CBD products are flying off the shelves as more consumers enjoy the alleged benefits provided by these edible goodies. Consumers can find CBD-infused tinctures, edibles and even beverages online and in local dispensaries. Statistics show that with the ever-growing market, production of these products is expected to climb in the coming years, providing investors with a potentially sustainable source of profit for the near future.
This chart from statista shows CBD-containing product sales from 2014 with projections up to 2022 . This shows that sales of these products are expected to reach close to the $2 billion mark by the end of 2022. This chart shows a steady growth for the demand of these products, and this is expected to continue past the projected time frame.
What is CBD?
CBD is short for cannabidiol, which is one of the main active components in the cannabis plant. This compound is purported to have healing properties as well as provide users with overall wellness benefits. Although this plant is most commonly associated with marijuana, hemp also falls under the cannabis identification.
Commercial CBD-infused products may come from either marijuana or hemp, which affects how much THC is also contained within. The cannabinoid oil is extracted from the flowers, also referred to as the buds, of the plant.
Why do some people don’t like it?
Because cannabidiol is extracted from the cannabis family of plants, people often associate this compound with marijuana. Consequently, it’s not necessarily that these individuals don’t like this specific component itself; they don’t like the idea of its use based on its government-induced stigma since marijuana is listed as a Schedule I substance with no medical benefits and a high potential for abuse . Fortunately, with the increase in usage of CBD-infused products, a greater percentage of the population is learning more about the distinction between these two compounds.
Difference Between CBD and THC
According to the UCLA Cannabis Research Initiative, there are more than 500 separate compounds that can be found in these plants , with cannabidiol and THC being just two. The only difference is that THC has psychoactive properties that can get you high.
For those wanting to try a CBD-containing ingestible product but don’t want to worry about getting high or failing a drug test, they should look for products that are derived from hemp, which must maintain a THC level at or below 0.03 percent. Conversely, marijuana-derived products are likely to have much higher detectable levels of this psychoactive compound.
What was this cannabinoid originally used for?
Historically, cannabis-derived products have been used as far back as 5000 BC. In the 1800s, it’s believed that Queen Victoria used the plant to relieve pain from menstrual cramping. Cannabidiol was first isolated in 1942 by chemist Roger Adams. In the 1980s, another chemist, Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, studied CDB’s effects on epilepsy, noting that this compound dramatically reduced the number of seizures the test subjects had to endure.
When hemp received federal legalization through the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, also referred to as the 2018 Farm Bill, this opened the door to legitimate research involving hemp-derived cannabinoids for health issues. Surprisingly, that same year, the FDA approved a CBD-derived medication for seizures. Epidiolex is approved for use by those with two rare and often treatment-resistant forms of epilepsy. Some research has determined that cannabinoids may alleviate other symptoms and medical conditions.
Why do people take cannabinoids?
Most consumers purchase CBD-containing products for their alleged health benefits to relieve certain symptoms or conditions. Harvard Health notes that CBD-focused research shows positive benefits to those with certain health problems, such as anxiety, insomnia, chronic pain . Other areas of research show promise in regards to side effects of cancer and its treatments, psychiatric disorders, opioid addiction recovery and neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease .
In this chart sourced by Consumer Research around Cannabis, many consumers use cannabidiol-containing products to help handle medical conditions, with pain relief being at the top with 12 percent of those surveyed .
Surveys conducted by Consumer Reports show similar results. In addition, 22 percent of respondents replaced their prescription medication by using CBD-containing products, with 36 percent of those giving up opioid pain relievers in favor of this cannabinoid . 35 percent of their survey respondents preferred edible foods, beverages and tincture products over other types .
Unfortunately, cannabidiol, like many other supplements, may interact with other medications that people may be taking. Consumers who are on prescription medications or who regularly take other over-the-counter products should do their research or speak with their physicians before taking CBD-containing products and to learn more about proper dosing.
Who uses CBD-infused ingestible products?
Millennials make up the largest portion of the market and are the most receptive to trying out new products. They’re not afraid to do their research before choosing the products that they buy. This population typically garners information about their CBD-containing products from friends, family and social media. However, there’s still a good portion of Gen Xers and Boomers dabbling in edibles and other CBD products. Women and Caucasians are two demographics that are more likely to choose these options as well.
Data gathered from four survey studies was combined to provide an informative look at who is actually purchasing and using hemp-derived CBD-containing products.
- 39 percent are 18 to 34 years old
- 30 percent are 35 to 49
- 61 percent are married or live with their significant other
- 44 percent have graduated college
- 44 percent make $30,000 to $100,000 a year 
Types of Ingestible CBD-Infused Products
Depending on the consumer’s preference, there are many ways to use a CBD-containing product.
