Lately, we’ve seen a huge amount of public and media attention on the commercial potential of a certain five-fingered plant. Mary Jane, cabbage, blaze, aunt mary, pot, ganja: you can take your pick of the 100+ other names identified by the US Drug Enforcement Administration.
Yes, we’re talking about cannabis. Traditionally, this plant hasn’t enjoyed a particularly great reputation, but with a growing number of American states legalizing cannabis for commercial production and private use, all of that may be about to change.
In this article, we’ll examine the continuously-growing commercial potential for Cannabidiol products, as well as taking a look at some of the reasons why brands should hop on this particular train.
CBD is hitting some very high numbers
Cannabidiol (CBD) is the legal and non-psychoactive ‘cousin’ of THC, the chemical responsible for marijuana’s psychological effects. Lately, CBD has conquered industry after industry, from food and beverage, to health and beauty, and even some more, shall we say private markets.
Following the gradual increase in the availability of CBD products over the last five to ten years, the CBD market has exploded. In fact, a report released last autumn by the Brightfold Group predicts that it might hit $22 Billion by 2022 in the U.S. alone.
Given the entire U.S. organic food market is estimated to reach $70.4 Billion by 2025, this is a mind-blowing figure.
Even though further research is needed to confirm all of the benefits linked to CBD, and though the FDA is still working on guidelines to regulate the distribution of CBD products, there’s nothing stopping entrepreneurs innovating with this miraculous substance.
Cannabis Sativa. Source: Wikicommons
CBD’s current success has led some to compare it to bitcoin’s stellar ascent in 2016, and some are even going so far as to call it the new avocado toast. This is reflected in the product’s wider popularity: this year’s Oscars goodie bag featured CBD-derived products, and even celebrities such as Martha Stewart and Mandy Moore are getting in on the action.
And when one New York Times article dealing with the subject gets shared over 35,000 times, you can be sure that it won’t take long until CBD goes truly viral. Especially when the author is offering praise like this: “It’s easy to wonder if this all-natural, non-psychotropic and widely available cousin of marijuana represents the cure for the 21st Century itself.”
But what does CBD do? And why has it become so popular?
What does CBD do, exactly?
CBD is one of 113 chemicals that can be found in the cannabis plant. As opposed to THC, however, CBD does not provoke any psychoactive reaction. Instead, it appears to have all kinds of other miraculous properties.
Preliminary clinical research has shown that CBD:
- has anti-inflammatory properties
- helps to reduce anxiety and stress (without making the user stoned)
- improves the quality of sleep
- boosts cognition.
As if all of this wouldn’t be enough, CBD also enhances the overall skin health and fights anti-aging, as well as acne. Sounds like the perfect cure for the burdens of modern life, right?
Plant People’s CBD Drops. Source: NY Times
So far, cannabis-related clinical research has mainly concentrated on the use of the plant’s chemicals in the fight against severe health conditions such as cancer and epilepsy.
Now, thanks to CBD, a whole new take on wellbeing is emerging, creating a market not only for health providers but also for wellness brands.
It’s also given rise to a new type of cannabis consumer.
CBD fans: a new type of cannabis consumer
The typical CBD enthusiast is far from any stereotype of a cannabis fan that might pop up in your mind. You won’t see any tie-dyed t-shirts, munchies, or any other stereotypical stoner attributes like those encountered in movies like How High or Dazed & Confused.
A happy CBD fan. Source: Instagram
People who turn to CBD don’t seek to obscure reality with a mellow haze. Instead, they’re looking for new ways to boost their cognitive function, tackle a particular health-related issue, or simply to look younger and be more relaxed.
What is particularly exciting about CBD is its flexibility: it’s a product that easily finds application in multiple industries at once. Its numerous wellness benefits appeal to health businesses, as well as to food & beverage producers and beauty brands.
The myriad possible applications of CBD have fired the imaginations of so-called “cannapreneurs”, leading to a wide range of products, such as:
- coffee infused with CBD, said to counteract the negative effects caffeine has on the human body
- CBD-infused bath bombs - currently going viral - for curing muscular pain
- beauty & skincare products, with CBD being added to face creams, serums, lip balms, shampoos and everything in between
- CBD treats for pets, said to provide basically the same set of miraculous benefits for our furry friends as they do for humans.
Last year, Constellation Brands, the owner of Corona beer, invested $4 billion US into the cannabis company Canopy Growth. There’s also the suggestion that Coca-Cola is in talks with Canadian company Aurora Cannabis to create a CBD beverage, and others are speculating that Starbucks could get in on the action too.
