Demand for CBD soars during lockdown as UK market now estimated at £690 million

Published: 6-May-2021

A report from the Association for the Cannabinoid Industry (ACI) and the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC) assesses the size of the UK consumer cannabidiol (CBD) market

The sector is now estimated to generate £690 million in annual sales for 2021. This figure surpasses predictions made in the seminal market sizing study undertaken by the CMC in 2019, which estimated the market would be worth £526 million in 2021.

The report concludes that the UK now has the most evolved regulatory framework in the world for CBD, and other consumer cannabis extracts, citing recent interventions by the Foods Standards Agency - to regulate products as dietary supplements, and by the Home Office - to consider what are safe and tolerable levels of THC contained in products.

However, the report calls for more government intervention and investment to ensure that the UK optimises what it describes as "Britain’s quiet cannabis revolution."

The report claims that, owing to domestic restrictions on hemp cultivation and processing in the UK, the bulk of the profits for this industry are going overseas. This is because UK farmers must destroy the parts of the hemp crop which lucrative CBD is extracted from.

The report argues that the market represents a key growth sector for the UK and it is time for the government to adopt a proactive strategy to seize opportunities in the cannabinoids sector.

The report makes 20 recommendations drawing on a submission recently made to a new governmental Taskforce on Innovation, Growth and Regulatory Reform, established by British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in February, to stimulate post-COVID economic growth.

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