Beyond the buzz: what's next for CBD products?

Beyond the buzz: what's next for CBD products?

By
Laura Robinson
March 3, 2020

Weed. Ganja. Pot. Hashish.

Only a few years ago, if someone said cannabis, these were the words that may have sprung to mind. But today, the sudden rise of cannabidiol – or CBD, a compound typically extracted from marijuana’s cousin hemp – has given this infamous family of flowering plants an image overhaul. From stress-busting lattes to mood-lifting treats, CBD products have become the cure-all elixir of any self-respecting wellness guru.  

In fact, a survey found that 68% of respondents have used CBD - or know someone who has - and 73% claimed they were going to use it again. And it seems that consumers’ apparently “insatiable appetite” for CBD isn’t going away. The global market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 22.5%, reaching 23.6 billion by 2025.

Even if cannabidiol falls into a legal grey zone in many countries, this isn’t stopping start-ups from jumping in the pool, eager to profit from first-mover advantage. But now even household brands are joining the party. US retail giant Kroger and world leaders like Mondelez and Coca Cola are sitting on the sidelines, sipping their CBD-infused cocktails and dipping their toes in the water.

Eager to get to grips with this curious compound? Here are the facts behind the hype.

CBD: The buzz without the high

Cannabidiol – or CBD - is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, a non-addictive compound found in the cannabis plant. While marijuana can also contain up to 30% THC – the ingredient that creates weed’s notorious high - hemp typically contains 0.3% or less. Given that THC content is limited to 0.2% in most countries, many legislators have only legalized the production of hemp, sometimes with specific licenses. Switzerland, however, has a 1% THC threshold, leading to claims that it’s the best place to be if you want to bag a piece of the growing CBD market.      

But not all CBD products are created equal. Isolates contain 99.9% pure CBD and come in crystal or powder form. “Full spectrum” products - typically CBD oils - tend to contain a mixture of different cannabinoids, including a low level of THC. This apparently creates an “entourage effect”, where different compounds work together to intensify the effect.  Consequently, the amount of CBD - and impact of the product on the user’s body - can vary significantly.  

Trend drivers: health, wellness and the anxiety economy

CBD has become a rising star of the 21st century “anxiety economy”. Bombarded by news about global problems and tired of curating perfect lives on social media, consumers are looking for functional products that bust stress and boost their mood. From a sneaky cannabidiol flat white before that nightmare meeting to an infused beer at the end of a long day, CBD’s promises to deliver a calm brain and a good night’s sleep are proving irresistible.    

But the list of health claims doesn’t stop there. Many users swear by its anti-inflammatory properties. The way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies is also supposed to reduce pain and even lower blood pressure. Consequently, CBD has been hailed as the ideal product for baby boomers and Generation X, who are looking for natural solutions to fight off the aches and pains of ageing. But although a report by the World Health Organisation stated that CBD is generally safe, many regulatory bodies have flagged concerns and claim that there is still a void of evidence.

Products: From beer and coffee to chocolate, ice cream and jellybeans

Piggybacking on the success of functional beverages like Kombucha, CBD-infused drinks are one of the fastest growing segments in the overall market. From sparkling water and flavoured sodas to beers, teas and cocktails, brands claim to leave drinkers refreshed and relaxed and often combine CBD with other functional ingredients like probiotics or electrolytes.

Unsurprisingly, CBD has also become a popular addition to treat products, designed to help consumers chill out at the end of a long day. One Good Day chocolate, for example, provides a boost of 10 mg of broad spectrum hemp extract, along with other supplements that provide “sleep and calming support”. Even ice cream giant Ben and Jerrys plans to release a CBD-infused frozen treat as soon as FDA regulations are in place. These developments are removing the stigma around consuming cannabis-derived products and making them more accessible to a broader market.

