Why Are So Many Celebrities Investing In the CBD And Hemp Industry? As the amount of evidence proving the potential for cannabis to be used medicinally increases, CBD is also being viewed favourably
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
You're reading Entrepreneur Asia Pacific, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
CBD stands for cannabidiol and belongs to a group of compounds known as cannabinoids, which are extracted from hemp. CBD has recently exploded in popularity because of its theorised health benefits and therapeutic properties.
The press frequently reports on the benefits of CBD. There is plenty of interest in CBD's potential as a treatment for common health complaints, such as mild arthritis and poor sleep. CBD has also been discussed as a treatment for more serious mental and physical ailments such as anxiety, depression and chronic pain.
The actual effectiveness of CBD is still unclear. However, an increasing number of people are praising CBD and using it daily as a health supplement. There are also official medical applications for CBD. The FDA's recent approval of Epidiolex (a pure CBD oral solution) as a treatment for severe forms of epilepsy reaffirming the clinical benefits of CBD.
CBD will not get you high like recreational cannabis use. Another cannabinoid known as THC causes the high associated with cannabis and hemp. Most regulated CBD products contain no THC and therefore will not get you high.
Other than medical treatments approved by medical bodies, CBD can be purchased in many forms both over the counter and online. However, the legality of CBD differs between countries and regions.
In the USA, the availability and legality of CBD products differ between states. According to the World Population Review, CBD is fully legal in 17 states, including California, New Jersey and Washington. Other states, such as Texas, have only approved CBD for medical use; in some states like Idaho or Nebraska, the sale of CBD is fully prohibited.
In the UK, retailers can sell CBD as long as they sell and market CBD products following MHRA guidelines. CBD goods must be sold as a food supplement without any medical claims attached to the CBD content of the product.
The popularity of CBD has recently been increasing exponentially and shows no signs of stopping. According to Vitality CBD, there are now over 6 million CBD users in the UK and over 1.3 million regular users.
Most users would cite the health and therapeutic effects as the main reason to purchase CBD. CBD is not only used to help treat medical problems, but also to promote wellbeing by supporting the body's chemical balance, also known as homeostasis. This has opened CBD up to a wide audience of both younger and older customers, helping drive interest.
Due to CBD being a naturally occurring ingredient, it is often marketed and viewed as a natural choice - this is largely true. CBD occurs in nature organically through hemp, a material that has long been favoured by eco-conscious individuals.
There is evidence that growing hemp industrially can have a positive effect on the environment, especially compared to other crops. The environmental benefits of hemp production include capturing CO2 in an even greater volume than trees; hemp even helps regenerate soil thanks to it's deep roots and short 4 month growth time.
CBD has become more accessible as brands have increased investment in their supply chains and research. By far, the most popular way of taking CBD is via CBD oils in either drop or spray form. These are tinctures which are applied orally, being held in the mouth while the CBD absorbs.
Vaping with CBD e-liquids is another popular way to dose CBD and offers the greatest amount of bioavailability. Many CBD brands now produce CBD gummy sweets, CBD creams, CBD tablets and even more bespoke products like CBD coffee syrups.
Over the past few years, many high-profile celebrities have invested their considerable wealth into the CBD industry. It is becoming increasingly common to see stars across the world become involved in CBD. So, why are celebrities committing to CBD?
Interest in CBD has simply never been higher. According to research by SingleCare, 33 per cent of Americans have used CBD, while 64 per cent are aware of CBD products or CBD in general. The picture is similar in the UK, with a report by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis concluding that CBD has "reached a level of market penetration (in the UK) that is unlikely to dissipate".
Phillip Glyn, commercial director of Vitality CBD, had this to say about the link between public interest and celebrity involvement with CBD:
"As industries and markets grow, naturally more people will be encouraged to invest. The increasing celebrity involvement in CBD is indicative of the growing interest in the industry across society and will drive greater awareness and popularity of CBD globally."
Clearly, growing public interest is a driving force behind celebrity involvement in CBD. However, as Phillip Glyn explains, industry leading CBD brands are expecting high-profile celebrity involvement to drive public interest in CBD to an even larger extent.
