Working in pharmaceuticals and nutraceuticals means we like to keep a close eye on trends driving both sectors. Use of cannabidiol (CBD) products for self-care and healthcare has been trending for some time and CBD has become somewhat of a buzz word, but why is it so popular?
We attended a panel discussion on ‘The Rise of CBD in Healthcare and Wellbeing’ hosted by Women of Wearables, who are a leading global organisation aiming to inspire, connect and support women and diverse founders involved in the latest innovations in the tech space and beyond. This is what we found…
CBD is the non-psychoactive compound found in hemp plants. It is a molecule that interacts with the endocannabinoid system (ECS) which is a network of receptors found throughout the body.
The ECS plays a crucial role in regulating our sleep, stress, anxiety, immune system, pain and inflammation. This knowledge has led to CBD becoming the key active ingredient in several holistic products ranging from skincare to dietary supplements. Although studies are non-conclusive, the volume of anecdotal evidence from the millions of people that include it in their daily routine is significant.
CBD is commonly taken in the form of a vape, capsule, cream, or oil, and as suggested above, some of its popular uses are to manage anxiety, depression, insomnia, and chronic pain. However, some of its more alternative mainstream uses include: CBD infused drinks as an alternative to alcohol; CBD infused tampons and oils to ease PMS symptoms; CBD infused tinctures, bath salts, vaginal suppositories, and personal lubricants to manage menopausal side effects; CBD vapes to help quit smoking; CBD infused pet food to help with anxiety about storms, travelling, fireworks etc.; and CBD infused skin care products to manage acne and other inflammatory skin conditions. But beyond its popular use as a nutraceutical, CBD based medicines are also being developed by the pharmaceutical industry to treat some very serious health conditions.
In 2018, GW Pharma bought to market EPIDIOLEX, the first prescription, plant-derived cannabinoid medicine in the USA. EPIDIOLEX has approved marketing authorisation for use as an adjunctive therapy for seizures associated with a rare form of epilepsy. It is still the only FDA approved prescription medication containing CBD, and in 2019, it was approved by the European Commission to be marketed in the European Union as EPIDYOLEX. Ongoing studies are also looking into the effectiveness of CBD in treating Parkinson’s disease tremors, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, substance use disorder, psychosis, and schizophrenia, to name a few.
However, scientific research into the efficacy of CBD had been historically hindered, as it is a highly regulated and restricted substance which requires stringent safety and security measures. In addition, traditional views on the use of marijuana have created a large stigma surrounding CBD, which influences the likelihood of patients taking the products. Myths and misinformation combined with misleading marketing pose immediate challenges to consumers, leaving them unclear on what products are safe and good quality. This, coupled with the confusing legality of CBD products, has contributed to the historical lack of investment into research on its properties to date – but could this be about to change?
A recent article by Forbes notes that sales of CBD products have skyrocketed in our current climate, largely due to the additional stress and anxiety that has been caused by COVID-19. A recent report by the Centre for Medical Cannabis estimates that 4-6 million people in the UK have tried CBD, and the market size is expected to be just short of $1.3 billion in 2025. To put that number into perspective, it would be equivalent to the entire UK herbal supplement market in 2016.
So, to summarise, it seems the CBD self-care space is seeing a period of lucrative growth, but the health care arena is still waiting on some clearer regulations before cautiously proceeding. We look forward to watching the exciting innovations that are taking place unfold, and we eagerly anticipate where the next steps will take us.
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At Clark Health Communications we have extensive experience of supporting our clients with communications challenges in both nutraceuticals and pharmaceuticals. If you would like to find out more, please contact us at email@example.com