If there’s one thing that everyone can agree on, it’s that the cannabidiol (CBD) industry is blowing up. But as a rapidly-emerging industry since the federal legalization of hemp in the 2018 Farm Bill, many questions linger about who exactly is using this trendy cananbinoid, what they’re using it for, and how well it works (especially considering that the CBD market is still unregulated by the FDA). Many claims are bandied about, but how many are backed up by hard data?
First, let’s review the basics. CBD is a cannabinoid derived from the cannabis plant, and, like medical marijuana, is purported to have a range of health benefits: among them, anti-inflammatory properties and the ability to reduce chronic pain.
We set out to get some answers on CBD users and the CBD market, and some of what we found may surprise you. To get these answers we tracked down and read through all of the largest available surveys on CBD users, with special weight given to surveys that featured nationally representative demographics when the data conflicted.
Our main sources for these statistics were:
- A survey of 2,400 medical cannabis users conducted by marketing & analytics research firm the Brightfield Group
- A nationally representative study of over 4,000 Americans conducted over 24 months by Consumer Reports
- A survey of over 2,000 Americans conducted by Quart & Harris Poll
- A study by New York investment bank Cowen & Co.
Collectively these surveys detail the views on CBD, usage habits, and CBD user demographics of more than 10,000 Americans. Bits and pieces can be gleaned from each individual study, but together they provide a striking (and strikingly positive) image of CBD use. On the whole, Americans (especially younger Americans) are well-aware of CBD and favor it’s medical use: Americans see it as having a wide range of positive effects and even consider it an effective treatment for a number of ailments, especially as an alternative to pharmaceuticals and OTC medications.
Keep in mind that, while these are the most exhaustive studies currently available, they’re far from definitive, and a clearer picture (with much more data) is sure to emerge as CBD continues its ascent to the top of the health-and-wellness mountain.
Read on to get a clear look at the CBD market — and the CBD user — in 2020.
CBD User Demographics Statistics
Summary: CBD is used by all age groups, but is most popular among the young. CBD use is distributed relatively amongst various income groups. Americans are very familiar with CBD, although the overall percentage of people who have tried it is relatively small (17%).
Only 8% of CBD users are aged 65 or older.
This might have something to do with the fact that anxiety is the most common ailment treated with CBD (see below), and millennials are experiencing anxiety at twice the average rate.
In comparison, only 15% of those surveyed age 65 or older had tried CBD.
Of US adults that have tried CBD, 27% live in a Western state (the next most CBD-friendly region is the Midwest which represents 18% of CBD users). Colorado, in particular, is the hub of several top CBD companies and is also one of the cradles of hemp growth in the US.
66% of CBD users surveyed by the Brightfield Group were caucasian.
Compared to only 34% of the population having a college degree.
Americans overwhelmingly express support for CBD use, including as an alternative to pharmaceuticals
Of those who are familiar with CBD, over 80% support its use. 56% support using CBD as an alternative to pharmaceuticals.
The gap between the number of people familiar with CBD and the number who have tried it suggests there’s still plenty of growth potential in the CBD market.
Surveys vary on this point; another survey (from Consumer Reports) said that one in seven Americans had tried CBD (which is about 14%, or double the Press Herald number).
CBD Market and Sales Statistics
Summary: CBD markets are experiencing staggering and rapid growth, as interest in CBD grows exponentially. This has led to a proliferation of CBD purveyors, some of whom are less than reliable. The business end of CBD is being spearheaded by women, who have founded the overwhelming majority of CBD businesses.
The CBD market is projected to grow to nearly $2 billion by 2022
In 2017, CBD sales reached $367 million and ballooned to $845 billion by 2019, expected to reach $1.9 billion by 2022.
The same report states that CBD gummy sales increased by 925% in just a year.
Google Searches for “CBD” have more than quadrupled since 2017
The two top spots on the list? Unicorn cake and romaine lettuce.
Charlotte’s Web is the most popular hemp-derived CBD brand in the US
The availability of CBD in the US increased by 80% in 2018 alone
The market reached $519 million.
This statistic was taken from online CBD marketplace Eaze Wellness, which ships CBD products to 41 states across the US.
Statistics on CBD Use
Summary: CBD is commonly used both to alleviate specific ailments and as an overall relaxer/stress-reliever. CBD users rate their experience with CBD very positively (especially relative to pharmaceutical alternatives).
This finding is consistent across surveys: a huge majority of CBD users are pleased with the effectiveness of the CBD products they use.
52% of CBD users consider CBD to be “more effective” or “much more effective” in relieving medical conditions than Over the Counter (OTC) products
This is true for both hemp-derived CBD users and marijuana-derived CBD users.
Many people turn to CBD because it is a plant-based remedy with very few side-effects compared to some OTC/prescription medications. .
Of those who replaced some type medication with CBD, 36% replaced a pharmaceutical opioid (oxycodone, percocet, etc.)
Given that the opioid crisis is ravaging middle america, this statistic is potentially of huge importance if CBD can replace opioids for a significant number of people.
Vaping and consuming CBD via a tincture or edible rank as the next most popular forms of consumption.
This is one of the big selling points of CBD, and is consistent across surveys.
32% of millenial CBD users use CBD for stress and anxiety, compared to 12% of boomers. Meanwhile, 42% of boomers user CBD for joint pain, compared to only 15% of millenials (not much surprise there, really).
Only 4% of CBD users are occasional users (use CBD less than once per month).
However, those who use both cananbidiol (CBD)-dominant and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-dominant products spend significantly less on THC-dominant products than those who use THC products alone.
The gap between the number of people who have heard of CBD and the number who have tried it indicates there’s still a lot of growth potential, especially considering how CBD-friendly young folks are and the generally positive attitudes Americans have towards CBD. Add to that CBD’s broad applicability and the fact that users report overwhelmingly positive experiences, and you’ve got the makings of a true health and wellness juggernaut that’s on its way up.