CBD, THC, marijuana, hemp, cannabis, medical marijuana -– What is the difference? And how will they each affect retail consumer shopping going forward? The legalization of marijuana in various forms is spreading across the United States, this we know. Since 2014 and the legalization of cannabis in Colorado, 33 states have legalized cannabis for medical use and another ten states plus the District of Columbia have followed suit by legalizing it for recreational use as well. However, it remains illegal to buy, sell or distribute cannabis on a federal level. December 2018 marked another “marijuana milestone,” when legislation passed the Agriculture Improvement Act, legalizing hemp nationwide.
Cannabidiol, better known as CBD, is the non-psychoactive ingredient found in cannabis plants. CBD has recently been found to have analgesic, anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties, without any psychoactive side effects. Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC on the other hand, is the psychoactive ingredient which gives users an altered state of mind when ingested or inhaled into the body. Both hemp and marijuana are part of the cannabis family, however hemp is derived from a completely different species of plant and offers almost no THC. The uses of hemp are numerous, and none of them involve getting you high. At last count, hemp was known to have over 25,000 possible applications ranging from automobile and construction to dietary supplements and skin products.
So, while the uses of each of these products, and the laws which govern their use vary state to state, one thing is certain: these products are, and will continue to, create astronomical sales revenue that is hard to match by traditional merchandise. Wall Street has estimated that the cannabis industry will generate $50 to $75 billion in sales by the end of the next decade.
CBD is the simpler of the products on the market for the time being; as long as it is derived from hemp, it is legal to sell in all 50 states. But CBD isn’t just popping up in dedicated brick-and-mortar stores, we’re seeing it in many other uses. Lotions, creams, drinks, snacks, cosmetics, and massage oils are just a few of the products being infused with CBD. Domestic consumer interest in all products containing CBD is estimated at roughly 40% of adults age 21 and over, according to the Cannabis Times. Consumers previously unaware of CBD are rapidly developing interest in its vowed help to relieve symptoms associated with seizures, anxiety, pain, depression, sleeplessness and countless additional conditions. It’s important to note that while supporters believe CBD may be the answer to so many ailments, there still is fairly little evidence to support its remedial claim.
Simon Property Group, the largest mall owner in the country, announced in February that they’ll be partnering with a marijuana company based in Ohio to open 108 locations within their malls to sell CBD products, calling this a “cutting-edge new concept.” Pharmacy giants Walgreens and CVS have both stated they will begin selling CBD products including creams, patches and sprays, in a combined 2,300+ stores across the United States within the year. The demand for CBD infused products is so high, landlords who previously would not have given a serious thought to these enigmatic tenants in their shopping centers are now forced to rethink their position.