Looking forward to relaxed hemp regulations, a new analysis estimates that the CBD market could explode — and outpace marijuana
For years, experts have predicted that if the cannabis industry expands at its current rate, the American market will reach $20 billion by 2020. But it turns out that one market is spinning off into a mega-industry of its own: according to a new estimate from cannabis industry analysts the Brightfield Group, the hemp-CBD market alone could hit $22 billion by 2022.
CBD, a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in cannabis, has had a surge in popularity over the past couple of years. Unlike THC, the chemical compound that gives weed its signature effect, CBD has been shown to help with everything from PTSD and anxiety to MS and epilepsy — without getting you high.
Previously, CBD products have been available mostly in head shops, with a few doctors recommending it for various maladies. But in 2017 and 2018, the products spread to natural food stores, beauty aisles, cafés and doctors offices. So far the industry is on track to hit $591 million in 2018, and thanks to a number of factors — including, surprisingly, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — that could increase 40 times in the next four years.
“What we started tracking this year was an explosion — face mask, bug bites, skin care, topicals,” says Bethany Gomez, director of research for the Brightfield Group, who shared the analysis exclusively with Rolling Stone. “It’s being used for everything you can think of — sports, triathlons. People want to buy it for their grandma, for arthritis. Women get it for PMS and endometriosis — common things that people have been using over the counter medications.”
However, as Gomez notes, there’s been an invisible cap because of federal restrictions. Basically, since marijuana is federally classified as a Schedule I narcotic, and hemp — marijuana’s low-THC, high-CBD cousin — is still highly regulated, CBD has existed in a legal grey area. (Additionally, only one medication, GW Pharma’s new epilepsy treatment, Epidiolex, has been approved by the FDA.) That means major companies and retailers have been hesitant to get in the mix. “This industry has grown out of nowhere, based on word of mouth marketing,” Gomez says. “There’s no real mass market retailers that are covering it.”
One thing that could help remedy this is the 2018 Farm Bill, which would amend the term “marihuana” — a term currently found in the 1972 Controlled Substances Act — to exempt hemp, which is defined as a cannabis plant containing less than .3 percent THC. If the bill passes, it would open a huge new industry to farmers across the country.
READ the full article here: Article in Rolling Stones magazine