Case studies: Flower Power Coffee Co. and Cheerful Buddha

Flower Power Coffee Co. launched in 2017, focussing on online sales of coffee, lollipops and sweets. But a partnership with Caffeine Underground - New York’s first café to offer CBD-laced drinks – proved to be a huge success, with a queue of curious customers waiting outside the shop every morning. Today, the company operates via an active online shop and distributes in various US and UK based stores but strategic partnerships at high profile events remain a key part of their strategy. Last year, Chuck Siegel, who comes with a serious track record of transforming start-ups into market leaders, took on the reins as president and CEO. A clear sign that Flower Power is gearing up for growth.  

A relative newcomer to the European scene, Cheerful Buddha launched in June last year, offering high-end luxury CBD-infused coffee. Recognizing the importance of transparency in building consumer confidence and trust, the founders have invested heavily in certifications. Every batch gets the thumbs up from one of the most developed CBD testing lab facilities in the UK and consumers can even cross check the certificates on their website. In addition to getting local cafés on board, the team has enlisted the support of bloggers and influencers to convince customers to give a cup of cannabis a whirl.

Challenges: legal hurdles and building consumer confidence

Despite the clear shift in consumer demand, the legality of CBD products remains complex and unpredictable in many countries. Changing guidelines can lead to unforeseen losses – as hemp farmers in the UK found out the hard way last year. So budding entrepreneurs really need to do their homework to make sure they don’t fall foul of local laws.

Given that the CBD market is still in its infancy, there’s also a shortage of reliable studies on product health claims and a lack of clarity about appropriate dosage. Even if consumer demand is growing, only 29% of those surveyed felt well informed about its uses. So experts claim that consumer goods companies and retailers need to  focus on educating consumers and providing their customers with accurate and evidence-based information. This will help them build trust and confidence and keep buyers coming back - even when the initial buzz wears off.

Business opportunities

If the legal framework in your country allows…


Manufacturing

Food Service

Retail

  • benefit from the typically high margins provided by CBD products by adding a few trial products to your shelves. Just make sure that your suppliers can provide clear information about the purity and provenance of the ingredients.
  • partner with local start-ups to treat your trendsetter customers to the latest and most innovative products.

Written by
Laura Robinson

From policy geek to digital consultant, Laura has always enjoyed bringing people together through words or tools to drive positive change. She is most proud of finally taking the leap into entrepreneurship by founding Pink Pear Agency - a network of passionate specialists who help food businesses grow innovative projects and share their stories with the world. Laura is currently interested in project development and management, digital tools, content strategy and copywriting.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Read Unlimited Articles
  • Access Member Directory
  • Get Event Discounts

Weed. Ganja. Pot. Hashish.

Only a few years ago, if someone said cannabis, these were the words that may have sprung to mind. But today, the sudden rise of cannabidiol – or CBD, a compound typically extracted from marijuana’s cousin hemp – has given this infamous family of flowering plants an image overhaul. From stress-busting lattes to mood-lifting treats, CBD products have become the cure-all elixir of any self-respecting wellness guru.  

In fact, a survey found that 68% of respondents have used CBD - or know someone who has - and 73% claimed they were going to use it again. And it seems that consumers’ apparently “insatiable appetite” for CBD isn’t going away. The global market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 22.5%, reaching 23.6 billion by 2025.

Even if cannabidiol falls into a legal grey zone in many countries, this isn’t stopping start-ups from jumping in the pool, eager to profit from first-mover advantage. But now even household brands are joining the party. US retail giant Kroger and world leaders like Mondelez and Coca Cola are sitting on the sidelines, sipping their CBD-infused cocktails and dipping their toes in the water.

Eager to get to grips with this curious compound? Here are the facts behind the hype.

CBD: The buzz without the high

Cannabidiol – or CBD - is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, a non-addictive compound found in the cannabis plant. While marijuana can also contain up to 30% THC – the ingredient that creates weed’s notorious high - hemp typically contains 0.3% or less. Given that THC content is limited to 0.2% in most countries, many legislators have only legalized the production of hemp, sometimes with specific licenses. Switzerland, however, has a 1% THC threshold, leading to claims that it’s the best place to be if you want to bag a piece of the growing CBD market.      

