Why America Is Suddenly Crazy for CBD Products

Not only has CBD infused nearly every product you touch in a day, from coffee to bath products to sparkling waters, eye creams, hand creams, lip balms and even CBD beer, this compound has had the kind of reputation turnaround wannabee politicians only dream of.

“It’s kind of like inverse reefer madness right now,” says Timothy Caulfield, research director of the Health Law Institute at the University of Alberta and author of The Cure for Everything: Untangling the Twisted Messages about Health, Fitness and Happiness. Marijuana (and even hemp, to a certain extent, and the products derived from both), “went from being an evil substance that was destroying families to a wonder drug and wellness elixir,” he says. And a predicted $22 billion market by 2022. Some CVS stores are selling products containing CBD, and Walgreens announced it will carry CBD products, too. What’s behind this popularity surge, according to Caulfield:

CBD satisfies the rebel in us

“It’s part of this huge wellness industry, and it’s being very aggressively positioned in that manner,” he says. “It’s being pushed as an all-natural, not-Big Pharma way to deal with a whole host of ailments.” Add a little “outsider rebel veneer” from marijuana’s illegal history, and another segment of the market has been enticed to give it a try.

Science isn’t saying as much about CBD as celebs are

“There really isn’t a lot of evidence to support almost any of the claims we’re seeing in popular culture,” says Caulfield. “You hear athletes talk about it. You hear celebrities talk about it. Those kind of personal anecdotes overwhelm the data, he says. “And it becomes part of pop culture, it’s hard to remove it, regardless of what the evidence is saying.”

There’s not a lot of evidence that CBD doesn’t work yet

CBD is touted for scores of different issues right now, and hope (and spurious claims) grows in the vacuum of evidence. “That isn’t to say CBD doesn’t work, but right now, is there evidence to support the claims that are being made? I think the answer is no.” Without all that evidence, a huge health halo can continue to shine. “Fast forward 20 years, and if history can tell us anything, I suspect CBD will be found to work in some ways, and won’t work for others. But it’s not going to be this magical wellness product the way it’s being represented now.”

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