Industry News & Updates

New Gallup Survey finds 14% of Americans use CBD

By Harris Wheless
William Iven

Roughly one in seven Americans say they use cannabidiol (CBD) products, the sales of which have been projected to reach $2 billion by 2020. This number may snowball even further as more brands enter the space and consumers find more uses for this cannabis compound.

A Gallup poll conducted from June 19 to July 12 surveyed a random sample of 2,543 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The poll was released on August 7 and found that 14% of Americans use CBD products, while 50% do not use them and 35% are not familiar with them at all.

The 2018 Farm Bill that was passed in December of last year legalized hemp production on a federal level. Although the legal status of hemp-derived CBD products is still a bit of a gray area. Hemp and CBD laws vary by state, with some states making efforts to restrict hemp production and sales.

The two main forms of cannabis, marijuana and hemp, can be distinguished by their THC levels. Hemp contains less than 0.3% THC while marijuana plants typically contain somewhere between 5% and 20% THC, which is responsible for the psychoactive high that people experience when using marijuana.

Of Gallup’s majority white or male sample size, 310 out of 2,543 said they used CBD, although this number was adjusted to correct for non-response and other factors. The poll, conducted through phone interviews, found that most people use CBD for therapeutic reasons.

This amounted to about 90% of those surveyed, while only 5% reportedly use CBD for recreational purposes. The poll serves as further evidence that Americans are turning to alternative treatments in lieu of prescription drugs.

The top reasons for use and percentage of users who take it for that purpose are as follows: 40% take CBD for pain, 20% for anxiety, 11% for sleep, and 8% for arthritis. Some overlap does occur due to people using CBD for various conditions.

Although CBD is quickly becoming a multi-billion dollar industry, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve the compound for use in wellness supplements or food. This lack of federal regulation means there is no industry standard for product testing or other safety precautions.

The poll also found that 20% of adults under 30 say they take CBD, but only 8% of those who are 65 and older use the substance—and 49% of people in that age group haven’t heard of it. Gallup has found this also holds true for marijuana usage, with younger adults being more likely to use marijuana than older adults.

For both men and women who use CBD products, about 25% say they use them for pain relief. While one in four women use CBD for anxiety, only one in seven men use it for the same purpose. Men, however, are more likely to use CBD as a sleep aid, with 15% of men using it for that purpose compared to only 8% of women.

CBD use is more prevalent among people in the Western United States, with 21% reporting that they use it. By contrast, only 13% of Southerners are CBD users and 11% of people in the East and Midwest say they take CBD. This regional divide corresponds with which states have chosen to legalize or decriminalize marijuana.

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