But not all CBD products are created equal. Isolates contain 99.9% pure CBD and come in crystal or powder form. “Full spectrum” products - typically CBD oils - tend to contain a mixture of different cannabinoids, including a low level of THC. This apparently creates an “entourage effect”, where different compounds work together to intensify the effect.  Consequently, the amount of CBD - and impact of the product on the user’s body - can vary significantly.  

Trend drivers: health, wellness and the anxiety economy

CBD has become a rising star of the 21st century “anxiety economy”. Bombarded by news about global problems and tired of curating perfect lives on social media, consumers are looking for functional products that bust stress and boost their mood. From a sneaky cannabidiol flat white before that nightmare meeting to an infused beer at the end of a long day, CBD’s promises to deliver a calm brain and a good night’s sleep are proving irresistible.    

But the list of health claims doesn’t stop there. Many users swear by its anti-inflammatory properties. The way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies is also supposed to reduce pain and even lower blood pressure. Consequently, CBD has been hailed as the ideal product for baby boomers and Generation X, who are looking for natural solutions to fight off the aches and pains of ageing. But although a report by the World Health Organisation stated that CBD is generally safe, many regulatory bodies have flagged concerns and claim that there is still a void of evidence.

Products: From beer and coffee to chocolate, ice cream and jellybeans

Piggybacking on the success of functional beverages like Kombucha, CBD-infused drinks are one of the fastest growing segments in the overall market. From sparkling water and flavoured sodas to beers, teas and cocktails, brands claim to leave drinkers refreshed and relaxed and often combine CBD with other functional ingredients like probiotics or electrolytes.

Unsurprisingly, CBD has also become a popular addition to treat products, designed to help consumers chill out at the end of a long day. One Good Day chocolate, for example, provides a boost of 10 mg of broad spectrum hemp extract, along with other supplements that provide “sleep and calming support”. Even ice cream giant Ben and Jerrys plans to release a CBD-infused frozen treat as soon as FDA regulations are in place. These developments are removing the stigma around consuming cannabis-derived products and making them more accessible to a broader market.

Case studies: Flower Power Coffee Co. and Cheerful Buddha

Flower Power Coffee Co. launched in 2017, focussing on online sales of coffee, lollipops and sweets. But a partnership with Caffeine Underground - New York’s first café to offer CBD-laced drinks – proved to be a huge success, with a queue of curious customers waiting outside the shop every morning. Today, the company operates via an active online shop and distributes in various US and UK based stores but strategic partnerships at high profile events remain a key part of their strategy. Last year, Chuck Siegel, who comes with a serious track record of transforming start-ups into market leaders, took on the reins as president and CEO. A clear sign that Flower Power is gearing up for growth.  

A relative newcomer to the European scene, Cheerful Buddha launched in June last year, offering high-end luxury CBD-infused coffee. Recognizing the importance of transparency in building consumer confidence and trust, the founders have invested heavily in certifications. Every batch gets the thumbs up from one of the most developed CBD testing lab facilities in the UK and consumers can even cross check the certificates on their website. In addition to getting local cafés on board, the team has enlisted the support of bloggers and influencers to convince customers to give a cup of cannabis a whirl.

Challenges: legal hurdles and building consumer confidence

Despite the clear shift in consumer demand, the legality of CBD products remains complex and unpredictable in many countries. Changing guidelines can lead to unforeseen losses – as hemp farmers in the UK found out the hard way last year. So budding entrepreneurs really need to do their homework to make sure they don’t fall foul of local laws.

Given that the CBD market is still in its infancy, there’s also a shortage of reliable studies on product health claims and a lack of clarity about appropriate dosage. Even if consumer demand is growing, only 29% of those surveyed felt well informed about its uses. So experts claim that consumer goods companies and retailers need to  focus on educating consumers and providing their customers with accurate and evidence-based information. This will help them build trust and confidence and keep buyers coming back - even when the initial buzz wears off.

