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Explaining the recent boom in hemp-based CBD products

Why is CBD so popular? If you have been asking yourself that question recently, don’t worry, you aren’t alone! CBD-infused products first infiltrated the alternative health market, and have since gone mainstream. Millions of people are now using CBD in America, and various other countries around the world.

You probably have a few other questions, too, such as:

  • What is CBD and where does it come from?
  • Why is CBD legal?
  • What is hemp?
  • Why is there so much variety in the CBD market?
  • Is CBD a fad, or here to stay?

In this article, we’ll explain exactly what CBD is and its newfound popularity, with an in-depth look at what hemp is and how CBD products are made. We’ll cover what people are using CBD for, and whether there is a permanent gap in the market for these revelatory new products.

What is CBD?

CBD is a natural chemical created by plants in the cannabis family – including Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa L. (hemp). Classified as a cannabinoid, CBD has some similarities with tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But importantly, CBD does not have the same psychoactive effect on the brain.

Cannabinoids are a rare type of cannabinoid, found predominantly in cannabis strains. However, they can influence all aspects of health by acting on the endocannabinoid system (ECS). This explains why CBD products have significant therapeutic potential, and may help us in ways that other natural products cannot. Even though scientific research on CBD is limited, legally available products have – for years now – proven very attractive for consumers.

Non-psychoactive CBD was isolated by Israeli cannabis scientists in the early 1960s. Our knowledge of the compound’s effects has grown over time, most crucially with the identification of the ECS in the early 1990s.

Why is CBD legal?

The legality of products is where many people get confused with CBD. After all, the cannabis plant has now been banned in the United States for more than 80 years. It has also been classified as a Schedule 1 substance since the Controlled Substances Act was brought in. We have seen some liberalization, with Colorado, California, Oregon and other states legalizing medicinal – and later recreational – cannabis. But this doesn’t explain why you can buy CBD products throughout America, both online and offline.

That’s because CBD products are made from hemp, which is now afforded a more relaxed legal status. Hemp-based products became legal in 2014, and thanks to some savviness, CBD-rich hemp products came into being. While hemp plants usually have a very small quantity of THC in them, this is no issue providing the THC makes up less than 0.3 percent of the hemp product’s dry weight. This is as important for the user as anybody. Many people who take CBD are opposed to the psychoactive effects of cannabis, for personal reasons or due to work-related drug tests.

Third-party testing

The 0.3 percent rule keeps all sides happy, and some brands even choose to make products with CBD-isolate extracts – these are completely absent of THC. This THC limit and the quality of CBD products is mainly self-regulated. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is not involved with the regulation of CBD or hemp-based products. The top CBD brands subject their stock to third-party scrutiny, with cannabis and hemp testing laboratories giving a full analysis of various products. Ideally, these results are completely transparent, and made free and easily accessible to anyone who wants to buy CBD. This has also enabled CBD companies such as Green Roads CBD and Koi CBD to become established, and distinguishable from cowboy companies marketing snake oil products.

But what exactly is hemp?

As stated earlier, hemp is officially known as Cannabis Sativa L.,.and is almost entirely non-intoxicating. The plant has historically grown in cooler climates. This is opposed to the hotter, South Asian growing conditions that psychoactive Cannabis Indica plants favor. Hemp grows taller and thinner than other types of cannabis.

The plant has a rich history as a cash crop, including in the United States where it was regularly grown up until 1937 prohibition courtesy of the Marihuana Tax Act. US farmers also grew hemp in large quantities during World War Two to compensate for the stifling of hemp imports from the Philippines. The benefits of hemp, from cleansing toxin-ridden soil to its nutritious value, is well-documented. But the plant’s progression into mainstream, modern society has been slowed. This is due to its similarities with intoxicating cannabis, and the resulting misinformation.

Hemp’s comeback began with the Agricultural Act of 2014 which allowed for the sale of hemp-derived products. The plant has advanced further with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018, which federally legalized hemp cultivation for the first time since the 1930s. This is anticipated to give farmers in states like Kentucky a huge boost. Although it will ultimately depend on how individual states choose to proceed now that Washington’s shackles have been removed.

Why is there so much variety in the CBD market?

