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UK consumers switch on to CBD

Well over half of UK consumers who have taken CBD-based products are likely to use them again. New research of 4,451 Internet users by GlobalWebIndex reveals 58% would come back for more.

Meanwhile, 68% found CBD products to be effective in alleviating symptoms of physical pain, such as cramps and muscle soreness, as well as mental health conditions including anxiety and depression. In the US, this figure rises by 16 percentage points.

Virna Sekuj, Strategic Insights Manager at GlobalWebIndex, comments: “Interestingly, UK consumers appear to be in a more experimental phase of trying CBD oil in various forms. While CBD is taken primarily via oral supplements in the US (45%), in the UK, 35% have consumed CBD in chocolate and 32% have inhaled CBD through a vape pen.”

The research indicates that UK consumers understand the main differences between marijuana, THC, CBD and hemp, although users (68%) claim to be more in the know than non-users (40%). In fact, as many as 74% of respondents were aware that cannabis plants can be cultivated for legal purposes.

However, there is an opportunity for health food retailers to educate their customers on the subject. Only 16% of CBD users describe themselves as ‘very knowledgeable’ of how the dosage system actually works. When asked what is the minimum, clinically effective CBD dosage for treating anxiety when ingested orally, just 8% of UK consumers correctly stated 300mg.

Despite the more explosive popularity of CBD in the US, UK users are just one percentage point behind US users in their correct understanding of dosage – this shows how much uncertainty there is about this substance, even where the market is more developed.

Virna Sekuj adds: “It’s clear that there’s more to be done to inform consumers about how CBD works, but the experiences people have had to date has built trust in the claims made by companies that produce CBD products. In fact, with 56% of users stating they trust CBD brand claims, these companies are more trusted among customers than some established pharmaceutical brands.”

Almost a half (47%) of UK respondents are in favour of allowing legitimate cannabis brands, including verified CBD companies, to advertise their products online. By contrast, 62% of US internet users back ad campaigns by these companies.

The biggest issues consumers foresee in letting these companies advertise are scams and underage users. In the UK, 48% of respondents are concerned about the potential for scams and black market companies and 45% are worried by the potential of advertising to underage users. Just 16% state that they don’t see any issues that ought to prevent CBD advertising.

Virna Sekuj concludes: “Hesitance around ad campaigns is far from a roadblock for CBD companies. Nearly three of every five CBD product users in the UK state they would recommend the product to a friend or family member. Given concerns about who might see CBD adverts and the risks of wrongdoing by illegitimate companies, word of mouth may well be CBD’s best bet to build loyal consumer bases across the UK and US in these early years of its adoption.”

London-based market research company GlobalWebIndex surveyed 2,515 respondents in the UK and 1,936 in the US.

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