Business opportunities

If the legal framework in your country allows…


Manufacturing

Food Service

Retail

  • benefit from the typically high margins provided by CBD products by adding a few trial products to your shelves. Just make sure that your suppliers can provide clear information about the purity and provenance of the ingredients.
  • partner with local start-ups to treat your trendsetter customers to the latest and most innovative products.

Become a FoodHack+ member to get unlimited access

  • Read Unlimited Articles
  • Access Member Directory
  • Join a Global Community
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Weed. Ganja. Pot. Hashish.

Only a few years ago, if someone said cannabis, these were the words that may have sprung to mind. But today, the sudden rise of cannabidiol – or CBD, a compound typically extracted from marijuana’s cousin hemp – has given this infamous family of flowering plants an image overhaul. From stress-busting lattes to mood-lifting treats, CBD products have become the cure-all elixir of any self-respecting wellness guru.  

In fact, a survey found that 68% of respondents have used CBD - or know someone who has - and 73% claimed they were going to use it again. And it seems that consumers’ apparently “insatiable appetite” for CBD isn’t going away. The global market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 22.5%, reaching 23.6 billion by 2025.

Even if cannabidiol falls into a legal grey zone in many countries, this isn’t stopping start-ups from jumping in the pool, eager to profit from first-mover advantage. But now even household brands are joining the party. US retail giant Kroger and world leaders like Mondelez and Coca Cola are sitting on the sidelines, sipping their CBD-infused cocktails and dipping their toes in the water.

Eager to get to grips with this curious compound? Here are the facts behind the hype.

CBD: The buzz without the high

Cannabidiol – or CBD - is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, a non-addictive compound found in the cannabis plant. While marijuana can also contain up to 30% THC – the ingredient that creates weed’s notorious high - hemp typically contains 0.3% or less. Given that THC content is limited to 0.2% in most countries, many legislators have only legalized the production of hemp, sometimes with specific licenses. Switzerland, however, has a 1% THC threshold, leading to claims that it’s the best place to be if you want to bag a piece of the growing CBD market.      

But not all CBD products are created equal. Isolates contain 99.9% pure CBD and come in crystal or powder form. “Full spectrum” products - typically CBD oils - tend to contain a mixture of different cannabinoids, including a low level of THC. This apparently creates an “entourage effect”, where different compounds work together to intensify the effect.  Consequently, the amount of CBD - and impact of the product on the user’s body - can vary significantly.  

Trend drivers: health, wellness and the anxiety economy

CBD has become a rising star of the 21st century “anxiety economy”. Bombarded by news about global problems and tired of curating perfect lives on social media, consumers are looking for functional products that bust stress and boost their mood. From a sneaky cannabidiol flat white before that nightmare meeting to an infused beer at the end of a long day, CBD’s promises to deliver a calm brain and a good night’s sleep are proving irresistible.    

But the list of health claims doesn’t stop there. Many users swear by its anti-inflammatory properties. The way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies is also supposed to reduce pain and even lower blood pressure. Consequently, CBD has been hailed as the ideal product for baby boomers and Generation X, who are looking for natural solutions to fight off the aches and pains of ageing. But although a report by the World Health Organisation stated that CBD is generally safe, many regulatory bodies have flagged concerns and claim that there is still a void of evidence.

Products: From beer and coffee to chocolate, ice cream and jellybeans

Piggybacking on the success of functional beverages like Kombucha, CBD-infused drinks are one of the fastest growing segments in the overall market. From sparkling water and flavoured sodas to beers, teas and cocktails, brands claim to leave drinkers refreshed and relaxed and often combine CBD with other functional ingredients like probiotics or electrolytes.

Unsurprisingly, CBD has also become a popular addition to treat products, designed to help consumers chill out at the end of a long day. One Good Day chocolate, for example, provides a boost of 10 mg of broad spectrum hemp extract, along with other supplements that provide “sleep and calming support”. Even ice cream giant Ben and Jerrys plans to release a CBD-infused frozen treat as soon as FDA regulations are in place. These developments are removing the stigma around consuming cannabis-derived products and making them more accessible to a broader market.

