America’s ravenous interest in cannabidiol (CBD) has not yet abated. According to data published by JAMA Network Open, internet searches for the cannabinoid eclipse searches for other alternative medicines.
At the moment, there does not exist comprehensive information showing that CBD is effective for all the conditions it is being used to treat. Although the research is promising, it’s far from conclusive. However, that’s not slowing the mounting surge of consumer desire.
The JAMA Network Open study analyzed Google searches from January 1, 2004 through April 23, 2019 for the key terms “CBD” or “cannabidiol.” They compared these searches against other health-related terms like acupuncture and yoga.
They found that, while the number of searches was stable through 2014, there was a substantial increase from 2016 and onward; in fact, there were 6.4 million unique web searches for CBD in the US in April 2019. This explosive change may be attributed to the broad legalization of hemp and greater access to cannabinoids, in addition to efforts to de-stigmatize cannabis use.
Searches for CBD beat searches for the majority of other health-related items. And while searches were higher in 2019 in states with fullly legalized cannabis, the increase in searches ocurred across all states.
Researchers concluded that “interest in CBD across the US has increased considerably and is accelerating…[and] investigation into CBD should become a public health priority to catch up with the public’s interest.”
Because demand is so high, scientists are working to learn all there is to know about CBD. However, they gained easier access to CBD at the same time as consumers when hemp was legalized nationally in 2018. There hasn’t been enough time–or funding–for science to catch up with the commercial market.
The JAMA Network Open researchers recommended that “studies should focus on the epidemiology of CBD use, characterizing who uses CBD products and for what purposes” and that researchers should evaluate the effects and potential drug interactions of CBD.
It’s not clear when–or if–interest in CBD will peak, especially as many rely on its beneficial proprties during these challenging times.
- Leas EC, et al. Trends in internet searches for cannabidiol (CBD) in the United States. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(10):e1913853.