While it came and went pretty damn quick, 2018 was an explosive year for the CBD movement.
From the federal legalization of hemp to the skyrocketing demand for CBD across the country―2018 was a year marked by monumental achievements and set the stage for even greater achievements in 2019.
To commemorate a truly amazing year, let’s recap the greatest milestones and achievements that were accomplished in 2018, and discuss what we can expect in 2019.
Hemp Became a Federally Legal Crop Under the 2018 Farm Bill
On Thursday, December 20th 2018, President Donald Trump signed the 2018 Farm Bill, federally legalizing industrial hemp in the United States.
Under the new bill, Hemp shall no longer be regulated as an illegal substance under the US Justice Department, and will now be regulated as a legal crop under the Department of Agriculture. Basically Hemp is now officially separated from its psychoactive counterpart, Marijuana, which is a huge accomplishment for the hemp industry.
While the 2018 Farm Bill does legalize hemp, it does not legalize CBD. It will, however, decrease production costs in states where CBD is legal and promote transparency from CBD producers, which will is a big step forward.
Overall, the 2018 Farm Bill greatly benefits the CBD industry, and is an important victory in the battle towards CBD legalization.
Jeff Sessions, The Biggest Opponent of Cannabis, was Given the Boot
Since his appointment as Attorney General on February 8 2017, Jeff Sessions had been one of the biggest opponents to Cannabis law reforms.
Characterized by his infamous quote, “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” Sessions was one of those die hards who believed the archaic theory that Cannabis is a “gateway drug.”
As the Attorney General, Sessions had the power to shift the perspectives of our legal system and greatly deter Cannabis law reforms, and that he did.
Needless to say, most in the industry were not fond of the guy and prayed to see him get thrown out of the White House.
On November 7th, 2018, these prayers were answered when Sessions resigned as the Attorney General, at the request of President Trump.
While Sessions’ resignation was phrased nicely in the news, Sessions had gotten the boot and it was a moment that called for celebration.
Studies Revealed Groundbreaking Insights About the Benefits of CBD
Findings from several groundbreaking 2018 studies revealed exciting evidence, showing that CBD can benefit several widespread conditions.
With the findings revealed in these studies, we now better understand how CBD works with our bodies, giving researchers more insights to advance their research forward.
Check out the amazing findings from the 2018 studies below:
5 More US States Legalized Cannabis
As the country becomes more aware of the many benefits of the Cannabis plant, the public opinion has take a major shift. In fact, a Pew Research Center study found that 62% of Americans favor legalizing Cannabis, as opposed to a mere 31% in early 2000.
Thanks to the laws passed by American voters in 2018, 5 more states have legalized Cannabis:
- Vermont (Recreational/Medical)
- Michigan (Recreational/Medical)
- Alabama (Medical)
- Utah (Medical)
- Arizona (Medical)
US Surgeon General Publicly Supported the Rescheduling of Cannabis
One of the most impactful moments of 2018 happened early in December when US Surgeon General Jerome Adams publicly suggested that Cannabis’ Schedule I classification be reconsidered.
During an addiction recovery conference in Massachusetts, Dr. Adams made the following statement, Marijuana Moment reports:
“Just as we need to look at criminal justice laws, rules and regulations, we need to look at health laws, rules and regulations, and that includes the scheduling system. … I’ll take it somewhere else: marijuana. We need to look at the way we schedule different medications across the board, because one of the concerns that I have with marijuana is the difficulty that the folks have to do research on it, because of the scheduling system.”
Now, if it was a credible health expert or a celebrity doctor that made this claim, it would already be a big deal. This isn’t just any doctor…. This is the US Surgeon General―the Head of Public Health in the United States. This was a very, very big deal.
My hat goes off to Dr. Adams for publicly coming out with his support, and I’m confident that it will lead to further action and reforms to Cannabis laws in 2019..
CBD Became the Biggest Health Trend of the Year
While the public’s awareness of CBD has slowly increased over the last five or so years, in 2018 it exploded.
As regulations and views shifted, and awareness continued to spread, interest skyrocketed and demand climbed at a compounding rate.
With coverage on every major publisher and influential advocates like Tom Hanks and Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CBD quickly became one of the biggest health trends of 2018.
Based on an analysis of the industry, The Brightfield Group, a Cannabis analysis firm, believes that the CBD market could reach $22 billion by 2022.
CBD Legalization in More States and Countries
A 2018 study from the Pew Research Center found that 62% of Americans are in favor of legalizing marijuana, compared to just 31% in 2000.
