CBD has seen an extraordinary rise in popularity in recent years, and continues to grow exponentially as a market, with no signs of slowing down any time soon. But what exactly has caused such a craze around CBD, and why is this chemical that has been used for thousands of years around the world taken so long to reach the mainstream market?
What has happened to make CBD popular now?
Hemp and cannabis have been used throughout history in ancient medicine and spiritual ceremony for a significant period, with the first direct evidence of human consumption of cannabis dating back around 2,500 years. So why does it feel like CBD has only recently hit the modern market - why didn’t it happen sooner?
The simple answer is that CBD as a standalone chemical extract is a far more recent discovery. It wasn’t until 1940 that CBD was identified by organic chemist Roger Adams, and was then first isolated in 1942. Rather surprisingly, this was over 20 years before the “high” chemical, THC, was discovered.
The psychotropic effects of THC were known long before this, however, and had been a restricted drug in the UK since before any of these discoveries were made. This meant that there was already a stigma surrounding cannabis use, and these newly discovered chemicals were also unresearched and unknown at the time.
It is through a combination of the last 80 years or so of research, and a better understanding of cannabis and its cannabinoids, that the negative image of CBD has become more informed and far more understood.
It is now known that CBD doesn’t cause a high, is perfectly safe to consume, and that many claim to get great results from taking it. Scientific research in many areas is also looking positive, with CBD being used to treat conditions such as epilepsy in the U.S., as well as being looked into further for a great variety of possible benefits.
Is CBD going to stay popular?
The CBD industry in the UK has grown very quickly as consumers seek to try it for themselves, with the market predicted to be worth £1B by 2025 - a figure that it is well on the way to meeting and exceeding. As the image of CBD becomes gradually more normalised and accepted, this will only continue to open up more and more of a consumer base.
This increase in interest has also been a very good thing for brand and product accountability in the UK - as consumers become more informed about CBD, brands have no choice but to provide higher quality products, more transparency (such as lab results), and are also now offering a larger variety of products too. CBD oils have taken precedence for many years, but now products like creams, balms, skincare serums, and a range of others have become exponentially more popular too.
The UK regulations for CBD are starting to catch up too, with the most significant being the Novel Foods Act. Brands who still want to sell in the UK must now be registered and meet certain quality criteria, meaning that dishonest and low-quality brands simply won’t be able to continue.
Now, the responsibility rests on the brands to create quality products for their customers and to meet (and exceed) any regulation requirements. One thing remains clear though - it looks like CBD is here to stay.