27.06.19

Centre for Medicinal Cannabis survey finds six million adults used CBD in UK

The Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) has called on politicians, policy-makers, regulators, producers and retailers to play their part to achieve the shared goal of a UK CBD sector that is innovative, responsible and high-quality, delivering both economic benefits, social value, and individual wellbeing.

The CMC released its new report “CBD in the UK: Towards a responsible, innovative and high-quality cannabidiol industry,” after conducting the most comprehensive review ever undertaken of the sector in the UK.

Market research commissioned by the CMC estimates that the CBD market is currently one of the fastest growing wellbeing product categories in the UK. At the current rate it will be worth almost £1B per annum by 2025, equivalent in size to the current entire UK herbal supplement market.

The report’s wide-ranging recommendations include:

  • The government to amend existing out of date legislation.
  • Regulators to provide clarity relating to current policy.
  • The medical profession to invest in research.
  • Business operators to embrace robust self-regulation.

Later this year the CMC will announce further developments, towards creating the first credible, industry-owned self-regulation initiative backed by many of the reputable CBD companies operating in the UK with a permanent laboratory testing and accreditation partner.

READ MORE: Cannabis on trial

The report is comprised of four elements:

  • Market sizing - comprehensive economic analysis of CBD market in UK.
  • Product testing - blind testing of 30 major CBD brands available on UK market.
  • Consumer survey of 2000 members of the public by YouGov.
  • CMC Policy recommendations - presented to senior officials at the UK Home Office, MHRA, Food Standards Agency and Department of Health and Social Care.

Key Market Research Findings

The size of the UK CBD market is between 3-6 times larger than previous estimates. The CMC research estimates that 1.3 million consumers are spending over £300M per year on CBD products. For comparison the CBD market is larger than the total UK Vitamin D (£145M) and Vitamin C market (£119M) combined.

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The market is currently growing at double digits and expected to be just short of £1bn by 2025.

The majority of CBD users indicated that they purchased their CBD online.

Key YouGov Survey Findings

  • Approximately 6 million adults have used CBD in the UK.
  • 11% of the population had consumed a CBD product in the last year.
  • Recent use rates were higher in the under 55 age groups, ranging from 15% of 25-34 year olds, to 7% of 55-64 year olds and 8% of those aged 65+.
  • Usage was higher on average among females (13%) than males (9%).
  • Use was higher in certain parts of the country, namely Wales and Northern Ireland.
  • Three quarters of respondents agreed that UK hemp farmers should be able to process hemp flowers and leaves to supply CBD market. Currently all CBD source material sold in the UK is imported.

Knowing that the CBD product was made by a supplier that met recognised high standards (32%) and knowing that the contents were not contaminated with pesticides or heavy metals (25%) were the most important priorities when choosing a CBD product – far ahead of knowing that a CBD product was 100% legal (14%), or from where in the world it originated (5%).

Support for legalisation of cannabis among CBD users (75%) is higher than that of the total population (47%).

In addition to recommendations related to regulation, the CMC calls upon the UK Government to support a thriving CBD market, currently reliant on imports. By allowing farmers to legally cultivate hemp for the commercial purpose of harvesting the flowers and leaves to extract CBD.

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