New Age Beverages Corporation just announced its plan to roll out a line of CBD-infused beverages, toting Bob Marley’s name and brand. Cannabidiol, more commonly known as CBD, is a non-psychoactive compound found in the cannabis plant. Despite its varying legal status across the U.S., CBD has created quite the national buzz due to its proclaimed health benefits.

Leveraging Critical Mix’s kNOW Instant Insights tool, we asked a census-balanced survey of U.S. adults if their opinions towards marijuana legalization has changed in the last five years. In this short amount of time, public perception has largely evolved—46% said that they are more open to legalization, and only 8% said they’ve become less open to it.

As consumers’ opinions become increasingly positive, they are exploring other compounds of the cannabis plant, including CBD. Fifty-eight percent of survey respondents said they are familiar with CBD, while only 14% had never heard of it. Men are more familiar than women, with 65% reporting at least some familiarity compared to only 51% of women. Adults in age cohorts 25-34 and 34-44 are the most aware, with 70-71% in each group reporting at least some familiarity. People living in the Northeast reported the highest level of awareness of any region, followed by the West.

There is still a degree of confusion between THC and CBD. In short, both are primary cannabinoids that occur naturally in the cannabis plant. CBD is non-psychoactive, which means it will not result in the “high” typically associated with marijuana use, whereas THC is the main psychoactive component. When asked if they knew the difference between THC and CBD, surprisingly, 50% of survey respondents said that they “more or less know the difference or “know all about it.” Sixty-one percent of adults between the ages of 25 and 34 years old were most likely to know the difference between the two compounds.

Despite fairly high awareness levels, only about a quarter of survey members said they’ve used a CBD product. Men were more likely to try CBD than women, at 31% compared to only 16% of women. Adults between the ages of 25 and 34, followed by those ages 35 – 44, reported the highest usage levels, at 39% and 31% respectively.

Overall, most survey participants (45%) said they wouldn’t be willing to try a product containing CBD. However, 29% said that out of any product, they would be most likely to try an edible. Lotions/Creams/Balms was a close second, at 27%, followed by oil extracts (22%), capsules/pills (22%), and beverages (18%).

With claims of CBD’s wide-ranging health benefits flooding the internet, we wanted to know which benefits were most commonly associated with these products. The majority, 56%, mentioned pain relief. Anti-anxiety was the second most common, at 47%, followed by sleep-aid (34%). Despite the large percentage of survey participants who said they wouldn’t try CBD, surprisingly, three-fourths associated it with at least one health benefit.

Given the varying legal status of marijuana-derived CBD, consumers’ perceptions towards CBD-related advertisements differ depending on where they live. People in the Northeast expressed the most positive outlook, with 70% indicating a favorable perception, whereas in the Midwest only 56% reported as such.

While the Farm Bill, passed last December, has made it legal to purchase and consume hemp-derived CBD in all 50 states, some states still enforce heavy restrictions on these products. Marijuana-derived CBD is still illegal federally, as well as in any state that has not legalized marijuana. However, as consumers’ sentiments change, lawmakers continue to express more positive stances, and new legislations are passed, it will be interesting to monitor overall consumer behavior and consumption habits.



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