In case it wasn’t already evident, the CBD market is booming. Since the Farm Bill passed in 2018, CBD sales have been on the rapid climb, and they don’t show any signs of slowing down, leading many to ask just what the near future of CBD looks like.
In 2019, cannabis business intelligence firm, BDS Analytics, published their report on the growing CBD industry, along with their projection for where CBD will be by 2024. Even with CBD’s increasing popularity, the firm’s figure of $20 billion in sales by 2024 might sound shocking, but as CBD moves out of the dispensary and further into the mainstream it’s hard to deny that the market will only continue to grow. 
CBD in the Dispensary
The report provided a brief history of CBD, and it’s important to keep in mind that this popular cannabinoid didn’t just spring up overnight as the Farm Bill was passed. Instead, science has been aware of CBD since the 1940s. However, even by 1996, when California first legalized medical marijuana, not much was known about CBD. 
As time went on and medical consumption increased, so did the awareness of CBD and its therapeutic potential. With the maturation of the medical marijuana market came more research on both THC and CBD along with products featuring either or both cannabinoids in a medical context. By 2013, CBD was officially recognized for its ability to treat seizures, and five years later, the FDA approved the first CBD-derived medication for treating epilepsy. 
Still, CBD remained a product confined to medical marijuana dispensaries and, eventually, adult-use recreational dispensaries in states with legal cannabis sales. As such, it remained mostly underground until the passage of the Farm Bill. Shortly after the Farm Bill passed CBD products started popping up in smoke shops and awareness of the cannabinoid’s potential began to spread. According to BDS Analytics, 10 percent of dispensary sales in 2018 came from CBD, and those numbers only continued to grow. 
CBD in the Mainstream
There’s no way to say that CBD is an underground product anymore. With $1.9 billion in sales in only the first year of nationwide legalization, there’s no denying the compound’s popularity. If you account for the time it took in 2018 for people to become aware of CBD, that figure is impressive and the numbers have only grown from there. 
The most popular CBD products are infused items, like gummies, tinctures and topicals. In 2018, those products combined brought in over $1.3 billion in sales. It’s no secret that you can find CBD products in health food stores, vitamin shops, and even your local grocery store.  CBD’s mainstream status is apparent in the customer data on just who is buying CBD products. According to BDS Analytics, the average CBD consumer is 43 years old and educated with 40 percent of CBD consumers holding a college degree or higher. They also tend to be gainfully employed with 50 percent of CBD consumers working full time. Finally, there doesn’t appear to be much of a gender gap in the market with 55 percent of CBD consumers male and 45 percent female. 
The diversity in product categories that CBD enjoys is another indication of its mainstream appeal. In 2018, CBD’s debut year nationally, CBD products were represented in nine major categories. Even though the bulk of CBD sales fell into the wellness and beauty categories, CBD infused food and beverages as well as pet care products point to some serious potential for mainstream growth and a diversity of products. 
The Future of CBD Products
Looking ahead, BDS Analytics predicts growth in all of those product categories, though their share of the CBD market is projected to shift as the market matures. According to their report, by 2024, the wellness and beauty segments of the CBD market will lose some of their dominance, making way for growth in the food, confection, and beverage markets. Meanwhile, the market for CBD flower and vapes is expected to lose ground to the other more mainstream options. That, of course, is not to say that these markets will bring less in sales than they did in 2018. They’ll actually grow, but they’ll make up a smaller percentage of the overall CBD picture. 
This continued shift to the mainstream will bring with it other changes which will likely impact the market and the way in which it grows. BDS Analytics expects that the FDA will step in and formally regulate the CBD industry, providing universal guidelines for manufacturers to follow. Not only will formal FDA regulation provide a framework which could support growth in the food and beverage space, it will inspire greater consumer confidence. 
Whatever the future for CBD holds, it’s hard to imagine it not being bright. All indications point to rapid and continued growth across all CBD products and a strong continued push to the mainstream.
1- The global cannabis market: will CBD overtake THC?. BDS Analytics. 2019. https://bdsa.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/BDS-Analytics-The-Global-Cannabinoids-Market-Will-CBD-Overtake-THC.pdf