As cannabis legalization makes its way into an ever-increasing number of states, millions of Americans are using a wide variety of psychoactive and non-psychoactive cannabinoid-based and infused products to benefit their everyday lives.

The cannabinoid known as delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) has traditionally been the component of note in the cannabis plant, primarily due to its psychoactive effects.

But while THC is in very high-demand in 2020, the popularity of its non-psychoactive sibling cannabidiol (CBD) has grown significantly over the past several years, becoming a regular part of the lives of millions of Americans.

Dr. Roger Adams was the first to successfully isolate CBD in 1942, two years after he reported the partial structure of cannabinol (CBN).

Adams was also the first to identify THC.

CBD awareness spread during the last decade after it was discovered that the non-psychoactive cannabinoid appeared to hold promise as a treatment for epileptic conditions.

In 2013, CNN aired Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s “Weed” documentary, which featured five-year-old Charlotte Figi, for whom the Stanley brothers named their CBD-rich Charlotte’s Web cannabis strain.

At a very early age, Charlotte was diagnosed with Dravet Syndrome, an epileptic condition that would cause her to have as many as 300 grand mal seizures a week.

After starting on CBD oil from Charlotte’s Web plants, Charlotte experienced a significant reduction in seizures.

CBD’s popularity was given an additional boost with the signing of the 2018 Farm Bill, which lifted the federal ban on industrial hemp farming in the United States.

But keeping in-step with the versatility of the cannabis plant and its other components, CBD is not a one-trick cannabinoid.

With the spread of cannabis legalization and the end of the ban on domestic hemp production, a wide variety of CBD-infused topical and supplement products can now be found at dispensaries as well as mainstream retailers such as Dollar General, Abercrombie & Fitch, and Kroger.

CBD products can even be purchased at the airport now.

New research from MRI-Simmons’ (MRI) National Cannabis Study indicates that millions of Americans are using CBD for various reasons, with medical use being the most common.

According to MRI, 50 percent of CBD-only users indicated that their use is solely for medical purposes, 42 percent said they use CBD for medical and recreational purposes, and 8 percent responded that they only use CBD for recreation.

For consumers of both CBD and THC, 15 percent said that they only use cannabis for medicinal purposes, 29 percent said that they use it for medicine and recreation, and 55 percent said that they only use cannabis for recreation.

Data from MRI’s study indicates that there are 36 million cannabis consumers in America, of which 3.7 million are CBD product users.

Sixty percent of CBD consumers are in the Wellness Pot Practitioners segment, one of three identified groups of cannabis users that MRI says view cannabis primarily as a health and wellness tool.

According to MRI, one-third of CBD consumers meditate while consuming cannabis, and 13 percent practice yoga.

Study results also indicate a tendency among CBD consumers to be involved in activism as MRI found that 34 percent actively participate in cannabis legalization efforts.

“The CBD consumer is both more mainstream and more politically engaged than the average cannabis consumer,” says MRI-Simmons VP of Sales Michael Panebianco. “They advocate for the legalization of cannabis, even though some are hesitant about actually consuming it. And their use of products and media are distinct from other cannabis groups. As with all buyers today, it is essential to know them inside and out and provide messages and products that speak directly to their needs.”

Additionally, MRI says that eight out of ten CBD consumers feel that the benefits of cannabis outweigh any negative health concerns, and 72 percent indicate that consumption has wide acceptance in their friend groups.

The average CBD consumer’s age is 45, which MRI says skews a bit younger than the average American.

According to MRI, CBD consumers are 40 percent more likely than the average cannabis consumer to be Asian, Hispanic, or Native American.

MRI conducted its study using a nationally-representative sample of more than 3,000 respondents through the KnowledgePanel online platform.


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