CBD – the world’s most popular cannabinoid? Quite possibly, considering the fact that this derivative of the cannabis and hemp plants is embarking on its worldwide debut as a therapeutic powerhouse.
News of the therapeutic benefits of CBD – scientifically referred to as ‘cannabidiol’ – is cropping up in the cannabis industry news everywhere, from claims that the cannabinoid can be used as a weapon to fight superbugs, to its uses in skincare, pain management and even epileptic seizures.
Epidyolex – a CBD-based medicine produced by GW Pharmaceuticals and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in June 2018 – has just gained traction across Europe, where GW’s product was recently approved on a doctor-prescribed basis.
With its seamless integration into the mainstream market, the global CBD market is predicted to be worth USD$2.2 billion by 2023, skyrocketing from $462 million last year.
Plus, since celebrities like Jennifer Aniston, Mike Tyson and Kim Kardashian advocate the use of CBD, it’s pretty clear that this unique and naturally-occurring compound has rose to fame for a reason.
What is CBD?
Cannabidiol, a.k.a. “CBD”, is a naturally occurring compound contained in the cannabis and hemp plant’s flowers, leaves and seeds.
CBD was first discovered by an Israeli scientist who is commonly referred to as “the Godfather of Cannabis.” His real name is Dr. Raphael Mechoulam and it was he – along with a team of devoted scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem – who initially discovered the cannabinoid in 1940. Over 20 years later, its structure was fully elucidated and now, as we approach 2020, CBD’s therapeutic effects are being talked about across the globe.
North America CBD industry by 2026
Numerous health stores have started stocking CBD products and with places on the world map like Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Peru and Uruguay legalizing cannabis-based products for medical purposes, suppliers of CBD oil in North America are cashing in on the craze.
So much so, in fact, that North America’s CBD market is expected to turn over $417 million by next year. This industry analysis is based on the sales of cannabis-derived CBD. Add hemp to the mix and North America stands to be greatly rewarded for helping people experience the therapeutic benefits of CBD.
The Diverse CBD Consumer Demographic
Thanks to the diversity of CBD products available on the market today, the consumer demographic is constantly expanding. Consumer Reports analysts say that approximately 64 million American residents are estimated to have tried CBD within the last two years.
According to the results of a study carried out by CR analysts, over a quarter of U.S. residents admit to trying the non-psychoactive cannabinoid, in whatever form that may be. One out of seven of the 4,000 people surveyed said that they use CBD on a daily basis.
The growing consumer demographic for CBD – based on CR’s findings – is largest for individuals in their 20s; 40% of people in this age group said they tried CBD. Interestingly, 15% of people aged 60 and above said they have tried CBD, demonstrating how consumers old and young are open to the idea of experiencing.
Consumers Enjoy Versatility in CBD Product Options
Perhaps one of the main appeals for CBD consumers is the fact that they can give the body a dose of goodness in the privacy and comfort of one’s own home. It’s even possible to enjoy the therapeutic effects of CBD whilst on the move, e.g. dosing up by swallowing a CBD-infused capsule or munching on a cannabinoid-rich edible.
CBD vape oils are a popular choice for consumers who prefer inhalation as a means of reaping the fast-acting rewards of this method of CBD consumption. Then there’s CBD tinctures, which can be dropped on or beneath the tongue for instant absorption into the bloodstream, as well as CBD isolate, which is the cannabinoid in its purest form.
The CBD market has also introduced products specifically designed for use on hair, skin and even for administration to pets. Animals also have an endocannabinoid system (ECS) inside their bodies.
Consumers may also opt for whole or full-plant CBD extracts. These types of extracts contain an abundance of other compounds that occur naturally in the cannabis plant and may provide therapeutic effects; including phytonutrients, such as terpenes, vitamin E, fatty acids and plant sterols. Consumers should be aware of the fact that whole or full-plant CBD extracts may increase the chances of the entourage effect occurring.
