To say that 2019 was a boom year for the CBD industry would be a massive understatement, and 2020 is primed to top the record sales and product innovation that have come to characterize this surging market.
On December 20, 2018, President Trump signed the Farm Bill into law, a move which removed hemp from the government’s controlled drug category and spurred farmers across the country to repurpose agricultural land previously used to grow feed and food crops such as corn and alfalfa for hemp varieties with high CBD and low THC (.3% or less) content. Farmers experiencing demand and profit surges since converting their land for hemp cultivation were profiled in a CNN report in April that projected sales of hemp products to be over 2.2 billion dollars by 2022.
Market activity in 2020 will go a long way towards determining whether or not hemp’s profitability can sustain its robust trajectory. Alexi Korybut, CEO of EcoGen Laboratories (one of the largest hemp manufacturers and suppliers in the U.S.) predicts that CBD consumers will skew increasingly Baby Boomer and become more conscientious about the quality and safety of the products they buy. Korybut also projects a greater focus on other cannabinoids such as CBG and CBN as their specialized effects become more widely known.
A 2020 forecast by Rich Maturo of information, data and measurement firm Nielsen predicts that cannabinoid education efforts, especially those targeted towards health care providers, will greatly increase in 2020. (Nielsen data shows that primary health care providers do more than any other demographic to drive brand loyalty and customer usage in the CBD market.) In addition, Maturo projects that CBD prices will fall while the number of hemp farmers entering the industry will continue to rise, as will the percentage of current farmers increasing acreage dedicated to hemp cultivation.
Despite these positive projections, the hemp industry has experienced its share of problems, as outlined in an October article by Iris Dorbian for Forbes.com. These issues include a lack of widespread, scientifically sound information about the legality and benefits of CBD products, which often deters retailers from carrying hemp products. In addition, changing regulations make it difficult for manufacturers and retailers to keep up as new data emerges about drug interactions and the viable use of CBD as a food additive.
The quality and efficacy of products vary greatly as consistent industry-wide standards are still in process. Dorbian cites a press release from CEO of ValidCare Patrick McCarthy, who echoes Alexis Korybut’s predictions of a growing emphasis on safety and quality, escalating Baby Boomer consumption, and interest in CBG and CBN as features of the hemp industry’s growth in 2020.
Though projections may vary, there do appear to be strong commonalities that provide a clarified, if not completely clear, view of what 2020 holds for the CBD/hemp industry. What is clear is that the impact of hemp-derived cannabinoids will be felt in the health care industry, agricultural system, and consumer market far beyond the coming year.