Consumers can buy hemp-derived CBD products in Walmart (WMT) , CVS (CVS) and if anyone still goes to the mall, you can buy it at Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) or American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) . It feels like the product has jumped the shark already, but according to a new report by Headset, the CBD tsunami is just beginning.
"CBD will eventually take up the majority of sales among non-inhalable products, and potentially even the cannabis industry at large," said the new report, titled Understanding The CBD Market In State Legal Cannabis. "Given how popular it already is, and how popular it is set to become, CBD is a serious force to be reckoned with."
Data company Statista seems to agree. Their analyst Matej Mikulic wrote, "It is expected that U.S. consumer sales of cannabidiol -- usually abbreviated as CBD -- will reach around $1.8 billion by 2022. That would be a massive increase from around half a billion dollars in 2018. Thus, the CBD consumer market is following the trend of the total legal cannabis market in the United States, which is projected to be a $2 billion business by 2025."
Headset is a cannabis data company that receives its information from dispensary sales in California, Colorado, Nevada and Washington. The company said that at the rate CBD sales are happening, the market will be bigger that adult-use marijuana. Headset counted any product that had CBD in the name and more than 1mg of CBD. The data spanned 2015 to May 2019.
This information is only on CBD products sold in legal dispensaries, so it doesn't include the over-the-counter CBD product sales. However, it does inform the market of what to expect with those sales. Google Trends also confirms the spike in inquiries from internet users wanting to know more about CBD.
While recreational marijuana consumers are gravitating towards vape pens, CBD users aren't. Vape is the fastest growing form factor category in the cannabis industry today, but CBD consumers prefer topicals, tinctures and edibles. This health conscious consumer does not equate vaping with the wellness lifestyle they embody.
Topical CBD product sales grew by 60% as consumers like to use the products for inflammation and pain. They also like their CBD in beverages. As people begin to reduce their consumption of alcoholic drinks, CBD beverages are jumping in as a replacement.
Edible CBD products aren't the most popular choice of form factor for these consumers, but Headset noticed one preference that stood out. Gummies. It seems baked goods like brownies retain the recreational marijuana image. But 50% of these consumers bought gummies. Headset said, "If your company is producing gummies, but not CBD gummies, you may want to adjust course."
You Get What You Pay For
Unlike some products, the cost per item goes up depending on how much CBD is packed into it. Headset said that products with 600mg of CBD or more typically cost over $50 per item, while products with less than 400 milligrams of CBD cost under $50. Below 200 milligrams and the prices fall below $40 and can even dip below $20.
The report also noted that average price per CBD item has risen $5 since 2015. CBD products have grown from being 3% of a dispensary shopping cart to 7%. With both the shopping cart and prices rising, shoppers are demonstrating their growing demand for CBD.
Cannabis Companies Jumping In
This trend has not been lost on companies more heavily associated with medical marijuana. Tilray (TLRY) spent $318 million to acquire Manitoba Harvest, which is the world's largest hemp food company. Earlier this year, Tilray made the announcement, saying it would incur no debt to do so. Cowen & Co. analyst Vivien Azer said the deal gives Tilray "access to a broad portfolio of food products that are currently distributed in 16,000 stores in the U.S. and Canada, with the opportunity to expand beyond the food category, including extracts."
Curaleaf Holdings Inc. (CURLF) targeted the mainstream drug store crowd when it announced in March that CVS would be selling its CBD products. Curaleaf, like Tilray, is better known for its medical marijuana. However, if you can make more money selling a mainstream retail product, why wouldn't you? "All large retailers are figuring out their hemp strategy and will address that in 2019 because there is such a huge demand," said Curaleaf CEO Joe Lisardi on the company's recent earnings call. The company said it expects to be in 800 stores.
Charlotte's Web Holdings Inc. (CWBHF) has always been about medical marijuana that has been high in CBD, but prior to the 2018 Farm Bill being approved, it's hemp-derived CBD was considered illegal. It was limited to only dispensaries. Now that the genie is out of the bottle, Charlotte's Web is leading the pack of CBD producers. The company said that in order to meet the growing demand, its total acres planted for 2019 has been increased to 862. That's a 187% increase from 300 acres planted in 2018.
"Interest and demand for our products has been exceptional and growing rapidly. Our 2019 planting strategy ensures we will have the required raw materials to deliver on production targets for Charlotte's Web products through 2020 and into 2021," stated Deanie Elsner, CEO of Charlotte's Web. "Our leading CBD hemp varieties under cultivation today are the foundation of our 2020 production plan."
Move Over Marijuana
The cannabis stock boom has been called the "green rush." However, the industry may want to come with a term for the hemp hurricane. The hemp-derived CBD market is muscling in and ready to overtake the legal cannabis industry as a leader. Investors may want to review their cannabis company's strategy for hemp CBD products and make sure it is on par with its competitors.