Nielsen projects sales of $6 billion for hemp-derived cannabidiol (CBD) products in the United States by 2025. The projection presumes ingestible hemp-derived CBD products will be available legally at major retailers and across retail channels by 2025.
Even though selling foods and beverages that contain CBD goes against U.S. Food and Drug Administration regulations, some suppliers and retailers already are selling ingestible forms of hemp-derived CBD. The FDA is exploring potential pathways that would allow dietary supplements and/or conventional foods containing CBD to be marketed lawfully.
“As legal restrictions are loosened, the process of bringing a hemp CBD product to market, including the leveraging of mainstream distribution channels, could soon mirror that of other CPG (consumer packaged goods) products,” Nielsen says. “From over-the-counter medications, to cosmetics, pet care and even products throughout the traditional food and beverage space, the future potential of hemp-based CBD could impact billions in CPG sales across categories.”
New York-based Nielsen estimates total sales of all legalized cannabis, which includes CBD products, reached $8 billion in the United States in 2018. The U.S. sales should reach $41 billion by 2025, with marijuana products accounting for $35 billion, presuming 75% of the U.S. adult population has consistent access to legal marijuana by 2025.
Marijuana, a cannabis plant, is legal to varying degrees in 11 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Michigan and Illinois should join that group in 2020. The 2018 farm bill provided a distinction between marijuana and hemp, also a cannabis plant. By removing hemp from the Controlled Substances Act, the bill allowed for the cultivation of hemp in the United States. Hemp must contain less than 0.3% delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), a psychoactive compound in marijuana plants.
Nielsen divides cannabis plants into three groups: those that contain THC, those that contain the non-psychoactive compound CBD, and those that contain no THC or any noteworthy contents of CBD. Both marijuana plants and hemp plants may contain CBD.
Nielsen has investigated which consumers are more likely to try cannabis products. They are two times more likely to have a tobacco product in their homes, 41% more likely to drink beer, and 36% more likely to have back or neck pain. Companies will benefit by figuring out how to leverage cannabis-related situations, occasions, products, and partnerships, according to Nielsen.
“Of course, this will vary by product segment and brand and also by type of cannabis product being considered, but that’s all the more reason to invest in understanding cannabis trends and purchase behaviors,” Nielsen says.