As the CBD industry booms and the hype continues to grow— (after all, consumer sales are expected to hit $20 billion in the next four years, with some estimates as high as $24 billion) researchers, companies and fellow consumers alike want to know: Who are the people buying and using CBD? What are the demographics of the consumer base of the fastest growing industry today? And what is driving those consumers to use it?

1 in 7 adults use CBD mostly for anxiety, pain, and insomnia

In August, the analytics and consulting company Gallup published results from their summer 2019 poll “Americans’ Use of CBD Products,” one part of their social series on consumption habits of various substances in the United States. From a sample of nearly 2,500 respondents, the poll found that 14 percent of American adults, or 1 in 7, say they use CBD products currently. Of those, 40 percent cited pain reduction as their reason for using CBD, 20 percent said anxiety and 11 percent named insomnia and sleep issues. Further reasons provided ranged from arthritis and muscle spasms to migraine headaches and stress, which is no surprise given the early research and anecdotal findings of how CBD helps with pain.

A high percentage of CBD Users are under 30 and West Coast-bound

The Gallup poll further found that, as might be expected, adults under 30 currently use CBD more than older adults, with nearly 49 percent of those over age 65 largely unaware of CBD on the whole, and Americans in the West consume more CBD than those in other regions—21 percent in the West, as compared to 13 percent of respondents in the South and 11 percent in the East and Midwest. Men and women, they found, were equally likely to use CBD for pain management, but women were more likely to cite anxiety as their reason for use, whereas men were more likely than women to use it as a sleep aid.

Sales and marketing agency Acosta released findings from their own research in September that both corroborated Gallup’s results and added to them. Acosta found that, of their survey respondents, the biggest demographic categories using CBD are millennials, men and adults with an undergraduate degree. They also reported findings on respondents’ frequency of use, with 9 percent of CBD consumers using it daily and 19 percent taking it as-needed.

CBD Demographics

CBD Uses differ by generation

Like Gallup’s survey, Acosta’s results additionally identified users’ reasons for adding CBD to their routine, but Acosta further categorized consumer rationale by generation. They found millennial respondents were the most likely to be using CBD for anxiety and general wellness, at roughly 30 percent for both reasons. Gen Xers and baby boomers, on the other hand, were more likely to use CBD for pain in joints (just over 30 percent) and muscles (23 percent).

Both surveys from Gallup and Acosta ultimately reported that perhaps unsurprisingly, the people currently using CBD most, men and millennials, are the same groups most likely to use marijuana. Furthermore, as DataTrek reported, because of CBD’s legal status and the fact that it is non-high-inducing, the CBD products industry has more growth potential than the marijuana industry, and with roughly 40 percent of adults reportedly interested in trying CBD, the demographics are likely to continue to broaden and grow along with the market in years ahead.

Anthony Tribunella

Having experienced the benefits of CBD first hand when it was starting to gain popularity, Anthony decided to spend his working life championing it to the public and his peers in the wider CBD community. As a CBD innovator himself, Anthony likes to remain at the leading edge of scientific and product development to ensure that the potential of CBD has every chance of being fully realized.

See all posts by Anthony Tribunella

Research Papers