• March 6, 2021

Smoking CBD is Now ‘Hip’ and the Market’s Expanding

 Smoking CBD is Now ‘Hip’ and the Market’s Expanding

A young lady takes a hit of CBD. Photo via Creative Commons

‘Hey, let’s smoke some hemp,’ would have been a bad joke even five years ago, but now it seems to be a common refrain heard in all corners of America. That’s because the nation’s burgeoning CBD marketplace also includes smokable hemp. 

People usually connect CBD – which is derived from hemp – with products made with oils injected into a growing list of tinctures, pills, and topicals, but that’s changing and not everyone’s happy about it. 

What Does the Research Say?

According to a new report from Nielsen Research and Hemp Industry Daily an increasing number of Americans are using CBD by inhaling it.,  Why? The main reason is that, although smoking isn’t the most efficient method to get CBD into your system, it’s the quickest way, which always been the attraction of smoking cannabis.

The Nielsen team estimates that the hemp CBD market, which is still largely unregulated on a national level but available in most states, will continue growing rapidly. The report projects that even during the pandemic there will be a more than 50 percent increase in sales from 2019 to 2020. That’s expected to only grow from $70-80 million of sales in 2020 to $300-400 million by 2025.

So What’s the Issue?

States are divided about how to deal with smokable hemp. Most officers aren’t  on board because many law enforcement officials  complain they can’t distinguish hemp from recreational or medical cannabis, the report notes. 

Though the effects are wildly different—you don’t really get high from smoking hemp—a joint rolled with hemp will look and smell the same as one with THC.

Who loves Hemp?

The report found that smoking hemp is more popular among men than women. The highest demand is in the South. Tobacco smokers are more likely to smoke hemp. People are more apt to buy it in a CBD store or a vape tobacco shop, but they’re also picking it up in chain drug stores, groceries and convenience stores or online. Younger people are more likely than older ones to choose smokable hemp. And it’s an almost all-white phenomenon—Black and Latino customers represent a tiny percentage of sales.

Six states—Texas, Louisiana, Iowa, Indiana, Kentucky and South Carolina—restrict inhalable hemp products, the report says. Hawaii recently approved legislation that would ban smokable hemp, synthetic CBD and edibles made with CBD. A bill to ban inhalable CBD products in California was held up in the state Senate.

Though the numbers are rising, the authors don’t expect smokable hemp to become the primary method of ingestion. By 2025 the report projects smoking will only represent five percent of the potential market by 2025. 

Leland Rucker

Leland Rucker is a journalist who has been covering the cannabis industry culture since Amendment 64 legalized adult-use in Colorado, for Boulder Weekly, Sensi and now TheNewsStation.com. He covered the popular music industry for years, worked extensively in internet and cable news, and co-authored The Toy Book, a history of OK Boomer playthings. Sweet Lunacy, his documentary film co-written and produced with Don Chapman, is a history of the Boulder music scene from the 1950s through the 1980s. He is author and editor of Dimensional Cannabis, the first pop-up book of marijuana.

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