With the popularity of CBD, and awareness of its many natural benefits, continuing to rise, demand will skyrocket, greatly increasing the support for federal legalization of CBD .
While lawmakers in various countries and US states have already realized the immense economical and medicinal opportunity presented by CBD, it’s very likely that many more will shift their positions and opt towards legalization CBD in 2019.
Increased Government Involvement and Regulation
As CBD becomes legal and more available through the country, increased government involvement and regulation is inevitable.
Now, for any industry to function properly, some government involvement is necessary. Too much, however, is where there can be problems, and there’s a fine line between the two.
The government will, of course, try to overstep its boundaries with high taxes, unjustified regulations and over-exerted involvement. In an effort to “govern and regulate,” this is what the government does in any industry, and will likely do more so in the CBD and Cannabis industry.
With that being said, it’s crucial that we stay aware and informed, stand up for what’s right, and fight against what’s wrong. Legalization is a huge victory, but now we need to protect our rights.
It is as the great political activist and revolutionary philosopher, Thomas Paine, brilliantly wrote more than two centuries ago, “Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state, an intolerable one.”
More CBD Brands and Products Will Enter the Market
As many of you have already seen, there has been a flood of new CBD products entering the market.
While new products aren’t a bad thing, many are produced by capitalistic companies jumping on the bandwagon. As a result, many of these new products are very similar, and even inferior, to products that are already available.
With the influx of new products, market competition will naturally become more aggressive as brands fight to maintain market share.
This will likely lead to price undercutting, new product features (good and bad), and more “strategic” marketing and branding tactics. Ultimately, most brands will be weeded out, while the dominant brands will prevail―dominant meaning they have better marketing strategies, deeper pockets, or their product offers more value to the consumer.
Major Brands and Other Countries Will Get in on the Action
It won’t just be domestic startups entering the market either…
Major brands like Coca Cola and Marlboro, and countries like China, have already begun developing CBD and Cannabis products and will soon get in on the action.
With endless resources, corporate agendas, and over 33% of of the world’s hemp being produced in China, these entities will introduce the corporate savagery of global industrialization to CBD, and change the industry as we know it.
A Shift in Consumer Behavior and Increase in Consumer Knowledge
As the market environment of the CBD industry shifts, so will consumer behavior.
Because the industry had been underdeveloped, there had been an alarming lack of information about CBD available to consumers. As a result, most consumers faced a learning curve.
To make matters more confusing, much of the existing information, was inaccurate, unclear, or written in complex scientific language. This created a huge problem, leaving way for uninformed consumers to be taken advantage of by profit-hungry brands.
As the industry developed, advocates and organizations like CBD Origin, Leafly and Project CBD have worked hard to solve this problem by providing valuable insights and crucial knowledge about CBD to consumers.
Because of this, consumers are now more informed about CBD and can make smarter and safer purchasing decisions.
While the increase of consumer knowledge will undoubtedly lead to many behavioral shifts, a few that we can be certain of are:
- More and higher sales as consumers become more confident in their understanding of what they are purchasing
- More first-time buyers as previous buyers start to share their knowledge and experiences with others
- Higher expectations of brands and retailers as consumers become more aware of what to look for in a good product, such as analysis reports, hemp source, cultivation practices, pricing, etc.
More Research into CBD individually and Combined with Other Cannabinoids
While CBD and THC are the most predominant cannabinoids found in the Cannabis plant, there are over 100 others, each with their own unique medicinal properties.
Because of their dominance, CBD and THC have gained more attention from researchers; however, researchers may soon put more focus on the other cannabinoids as well.
Studies reveal that multiple cannabinoids combined deliver enhanced effects, and some cannabinoids deliver certain benefits than CBD or THC can.
As legalization helps to remove regulatory obstacles, in 2019 researchers will be able to perform more and deeper research on not only CBD, but on other cannabinoids individually, and numerous cannabinoids combined.
The insights gained will help further our understanding of cannabinoids and could be instrumental in our fight against numerous conditions.
While 2018 was a monumental year lined with landmark achievements, it’s really just the beginning for the CBD movement.
We are at the cusp of an explosive industry―just waiting to go off― and 2019 just might be the year it does.
We are extremely grateful to all the people and organizations who contributed to the achievements that brought the CBD movement this far, and are thankful to be part of this moment in history.
Thank you for tuning in for our #CBDMovement 2018 Report! I hope that it inspired you as much as it inspires us. 2018 was truly a phenomenal year, now let’s get ready for an even greater one in 2019!