A new market report shows CBD sales surging in the U.S. herbal supplement category. Up from almost total obscurity, CBD leapt into the No. 12 spot among best-selling herbal dietary supplements in 2017 with a 303 percent growth compared to the year prior. And between 2017 and 2018, CBD outdid even those numbers, catapulting itself to the top spot on the list of best-selling supplements and dethroning turmeric from the No. 1 rank it held for five consecutive years. The report, in other words, shows CBD sales are soaring and disrupting long-standing trends in the $8.8 billion herbal supplement industry.
CBD Sales Surged 333 Percent in 2018
As you no doubt know by now, cannabidiol (CBD) is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid responsible for many of the medicinal and therapeutic effects of cannabis. Recent changes to federal and state law have made CBD more accessible and widely available than ever. And as knowledge and awareness of the health and wellness benefits of cannabis expand, interest in CBD products is skyrocketing.
So much so, in fact, that in 2018, CBD sales surged 333 percent, generating $52,708,488 in sales. Importantly, those numbers represent CBD’s performance in the market category of natural and health-food sales only. They do not, in other words, include sales in retail cannabis shops or in mainstream grocery and drugstores.
But in the category of natural and health-food sales, CBD now reigns supreme. CBD wasn’t just the top-selling ingredient in the natural channel, either. It was also the fastest-growing. And for the first time since 2013, turmeric no longer occupies the top spot of best-selling herbal supplements in the natural category. Sales of turmeric, often billed as the most effective nutritional supplement in existence, rose just 0.4 percent in 2018.
The SPINS market report shows that about 60 percent of the CBD products sold in the natural category in 2018 were alcohol-free tinctures. Capsules and softgels were the second- and third-most popular forms of CBD. The report says that nearly all CBD products in this category were marketed toward consumers for non-specific health reasons. After that, mood support and sleep improvement were the next most-popular use categories.
CBD Sales Soar, But Hemp Products Fall
Despite CBD’s landmark performance in the natural category, cannabidiol products have yet to crack into the top 40 in the mainstream grocery and drugstore category. This is mostly because a complicated regulatory landscape of shifting federal and state laws has deterred major retail chains from offering CBD products. Despite the federal legalization of hemp, for example, the FDA still does not consider CBD a legal dietary supplement. There are a few notable exceptions, however. CVS, Walgreens and Rite-Aid have all rolled out select CBD products in a handful of locations around the U.S.
But as CBD sales show no signs of slowing, federal hemp legalization hasn’t yet produced a similar surge of hemp sales. In fact, sales of hemp products decreased 9.9 percent in 2018, according to the SPINS report. These are products like hemp seed oils with negligible amounts of CBD that are marketed for their omega-3 content, protein and fiber. Market analysts aren’t sure what accounts for the nearly ten percent dip in hemp product sales amid a more than 300 percent increase in CBD product sales.