The compound

CBD is one of the major constituents of the Cannabis sativa plant of increasing interest due to its broad range of therapeutic properties coupled with a favourable safety and tolerability profile.

Unlike THC, cannabidiol does not have any intoxicating or psychotropic effect in humans and has shown no addiction risk, however it is mistaken to describe it as having no ‘psychoactive’ effect, because it acts on the brain and appears to impact cognitive functions.

 The best evidence now available confirms that pure CBD is not addictive, is well tolerated by the human body and presents no health risks from sustained use. In addition CBD may prove beneficial for a range of conditions beyond certain rare forms of epilepsy. 

The consumer

• For the first time, robust public attitudes data reveals a high level of CBD use in the UK, consistent with the size of the market estimated in the sector analysis, and demonstrating that CBD has now gone mainstream in the UK. 

Two new surveys conducted in May and June 2019 by Dynata and YouGov indicates that between 8- 11%of UK adults respectively - approximately 4-6 million people - have tried CBD. The CBD consumer base is broad - and there is familiarity and recent use among a sizeable proportion of all age groups and social classes.

• Those who had consumed cannabis to help alleviate symptoms of any kind were significantly more likely than the group as a whole to have used CBD products in the last year – almost 6 times more likely. Overall, 7% of the population have used cannabis for medicinal purposes in the past year, rising to 41% among those who have used CBD in the past year. And support for legalisation of cannabis increases from 47% among the total population to 75% among past year CBD users.

• Consumers have clear preferences that drive their buying decisions, and prioritise quality and purity over origin or legality. 

The market

The size of the UK CBD market is between 3-6 times larger than previous well quoted estimates (£300M per year vs £100M (Brightfield report) and 1.3 M users vs 250K users (CTA) depending on which measure you take; value or users. This is larger than the total UK Vitamin D (£145M) and Vitamin C market (£119M) combined.

• The market is currently growing at double digits and expected to be just short of £1B in 2025. This would be equivalent to the entire UK herbal supplement market in 2016.

• Over 70% of UK consumers are purchasing tinctures/oils or capsules suggesting a desire to use products systemically and at higher “therapeutic doses” for CBD. In addition those users from the CBD user panel, with a presumed medically orientated usage, are spending on average 2-3 times a month more (£55 vs £25) than the general population, on these formulations.


Here's what Forbes released regarding the UK market and Covid-19