When even NFL athletes advocate for hemp, you know that hemp’s rising popularity isn’t a flash in the pan. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in the growth of industrial and consumer-based hemp, driven in large part by strong public demand. According to a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association, a single month in 2019 saw 6.4 million searches for CBD on Google alone.
And, CBD represents only a small part of the larger hemp industry. Hemp and CBD differ from each other. Specifically, the latter makes up only about 23% of the industry. And, that larger industry is on a clear upward trajectory.
In fact, global hemp retail revenue, estimated at $3.7 billion in 2018, is expected to hit $5.7 billion in 2020. By 2024, it’s expected to almost double to $10.3 billion dollars.
So, what’s fueling hemp’s rising popularity? The answer isn’t as simple as it appears. Instead, a convergence of a number of factors has all contributed to the industry’s rapid (and sustained) growth. Let’s break down the 10 most important reasons hemp is getting more popular, seemingly by the day.
1) The Evidence Behind Hemp's Rising Popularity Is Clear
In terms of medical benefits, the science behind the efficacy of hemp and Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil is still young. However, an increasing number of studies are beginning to reveal the potential of the compounds in hemp. This includes the potential to:
- Serve as a natural analgesic for relieving physical discomfort and speeding up recovery
- Improve sleep quality through a calming effect
- Improve skin health and reduce acne flare-ups
- Aid in weight loss and efforts to live a healthier lifestyle
All of this evidence, of course, is still in the early stages. Studies that have arrived at these results will need to be confirmed by others. But, the evidence before us is notably encouraging. Add to that the Entourage Effect of terpenes (oils within the plant that maximize its positive effects), and the future looks more promising than ever.
Increasing publicity behind these studies is a major driver for the growth of hemp. As science begins to confirm the claims many producers have made, consumers and health professionals alike are beginning to sit up and take notice.
2) Americans are Looking for Natural Alternatives
Significantly, an increase in scientific evidence pointing towards the effectiveness of hemp has corresponded with a rising interest in natural products. According to Investopedia:
Many of today’s consumers are demanding greater transparency in the products they purchase, including knowing where their products come from and what their ingredients are… The trend of introducing products with a shorter ingredient list and greater transparency is likely to continue for both larger, traditional companies and new, niche competitors who want to cater to this growing consumer base.
That trend is especially pronounced in the personal care industry, where consumers demand transparency and prioritize natural products with fewer toxic chemicals. Enter hemp, a plant farmers have cultivated since 8,000 B.C.
While the evidence mounts about the benefits of hemp, consumers simultaneously look for natural alternatives to existing products. In other words, it’s the perfect synergy of events to drive hemp’s rising popularity.
3) The Opioid Epidemic Has Highlighted the Shortcomings of Modern Medicine
Before COVID-19, the opioid crisis was the most significant health crisis in the United States. It claimed the lives of almost 50,000 Americans in 2018 alone, with millions more suffering from the effects of opioid misuse.
Cannabis, and hemp, in particular, are not direct solutions for this crisis. But, there’s evidence that the addictive effects of many pain killers have inspired both medical professionals and patients to look for better alternatives. Worried about the negative effects of synthetic drugs, they turned to natural solutions.
There have been several, albeit limited, research on the use of cannabis as a more direct impetus for reducing opioid usage. In a Canadian study, a small population of chronic pain patients in Michigan reported reductions in opioid use by 64%, as well as decreased medication side effects and improved quality of life, after being prescribed cannabis.
More research is clearly necessary. But, it’s important to recognize that as awareness of the opioid crisis has grown, so has the public acceptance of hemp.
4) Social Acceptance for Cannabis Is Fueling Hemp's Rising Popularity
Just a few years ago, the mere mention of “cannabis” or “hemp” would elicit images of smoking joints in people’s minds. However, we’ve come a long way from those days. In fact, today’s opinions about hemp are much more nuanced in nature.
For instance, a survey completed in 2018, showed that almost 60% of medical care providers either strongly or somewhat agreed that medical cannabis was a legitimate medical therapy. In another survey, most consumers agreed that all forms of cannabis should be legal, with stress reduction cited most often as its primary benefit. Yet another survey found that 46% of American adults were more open to full legalization than they had been a few years ago.
We’re far from full acceptance, of course. A wide range of myths about cannabis and hemp still exist in many people’s minds. However, these results provide yet another piece of evidence behind the continued growth of hemp.
5) Cannabis Legalization is Proceeding Quickly
Speaking of legalization: public opinion is not the only thing changing in this area. When commodity hemp production was federally legalized in the United States in 2018, the industry saw an almost immediate, dramatic upswing. According to a 2019 New York Times article:
An estimated 285,000 acres of hemp were planted nationwide compared with about 78,000 acres in 2018.
Needless to say, that jump is significant. Now that hemp is no longer treated as a controlled substance, the industry is free to expand its production across a variety of applications. No wonder hemp industry revenues have continued to rise dramatically.
