Thanks to marketers’ claims that CBD can cure a range of ailments, from cancer to anxiety, interest in the hemp derivate has been on the rise for months. But up until recently, the public health community didn’t know how much. A recent study finally posits an answer.
What Did the Study Find?
According to research published in JAMA Network Open, roughly 6.4 million Americans search online for information about CBD every month. This outpaces every other health product.
“CBD has become insanely popular,” said co-author John W. Ayers, PhD, vice chief of innovation in the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health at UC San Diego, in a statement. “Three years ago, there was essentially no one searching about CBD online.”
The researchers obtained this estimate based on an analysis of Google search queries that mentioned “CBD” or “cannabidiol” within the U.S. from January 2004 through April 2019. CBD search queries grew by 125 percent during 2017, an additional 160 percent during 2018, and researchers predict it will to grow 180 percent by the end of this year. CBD searches increased across all states, ranging from a 211-percent increase in Oklahoma to a 605-percent increase in Alabama.
Interest in CBD beat other top search terms by: 749 percent for acupuncture, 517 percent for apple cider vinegar, 338 percent for meditation, 63 percent for vaccination, 59 percent for exercise, 13 percent for marijuana and 12 percent for veganism.
What Does the Study Mean for Health Professionals?
The most important takeaway from the research is for health providers, study authors stress.
“At this time there are no known benefits for taking CBD over-the-counter,” said Davey Smith, MD, chief of Infectious Diseases and Global Public Health at UC San Diego. “Some consumers might forgo seeing a physician or taking medications with known, tested and approved therapeutic benefits in favor of CBD and thereby become sicker or succumb to their illness.”
Added Eric Leas, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine and Public Health and lead author of the study: “There are already documented cases of CBD products unknowingly containing potential poisons because there are no government regulations that oversee the manufacturing of CBD.”
For tips to talk to your patients about CBD, visit our guide.
Trends in Internet Searches for Cannabidiol (CBD) in the United States, JAMA Network Open.