CBD 2020 Outlook: How the Cannabidiol Forecast Looks in the New Decade

The 2020 outlook for CBD forecasts a beautiful and bright upside with a slight chance of raining on the cannabis oil craze parade. As 2019 made cannabidiol a household name, what will the new decade bring in terms of new cannabinoids CBG, CBN and THC-V discoveries, science and regulatory advancements.

Cannabidiol, or CBD, won the supplement ingredient of the year by surpassing all other herbal extracts and products in the world in terms of popularity, demand and sales. The impressive rise of CBD cannabis oil extract has been quite an adventure in the past few years and seems to only have more upside in 2020 and beyond.

It was only a year ago now, where the 2018 Farm Bill was passed that legalized hemp-derived cannabidiol and essentially opened the floodgates to all kinds of oils, edible gummies and skincare to name a few. And now, many are projecting the CBD use to continue to grow in demand, projecting it to be a $22 billion dollar industry by 2022/2023.

The 2020 CBD forecast calls for a bright, sunny and green landscape as the next few years are set to be highly lucrative and innovative for the coveted cannabis oil substance. However, let’s focus on the smaller scope of its industry and talk about the 2020 CBD outlook before we attempt to paint a ten year prediction.

First, a recap of what happened in 2019, where the CBD craze in America and the world really picked up momentum, and then a peak around the corner as to what can happen in 2020 as science, commercial and consumer interest intensifies across the globe as legal barriers come down and studies reveal results.

Let's paint a picture of where CBD is today and what the first year of a new decade can bring to the emerging cannabis (hemp and marijuana) markets.

Year 2019 – Strides in CBD

This year came with a lot of major changes for the CBD industry as it rose to the top of the charts for being the most popular and sold herbal ingredient. It was the first full year that hemp-based CBD was legalized after the 2018 Farm Bill, which introduced a wild world of controversies and other issues, though there have been many supporters to make big changes. For instance, the legalization of CBD alone has spurred substantial cannabis reform efforts.

In 2019, cannabis reform legislation was brought forth by 27 states for either recreation or medical use. Arizona was one of the most major states to push for these changes and will see legal recreational use on next year’s ballot. Florida joins Arizona in the efforts, though Mississippi is amongst the few states that have still yet to legalize medical marijuana, which could change with this year’s proposal. Other states included in this list are Nebraska, Idaho, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and more.

Politically, many Democratic presidential hopefuls have discussed legalization, but Bernie Sanders released a comprehensive plan that would effectively legalize state and federal marijuana use, while pushing for the expungement of marijuana-related convictions. The plan, released in October, would take place within 100 days of taking the presidential office, if Sanders were to be elected.

Lowell Farms was part of the substantial progress of 2019, launching the first cannabis cafe to ever reach the US market. Located in California, the new restaurant has been created to offer a safe public place to cannabis users, while still offering an area for non-users of the substance. While partaking, patrons can snack on a variety of infused dishes, including everything from the grilled peach salad to a cold beer.

Experts from Brightfield believe that this year will reach $5 billion in the CBD industry for sales alone, increasing by over 2,500% since 2015. The growth that happened this year has been almost unbelievable and, while 2019 may have come with a few bumps, there have been major milestones reached by the new industry. But what’s next?

Year 2020 – What’s Coming for CBD?

The cannabis industry already saw a surge in the number of states seeking legalization, so what might happen to them next? Since 1996, medical use of cannabis has already been approved by 33 states, and a third of those states pushed forward even further by legalizing recreational use. Many huge votes will take place in 2020, and experts at CBD Origin predict that several states will end up legalizing recreational cannabis as a result of CBD’s influence – New York, New Mexico, New Jersey, Arizona, Idaho, and Arkansas.

While Florida is still gathering signatures for the Florida Marijuana Legalization Initiative, it appears as though the efforts will fall short, meaning that the proposal probably won’t even be on the ballot. Missouri could end up on the ballot with enough signatures by May 3rd, the support from local voters has not been strong enough to provide a clear idea of which side they will choose. South Dakota, while it pushed to add cannabis legalization to the ballot, fell short, as did Ohio.