Purchasing CBD for the first time can be a fun, but daunting experience. Not least because there is such an astonishing range of products to choose from – and the selection is only increasing. But companies aren’t just putting CBD in things for the sake of it. There’s a logic as to why you might want to take CBD in a vape juice, or an edible, or perhaps even a capsule. And then for the classic cannabis user, there are CBD-rich hemp nugs. These can be smoked, for a cannabis-like experience with no “high”. Let’s briefly look at the pros and cons of a few CBD consumption methods.

Vape juices

Vaping isn’t just for nicotine, but CBD, too. When fast, potent relief is a priority, vaporizing is the most efficient way of using CBD. The effects take just seconds to kick in, as CBD cannabinoids pass into the bloodstream straight away. Great for multiple sclerosis, anxiety and other nasty illnesses with sharp symptoms, vaping CBD e-liquid is the first choice for many users.

Of course, the main negative with vaping is that it’s not strictly healthy. Although it’s considerably less dangerous to smoking according to research. For those stuck between wanting rapid CBD benefits, but not the possible health risks from vaping, CBD oil is a more palatable option.

Tincture oils

Tinctures may not taste great, but there is perhaps not a more convenient way to quickly get the properties of CBD. This intake method works for all users. This includes older people in need of a CBD tincture for sleep, and younger patients who are treated with CBD hemp oil for epilepsy.

Tinctures have a good secondary use as a food supplement. They can be used in many recipes as a source of antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and more. Just beware that the hemp flavor can be overwhelming if not adequately complemented with other delicious ingredients.


Dried fruit, brownies, gummies, lollipops, popcorn, honey sticks. You name it, and a company has likely infused it with CBD. Edibles are wildly popular among recreational marijuana users. They can also be harnessed effectively by those taking CBD for therapeutic purposes. Not only do edibles give the user discretion and an accurate CBD dose, but this type of consumption also promotes a longer experience. CBD edibles for chronic pain may even be preferable to prescription painkillers, according to some surveys of CBD users.


Topicals are absolutely unique in the world of CBD, as the only products which have been primarily designed for use on the skin. Lotions, makeup, gels, creams, salves and balms with CBD have all made their mark in recent times. And because of the known ECS activity in the skin, CBD can have real benefits when applied in this way.

Some find that the anti-inflammatory effect is helpful for reducing acne and psoriasis symptoms. The antibacterial and antimicrobial properties of CBD – and other non-intoxicating cannabinoids present in full-spectrum extract products – are superb for treating wounds and infections. CBD creams infused with natural ingredients like menthol tend to work well for pain relief, with the cooling sensation dampening perception of pain. And with creams, it’s possible to get to the source of the pain. Orally-consumed products, while effective, cannot deliver the targeted relief that topicals do.

Is CBD a fad, or here to stay?

Many people wonder whether CBD can have a lasting impact on the health scene, given that wonder treatments have emerged in the past before fading back into irrelevance. But the development of the CBD industry and the sound science backing the qualities of cannabinoids suggests these products are much more than a passing fad.

For starters, the next few years are all but certain to see a massive uptick in CBD research, as experts drill down further on how the compound affects the body, with greater knowledge of what people are taking products for. This is a big deal. With CBD science so far behind other areas of medicine, experts need to know which fields to pay attention to first. Then patients will have a better idea on whether they could use CBD as a replacement for their prescription meds going forward.

CBD is becoming more popular

The rising popularity of CBD also coincides with an increasing American acceptance of cannabis. The plant is not as much as a taboo as it was for most of the 20th century. It is the psychoactive properties of the herb which have rankled with most people. But the increasing use of cannabis for medicinal reasons is changing perspectives. Moreover, a new survey revealed that more than 60 percent of Americans who know of CBD believe it should be available over-the-counter, without a prescription.

On the flipside, some caution should still be expressed. CBD is safe and doesn’t cause addiction, but we simply don’t know if it can treat as many conditions as some people claim. There is a reason why CBD products must be marketed as dietary supplements. It would be nice to think of CBD as a panacea for hundreds of conditions. But these claims just can’t be made at this stage. The best way to know if CBD could work for you is to start taking it in a responsible manner.

Final thoughts

The surge in demand for hemp-based CBD products is unlike anything the natural health industry has seen in modern times. CBD has captured the imagination of the media and ordinary people alike. And products are bringing a level of relief to some users that they simply did not think was possible. The amazing thing about CBD is that there is a perfect product for everyone – and through some trial and error, you can find your ideal setup.

Have you tried CBD, or do you know someone that is benefitting from it? Leave a comment below! We welcome your interaction!

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