Be it hemp pre-rolls for an instant soothe, gummies and edibles for gradual balance, or tinctures and rubs as part of maintenance, CBD may slowly be replacing an assortment of other products Americans use throughout the day.
Americans are more on board with marijuana use than they’ve ever been, and states are legalizing the drug at an increasing rate thanks in large part to voter-driven initiatives. With cannabis becoming more available, there’s a growing group of people turning to the drug for daily relief.
Since 2007, daily marijuana use has increased across multiple demographics, but especially young people. Research shows that 18-34-year-olds are the most common daily users, but all age ranges increased daily use at similar rates in the timeframe.
The rise in daily cannabis use may be playing a role in the decline of other strategies for coping with the stresses of life. Between 2016 and 2017, daily alcohol use among college students dropped from 4.3% to 2.2%. With what is largely seen as a safer alternative more available and accepted in society, alcohol use is declining—just look at how “bleak” the numbers are for America’s staple beer brands.
While attitudes towards cannabis use are evolving in a great direction for cannabis advocates, in the U.S. there’s over 80 years of prohibition laws, prejudices, and stereotypes with which users must contend. Even in Canada, where marijuana was legalized nationwide, 60% of Canadians aren’t comfortable using cannabis in public spaces, and over half keep their cannabis use a secret.
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The reasons for hiding marijuana use can vary wildly. Maybe it comes down to the smell? A majority of Canadians and Americans find the smell of marijuana to be a problem. The distinct aroma of marijuana is a dead giveaway, and with so many people afraid of letting people in on their secret, it makes daily use a frustrating exercise in perfume and eye drop use. Or maybe it’s the judging glances to the unwelcome assumptions of laziness or further drug use, cannabis users may feel better off keeping their habit private—making daily use a difficult proposition for busy, working people.
Uncertainty about the limits of legal cannabis, too, may be inhibiting people’s willingness to use it daily. Consider that, in a recent survey from Eaze of Californians, 46% responded that they didn’t know if there’s a legal bloodstream concentration limit for THC, like with alcohol. There isn’t, but that uncertainty coupled with the fact that 81% know that it’s illegal to drive under the influence of cannabis, may make would-be daily users wary.
For a variety of reasons, marijuana, with its psychoactive component THC, may not be the daily drug of choice for many Americans. It may be that CBD—cannabidiol, another active chemical found in greater quantities in marijuana’s cousin, hemp—is the “day high” that most people need.
When the Washington Post reported on the advances in CBD as an alternative to THC-heavy treatments for seizures and other ailments in 2016, the headline read: “A Powerful New Form of Medical Marijuana, Without the High.” The author, David Kohn, notes that “While THC is famously mind-altering, CBD is not.”
At the time, before CBD was everywhere, the fact that there was “marijuana without the high” was a fantastic notion. But the reality is that CBD and THC are very different chemicals with very different ways of working on the body; while they can be used by many people effectively to treat similar ailments, THC acts on the central nervous system—your brain—while CBD acts on the peripheral nervous system. It’s why THC gives you that “high” feeling and CBD reduces inflammation.
While CBD may not provide the same “day high” as a THC-heavy strain, it can be a simple addition to one’s busy daily life without the sometimes-problematic psychoactive side effects.
According to the latest research from Acosta, a leading full-service sales and marketing agency in the consumer packaged goods industry, 28% of consumers currently use CBD products daily or as needed. The research notes that pain, mental health, and general wellness are the most common reasons for using CBD regularly.
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“We see CBD’s effect on people’s well-being first-hand,” explained Caryn Dunayer Co-founder and President of cbdMD (NYSE: YCBD). “The accounts of Team cbdMD athletes and personal stories from consumers gives us perspective into how our products are making a difference in their day-to-day lives.”
Perhaps most incredibly, 55% of consumers said, “CBD oil is/might be a new miracle treatment.” This doesn’t surprise Dunayer, who hears the success stories from people of all walks of life – from full-time parents and retirees to world-class athletes. “The research is in the early stages,” she explained, “but it’s leading us towards truly remarkable discoveries. Repeat customers being a significant portion of our sales is a testament to CBD’s value in a regular, on-going regimen.”
To help understand what is driving a growing group of daily CBD users, I spoke with several people who are helping to develop the market, fine-tuning new products and responding to the vanguard of users who are shaping the future of how we think about cannabis and our well-being.
What Does Daily CBD Use Look Like?
There’s such a wide universe of CBD products already available, that you could mix up your daily CBD routine every day of the week.
