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Forget the Airb-n-Bust! What happened to the CBD Craze?

The CBD craze can be traced back to the passing of the U.S. Farm Bill in 2018, which legalized the production of industrial hemp (a variety of the cannabis plant) for any use, including cannabidiol or CBD products.

Since hemp contains only trace amounts of the psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), it and its derivatives cannot induce a “high” in users. 

Almost overnight, CBD’s popularity exploded due to its new legal status and many purported benefits. Fast forward, though, and CBD has had a difficult few years.

Public interest in it appears to have waned significantly since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. 

One dataset showed, for example, that sales of shelf stable CBD beverages declined 11% in the 52 weeks to April 2021, while another showed that two of the major CBD retailers experienced significant year-on-year decreases in sales in the third quarter of 2022.

So what happened? Why is CBD now experiencing these challenges after such a promising beginning?

Read on to learn about a few of the factors that could be behind this surprising downturn, and why—despite significant difficulties the industry has faced—we do not believe it spells the end of the road for the CBD craze. 

Forget the Airb-n-Bust! What happened to the CBD Craze?

Supply Chain Difficulties

The emergence and rapid expansion of a global CBD market created supply chain challenges prior to the pandemic, as farmers and those involved in processing hemp into commercial CBD products struggled to keep up with the rising demand. 

The Covid-19 pandemic created national and global supply chain difficulties that impacted virtually every industry and field.

Just some of the factors that contributed to these issues included disruptions in transportation and shipping due to lockdowns and travel bans, and closures or heavily reduced capacity at manufacturing facilities. 

The CBD market was also affected and many suppliers struggled to keep their businesses afloat and continue serving their customers during this time. This has likely had a substantial knock-on effect, the impact of which is still being felt in 2023. 

Financial Constraints 

It will not come as news that we are in the midst of a cost-of-living crisis. Wages have stagnated and yet essential costs, from housing and food to gas, electricity, and transportation, have risen at an astonishing rate and continue to do so. 

It is likely that many people who have used CBD products in the past, or who may consider using them under other circumstances, simply cannot afford them in the current climate.

CBD products can be expensive and the ongoing financial crisis, which was accelerated and exacerbated by the pandemic, has likely played a key role in the decline the CBD craze and the industry as a whole has suffered in recent years.

Unrealistic Expectations 

CBD is amazing, but it is not a cure-all. Unfortunately, media hype and marketing tactics from some unscrupulous companies may have led users to have unrealistic expectations of CBD’s potential benefits.

If there is a dark side of CBD craze, it’s that people expected it to be a miracle cure and some retailers cashed in on this mistaken belief.

It is possible that some previous users and proponents of CBD products have become disillusioned due to these expectations, leading them to stop using and advocating for CBD products despite the many benefits they do offer. 

CBD works by interacting with the body’s endocannabinoid system, which helps to regulate a range of bodily functions, including sleep, mood, and immune function.

Many experts, including neurosurgeon and medical correspondent Dr Sanjay Gupta (creator of the Weed documentary series) are optimistic about the use of CBD (and medical marijuana.)

However, the effects of CBD can vary depending on a number of factors, including the dosage, the method of consumption, and the individual’s unique physiology.

The scientific literature on CBD is still in its infancy, though it has shown promise in many areas. However, it is important to approach CBD with realistic expectations. It is not a magic pill and should not be seen as a replacement for conventional medical care. 

Concerns Around Product Quality and Lack of Knowledge

Near-countless businesses arose to jump on the CBD trend in 2018-19, and not all of these companies were offering a high quality of product. 

Since CBD is a relatively recent trend and data around it is still emerging amidst a lot of hype, it is understandable that many customers do not feel informed.

This can lead to a lack of understanding around what constitutes a good product, potentially putting customers off trying CBD products altogether as they do not know how to shop for them with confidence. 

Myths and misinformation around CBD abound, and many members of the public are not well informed as to its uses and benefits, legal status, or safety profile.

Many people still believe that CBD can induce a high or that it is an illegal substance. Others mistakenly believe that it is unsafe, addictive, or that it is forbidden to travel with CBD or drive after using it. 

Producers and retailers of CBD have their work cut out for them in combating these myths and educating consumers on the facts about CBD.

By providing accurate and up-to-date information, we can showcase CBD’s many benefits and alleviate any concerns or knowledge gaps potential users may have. 

Despite These Challenges, the CBD Craze Isn’t Going Anywhere 

Despite an apparent decrease in popularity and public interest, CBD still has many devotees across the United States and the world.

Countless people swear by their favorite CBD products for a variety of reasons, from feeling more relaxed and enjoying better sleep to reducing pain and relieving the symptoms of certain health conditions. 

In addition, more and more scientific evidence that attests to CBD’s many benefits is emerging all the time.

For these reasons, we believe that the CBD craze will bounce back from the difficulties the industry has experienced and that its popularity will soon be on the rise again.

About the Writer

Kehlia D.

Kehlia is a freelance writer with degrees in Chemistry, Plant Science and Agricultural Technology and focusing on cannabinoid science. Her studies and research have taken her to three continents and she is currently digital nomading in Israel while studying the CBD industry based there.

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