The Effects of Regulation on Quality

Right now, there’s a substantial missing piece in the CBD industry – regulation. Without regulation, many consumers are fearful of even getting involved, since there are many companies that are publicly dishonest with their business practices. As a result, there are only a few brands that can even prove their product’s potency. Based on the predictions of CBD Origin, it is likely that the public will aim to learn more about CBD with its legalization, seeking out higher standards and greater transparency from companies.

Along with the demand for lab tests to come with higher standards, consumers will likely give more attention to terpenes and cannabinoids. This information allows consumers to learn more about the products that they choose, and a common theme throughout the CBD industry will likely be the desire for quality products and honesty.

New Options and Less Vaping

As CBD blends become more diverse, and as the industry progresses, the innovations in the market will likely lead to new options for consuming CBD. Brands will be pushed to offer more value and benefits to remain competitive, and additional markets will likely be developed to push for this grown.

With these new options, especially as consumers seek to be excited about these opportunities, prominent media outlets are predicting that the strains available to consumers will likely see an extended “dessert craze,” as products like Gushers and Runtz become more appealing flowers than the savory flavors, like GMO Cookies. However, with this opportunity, there’s a chance that CBD will be seen as more of a potent medicine and wellness product, rather than a recreational option. Basically, consumers will start to understand what is offered to them more effectively.

Vaping became a big concern in 2019, and many industry experts and authoritative publications don't believe the heat is wearing off any time soon. Multiple states have already implemented bans, regardless of the use of cannabis or tobacco vaping products, which will probably push users to choose edibles and natural options instead. The idea of a clean and tamper-proof product will be in higher demand. While the FDA is expected to impose on the industry with new vaping regulations, it may still survive at a minuscule level.

Ethical Practices

The CBD market is still filled with a lot of “unknown” factors, regarding what is actually in the products that consumers use. After all, this industry is still very new, and the creation of proper guidelines was rather difficult as the industry started to expand. There were many brands that manage to have integrity in their work with ethical business practices, but there are even more brands that directly went the opposite direction.

Mark Case, the founder and CEO of the International Hemp Auction and Market in Knoxville, Tennessee, makes a good point about the way that the market has changed, warning,

“2020 is not a year for gamblers. Rather, it will be successful only for those who are wise and prudent, fully integrated and who work with a good business plan to go the long haul.”

Unethical business practices will likely be more heavily criticized and regulated through the next year, as consumers start to expect more reliable lab testing and authentic lab reports with new regulations. Consumers have educated themselves, and it will become harder to fool that average CBD user.

CEO of Validcare, Patrick McCarthy, pointed out,

“The U.S. consumer is going to wake up to the fact that certification and dosing matters. They’re going to get particular, where they’ve been trying things in the past. They’re going to start really paying attention to, what is the product I’m taking? How do I know that it’s safe? How do I know how much that I should take, and who says it’s safe?”

Since the market is projected to be more effectively regulated, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say that major brands and retailers will be prepared to get involved. The market alone is set to reach over $25 billion by 2025, and companies like Walmart, Amazon, and Whole Foods will likely want a piece of the action.

Move Over CBD, Make Room for CBG, CBN and THC-V Cannabinoids

CBD became the cannabis industry's global leader in recognition, sales and popularity – but what about any of the 100 plus cannabinoids found in marijuana and hemp plants? The new decade may lead with CBD as the prized cannabis compound, but there are a few cousin cannabinoids like CBN, CGB and THC-V which may follow CBD's growth path.

As mentioned, with the passing of the Farm Bill last year and the constant mention of cannabis in politics, pretty much everyone has already heard of CBD by now. The non-intoxicating substance comes from both hemp and cannabis, and it is touted as a solution to wellness, pain, and a million other purposes. Even when its popularity and niche-ness wears off, CBD will likely remain a staple of this industry, just like THC. However, THC and CBD are two of over 100 cannabinoids that presently exist in the cannabis plant, and others could easily line up to offer benefits to the public, according to the latest science and research.