Case studies: Flower Power Coffee Co. and Cheerful Buddha

Flower Power Coffee Co. launched in 2017, focussing on online sales of coffee, lollipops and sweets. But a partnership with Caffeine Underground - New York’s first café to offer CBD-laced drinks – proved to be a huge success, with a queue of curious customers waiting outside the shop every morning. Today, the company operates via an active online shop and distributes in various US and UK based stores but strategic partnerships at high profile events remain a key part of their strategy. Last year, Chuck Siegel, who comes with a serious track record of transforming start-ups into market leaders, took on the reins as president and CEO. A clear sign that Flower Power is gearing up for growth.  

A relative newcomer to the European scene, Cheerful Buddha launched in June last year, offering high-end luxury CBD-infused coffee. Recognizing the importance of transparency in building consumer confidence and trust, the founders have invested heavily in certifications. Every batch gets the thumbs up from one of the most developed CBD testing lab facilities in the UK and consumers can even cross check the certificates on their website. In addition to getting local cafés on board, the team has enlisted the support of bloggers and influencers to convince customers to give a cup of cannabis a whirl.

Challenges: legal hurdles and building consumer confidence

Despite the clear shift in consumer demand, the legality of CBD products remains complex and unpredictable in many countries. Changing guidelines can lead to unforeseen losses – as hemp farmers in the UK found out the hard way last year. So budding entrepreneurs really need to do their homework to make sure they don’t fall foul of local laws.

Given that the CBD market is still in its infancy, there’s also a shortage of reliable studies on product health claims and a lack of clarity about appropriate dosage. Even if consumer demand is growing, only 29% of those surveyed felt well informed about its uses. So experts claim that consumer goods companies and retailers need to  focus on educating consumers and providing their customers with accurate and evidence-based information. This will help them build trust and confidence and keep buyers coming back - even when the initial buzz wears off.

Business opportunities

If the legal framework in your country allows…


Manufacturing

Food Service

Retail

  • benefit from the typically high margins provided by CBD products by adding a few trial products to your shelves. Just make sure that your suppliers can provide clear information about the purity and provenance of the ingredients.
  • partner with local start-ups to treat your trendsetter customers to the latest and most innovative products.

Weed. Ganja. Pot. Hashish.

Only a few years ago, if someone said cannabis, these were the words that may have sprung to mind. But today, the sudden rise of cannabidiol – or CBD, a compound typically extracted from marijuana’s cousin hemp – has given this infamous family of flowering plants an image overhaul. From stress-busting lattes to mood-lifting treats, CBD products have become the cure-all elixir of any self-respecting wellness guru.  

In fact, a survey found that 68% of respondents have used CBD - or know someone who has - and 73% claimed they were going to use it again. And it seems that consumers’ apparently “insatiable appetite” for CBD isn’t going away. The global market is anticipated to register a CAGR of 22.5%, reaching 23.6 billion by 2025.

Even if cannabidiol falls into a legal grey zone in many countries, this isn’t stopping start-ups from jumping in the pool, eager to profit from first-mover advantage. But now even household brands are joining the party. US retail giant Kroger and world leaders like Mondelez and Coca Cola are sitting on the sidelines, sipping their CBD-infused cocktails and dipping their toes in the water.

Eager to get to grips with this curious compound? Here are the facts behind the hype.

CBD: The buzz without the high

Cannabidiol – or CBD - is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid, a non-addictive compound found in the cannabis plant. While marijuana can also contain up to 30% THC – the ingredient that creates weed’s notorious high - hemp typically contains 0.3% or less. Given that THC content is limited to 0.2% in most countries, many legislators have only legalized the production of hemp, sometimes with specific licenses. Switzerland, however, has a 1% THC threshold, leading to claims that it’s the best place to be if you want to bag a piece of the growing CBD market.      

But not all CBD products are created equal. Isolates contain 99.9% pure CBD and come in crystal or powder form. “Full spectrum” products - typically CBD oils - tend to contain a mixture of different cannabinoids, including a low level of THC. This apparently creates an “entourage effect”, where different compounds work together to intensify the effect.  Consequently, the amount of CBD - and impact of the product on the user’s body - can vary significantly.  

