While the use of CBD products continues to grow in the U.S., federal regulators are warning companies that sell the products to be careful of what they promise.
Twenty-eight percent of consumers currently use CBD products daily or as-needed, according to a report from Acosta.
Since CBD was legalized by the Farm Bill in 2018, it has become one of the biggest trends in retail, with many consumers turning to CBD for help with various health ailments and their general well-being.
"Health ailments without a 'one-size-fits-all treatment' are quite common and avoiding chemicals when it comes to health and self-care is important across all age groups," said Colin Stewart, SVP, business intelligence at Acosta. "CBD sales and projections show consumers are turning to CBD for help, and demand is growing rapidly."
Millennials, males and those with four-year degrees are currently the key CBD demographics. Fifty-six percent of Millennials reported daily or as-needed use of CBD, compared to 32% of Gen X and 15% of Boomers.
Pain, mental health, general wellness and sleep issues are key reasons for usage. Millennials most commonly use CBD for anxiety (31%) and general wellness (30%), while Gen X and Boomers use it most for joint pain (31% and 36%, respectively) and muscle pain (both 23%).
Fifty-nine percent of those who purchased CBD for the first time planned to purchase it already and 25% did so on impulse. Seven percent of first time users were recommended to do so by a doctor.
Fifty-five percent of consumers said "CBD oil is/might be a new miracle treatment," when asked for their perspective on it, while 35% are "not sure what to think of CBD oil" and 11% said "CBD oil is just hype." Non-users who are open to trying it reported price, lack of studies and distrust in claims as the biggest barriers for usage.
The FTC recently sent warning letters to three companies that sell CBD oils, tinctures, capsules, gummies and creams, saying it is illegal to advertise a product that can prevent or cure a disease without reliable scientific evidence to support such claims, reported The Wall Street Journal (Sept. 10).
One company made claims that CBD "works like magic" and relieves pain better than prescription opioid painkillers, while another claimed CBD had been clinically proven to treat diseases such as Alzheimer's and schizophrenia.
The letters warn that such claims could draw legal action, resulting in refunds to consumers. They instruct the companies to notify the FTC within 15 days of the specific actions taken to address the agency's concerns.
Earlier this year, USDA and FTC sent warning letters to three companies, Nutra Pure LLC, PotNetwork Holdings Inc. and Advanced Spine and Pain LLC, that market CBD products, alleging the companies made false claims about treating diseases.
However, demand for CBD is still growing. U.S. retail sales are expected to grow from an estimated $1.9 billion in 2018 to $18.4 billion in 2024, according to analysts at Canaccord Genuity.
Victoria writes for the biweekly Food Institute Report, the daily Today in Food updates, and the Foodie Insider daily newsletter for consumers. She graduated from Montclair State University with a B.A. in Journalism and has a background in Nutrition and Food Science. Victoria can be reached through her email at email@example.com.
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