Cannabidiol (CBD) is the principal non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant. Unlike THC (delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol), CBD doesn’t give users a psychotropic high. Its strength lies elsewhere. Over the past few years, the compound has helped people deal with a variety of medical conditions, ranging from insomnia and menstrual cramps to chronic pain and epilepsy.
While there’s plenty of anecdotal evidence, there has been very little scientific research on CBD’s effectiveness and side effects, and a lot of people are cynical about its abilities. Despite this, demand for CBD products is growing at an almost exponential rate.
All this came to a head last year when Congress passed the Farm Bill, thus legalizing the cultivation of industrial hemp. In the wake of the bill, at least 30 states legalized medical marijuana, but the FDA has been slow to draw up regulations for the budding industry. Some call it a sort of Wild West with many companies making unsubstantiated claims about the medical benefits of their products and selling substandard products.
Despite the current state of uncertainty surrounding the market, interest in CBD is increasing even more. According to a study of Google searches in the U.S., Americans are more interested in CBD than any other health products. An average of 6.4 million unique Google searches for CBD each month originate from the U.S. This is more than meditation exercise, veganism, and even marijuana.
“CBD has become immensely popular,” says Dr. John Ayers, the Vice Chief of Innovation in the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Health at UC San Diego. “Three years ago, there was essentially no one searching for CBD online, but now there are an estimated 6.4 million unique searches each month.”
The study wasn’t the only evidence of CBD’s penetration into the market. America’s first cannabis cafe opened up in Los Angeles at the beginning of this month. It is serving its customers joints as a side dish to farm-to-table dinners and boasting its own dispensary area for marijuana products.
This is despite warnings from the FDA against marketing and selling CBD as a dietary supplement. More businesses have followed, with coffee shops in many states offering to add CBD into lattes for a small additional fee, claiming the compound will help customers calm down while they get their daily dose of caffeine.
Not of these promised benefits have been scientifically proven. Still, several studies have found CBD to be effective against a variety of medical conditions, and as long as the anecdotal evidence keeps piling up, interest in the CBD products is sure to increase.
The report on the explosion in the number of people conducting online searches about CBD must be music to the ears of companies like ChineseInvestors.com Inc. (OTCQB: CIIX) and Youngevity International Inc. (NASDAQ: YGYI) since they know that Americans spend on the things they look up online.
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