As it stands today, the common reasons that people choose to consume hemp-derived CBD are health and wellness-related. Most are looking for alternatives to medication to improve their quality of life, manage health conditions, relieve pain and inflammation or to sleep better.
But is it a fad, or is it just the start of a long-term trend?
While the growth of the CBD industry is close to unprecedented, it’s important to discern whether there is a CBD bubble or if it’s a long-term player in the wellness industry.
The evidence, both scientific and market-related, show that CBD is here to stay. CBD offers real benefits for users, is completely safe and ongoing R&D and customer education is only likely to accelerate uptake among people in the UK.
In a world of consumers who are wanting to look and feel healthy and well, CBD alternatives to prescription and over-the-counter medication present a significant disruption to the wellness industry.
And how is CBD doing it?
1. CBD is Backed by Science
Unlike many wellness products, CBD is able to fall back on a body of research. Although many studies are still in their infancy, there are a number of trials that point towards the efficacy of CBD.
CBD interacts with the body’s endocannabinoid system. This system is made up of cannabinoid receptors found throughout the body and is responsible for controlling a number of different functions such as mood, sleep, temperature, pain, memory, appetite and more.
Discovered in the early 1990s, the endocannabinoid system releases endocannabinoids (cannabinoids that occur naturally within the body) in response to health problems in order to restore homeostasis (or balance) even if external circumstances change. It’s also able to offer specific, localised support to address an imbalance without impacting other systems because the receptors are found throughout the body.
2. CBD is Becoming More Regulated
Worldwide, CBD has been subject to much regulatory scrutiny due largely to its association with marijuana and THC. However, legislation changes in countries such as the United States and Canada have helped to reduce the stigma of hemp-derived CBD.
In the UK, many CBD manufacturers are opting for self-regulation, choosing to focus on increasing education around CBD and promoting product lifecycle accountability and transparency. This shows that reputable suppliers are invested their clients as well as the long-term outlook of the industry.
And regulation is set to be written into law in the UK. All forms of CBD that are consumed will be classified as a novel food, which will require CBD manufacturers to apply for authorisation by January 2021, adding a new layer of protection for consumers buying CBD in the UK.
3. CBD has a Multi-Faceted Offering
Wellness isn’t just about taking vitamins and drinking eight glasses of water. The shift in general consciousness means that the concept of wellness is spilling over into all areas of life, presenting a range of new opportunities for CBD.
CBD is not restricted to tinctures, balms or capsules, as it transcends many of the usual limitations of ‘wellness’ products. CBD is being infused into a wide range of products from beverages and drinks, to beauty products.
You can order your morning coffee with a shot of CBD, buy CBD-infused water, even soft drinks and alcoholic drinks come with the option of CBD. This allows CBD to move beyond wellness stereotypes into social settings, adding a health and wellness element to almost any occasion.
CBD is being used in beauty and skincare products for it’s anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidising and oil-balancing properties. In fact, CBD is being touted as the most disruptive force to rock the industry in the last 20 years, and the global market is expected to be worth over £700 million by 2024.
While hemp has been a staple in a cross-section of packaged foods such as plant-based milk, protein bars and hemp seed oil, it’s only recently that CBD-infused foods are becoming the norm. Euromonitor International expects CBD packaged food sales to double in the next two years as more people are exposed to and learn about CBD. CBD will soon start popping up in many different food categories such as sweet and savoury snacks, pasta, soups, and baked goods.
Consumer Health Products
CBD product ranges are rapidly expanding and are popping up in various health categories, including sleeping aids, topical analgesics and dietary supplements. Its popularity is driven to a large extent by a desire to find natural alternatives to medication for treating pain, stress and sleep disorders.
4. CBD Products are Flexible Enough to Meet Customers’ Needs
Products orientated towards health and wellness are growing, and consumers are comfortable with the cross-over from more traditional wellness over-the-counter products to CBD-infused products in almost every category.
New innovations in the delivery mechanisms for CBD products and a wider range of products mean that consumers are becoming increasingly aware of CBD, and are more likely to be exposed to it. For example, if you tend to stay away from health stores, but can’t resist bath products like soaps, soaks and bombs, you’re still likely to come across CBD in the form of a CBD-infused bath product.
CBD, through its interaction with the body’s endocannabinoid system, also offers a range of benefits that are not limited to one single area. Because endocannabinoid receptors are supported by CBD and occur throughout the central and peripheral nervous system as well as the immune system, the cannabinoid is able to offer an extensive range of benefits. The endocannabinoid system is unique as it doesn’t focus on specific functions (such as digestion) but rather works to maintain balance between the systems in the body so that they can function optimally.
5. CBD Supports Self-Care
Another of the biggest trends in health and wellness is self-care. Consumers are taking a more holistic, long-term approach to their wellbeing. For women, in particular, there is more openness around mental health, and self-care has become the norm. There is the recognition that health and happiness are interrelated, and many will actively seek out products that promote both. It is therefore not surprising that there are many CBD products targeted towards women from skincare and bath products to tampons and breath mints. From home use to medi-spas and celebrity endorsements, CBD isn’t being used just for health but also for beauty and wellness.
If self-care is focused on mental and physical health, then CBD is the perfect support. It helps to reduce anxiety, manage depression and improve sleep quality for mental wellbeing, as well as being helpful for a range of physical health conditions such as inflammation and joint pain. In addition, it also builds towards long-term health, offering neuroprotective and heart health properties and protection against diabetes.
6. CBD Taps Natural Wellness Trends
Consumers are increasingly savvy and well-informed and, with technology, today have unprecedented access to knowledge. More people are seeking out natural alternatives to support their wellness, as well as offer relief for health conditions and many are doing their research online.
Education (and re-education) around CBD and its benefits is therefore important as consumers, armed with knowledge, are able to make informed decisions and take charge of their own health and wellness. Iterative studies show that already, within a few short years, CBD is no longer automatically associated with marijuana and ‘getting high’. And if this trend of education and natural wellness continues, then it’s likely that we’ll see a greater uptake of CBD by consumers, and more CBD products across a greater number of categories.
CBD is taking the wellness industry by storm, and there are no signs of it letting up anytime soon. CBD-infused products are set to infiltrate all aspects of life from consuming a CBD beverage in place of a coffee, using CBD toiletries in your morning shower, consuming a CBD-infused sports supplement before a workout, and rounding off the day with CBD drops as a sleeping aid before bed. As the body of research for the cannabinoid continues to reveal new benefits, and education reshapes thinking around CBD, the cannabinoid looks set to continue its steep upward trajectory.