Hemp Market Growth

Hemp-based cannabidiol product sales grew by a remarkable 53 percent in 2016, and the overall CBD market is projected to grow to $2.1 billion by 2020 as consumers learn more about the health and wellness benefits of CBD supplements.

Hemp-based CBD product sales alone are projected to grow by 700 percent by 2020, up from $130 million last year, according to research by Hemp Business Journal. Hemp-extracted CBD accounted for 19 percent of $688 million in hemp-based product sales in the U.S. last year. (Other leading uses for hemp included food and personal care products, such as hand lotion and soap.)

The overall U.S. hemp market has shown a five-year 22 percent CAGR, HBJ reports.

Clinical studies and user testimonials point to a wide range of health and wellness benefits from CBD supplements, ranging from pain control to helping reduce or eliminate seizures. Increased awareness of these benefits has fueled interest in retail CBD products and further scientific research.

Industry observers quoted in a Forbes article suggest continued growth in the CBD market will depend on a few key factors, including:

  • Further clarification of Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2015 to ensure that hemp-extracted CBD products are sold legally in all 50 states, without the consumer confusion that currently surrounds CBD.
  • Consumer education about the quality benefits of American-grown hemp [such as that used exclusively in DragonFly Hemp products], as opposed to lower-quality imports from China and other international provides.
  • Removal of state-level restrictions on the production of industrial hemp.
  • Economies of scale that will make adopting regular use of CBD supplements more economical for consumers.

Traditional pharmaceutical companies are also evaluating CBD as a potential key ingredient in treatments for various medical conditions, most notably seizures. GW Pharmaceuticals recently received an Orphan Drug designation for the FDA to evaluate CBD as the key active ingredient in a drug to fight serious childhood epilepsy conditions, such as Dravet syndrome and Infantile Spasms. HBJ estimates that by 2020, sales of this single drug could constitute about 7 percent of its projected $1.8 billion hemp market.

Research also continues around the benefits of other hemp-based cannabinoids, such as CBN and CBG, which could drive further growth in the hemp market.

Even traditional marijuana users say they are willing to try out CBD products, according to a survey by a large licensed cultivator in Southern California. Thirty-eight percent of both users and non-users of traditional marijuana said they want to learn more about CBD.

Unlike marijuana, which includes high levels of THC, the chemical compound that gets recreational pot users “high,” industrial hemp is cultivated specifically for high levels of CBD and other beneficial cannabinoids without the psychotropic effects of THC. CBD-based supplements are considered to be food by the FDA, and so are legal for distribution under federal law in the U.S., as well as in almost all states.

While not approved by the FDA as a treatment for medical conditions, users and clinical studies tout the benefits of CBD without the potential harmful side-effect of NSAIDs and opioid drugs used in treating chronic pain and other issues.