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Investigating 2021 CBD Trends

In 2014, when the industry was still quite new, CBD generated nearly 50 million dollars in sales. That's pretty impressive for a fledgling industry.

Once the federal government removed industrial hemp from its list of prohibited substances four years later, market analysts predicted sales could top $2.1 billion by 2020. It appears the experts may have underestimated consumer enthusiasm for cannabis products with non-intoxicating THC levels.

By the end of 2020, the cannabis industry was projected to pull in $4.7 billion, a 14% increase over last year.

Although predictions for where the industry might be by 2022 have settled a bit to accommodate changes in the economy, 2020 was a year of expansion, consolidation, and more than a few intriguing trends. Here’s a look at what to expect with 2021 CBD trends.

Trends Revealing the Evolution of a Growing Industry

In 2018, just 7 percent of the population polled said they used CBD regularly. That number nearly doubled by the end of 2019, as more people learned that CBD does not cause psychological impairment or psychoactive effects. Today, over 25 percent of our population has tried CBD at least once. Of course, as popularity expands, so does the number of companies willing to carve their niche in the industry. Today, numerous companies are incorporating CBD into their business model. As farmers harvest their first yield, retailers are eagerly stocking their shelves as numerous companies brand products of their own.

The more consumers embrace the potential health benefits of this non-intoxicating plant element, the more the industry shifts to accommodate the diverse needs of its receptive audience. The following trends emerged in 2020 and are going strong in 2021; they reflect how quickly the industry has evolved, and most are wins for consumers.

Fewer Companies Making Outrageous Medical Claims

In the beginning, new CBD companies were basically on their own. There were few regulations governing how products were produced, labeled, or marketed to consumers. Some companies were presenting CBD as an alternative treatment for medical issues. Others were selling tinctures, topicals, and capsules that contained no CBD at all. People were understandably hesitant to purchase.

That improved somewhat when the federal government lifted restrictions on industrial hemp cultivation and left cannabis regulation to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Although the FDA is still investigating regulatory options, they've been cracking down on companies making medical claims and selling mislabeled hemp seed oil products. That means consumers in 2021 are far less likely to be swayed by questionable marketing strategies and deceptive labels. That's a win for CBD users, conscientious CBD manufacturers, and the reputation of the cannabis industry.

More Companies Are Posting Third-Party Test Results

When the CBD oil industry was young, there was far too little transparency. Many would-be CBD users were hesitant to purchase after viewing reports suggesting that up to 70 percent of hemp-derived products contained far less CBD than specified on product labels. That's no way to build consumer trust or establish a favorable business relationship.

Eventually, consumers learned to look for companies that verified the potency and purity of their products through an independent lab. But relatively few companies posted those third-party test results. Now that more companies realize consumers are more likely to purchase when they can verify product quality, more CBD companies are posting the certificate of analysis for every product offered, a smart move that helps customers determine which product manufacturers are worthy of their trust.

More CBD Food and Beverage Options

CBD-infused food and beverages were once hot commodities. Many businesses had been adding hemp extracts to beverages, candy, and baked goods, only to find out (often the hard way) that the FDA did not approve, a decision that surprised many companies.

Problems arose because the FDA had previously given a pharmaceutical company clearance on a “drug” made with CBD, a carrier oil, and an artificial flavoring agent. With that approval, CBD was classified as a drug, a substance that could not be added to consumable products. Coffee shops, bakeries, candy shops, and beverage manufacturers had to stop adding CBD oil to their products. Although the FDA has the authority to change its stance and is currently investigating options, several states have decided to move forward on their own. While the availability of CBD edibles still varies by state, CBD-infused foods and beverages are definitely trending in 2021.

CBD Companies Are Fine-Tuning Product Selection

Most CBD oil users realize that cannabidiol is just one of many potentially beneficial cannabinoids and terpenes found in industrial hemp extracts. Although more than 100 other minor cannabinoids contribute to the therapeutic potential of full spectrum products, many are shown to have intriguing properties of their own.

Not that long ago, it was nearly impossible to find full spectrum products and isolates that contained more than trace amounts of CBG, CBN, or CBC. But that's changed in 2021. Several innovative companies are planting new strains, adjusting the timing of their harvests, and investing in technology developed to improve their ability to extract minor cannabinoids. That means CBD users now have the option of purchasing CBD oils enhanced with cannabinoids selected to fine-tune the impact of their products.

More CBD Companies Are Investing in Broadcast Advertising

Between 2018 and 2019, CBD sales grew more than 80 percent despite obstacles faced by the industry. During that time, nearly half of new CBD users were learning about the therapeutic potential of hemp-derived CBD products from their family and friends. Less than 10 percent were inspired by advertising, meaning the industry grew almost entirely through word of mouth.

Now the tides are turning. Although several popular social media outlets still decline advertising dollars from medical cannabis dispensaries and companies selling hemp-derived CBD products, the “powers that be” in mainstream advertising are taking their cues from the drastic shift in public perception about cannabis products. Although marketing restrictions vary from state to state, many CBD users in 2020 were inspired to make their first purchase through radio and television advertising.

Industry Analysts Anticipate Continued Success

2020 proved an exciting year for the hemp oil market. You've likely noticed other CBD products gaining a considerable amount of buzz, CBD-infused skin care products, hemp flower pre-rolls, oral sprays, and more. With growing public enthusiasm for all things hemp, industry experts anticipate global growth of more than 32 percent over the next five years.

As you review some of the hottest 2021 CBD trends, it's important to remember that CBD oil products are not a treatment for any known health conditions. While researchers continue to investigate the cannabinoid's potential for a wide range of issues, including pain relief, skin disorders, and neurological conditions like Alzheimer's disease, there's more work to be done. For now, the evidence supporting the cannabinoid's potential benefits for physical and emotional wellbeing is based on lab results, animal studies, a relatively small number of clinical trials, and the testimony of CBD users claiming favorable results.

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