The CBD market has only just begun to take off and could be worth billions within the next five years.
The Brightfield Group, a market research firm, has released a new estimate that the CBD market could hit $22 billion by 2022, Rolling Stone reports. That would be a remarkable surge for a market that has only sprung into wide consciousness in the last couple years.
According to Rolling Stone:
“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 drive further rapid growth is clarification of those legal issues, which could come this year. The Senate has passed legislation supported by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to legalize hemp as part of this year’s Farm Bill. The House version of the Farm Bill doesn’t include such language. But if it’s included in a final joint farm bill, that would be a major victory for the industry.
Some commentators, though, are cautioning that the Brightfield Group’s analysis may be over-aggressive. State’s aren’t required to follow the federal government’s lead in legalizing hemp, which might slow the growth of the CBD industry.