Is CBD dead?
A deep dive into the state of CBD.
The Broccoli Report
Friday, September 23, 2022
Time to read: 9 minutes, 35 seconds. Contains 1919 words.
Brands get brutally honest about what things are really like right now.
I still remember that “oh shit” feeling I felt when I saw the NYT article about CBD back in 2018; the cannabinoid conversation had finally hit the mainstream. And suddenly, it seemed like this mysterious compound was everywhere. Profiteering wellness brands were putting that shit in everyyyyyyyything, and my mom’s neighbors were pitching her multilevel-marketing CBD hemp packages. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic put wellness purchasing trends into hyperdrive. Licensed THC and hemp-infused e-comm sales boomed, and CBD and other cannabinoids were infused into everything and anything that comes into contact with the human body.
However, the gears fuelling the CBD craze may be slowing. While prices are stabilizing after a yearslong decline, consumer spending is trending down, and the CBD market has stalled, with a few big companies doing well while many struggle. And consumer and media perception of the industry is no longer wholly positive. Thingtesting just ran a piece titled, “The CBD cooldown is underway. How are direct-to-consumer CBD brands keeping us interested?” claiming that CBD has not lived up to consumer expectations. The same issue is at the heart of the recent LA Times article, “The Goop-ification of wellness is on the way out,” which highlights consumer fatigue with sensationalist, cure-all wellness trends, having “shoved their CBD creams into drawers after experiencing little impact.”
Should we be concerned about a possible loss of consumer confidence in CBD? And what do these trends mean for brands operating in the space? I reached out to five hemp brands from different states with different offerings for an overall vibe check of the CBD biz. To encourage realness and transparency, their answers are anonymous. (A huge thank you to the participants for getting vulnerable for the sake of information sharing with like-minded peers). Their insights say a lot about what may make or break CBD brands as the global economy rocks and rolls into 2023 and beyond.
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