Oils and Tinctures: As the name would imply, oils contain cannabidiol in a carrier oil while tinctures use alcohol as a base; they are typically taken sublingually.
Pills: Products can be obtained in tablets, capsules and gelcaps.
Edibles: Just a few of the wide variety of snack products available includes chocolates, brownies, lollipops, honey sticks, taffy and the ever-popular gummies.
- Beverages: This currently increasing market includes products such as coffees, teas, energy drinks, infused sparkling waters and sports powder mixes.
When it comes to snacking, customers have varied tastes according to this chart by Cogent Infotech, which lists the previously top-rated gummies in third place with less than 10,000 respondents preferring this candy and beverages taking the lead with more than 22,000 preferring this type . Hemp Business Journal created a chart on CBD-branded sales at dispensaries in 2017, showing that 89 percent of consumers chose CBD-infused edible options over other product types .
As the CBD-infused ingestible market gains traction and legalization of marijuana expands across the nation, demand for these products is expected to increase exponentially. It’s projected that by 2024, CBD-infused foods and beverages will be the fastest growing market sector sold at mainstream retailers with nearly $6 billion being made in that year alone .
What to Look for in CBD-Infused Products
Not all CBD-infused ingestible products are the same since they’re considered similarly to supplements, which aren’t regulated by the FDA. Due to differences in federal and state laws, there’s not really any oversight as to what manufacturers put on their labels compared to what’s actually in the package. In fact, research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association showed that only approximately 31 percent of labels accurately listed the levels of CBD and THC in the products .
Other statistics provided by this study include the following:
More than 42 percent of products had more cannabidiol while about 26 percent had less than what was listed on the label.
- Detectable levels of THC above 0.03 percent were found in over 21 percent of the products tested.
When purchasing a CBD-infused product, the dosing information needs to be accurate. If what an individual consumes doesn’t contain enough cannabidiol, they may not get a therapeutic benefit. Too much may increase the risk of unwanted side effects, such as dry mouth, drowsiness or diarrhea. Consequently, if someone’s job requires drug testing, they want to know that the products they buy don’t contain THC. Consumer trust is an important factor that manufacturers need to consider when marketing their products with the appropriate information on the labels.
To ensure getting the amount of specific ingredients that consumers are looking for and that the product doesn’t contain more than the regulated amount of THC, they should check to see if the product has been tested by a third-party lab. This information should be listed on the packaging. Also, consumers might be able to get additional information by scanning the QR code on the package.
Additionally, there are several variations in the type of cannabidiol that may be in a product, so interested individuals should be able to differentiate these terms on the ingredient label.
Isolate: Products containing isolate only have cannabidiol with no other cannabinoids or terpenes.
Distillate: Ingestible products containing distillate have cannabinoids, terpenes and other beneficial ingredients without the THC. This term may be found on products labelled as broad spectrum.
Broad Spectrum: These products contain beneficial terpenes and cannabinoids without THC.
- Full Spectrum: Consumers can get all of the active components from the plant including THC even if it’s in an amount at 0.03 percent or less.
Many cannabinoids work together in a synergistic manner to provide the purported benefits. This is known as the entourage effect. What this means is that a single isolated compound from the plant doesn’t work as well on its own as it does when combined with other components found in the plant, according to a perspectives article published in Frontiers in Plant Science . Additionally, there’s an increasing interest in CBN, CBG and CBC and how they work together to provide greater relief to users. All of these should be found in broad spectrum and full spectrum products.
Consumers are encouraged to check the package ingredient list before purchasing any alleged CBD-infused product to make sure this cannabinoid is truly included in the product since some hemp oil may be extracted from the seeds of the plant and may not contain cannabidiol. Also, ingestible products that are in the broad and full spectrum categories should list out any additional ingredients, such as cannabinoids and terpenes because these can impact the quality and the effectiveness of the product.
Are CBD-infused ingestible products legal for sale in the United States?
Now that hemp is legal in the United States, products that are made from hemp are also legal at the federal level. However, some states still restrict the production and sale of hemp-derived products due to the laws based on the hemp-cannabis connection.
Due to FDA regulations, CBD-containing foods or beverages can’t be sold on the interstate market or labeled as supplements since cannabidiol is now approved for use as a seizure medicine. However, because the FDA doesn’t typically regulate supplements, this agency has tended to overlook some of these products and where they’re sold in past years.
Many states have legalized the use of marijuana for medical or recreational use, with more expected to follow suit in the near future. This means that CBD-infused products are legal for production and purchase in these states without the concern of whether they’re derived from hemp or marijuana. Unfortunately, marijuana is still illegal at the federal level though 67 percent of U.S. adults believe that it should be legal, according to an article published by Michigan University . However, talks of Congressional discussions on legalization show promise for an increasing number of products that can be sold across state lines in the future.