DENVER, April 9, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- The CBD market is seeing strong growth and a move towards the mainstream.
- The North American CBD market, worth more than $9 billion in 2017, is projected to be worth $47 billion by 2027.
- Growth is possible partly through mainstream acceptance, with pressure on a variety of institutions to accept medical CBD.
- Leaders are emerging within the CBD and cannabis markets, as leading voices gain recognition for their work.
Wildflower Brands Inc. (OTC:WLDFF) (CSE:SUN) (WLDFF Profile), which focuses on health and wellness products, is benefiting from this growth through the establishment of strong distribution deals. Focused on the organic market, Green Organic Dutchman (OTC:TGODF) (TSX:TGOD) has significantly increased its output to meet demand. Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX:ACB) has earned its CEO industry-wide recognition through strong growth and a powerful place as a market leader. HEXO Corp. (NYSE: HEXO) (TSX:HEXO) is pushing CBD and cannabis toward the mainstream through connections with food and consumer product companies. Significant developments in science and agriculture, where Charlotte's Web Holdings Inc. (OTC:CWBHF)(CSE:CWEB) is making great steps forward in developing low-cost high-quality hemp, is also strengthening the plant.
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The CBD market has seen huge growth over the past few years, appearing out of nowhere to become an industry worth billions of dollars. This growth has been driven in large part by CBD's potential for health and well-being, a subject that many researchers are busy exploring. Companies have leapt upon the opportunity to offer consumers the benefits associated with cannabis without some of the other issues regularly linked with the drug, including getting users high.
If the past few years have been fruitful, the future looks even brighter for CBD. Soaring sales, growing acceptance within mainstream sports, and the recognized influence of some of the major players within the broader cannabis industry all point to positive movement forward for CBD. And as companies overcome the challenges offered by distributing a previously obscure product to a broad market, the industry looks set to soar.
A Rising Global Market
The growth of the CBD market has so far come mostly out of North America, where the likes of health and wellness company Wildflower Brands Inc. (OTCQB: WLDFF) (CSE:SUN) have marketed a wide range of CBD products. This geographical focus is thanks mostly to questions of legality, as CBD is extracted either from cannabis or from its nonhigh-inducing form hemp. Though legalization of cannabis remains variable in the United States, hemp is now legal at a national level in both the U.S. and Canada, with cannabis growth widely permitted.
As a result, the North American cannabis market, including that for CBD, has grown in spectacular fashion. The market was worth $9.2 billion in 2017 and is predicted to reach $47.3 billion by 2027. It's this market that has proved so fruitful for the likes of Wildflower Brands.
The European CBD market has seen less expansive growth. Within the EU, the range of processed products that can be made incorporating cannabis is more limited, and there's been less of a concerted push towards legalization for both CBD and cannabis products. Consequently, market growth there has been less impressive.
But that may be about to change, according to analysis from market intelligence firm the Brightfield Group. The company recently predicted 400% growth in the European CBD market from 2018 to 2023, a massive rise in a short five-year span. It looks as if the CBD boom may be set to go global.
Sports and CBD
Of course, the CBD market hasn't only been shaped by years of cannabis prohibition; contributing factors also include society's acceptance of cannabis and CBD. The rules of organizations not normally associated with cannabis can provide a hindrance to companies such as Wildflower Brands. But as the legal market develops, those institutions are shifting their attitudes as well.
The world of sports is an ideal example. During the war on drugs, many teams, leagues and professional organizations took a firm public stance against cannabis, laying down rules that prevented their players from indulging. The NFL, for example, has strict rules against cannabis consumption. Currently, however, former players are campaigning for a change to those rules, not just to allow players access to the same experiences as other people but to tackle issues specifically related to sports.
Cannabis and CBD are used in a wide range of pain treatments and products, including those such as Wildflower's topical treatments. Given the injuries frequently incurred in professional sports, pain management is essential, and players seek access to the best range of medicines. Currently the ban on cannabis and CBD restricts players from choosing such seemingly effective options, fueling the call for change.
