For decades, cannabis was the sole province of illicit dealers. But thanks to legalization, this healing plant is now available through Main Street retailers.
Yet, When cannabis first became legal, many Canadians bypassed THC-laden prerolls for CBD products. The industry’s initial assumptions – that people were after the “high” that THC provides – were far off the mark.
So, why are Canadian consumers eager to try CBD oil? In this post, we’ll explore what is driving consumer behaviour concerning CBD.
What is CBD Oil?
But before we dive in, a little background. What exactly is CBD oil? CBD stands for cannabidiol – the second most active ingredient in cannabis.
So, is CBD oil compressed cannabis or hemp? It’s neither – instead, producers start by physically separating CBD from their host plant. They do this through either ethanol or CO2 extraction – however, the top high-quality CBD oils usually use the latter.
Lastly, the producers suspend the extracted CBD in a carrier – coconut or grapeseed oil are popular intermediaries, but many variations exist.
What CBD Oil Products are Available?
There are many ways to consume CBD oil. Tinctures are the most popular delivery method, as they allow the user to place drops in their food/drink, or under their tongue.
But for some, the “weedy” taste of CBD oil makes this option unpalatable. Fortunately, you can take your CBD oil in capsule form (gelcaps, softgels, etc.), as CBD gummies, and in drinks.
You can even take your CBD oil topically. Salves, body lotions, and even massage oils provide numerous ways to apply CBD to an achy body part.
Who are the Major Players in the Canadian CBD Market?
Since legalization, Canada’s cannabis giants – Canopy Growth, Aurora, and Tilray – have produced most of Canada’s CBD oil. Smaller boutique growers also supply the market, but most CBD products come from the Big 3. So, let’s meet them.
With a market capitalization of 8.4 billion USD, Canopy is the biggest cannabis corporation in the world. However, most people are unaware of this, as none of Canopy’s brands features their name. But if you’ve ever walked into a Tweed or a Tokyo Smoke shop, then you’ve entered their retail environment.
In these stores, you’ll find a variety of CBD products. From Ace Valley prerolls to First & Free softgels, they offer numerous ways to consume CBD.
Edmonton, Alberta-based Aurora is another large player, as the market values them at 1.7 billion USD. But unlike Canopy Growth, Aurora pays greater attention to the medical side of the market. As such, it’s much easier to find Aurora products that feature CBD.
Its oral sprays, edibles, and dried flower compliment its CBD oil selection. Because of this, customers have control over how they take their CBD.
While Aurora is a major medical CBD player, they are now second fiddle to Tilray. Earlier this year, Tilray merged with rival Aphria, forming the world’s largest medical cannabis company. At press time, TLRY had a market cap of around 4.13 billion USD.
From the second you land on their website, it’s apparent who Tilray’s market is – medical cannabis patients. They don’t just produce, manufacture, and sell CBD products, they change lives. By conducting deep research on the strains they grow, they make continual progress towards this goal every year.
So – What’s Behind Current (and Future) Growth in CBD?
Canada’s top three CBD producers wouldn’t be where they are if there wasn’t a demand for their products. So, what is fuelling the growth of Canadian CBD oils and related products?
An Increasingly Anxious World
It’s important to stay on top of current events. However, doing so is taking a grave toll on our mental health. Economic inequality, social injustice, climate change, and COVID-19 have put many on edge.
Because of this, more are turning to CBD to find inner peace. And thanks to recent research, there’s more than just anecdotal evidence supporting this action. According to a study published in the Sept 2015 edition of Neurotherapeutics, CBD shows great promise as a treatment for anxiety.
A Rise in Global Competition
In many fields, professionals are now competing with more affordably-priced workers in overseas markets. So, to stay ahead, they are pursuing greater certifications and more specialized skills. In addition to calming themselves, more of these individuals are also using CBD to increase focus.
According to limited research, increased serotonin levels may provide a scientific explanation for this effect. According to this 2005 study, they suggested that CBD may act as a modest affinity agonist on certain serotonin receptors. In high concentrations, serotonin promotes wakefulness, among other effects.
Because of this, some believe CBD might help improve focus.
The Unmet Needs of Those With Chronic Conditions
A stunning 7.63 million Canadians – or roughly 25% of those 15 and older – live with chronic pain. As well, 4.6% of the working-age population suffers from an anxiety disorder. And on any given night, 30% have trouble falling asleep.
These stats are sobering, but they also show that there’s a clear market for CBD oil. Fortunately, the most recent studies support the claim that CBD helps alleviate pain, anxiety, and sleep disorders. As time wears on, further insights may lead to more efficient CBD treatments.
As Education Expands, So Will Demand
The CBD industry is growing, but it is far from reaching its potential. Currently, CBD’s stigma and a lack of education are the biggest roadblocks. For example, some potential customers view it as morally dubious, while others avoid it because they don’t want to get “high.”
But as acceptance grows and research continues to validate CBD’s effectiveness, more people will educate themselves. And as they do, the market for CBD products will continue to expand.