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CBD’s Rise in Popularity Explained

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How CBD became a global superstar.

The CBD industry has experienced exponential growth for over a decade now, and it doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Not only has it exploded here in the U.S., but it’s making waves around the world too. Europe is expected to experience a 400 percent growth in the Hemp CBD market through 2025.

Where did all of this unprecedented popularity come from? Keep reading to find out how it all started and where the hemp industry is headed.

CBD’s Beginnings

One of the first real big breaks for cannabidiol came in 1964 when Robert Mechoulam isolated the cannabinoid and described its chemistry. That’s why Mechoulam is generally credited with the discovery of CBD. Prior to his research, it had only been isolated and tested, but no one had any idea of what it did or how it was different from other cannabinoids like THC.

What he learned about this incredible compound led to an explosion of interest in the ’70s because it posed great potential, but his research wouldn’t stop there. Mechoulam continued to look into cannabidiol, and in the 1980’s he and a group of South American researchers teamed up to publish a report on CBD and epilepsy.

This was a groundbreaking double-blind study that was conducted on clinical patients and is said to be the first of its kind in cannabidiol research. It wasn’t just a breakthrough in how it was conducted, but the results were just as fascinating. Sadly, this report would go largely unnoticed due to the stigma surrounding hemp and marijuana at the time.

An Industry in a Gray Area

After decades of successful research and proof that cannabidiol did not have psychotropic effects like THC, many advocates wanted to sell CBD products. This was a gray area from a legal perspective. Even as the medical marijuana industry began to gain traction in 1996 with California becoming the first state to legalize it, the CBD industry was at a standstill.

To avoid any hiccups, companies did a lot of outsourcing when it came to growing the hemp plants and manufacturing the products. In the beginning, China was a popular place to outsource these products and materials, but American CBD companies found that these products weren’t acceptable for consumers due to the presence of heavy metals and pesticides in the product.

Still unable to cultivate their own hemp plants and manufacture their own products, businesses turned to European producers. This too came with its own set of complications. The products may have been better, but getting the entire EU to conform to one consistent set of standards when it comes to best practices and legal regulations were impossible.

Becoming Mainstream

CBD’s move into the mainstream has a few different contributing factors. One of the biggest reasons was the legalization of industrial hemp farming in 2018. This made it possible for American CBD companies to finally provide the hemp CBD products they’ve been passionate about making legally. This piqued the public’s curiosity and other industries as well.

Since becoming acceptable to sell and take recreationally, the growth has exploded, especially in the consumer market. In 2018, the entire CBD market was valued at $4.6 billion, and it’s expected to have a growth rate of 22.2% each year until 2025 according to a recent Grandview Research report.

It’s crazy to think that this boom started just a couple of years ago, considering some people who don’t currently use hemp CBD are at least aware of it. This has led to the launch of several trendy products like CBD beauty products, CBD toothpaste, and even CBD mattresses! Some of these products might not stand the test of time, but one thing is for sure; this cannabinoid isn’t going anywhere anytime soon.

Celebrity Approved

CBD was gaining popularity all on its own, but that doesn’t mean a little celebrity endorsement wouldn’t help. Well, that’s exactly what happened, and while it’s easy to think this was done simply for publicity or money, most of it wasn’t. Many athletes and entertainers have become public about their personal use of CBD products.

Magic Johnson is a recent proponent of CBD and has been happy to share his positive experiences with others by becoming a spokesperson and investor for a CBD line. Brett Favre is another Hall of Fame athlete who signed up to be the face of a CBD brand. Both have stated that the products they endorse work for them, and they simply want others to enjoy hemp CBD too.

Stigma and Roadblocks

Even as CBD skyrocketed in popularity, the industry and advocates continued to face plenty of hurdles. Unfortunately, due to its relation to THC, there has been a lot of stigma surrounding this burgeoning industry.

One prime example happened last year when CBS rejected the opportunity to air a commercial that supported the use of cannabidiol-based epilepsy treatment for a child during the Superbowl. A similar incident happened this year when the commercial for a CBD-infused coffee brand only got aired on mobile devices, but not directly on television.

CBD is Here to Stay

The CBD industry is constantly evolving, and even today, it could be facing dramatic changes. The USDA will be determining whether to start new farming and manufacturing guidelines for the entire industry and what those guidelines will be. Still, it doesn’t look like anything can stop the demand for it.

CBD’s popularity didn’t appear out of thin air. It was decades in the making with more and more scientific studies being done. Knowing this, you can feel good that this industry is going to continue to grow and build upon the research that’s already been done. It’s clear that the Hemp CBD industry isn’t going away anytime soon.

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