It seems like only yesterday when uttering the word ‘cannabidiol’ would be met with a vacant stare, or at best, a disapproving frown due to sounding like cannabis. Fast forward to today and people are clued up on the nuances of the plant; they know that the healing properties of CBD are not to be confused with the psychoactive compound THC.
It’s no longer the hemp-wearing hippies incessantly spouting about the medicinal benefits; everyone seems intent on joining the party. It has truly gone into the mainstream – everything from pet food to exfoliating cream and even humous can contain CBD nowadays.
BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research, leading researchers in the US, project that CBD sales will exceed $20 billion by 2024 – so how can its exponential rise be explained?
F O M O
Ah, FOMO – the fear of missing out. It compels us to get dressed and leave the house when we’d rather stay at home and watch our favourite boxset. In this instance, much like the cryptocurrency frenzy of 2016, companies are eager not to miss the boat. This is despite most companies not fully understanding what they’re dealing with or how it works.
Like retailers prepping for Christmas in mid-August, companies want to be the first with CBD. Companies want to be seen as ahead of the curve, because when the hype peaks they’ll be seen as established and trustworthy in the eyes of consumers.
CBD, a fairly small component of cannabis has been touted as a miracle drug. People claim it can cure a whole host of ailments and illnesses, including: insomnia, epilepsy, cancer, depression, anxiety and acne. Even if these claims are not incontrovertibly true, the belief that they conceivably might be could be enough to sway those on the fence.
A false dawn
One caveat that must be spoken of is that the majority of the evidence supporting CBD’s healing properties is anecdotal. There is no database of long-term studies that state whether it is good or bad. Even in specific epilepsy cases where doctors have marvelled as patients experience a total reprieve from seizures have warned against being overly hopeful. Experts warn that, like other commonly used epilepsy drugs, CBD oil may become less effective in treating seizures over time.
CBD is the antidote we all want
Natural? Tick. Alternative to over-prescribed anti-depressants? Tick. Capable of soothing amid the impending doom of climate change? Tick. People want to believe that CBD is the all-singing, all-dancing answer to all our problems. Sometimes, like a very powerful placebo effect, this can be enough for people to become convinced. The fact that this ‘cure’ ties together so many cultural threads – personal wellbeing, alternatives to mainstream medicine and the tireless pursuit of cannabis legalisation – in part explains its popularity.
No smoke without fire
A recent spate of deaths and serious lung illnesses in the US should limit the blind optimism surrounding CBD products. Although these incidents relate to THC and not CBD, and a specific thickening agent used in THC vaping oils, they do highlight the potential dangers of unregulated products going to market. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since warned against using or ingesting unregulated products and CBD consumers take heed of the same advice.
CBD is enjoying a notable novelty period. People who wouldn’t dream of taking regular cannabis can innocently indulge in a variety of ways far removed smoking, and those who have grown tired of using traditional medication can explore an alternative with little side effects. Whether or not the initial novelty of CBD products will translate into a household must-have status remains to be seen.
Have you purchased any CBD products? If you have, how have they worked for you? If you haven’t, what’s stopping you? Tweet us @otbtweeter with your views on this new breakthrough ‘medicine’.