One other factor contributing to this growth? A huge amount of social media attention.
CBD’s huge growth on social media
According to Google Trends, there has been a significant global increase in search requests related to CBD over the last year. Over a five-year timeframe, this trend is even more apparent:
Source: Google Trends
The trend is particularly visible in the U.S., where searches related to CBD brands such as Happy Tea or Ignite have exploded. However, the same tendency can be observed also worldwide, showing that this interest isn’t limited to the U.S. alone.
At the same time, the number of requests concerning marijuana or cannabis remained stable over the same period. This tells us that CBD is carving out a niche all on its own.
Source: Linkfluence Search
Using Linkfluence Search, we were able to fetch 3.8M global posts related to CBD in English over the last 12 months.
Roughly half of all those publications were geolocated in the U.S., where media outlets have generated the main share of the buzz around DBC. This buzz has also been echoed on platforms like Instagram and Twitter.
The user participation on these two platforms shouldn’t be underestimated, as a main bulk of publications stems from official media accounts and e-commerce players advertising CBD-derived products.
The Reddit community dedicated to CBD has 66K subscribers. There, users discuss the array of CBD producers, ask for advice before trying it, and deliver testimonies of positive experiences. For example, one 28 year-old man claimed to have treated his life-long anxiety with CBD oil.
Source: Linkfluence Search
A closer look at demographics shows that CBD seems to appeal to both genders. Even more interesting is the age group distribution, which shows that it’s also discussed by older users, which is rare for a trending ingredient hyped for its health benefits.
The miracle compound has been recognized as a potential relief for age-related health problems. With an ever-growing share of silver surfers, brands can seize this opportunity to engage with this otherwise hard-to-reach group on social media.
All of this attention demonstrates that CBD has huge potential in the coming years.
The potential of CBD in 2019 and beyond
While the last decade was all about CrossFit, HIIT, and Bikram Yoga, a new generation of wellness-oriented self-care centers could very well dominate the future market with the simple premise to chill.
CBD fits perfectly into this shift. As more people around the world are realizing the ‘work hard’ mantra often leads to burnout rather than success and fortune, consumers are more willing to focus on self-care and mental wellness.
This is particularly the case for those between 25 and 45, which happens to be the group of women most outspoken about the promise of CBD.
For now, the social media accounts of market-leading CBD brands lag behind trending beauty or food brands when it comes to the number of followers and engagement. However, it might well be only a matter of time before brands like Lord Jones or Plant People are driving as much engagement as a post announcing the release of a new vegan concealer.
The viral popularity of CBD posts - and the success of the products containing it - will depend on the brands’ capacity to appropriate the existing visual codes on social media, and to invent new codes that dispel the long history of negative stigmas related to cannabis.
With fancy packaging more reminiscent of niche perfumes than cannabis-based products, and with digital media brands such as Gossamer targeting a sophisticated yet open crowd, the CBD industry has all the potential to become a social media sensation.
If 2018 was the year when CBD went from a niche trend to a mainstream sensation, 2019 might well the moment when the discussion on the social web truly takes off. We can expect conflicting opinions to come more to the foreground, with social tribes talking about the different benefits of CBD in depth and detail.
Conclusion: The rise of CBD gives brands plenty to think about
CBD’s stellar ascent is reminiscent of the success activated charcoal has seen in recent years, when the fine black powder suddenly became ubiquitous and started to pop up in everything from face cleansers, toothpaste, ice cream, and nutritional supplements.
The benefits of charcoal might not be that impressive compared to those of CBD. Yet, due to its cleansing properties, it came to be the one-size-fits-all solution at a time where #detox seemed to be the primary concern of everyone invested in wellbeing.
The example shows how the hype around every miracle ingredient can be linked to a set of social needs. In 2016, for example, the concept of detoxing stemmed from the feeling that we tend to consume too much of things we don’t need, including food, clothing, screen time, or even toxic relationships.
Fast forward to 2019, and the new focus on wellness asks us to unwind, slow down and gain some headspace. What better fit for this era than CBD, a substance that redefines outdated concepts about cannabis and helps users to become more balanced?
In this environment, any brand with the potential to develop CBD products should pay close attention. As this versatile substance moves further into the mainstream, there will be plenty of lucrative opportunities to jump on the bandwagon.
What do you think about this trend? Share with us in the comment section below!
Social media data included in this post was found with our social data search engine, Linkfluence Search, Book a free demo to see how it works: