Americans are seeking out information about CBD online more often than they search for info about health trends such as meditation, acupuncture, or exercise, according to a new research data.
The study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association this week, examined Google search data from the US in an attempt to create the first “population-focused surveillance of public interest in CBD.” Researchers recorded the number of searches from January 2004 to April 2019 that included “CBD” or “cannabidiol,” and compared them with search terms for other health trends, including acupuncture, apple cider vinegar, dieting, e-cigarettes, veganism, and yoga.
Searches for CBD remained at a stable, low level from 2004 until 2014, but showed substantial year-after-year growth starting in 2015. Search volumes increased by 125.9 percent from 2016 to 2017, 160.4 percent from 2017 to 2018, and are predicted to increase by another 117.7 percent this year. In the first quarter of 2019, CBD Google searches were most popular in Vermont, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Oregon.
Last April, Americans made 6.4 million searches for CBD, roughly the same number of searches for yoga or e-cigarettes. That month, people Googled CBD 7.49 times more than they did acupuncture, 5.17 times more than apple cider vinegar, 3.38 times more than meditation, and 1.59 times more than exercise. Researchers also found that CBD searches were more popular in adult-use states than medical marijuana-only or prohibition states.
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“The findings of this longitudinal cross-sectional study indicate that interest in CBD across the United States has increased considerably and is accelerating,” the study states. “While our study is limited in that Google searches may reflect interest in CBD rather than interest in use, search trends are associated with many health-related behaviors, including the rise of electronic cigarettes, years ahead of traditional data. Thus, our findings suggest that investigation into CBD should become a public health priority to catch up with the public’s interest.”
The study authors argue that the massive upsurge of interest in this cannabinoid indicate the importance of drafting regulations to ensure product safety and accurate packaging information. The authors argue that “marketing practices around CBD should be standardized, as marketing that misleads the public could erode trust in evidence-based medicine.”
A recent Gallup poll has found that over 50 million Americans (14 percent of the country's adult population) are currently using some form of CBD product. The poll notes that half of all Americans who have not yet used CBD are at least aware of the presence of this cannabinoid, and it goes without saying that most of these curious individuals will turn to the internet to learn more about CBD.