Although the tobacco industry has been trending downward for years now, the days of the cigarette have not yet seen their decline – at least not for the device itself.
That said, change has been afoot with a new fad emerging: CBD cigarettes. And “fad” might be a bit too nonchalant – Market Watch labeled CBD cigarettes one of the fastest-growing segments of hemp just a few months ago.
Some projections show CBD sales within the United States are expected to grow 107% year over year through 2023. CBD cigarettes, though, are showing an even more impressive number. Market Watch pegs the growth to hover around 250% year over year from 2017 to 2018.
“BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research projects that the collective market for CBD sales in the U.S. will surpass $20 billion by 2024 while New York-based investment bank Cowen & Co, estimates that the market could pull in $15 billion by 2025.”
CBD cigarettes, also called hemp cigarettes, are pricey when you compare them with tobacco cigarettes, ranging around $10-$20.
Wild Hemp, for instance, sells packs of 20 CBD cigarettes and sweeter “Hempettes” for $12.99 per pack or $199 for two cartons. Each pack of 20 contains 1,000mg of CBD. A lab report for the product says its standard potency test showed 1.02% CBD and no trace of THC.
Wild Hemp says of its hemp cigarettes, “they are full of CBD and numerous terpenes… [and] They are legal in all 50 states…”
Another consumer intelligence firm, Brightfield Group found shifts that could suggest a seven-fold increase in the CBD market over the coming years.
Plain Jane uses a similar tactic, saying its Hemp Rolls used to be $20.00 but are now being sold for $12.99 for a pack of 20. They also sell 2-packs for newcomers at just $2.99 a pop.
Plain Jane tells its customers the pre-rolls are odorless, so users can feel comfortable smoking them anywhere: “Tightly rolled into a filtered cigarette rice paper, you get the ultimately discreet smoke. ”
Pure CBD Exchange markets its products for $15.99 per pack of 20 CBD cigarettes, which the company has branded “Aspen Valley CBD Pre-Rolls.”
That company has a different marketing strategy, geared more toward tobacco users than CBD aficionados.
“Aspen Valley Hemp Company’s tobacco-and-nicotine-free CBD Hemp Cigarettes are the perfect introduction to CBD for both long-time tobacco smokers and those altogether new to smokable hemp products. To reiterate, our CBD Cigarettes contain absolutely no nicotine, tobacco, or any number of other harmful substances found in traditional tobacco cigarettes.”
Brightfield Group’s analytics team reported similar numbers to BDS and Arcview, reporting, “With hemp-derived CBD gaining in popularity – in line with health, wellness, and anti-pharma trends – and product availability and variety increasing, the market is on track to grow to $23.7 billion through 2023.”
Brightfield also broke down the sale and revenue trends for other forms of CBD, finding that CBD tinctures still dominate the market, but are losing their favor among consumers; topical creams and beauty products are gaining traction; and, notably:
“Natural food and smoke shop CBD revenues continue to grow and thrive – with increased uptake across the country and some level of saturation now that vendors feel more secure and confident carrying product. Notably, though the CBD market is no longer dominated by cannabis users, dispensaries and recreational shops have also seen an uptick in CBD-oriented traffic.”
Cannabidiol is derived from the hemp plant – it is prevalent in cannabis, but comes secondary to THC, the chemical in marijuana that makes you high.
CBD oil is made by extracting the chemical from a marijuana or hemp plant, then diluting it with another ingestible oil like coconut or hemp seed oil.
The Farm Bill separated industrial hemp from marijuana in 2018. Now, CBD is legal to some degree in all 50 states, but until 2018 was still considered in the same classas marijuana under federal law.
Even now, state laws vary widely on things like labeling requirements, the procedure growers, sellers, and distributors need to go through to get certified, and where people can purchase CBD. Because it has only recently been recognized as safe for consumers, there’s a lot more studying to be done on the effects of CBD, and of CBD cigarettes.
A report from the World Health Organization on CBD found in 2017, “To date, there is no evidence of recreational use of CBD or any public health related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.”
However, the WHO is not so keen on the use of cigarettes or smoking in general, writing strict warnings against both traditional cigarettes and e-cigarettes. Both have been found to contribute to heart disease, lung disease, and more. As for the smoking of cannabis, the general view is that more study on the subject is needed.
The World Health Organization wrote, “Cannabis smoke contains several of the same carcinogens as tobacco smoke, at up to 50% higher concentrations and with three times the tar per cigarette,” but added, “There is currently no consensus on whether cannabis use is associated with overall cancer risk.”
Despite the concerns, the CBD market is exploding.
Brightfield Group expects mass retailers like CVS, Walgreens, and Kroger will be the go-to place for people to purchase CBD products including CBD cigarettes. In 2019, those retail giants made up 57% of CBD product sales. Those numbers are even more impressive when you consider CVS only started carrying hemp products in March, and unveiled the plan at first in only eight states.
Walgreens followed, starting with CBD topicals for sale in 1500 stores; and Rite Aid came after that, selling CBD topicals in Washington and Oregon. None of those companies has reported an intent to sell CBD cigarettes at this time.