Prior to waves of cannabis legalization in different states, few people knew a thing about CBD. An acronym for Central Business District, or Convention on Biological Diversity? But now stores line shelves with CBD, online shops ship bottles of it around the world, and CBD gets featured in the mainstream press.
The natural compound, called cannabidiol, is one of more than 100 cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant. On its own it won’t get people high. But researchers are finding more and more medical applications for CBD, and consumers and companies increasingly are exploring the compound. And when combined with cannabis, the effects are alleged to ripen — to grow more profound.
Cannabis dispensaries in Colorado, Oregon and Washington carry myriad CBD-heavy products, ranging from flower (some strains are grown for their high concentrations of CBD) to edibles, concentrates and topicals. And sales for high-CBD products is strong, with demand spiking across 2017.
Consider: The broad edibles category grew by 36 percent for much of last year in those states, but high-CBD edibles expanded by 110 percent. Concentrates? Growth reached 171 percent for high-CBD, compared to 49 percent for the broader concentrates category. Topicals growth last year hit 44.5 percent, but it inched higher, to 53 percent, for high-CBD topicals. All of this great data was pulled from our GreenEdge™ POS Data Platform.
Examining the big picture always offers insights into cannabis markets. But diving deep often unearths the most eye-catching nuggets, and this applies to the world of high-CBD products.
With most categories, CBD represents a minor slice of the marketplace pie. In the candy market, for example, high-CBD accounts for about 10.5 percent of the $143.25 million candy market for Colorado, Washington and Oregon between January and October of last year. But in the tinctures market, CBD is a player. It accounts for about 60 percent of the $34.1 million tinctures market during the period.
And growth among high-CBD tinctures last year was strong, at 86 percent compared to 57 percent growth for all tinctures.
The massage business, apparently, is high on CBD. Among topicals, CBD-rich massage oils far and away represent the growth leader, with sales expanding by 250 percent for most of last year. But the market for high-CBD massage oils is fairly small, just $519,500 during the period. We are keeping a close eye on this trend.
Vape pens? They have been a prominent growth story for several years, and when we consider high-CBD vapes, the story becomes even more compelling. High-CBD vape sales grew by 203 percent during the period, compared to 93 percent for vapes overall.
On The Hunt for Biggest — and Tastiest — CBD Growth
It is in edibles, however, where we find the most impressive high-CBD boom in the nation. Not only are the markets relatively large to begin with (compared to massage oils, where significant growth numbers are easier to accomplish due to the market’s small size), the growth is effervescent, and in one case downright explosive.
Chocolate sales in general expanded by 47 percent last year, on sales of $65.8 million. But high-CBD chocolates took off like a Space X rocket reaching 217 percent growth on $11.45 million in sales. High-CBD candy grew by 169.5 percent last year, compared to 51 percent for candy in general.
And here comes the growth explosion.
Gummies are the biggest-selling type of edible in the cannabis marketplace. For the period we are studying last year, sales hit $91.2 million, and growth rose to 98 percent. But the high-CBD gummies market went positively nuts last year. Sales represented a small slice of the gummies pie — $5.8 million out of that $91.2 million market. But growth rocketed to 1,556 percent. Now that is a big number, one that can’t be ignored by brands looking to venture into the CBD candy space.
Clearly, consumers are turning to high-CBD gummies, and brands are responding. The data shows that demand for high-CBD gummies last year began a steady climb in April, and the trend continues up.
CBD might not get anybody high, but sales for products touting the cannabinoid are heading higher every month. And product innovation is exploding, all to the benefit of consumers across the country.