US Google Searches for CBD Hit 6.4 Million and Continue To Rise
Public curiosity in CBD appears to be booming. There were 6.4 million Google searches for CBD in the United States during April 2019, according to a new study.
Published in JAMA Network Open, the longitudinal cross-sectional study found that Google searches from the US that mentioned “CBD” or “cannabidiol” were stable from 2004 through to 2014 before jumping by almost 126 percent in 2017, and 160 percent during 2018 compared with 2017.
Curious for CBD
The study’s authors also predict that CBD search volumes will further increase by nearly 118 percent during 2019 compared with 2018.
Searches were higher during 2019 in states that had legalized recreational cannabis than in states with medicinal cannabis or marijuana prohibitions.
Searches for CBD during April 2019 eclipsed those for other health/wellbeing-related search terms. These included acupuncture (by a factor of 7.49), apple cider vinegar (by 5.17), meditation (3.38), vaccination (1.63), exercise (1.59), marijuana (1.13), and veganism (1.12). CBD searches now rival those for yoga and electronic cigarettes in the US and are searched for more than half as much as dieting.
A separate study in July found that the number of online searches for alcohol fell by 11 percent once recreational cannabis was legalized in certain US states.
The authors note that their study has limitations. Google searches may just reflect interest in CBD rather than interest in its use.
With great interest, comes great responsibility
In response to this increasing interest, the researchers have called for more investigations into CBD and its effect on public health.
“Studies should focus on the epidemiology of CBD use, characterizing who uses CBD products and for what purposes,” the authors write in their conclusion.
“Second, the effects and potential drug interactions of CBD should be evaluated. Third, given that CBD products are often mislabeled and adulterated products have led to mass poisonings, product safety standards must be developed. Fourth, marketing practices around CBD should be standardized, as marketing that misleads the public could erode trust in evidence-based medicine.”
Compliance issues with CBD products are not unheard of in the US. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, synthetic products marketed as CBD were responsible for the poisonings of at least 52 people in Utah between December 2017 and January 2018.
Several CBD companies have also been warned by the US Food and Drug Administration for selling CBD products that claimed to treat cancer and Parkinson's disease.
Outside of North America, some CBD markets are starting to become more internally regulated. In the stead of government departments in the UK, the industry body Centre for Medicinal Cannabis has launched new measures of legitimacy, which include a charter that commits any signatory CBD company to work with accredited laboratories and prohibit any inaccurate labelling and reference to medical claims.