Changes could also have a significant impact on the sponsorship side. Currently, only one professional sports team in the United States has a cannabis-related sponsorship, despite the growing wealth and influence of the industry. As barriers come down, the time may come for CBD, much like other recreational and medical products, to gain attention in the sport and beyond through sponsorship and supporter arrangements.
The Challenge of Delivery
Of course, all this expansion comes with significant challenges. As the market grows and evolves, CBD companies must find ways to distribute products to a sector that didn't exist a decade ago. The infrastructure most other industries take for granted is being built from scratch.
Fortunately, the companies moving into this space are willing to adapt and move quickly to support their expansion. This involves forging alliances with other players within the cannabis sector to increase their combined reach. Wildflower has recently done this through a delivery fulfillment agreement with HelloMD, a leading digital healthcare platform for cannabis doctors, consumers and brands. The deal will allow Wildflower to potentially reach more customers through HelloMD's expansive e-commerce platform.
Such moves should increase opportunities for CBD businesses to accelerate their expansion and reach a broader customer base, reversing years of prohibition. These partnerships may not only boost individual businesses but also add to the rising tide of CBD.
Cannabis Leaders Emerge
Celebrated leaders are starting to emerge at the head of the cannabis industry. Some have come from outside, their fame drawing attention to the industry. Others have come from within.
A recent list of the top 100 figures in the industry includes actor Jim Belushi, former Mexican president Vicente Fox and retired boxer Mike Tyson. The list also includes cannabis executives such as Terry Booth of Aurora and Elizabeth Hogan of GCH.
Wildflower Brands CEO William MacLean was included in the list, thanks to his hands-on approach to sales and marketing. His extensive travels to hospitals in North America have also given him insight into patient experience and the benefits that cannabis and CBD can offer. Combined with years of marketing experience, this impressive background puts MacLean in a strong position to market his brand and build teams of skilled experts for ongoing growth.
Cannabis Companies Reach New Highs
As the cannabis sector expands, many companies are going through periods of growth and rising revenues. Over the past few years, this rocketing trajectory has allowed the cannabis sector to diversify in interesting ways.
One of those is the growing interest in organic and sustainably grown cannabis, which aligns with the existing market for organic fruit and vegetables. Green Organic Dutchman (OTCQX: TGODF) (TSX:TGOD) has seen success moving into this niche and is now growing to meet the massive demand. The company is building two new facilities to expand its production base, with growing capacity set to increase from 156,000kg to 202,500kg. Green Organic Dutchman is also looking at the wider global market, with an investment in Jamaican cannabis.
One of the largest cannabis companies in Canada, Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) (TSX:ACB) has benefited from that country's liberal approach to the issue. Early and widespread legalization have given Canadian cannabis companies an opportunity to expand in both the recreational and the medical markets. Aurora is one of the highest trading cannabis stocks on the NYSE and is going from strength to strength. The company's acquisition of 51% interest in a Portuguese cannabis company has positioned the Aurora for expansion in Europe as that market starts to mature.
Like many cannabis companies, HEXO Corp. (NYSE: HEXO) (TSX:HEXO) started out as a medical provider but has shifted to include the recreational market in its work. As the first cannabis producer to join Food & Consumer Products of Canada (FCPC), the company is offering cannabis products as part of its wider range of consumables, reducing the stigma and barriers to entry. Such bold moves have led to a 1,269% increase in gross revenue, a performance made possible by a combination of strong leadership and market growth.
Some companies are focused only on CBD, such as Charlotte's Web Holdings Inc. (OTC:CWBHF) (CSE:CWEB). The company's work in producing high-quality, low-cost hemp through proprietary genetics earned its vice president of cultivation Jared Stanley a place in the cannabis top 100. The science of cannabis cultivation is still in its infancy, but it's moving fast, and by improving knowledge and techniques, pioneers such as Stanley are laying the groundwork for future growth.
With scientific and business innovation being led by a raft of far-sighted and innovative pioneers, the cannabis and CBD industries look set for another decade of incredible growth.
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