“Consumers, including myself,” said Monhia Patel, owner of Shanti Wellness, “are using CBD in so many ways. Internally, for everyday wellness, via tinctures, soft gels, vapes, and edibles. Topically for pain and healing or recovery after workouts and even using CBD to make gourmet meals. The options to incorporate the magical powers of hemp CBD are endless right now!”
Daily CBD use doesn’t mean it takes place in the daytime, either.
“Our CBD honey is a good example,” says Nate Weinberg, President and Founder of CBD Infusionz, “this product can be used morning, noon, or night in a variety of applications from your morning tea to drizzled over your dessert as a night cap for sleep aid.”
Of course, the reasons for CBD use will dictate how and when you use it. Edibles can turn a daily CBD regimen into literal candy, but the slow process of digestion is not the most effective way for it to enter the bloodstream. Topicals, sublingual, and smokable forms similarly diverge in their potency and efficacy
“Products like capsules and gummies will likely continue as an entry point for new CBD users,” Caryn Dunayer revealed, explaining as consumers evolve and learn more about CBD and it’s value to their wellness routines, they grow interested in tinctures or topical options. “Both allow users to customize servings and direct application to further meet their needs and desired effects.” she explained.
“It has been our findings,” says Randall Snyder, CEO and Owner of Carolina Hemp Company, “that the consumer may often try the other varieties of hemp extract products rich in CBD but consistently find their way to a sublingual product such as Kingdom Harvest because it is the most value conscious and most effective form of delivery.”
What Makes a CBD Brand Trustworthy?
As with anything that becomes insanely popular seemingly overnight that people are desperate to get their hands on, the CBD industry is open to bad actors. Finding a trustworthy brand that won’t rip you off is important for your health—and your wallet.
According to Ray Landgraf, Founder & CEO at Island Cannabis, the Wild West of the early CBD industry has led to bad habits that his and other committed companies are trying to break. “Since CBD was first introduced to the market it was positioned as an ingredient with the potential to promote holistic wellness; what’s largely been missing is the commitment to quality, trust, transparency and simplicity. In today’s CBD market, consumers often times don’t know what they’re purchasing, where the ingredients are sourced, how the product is manufactured, whether the labels are accurate, or even how to properly use the product.”
The lack of knowledge on the part of consumers is changing, and new regulations are (and will) make it harder for CBD producers to skimp on doses. “The most important thing,” said Randall Snyder, is “to look for in hemp extract products and smokable hemp is quality and traceability to third party lab results.”
Monhia Patel agreed, noting that “You want to make sure the products you purchase actually have the number of active cannabinoids they claim. There have been many cases where there is much less active CBD in products than claimed.”
Doing thorough brand due diligence can be much more involved. Reputable companies provide complete certificates of analysis for each of their product batches, Caryn Dunayer shared. “These reports should come from a certified, third-party laboratory. These certificates are the only way consumers can protect themselves from contaminated, mislabeled, or counterfeit products.”
Dunayer insists that trustworthy companies will also be able to provide information on where their products are sourced from and the process that goes into making each product batch. “The more you know and the more a company is able to provide, the better off you are in terms of quality and trust,” she advised.
What CBD Products Do You Expect to Gain Popularity in Daily Use?
Each of the people I interviewed have very distinct visions of what will make up the future of daily CBD use. This speaks to the untapped potential of the cannabinoid to affect our daily lives and well-being.
“CBD Infusionz is constantly developing new diverse ways to consume CBD to satisfy our ever-growing demand for CBD Infusionz products,” said Nate Weinberg, “Our current R&D efforts include new vape products, instant drink mixes, water soluble applications, ground coffee, and some top secret CBG/CBN products we should be launched by the end of the year.”
For Monhia Patel, owner of Shanti Wellness, believes skincare and new methods of delivery will be huge drivers of daily use and demand.
“As we’ve seen in the past couple of years,” says Ray Landgraf, Founder & CEO at Island Cannabis, “CBD is being incorporated into all sorts of products from pet treats to coffee to skincare. We will continue to see innovation when it comes to CBD-infused products produced by direct-to-consumer brands, but we will also begin to see brick-and-mortar establishments like juice bars, coffee shops and retailers outside of the cannabis space show more willingness to carry CBD products.
Lead image by Depositphotos.
Andre Bourque is a cannabis industry connector, executive advisor to several cannabis companies, brand strategy advisor, and a cannabis industry analyst. In addition to Benzinga, Andre’s articles have been featured in Forbes, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur.com, Yahoo Finance, CIO Magazine & ComputerWorld.
You can connect with him at @socialmktgfella on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.
The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.
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