The UK CBD Revolution

The UK CBD Revolution

It seems you can't go anywhere without seeing some form of advertisement for CBD products. And, in 2021, we saw the first televised CBD advertisement (and the second, and third). It seems the tide is definitely turning in favour of our industry, in this country at least.

My first CBD experience in 2017 was out of a sketchy bottle from a suspect brand inside a vape shop. I had no idea what it did, and I don't think the guy behind the till did either. Information availability was poor, as CBD research did not get the funding it needed. Fast-forward to 2021, and there's more information available than ever. Sites like this that write blog posts on CBD, brands producing educational content and mainstream adoption have propelled it to heights we haven't seen before.

It hasn't been a smooth ride though - a Datatrek study reported that 11% of consumers have said CBD is 'just hype'. We still have a long way to go in terms of educating people on the evidenced physiological effects this molecule yields, but it is clear that we are getting closer to this. Annual CBD revenue is expected to top £690m this year - and six million people in the UK have now used CBD in some form or another.

So why exactly are people lining up to give it a go? Well, there is plenty of research that now supports that anti-inflammatory properties of CBD. Chronic inflammation is the mechanism that underpins all kinds of disease - Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, endometriosis to name just a few - so it makes sense that a whole spectrum of users are reporting benefits relating to sleep, pain and anxiety.

I visited California in 2019 and was astonished at the variety of CBD products on offer. Lotions, balms, face creams, bath bombs - you name it, they had it. When I came back home to the UK, the leading topical CBD products were still in their early stages, so had nowhere near the level of quality available in the States - it was this gap in the market for affordable, luxury products that inspired me to start Shake.

Although a much smaller sample size, we've been overwhelmed with our customers' response to what we have on offer. We have a 34% returning customer rate (vs. industry standard of 23% for health and beauty), so for us the collection of these anecdotes is all the validation we need.

To bolster our findings, as recently as October 2021 the first case report linking a reduction in cancerous tumour size to CBD consumption was reported. This represents the first verified medical study to suggest this after years of public swooning over CBD.

The parabolic growth phase of this market is ahead of us; I believe it will take an important catalyst, such as easing legal advertising barriers to entry to really kick-start the industry. It won't be long before CBD is a 10-figure industry in the UK.

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