6) Hemp Products Span a Wide Range of Industries
Another reason for the rapid rise of hemp is its versatility. Beyond personal care products like Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil, the plant has also resulted in a wide range of other successful applications:
- Clothing, which dates back to ancient Mesopotamian times. Big-name brands like Levi’s and Patagonia are beginning to offer hemp-based apparel, which is more durable than cotton.
- Paper, made of hemp fiber that is four to five times stronger than wood pulp. That tear-resistance has led to applications in filters, banknotes, and art canvases.
- Food and beverages, where hemp shows up as a component in iced teas, beers, and wines. Hemp seeds, in particular, are a great source of vital nutrients and protein.
- Bioplastics, which offer many sustainable advantages to traditional plastics. As an added benefit, evidence suggests that hemp can “lock-in” carbon dioxide and contribute to a reduction in climate change.
- Biofuel and biodiesel, which can offer vital assistance in the fight against our dependence on fossil fuels.
- Housing, especially insulation materials. The use of natural products makes home construction a sustainable enterprise. Hemp also makes insulation recyclable, resistant to heat flow, and more durable against moisture and rot.
- Animal bedding, particularly as a low-cost and more effective floor covering for livestock like rabbits and chickens.
- Automotive. Did you know that Henry Ford tried building a car made from hemp? More recently, BMW has used the same material to reduce weight in some of its models, and hemp is emerging as a sustainable solution in the automobile industry.
It seems like new uses for this plant are being discovered every day. Is it a wonder that the industry is expanding rapidly?
7) Production of Hemp is (Relatively) Low-Maintenance
For being such a versatile plant, hemp is surprisingly resilient. One study focusing on the clothing industry, for instance, found that hemp requires only 25% of the water required to grow cotton. Hemp also doesn’t need the pesticides that many of its alternatives require and is able to grow in almost any condition.
That low maintenance is one reason for its explosive growth in some farm areas like Iowa. During hot and dry summers, farmers are able to leverage this plant as a vital crop and addition to their fields.
We have to be careful here. Growing hemp in a way that maximizes its benefit is still a complex undertaking. In fact, sustainable farming, harvesting, and extraction is one reason why high-quality Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil is not always cheap. Still, the relatively low cost required, particularly for industrial hemp, has been a major factor in driving growth for the hemp industry.
8) Hemp Oil Creates a Wide Range of Therapeutic Effects
Let’s get specific on Hemp Oil. It’s our specialty, after all. Among the many uses outlined above, it’s still the one we believe in, and that belief has begun to spread elsewhere, as well.
Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil tends to feel natural to our body because of how we react to phytocannabinoids, which are similar in chemical makeup to our own cells. As a result, Full-Spectrum products can make us feel more:
- Emotionally grounded and less anxious
- Alert and focused
- Refreshed and rested
- Self-reliant in dealing with physical discomfort
The emergence of Hemp Oil capsules has added to these effects by creating a more controlled serving size and easy integration into existing wellness routines. In other words, the mainstreaming of Full-Spectrum Hemp Oil has led to significant product improvements, which in turn have led to hemp’s rising popularity.
9) High-Quality Products are Getting Easier to Find
The accessibility of high-quality products is the impetus spearheading the evolution of a particular industry. As the hemp industry continues to grow and mature, high-quality brands and products are essential to its success.
That, in turn, leads to a circular effect. The benefits and effects of high-quality products are more pronounced, leading to more acceptance and advocacy by consumers. The same products also help build the reputation of hemp companies, which they can leverage into further growth for themselves. Though product prices are still higher for these brands, a hemp brand that can prove the quality of its products can carve out a growing share in the market.
Of course, finding these high-quality products is still a crucial part of the larger equation. According to The Consumer Brand Association, 70% of consumers prefer purchasing hemp products from a well-known, established brand. And, more than 55% believe that big brands have better safety controls in place. Still, you’ll need to do careful research to ensure you aren’t overpaying for Hemp Oil (or buying a poor product). Through that process, every consumer plays a part in the continued and rapid growth of the hemp industry.
10) We're Only Scratching the Surface of Potential Hemp Benefits
We’re just getting started. The hemp industry is not showing any signs of slowing down anytime soon. If anything, with legalization in the United States out of the way, it will only continue to grow exponentially.
Part of the reason for this is undoubtedly the fact that we still don’t know everything about the vital hemp plant. Many of the applications above, from automotive to housing, are still in the testing phases. As they move from the prototyping phase to mainstream use, the hemp industry will only benefit.
The same is true for the personal care product industry, as well. The medical evidence cited above is promising but requires further confirmation and exploration. However, there is little reason to believe that the next studies, already underway, will be anything but positive. If the trend continues, we will uncover more of the plant’s benefits than we’re currently aware of.
If you’re looking for more information about hemp’s rising popularity, we can help. At Synchronicity, we believe that we’ve played an important role in hemp’s rapid rise, and we look forward to being a strong influence in its continued growth. Our products are designed to benefit you in a variety of ways. So, tell us: In exploring the use of hemp, what areas do you need help in? Contact us to talk about all things hemp or share your thoughts with us on Twitter and Facebook.