CBG, or cannabigerol, is considered to be the “mother cannabinoid,” earning the nickname because nearly all other cannabinoids that are presently known start with CBG as their preceding letters. Ultraviolet (UV) light transforms a part of CBGA that then becomes CBCa, CBDA, or THCA.

The creators of the various cannabinoids and cannabis strains haven’t been very interested in maximizing this compound since its presence inherently means that there is less THC. While cannabinoids largely have the same properties, CBG seems to offer an elevated antibacterial, antispasmodic, and vasodilation effect, which is why it is the first one on this list to watch out for. While there’s a possibility that CBG could take CBD’s place, it is equally likely that the two will be able to coexist for their various purposes.

CBG has a unique ability to become something much different than its natural state, according to some growers. Though THC is restricted by the percentage it offers in a cannabis plant, CBG is not governed by the same rules, and breeding a genotype with high CBG levels is relatively easy, as is harvesting it. With the right synthase, making CBG into multiple other cannabinoids is simple for producers.

CBN, or cannabinol, is another cannabinoid getting a lot of attention. CBN comes from the degradation of THC-A, which happens as a result of air and UV light exposure. Part of the reason that attention has been on this cannabinoid has been for its ability to push users into sleep, which is why old cannabis tends to make users tired. A dose of 5 mg of CBN was found to be as effective as a 10 mg dose of Diazepam in making consumers fall asleep. Sleep concerns are among the most common reasons for non-users to take up cannabis.

THC-V, or tetrahydrocannabivarin, may be currently popular, but it was originally recognized in 1970 as “skinny weed,” since it helps to reduce the user’s appetite. It suppresses the CB1 receptor, while THC and CBG tend to stimulate the appetite. When used with the proper timing, it can balance the effects of THC and improve insulin resistance.

Unlike CBD, THC-V offers a clear and focused high with the right dose, albeit short-lived. There’s very little research on the cannabinoid, but the information available suggests that the dosage seems to be the key to actually getting all of the effects that this compound can offer. With a dose of 3 mg to each kilogram of body weight in mice, insulin resistance improved, and weight loss was stimulated. For the average adult, that would mean a 200-mg dose is necessary, which seems rather difficult to reach in the market today. However, if the market shifts to the need for this cannabinoid, access to this much THC-V may become a reality.

For consumers that prefer the lack of intoxication that they get from CBD, the use of THC-A may hit the spot. This variation of THC is in the acid form, which basically means that it is structured the same way as THC before being heated. Research shows that this variation is highly effective in reducing inflammation, and it offers both neuroprotective and anti-cancer effects. Plus, the user can take high doses without the risk of feeling intoxicated.

THC-A has earned a lot of accolades from medical circles, which source the compound from juicing either fresh or frozen cannabis fan leaves. Many people believe it is easiest to source THC-A from this state, comparing it to other foods with broader nutritional profiles that preserve their nutrients by avoiding heat and creating cold-pressed juices.

Even the biggest fans of CBD and THC could end up finding a new favorite as the industry progresses. The stigma surrounding cannabis is slowly dying down, and the broad legalization happening throughout the country will likely pave the way for researchers to learn and develop more options for the public to try.

Get Ready 2020, CBD Is Coming!

It is clear CBD made its mark in 2019, becoming a household name and topping the charts in terms of most herbal supplement sales. As the election year begins the new decade, the 2020 CBD outlook has many catalysts that could kickstart the new calendar year off in a big way.

From new CBD product research and develop innovations (applications/product types), to accumulating scientific studies and supportive medical literature, to regulatory clarity and beneficial policy updates, to advancing third-party lab testing verification and certification of analysis proof standardization, cannabidiol is bound to have an incredible 2020 year as the cannabis green rush powers onward into the new decade.

Alexia Akbay
Alexia is a NYU pre-med student majoring in Chemistry and Social Entrepreneurship. Alexia is inspired by healthcare and the public interest. A graduate of our Spring 2015 intern program, she continues to be the creative mind behind most of our infographic content. She is also our resident gif master.

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