Science Supports the Idea of Using CBD as a Therapeutic Aid
Now that you know a little bit about what CBD is, let’s find out what the therapeutic benefits of CBD are. Below, we touch upon 10 studies that successfully demonstrate this cannabinoid’s ability to relieve the mentioned ailments/conditions:
”Our findings indicate that CBD holds significant promise for treating individuals with heroin use disorder,” said the study’s author and director of the Addiction Institute at Mount Sinai in New York City, Yasmin Hurd. “A successful non-opioid medication would add significantly to the existing addiction medication toolbox to help reduce the growing death toll, enormous health care costs, and treatment limitations imposed by stringent government regulations amid this persistent opioid epidemic.”
Research Into the Therapeutic Benefits of CBD is Underway
A proposition was made earlier in the year by the World Health Organization (WHO) suggesting that the government recategorize the cannabis plant, due to an emerging field of evidence pertaining to its therapeutic benefits. Let’s take a look at some other developments in cannabis research:
The DEA is Pushing Forward with Medical Cannabis Research
On Monday, August 26, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) responded to a lawsuit filed by medical cannabis researchers urging the Agency to proceed with the review of licenses for such research.
Thankfully for the researchers – and also for consumers who want hard, solid evidence that this cannabinoid lives up to its name – the DEA announced it would start reviewing pending applications and new applications no more than 90 days after they have been submitted.
“If an applicant seeks to manufacture a Schedule I Or Schedule II controlled substance ‘for use only in a clinical trial,’ the Administrator will issue a notice of application not later than 90 days after the application is accepted for filing,” reads the DEA’s response, which came two days before a court-mandated response was required by the plaintiff – Dr. Sue Sisley.
India is Lifting the Brakes on Medical Cannabis Research
Research into the therapeutic effects of CBD is even underway in India, where cannabis cultivation, use, possession and sale is currently banned.
Mitch McConnell Prompts FDA to Clarify CBD Rules ‘Within 120 Days’
In recent news, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced his plans to include language in Congress’s budget report that prompts the FDA to clarify rules for lawful hemp CBD marketing.
McConnell wants the FDA to “issue a policy of enforcement discretion with regard to certain products containing CBD” no later than 120 days after the language is reviewed in the Senate.
“FDA is encouraged to consider existing and ongoing medical research related to CBD that is being undertaken pursuant to an Investigation New Drug (IND) application in the development of a regulatory pathway for CBD in products under the jurisdiction of FDA and to ensure that any future regulatory activity does not discourage the development of new drugs,” the report states.
Temple University to explore pain-relieving effects of CBD with over $3 million in NIH grants
Thanks to $3 million invest funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), a team of scientists at Temple University are working hard to integrate cannabis into multidisciplinary pain management. Nine research awards were bestowed upon the University with the NIH/NCCIH’s multi-million dollar funding grant.
Four different components of cannabis will be used by the team on rodent pain models, including minor and major cannabinoids, phytochemicals and terpenes. This research could transform the landscape for pharmaceutical painkillers and potentially help to reverse the opioid epidemic that claimed 47,000 lives in the U.S. in 2017 alone.
“The treatment of chronic pain has relied heavily on opioids, despite their potential for addiction and overdose and the fact that they often don’t work well when used on a long-term basis,” said Helene Langevin, M.D., director of NCCIH. “There’s an urgent need for more effective and safer options.”
When federal prohibition comes to an end, more research into the therapeutic effects of CBD will ensue. Global progress has been made to legalize cannabis for medical purposes, with numerous countries amending their laws to permit patients access to the plant and its derivatives, such as CBD.
If analysts from the Brightfield Group are correct in their estimates, sales of CBD in the U.S. will inflate at an average of 107% annually until 2023.
The rapidly swelling consumer demographic is attributed to growth in the CBD industry and if the government allows more research to be conducted on human study subjects, there really is no telling just how big the market could eventually become.