or individuals selling or using cannabis in states where it’s been legalized.
CBD questions and answers
How many people know what CBD is?
In a recent Gallup poll, 64% of U.S. adults said that they were familiar with CBD and/or CBD products. In a 2020 SingleCare survey, we found that one-third of Americans have used CBD.
Why do people use CBD?
People claim that CBD can treat everything from acne to cancer. But the most common uses are for pain, inflammation, anxiety, and insomnia.
What age group uses CBD the most?
CBD use is most common in populations ages 18-34, according to a recent SingleCare survey.
How much money is spent on CBD?
The CBD market exceeded $4 billion in 2019, according to a study by the Brightfield Group, and they expect the industry to top $25 billion by 2025.
How many people have died from ingesting CBD oil?
CBD oil consumption has not been directly linked to any deaths. One of the most popular CBD products is vape cartridges, however, and the FDA has linked vaping to certain lung injuries and death .