A new study has revealed the public is now doing more research about CBD than any other alternative therapy.
A research letter published by the JAMA Network Open has revealed that millions of Americans are now more interested in cannabidiol than any other health product or topic.
Study co-author John W.Ayers noted, “Three years ago, there was essentially no one searching about CBD online, but now there are an estimated 6.4 million unique searches each month.”
Health scientists from UC San Diego analyzed the frequency of Google searches for “CBD” and “cannabidiol” from January 2004 to April 2019. The team then extrapolated search traffic out through December 2019.
Lead study author Dr. Eric Leas wrote, “Rather than relying on self-reports where some might not be willing to discuss CBD openly, we directly observed millions of instances of people seeking out information or even shopping for CBD online.”
Searches for the terms surged by 125% in 2017 and another 160% in 2018. It is estimated that the number will rise again by 180% by the end of 2019.
Researchers found that interest in some areas of the US was particularly strong. Searches grew 605% in Alabama from 2014, while Tennessee, Colorado, Vermont, and New Hampshire also saw a boom in inquiries. Searches were stronger in states where CBD is fully legalized.
Co-author Alicia Nobles added that for every two internet searches for dieting in the US, one search was made regarding CBD, making it roughly equal to the number of searches for yoga and e-cigarettes.
She said, “When talking to colleagues about our study we often play a game we call ‘CBD or,’ and almost every time, experts are shocked to learn that CBD is more popular or nearly as popular.”
The growth of CBD queries swamped other popular search terms this year, including veganism, exercise, and even marijuana.
CBD, derived from the cannabis plant, has seen a surge in interest since the Farm Bill was passed in 2018. It is now available in a range of forms, including CBD tinctures, creams and edibles, claiming to help with everything from anxiety to menstrual cramps.
Some, however, do not believe in the therapeutic effects of the product as much as others.
Dr. Davey Smith, chief of infectious diseases and global public health at the University of California (UC), San Diego, told Medical News Today, “At this time there are no known benefits for taking CBD over the counter. CBD is this generation’s snake oil, where millions are engaging with the product without evidence of any benefit.”
While CBD’s health values remain largely unproven, the team behind the study hopes the research will prompt further research.
Many are still unaware of the differences between hemp oil and CBD, for example, an issue which still needs to be addressed.
The research concluded that studies should be conducted on the epidemiology of CBD use, the effects and potential drug interactions with the product, and how many products are mislabelled.