Trend drivers: health, wellness and the anxiety economy

CBD has become a rising star of the 21st century “anxiety economy”. Bombarded by news about global problems and tired of curating perfect lives on social media, consumers are looking for functional products that bust stress and boost their mood. From a sneaky cannabidiol flat white before that nightmare meeting to an infused beer at the end of a long day, CBD’s promises to deliver a calm brain and a good night’s sleep are proving irresistible.    

But the list of health claims doesn’t stop there. Many users swear by its anti-inflammatory properties. The way it interacts with the endocannabinoid system in our bodies is also supposed to reduce pain and even lower blood pressure. Consequently, CBD has been hailed as the ideal product for baby boomers and Generation X, who are looking for natural solutions to fight off the aches and pains of ageing. But although a report by the World Health Organisation stated that CBD is generally safe, many regulatory bodies have flagged concerns and claim that there is still a void of evidence.

Products: From beer and coffee to chocolate, ice cream and jellybeans

Piggybacking on the success of functional beverages like Kombucha, CBD-infused drinks are one of the fastest growing segments in the overall market. From sparkling water and flavoured sodas to beers, teas and cocktails, brands claim to leave drinkers refreshed and relaxed and often combine CBD with other functional ingredients like probiotics or electrolytes.

Unsurprisingly, CBD has also become a popular addition to treat products, designed to help consumers chill out at the end of a long day. One Good Day chocolate, for example, provides a boost of 10 mg of broad spectrum hemp extract, along with other supplements that provide “sleep and calming support”. Even ice cream giant Ben and Jerrys plans to release a CBD-infused frozen treat as soon as FDA regulations are in place. These developments are removing the stigma around consuming cannabis-derived products and making them more accessible to a broader market.

Case studies: Flower Power Coffee Co. and Cheerful Buddha

Flower Power Coffee Co. launched in 2017, focussing on online sales of coffee, lollipops and sweets. But a partnership with Caffeine Underground - New York’s first café to offer CBD-laced drinks – proved to be a huge success, with a queue of curious customers waiting outside the shop every morning. Today, the company operates via an active online shop and distributes in various US and UK based stores but strategic partnerships at high profile events remain a key part of their strategy. Last year, Chuck Siegel, who comes with a serious track record of transforming start-ups into market leaders, took on the reins as president and CEO. A clear sign that Flower Power is gearing up for growth.  

A relative newcomer to the European scene, Cheerful Buddha launched in June last year, offering high-end luxury CBD-infused coffee. Recognizing the importance of transparency in building consumer confidence and trust, the founders have invested heavily in certifications. Every batch gets the thumbs up from one of the most developed CBD testing lab facilities in the UK and consumers can even cross check the certificates on their website. In addition to getting local cafés on board, the team has enlisted the support of bloggers and influencers to convince customers to give a cup of cannabis a whirl.

Challenges: legal hurdles and building consumer confidence

Despite the clear shift in consumer demand, the legality of CBD products remains complex and unpredictable in many countries. Changing guidelines can lead to unforeseen losses – as hemp farmers in the UK found out the hard way last year. So budding entrepreneurs really need to do their homework to make sure they don’t fall foul of local laws.

Given that the CBD market is still in its infancy, there’s also a shortage of reliable studies on product health claims and a lack of clarity about appropriate dosage. Even if consumer demand is growing, only 29% of those surveyed felt well informed about its uses. So experts claim that consumer goods companies and retailers need to  focus on educating consumers and providing their customers with accurate and evidence-based information. This will help them build trust and confidence and keep buyers coming back - even when the initial buzz wears off.

Business opportunities

If the legal framework in your country allows…


Manufacturing

Food Service

Retail

  • benefit from the typically high margins provided by CBD products by adding a few trial products to your shelves. Just make sure that your suppliers can provide clear information about the purity and provenance of the ingredients.
  • partner with local start-ups to treat your trendsetter customers to the latest and most innovative products.

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