As the amount of evidence proving the potential for cannabis to be used medicinally increases, CBD is also being viewed favourably. CBD is slowly being legalised (albeit with restrictions in some places) in a greater number of regions.
Regulation has also steadily improved. A recent example of progress is the new FSA regulations in the UK, which came into effect in the UK in 2020. The new regulation requires CBD brands to submit dossiers for approval before they can continue retailing. The aim of this is to create clearer and more effective regulation, which should improve consumer confidence in CBD further.
While surveys and research into people's views and usage of CBD is useful, the raw financial progress of the CBD market may be more illuminating. By 2020, the global CBD market was worth an impressive $7bn; this figure is even more startling considering CBD was a controlled substance less than a decade ago in many large markets.
Based on the progress of the CBD market between 2016 and 2020, Global Market Insights predicts that the global CBD market will be worth in excess of $108.8 billion. GM Insights attributes this enormous growth to the increasing use of CBD medically, the improving regulatory landscape and increasing sales of CBD in reputable stores.
There has been a recent influx of celebrities investing in CBD or developing their own brand. However, many famous individuals have been involved in the industry since its inception. Below is a selection of celebrities that are involved with CBD.
Beyonce has recently announced that she plans to start a hemp farm to extract CBD from the crops. The superstar singer has been a supporter of CBD for some time, announcing that she discovered it on one of her globe-trotting tours. In an interview with Harper's Bazaar, Beyonce explained her association with CBD up to that point:
"I discovered CBD on my last tour, and I've experienced its benefits for soreness and inflammation. It helped with my restless nights and the agitation that comes from not being able to fall asleep."
If Beyonce ventured into creating her own CBD brand, it would almost certainly see huge success because of her enormous and fiercely loyal fanbase.
In 2019, award-winning singer John Legend became an investor in a San-Mateo based CBD company. According to Legend, he has been an advocate of CBD "for some time" and explained his investment in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter:
"I was drawn to [the team] because they're an innovative, family-run company, and they use science to deliver a consistent, high-quality product. I appreciate that they're committed to setting a high standard within an industry that has to date been fairly unregulated."
Legend's comments reflect the growing attention to proper regulation across the CBD industry. As public acceptance grows, clamour for guarantees on CBD product's quality and safety has too.
Reality TV star Kourtney Kardashian has a longstanding association with the cosmetics industry which she has now grown to include CBD. In late 2019, Kourtney Kardashian announced she would release a CBD serum.
CBD cosmetics are one of the many applications that CBD has found and the Kardashian clearly sees a future for the ingredient within the industry. CBD can effectively work alongside other skincare ingredients, with the highly regarded hyaluronic acid also a part of this CBD eye serum's formulation.
Also in 2019, Kourtney's sister, Kim Kardashian, threw a CBD and meditation themed baby shower to celebrate the upcoming arrival of her daughter, Psalm West.
Whoopi Goldberg has been a long-time supporter of cannabis and its use as a treatment. The Hollywood star was one of the first main supporters of CBD and started a brand in 2016 with business partner Maya Elisabeth. Elisabeth had plenty of previous experience in the CBD industry, having founded her own company focussing on edibles in 2008.
Goldberg and Maya's company created CBD products tailored for a female audience, including CBD oils, CBD edibles and CBD bath products. However, the company ceased to operate when both partners parted company in early 2020.
However, this episode does not seem to have soured Goldberg's passion for CBD and hemp. Reports indicate that she plans to launch a new brand later in 2021; time will tell if CBD plays a part in the product lineup.
Former heavyweight boxer Mike Tyson was one of the first celebrities to exploit the growth of the booming CBD industry. Since 2016, Mike Tyson has been involved in cannabis and CBD retail alongside business partner Rob Hickman.
There are personal reasons behind Tyson's involvement with CBD and the business itself has performed admirably since its beginning. It is likely the inspiration behind many stars' involvement in the industry. Tyson's company sells a selection of hemp derived products and includes a selection of CBD tinctures and even drinks.