The hemp industry shows no signs of slowing down. According to the latest predictions, the global industrial hemp market is expected to go from about $4.6 billion in 2019 to a staggering $26.6 billion in 2025.
Much of this growth is driven by the ever-increasing popularity of hemp-derived CBD in dietary supplements, cosmetics, foods, and beverages. Thanks to the wide publicity enjoyed by CBD over the past several years, awareness of its health benefits is hitting the mainstream in the United States, U.K., Australia, Canada, Germany, Holland, and other countries.
Changing laws are driving growth as well. Hemp-derived CBD is becoming legal in more places around the world, highlighted by recent developments such as Australia’s announcement of considering low-dose CBD products to be allowed for sale over the counter.
Meanwhile, in countries where hemp and CBD are already legal, the next big frontier is CBD-infused foods and beverages. For example, CBD is on the cusp of being allowed in foods and beverages in the United States. Such a change would drive enormous growth by making CBD-infused products available in supermarkets.
Another key development is the growth of the European hemp market, with the U.K., Germany, and the Netherlands leading the charge. Europe is expected to eclipse North America — the current leader — by 2025.
Although CBD has dominated the conversation, minor cannabinoids are beginning to enter the spotlight. Most notably, cannabigerol (CBG) is already making waves in the American market, with European farmers and companies beginning to follow suit.
Bolstered by ongoing research efforts showing beneficial effects in everything from appetite stimulation to tumors, minor cannabinoids such as CBG and CBC will grow in popularity in the near future.
Cannabinoids aside, other uses of hemp, such as seeds and fiber, show promise as well. In fact, the global market for hemp seeds is set to continue its steady growth in the next five years.
This thriving industry is fueled by the public’s increasing awareness of the health benefits of hemp seeds and hemp seed oil, which are known for their rich nutritional content abundant in protein, vitamins, minerals, fiber, and a healthy ratio of essential fatty acids.
Although this awareness lags behind CBD oil, it’s strong enough to drive ongoing demand not only for hemp-based foods, beverages, and supplements but also for cosmetics and other products.
Another source of growth is the continued worldwide legalization of hemp seed as a food ingredient, which most recently happened in Australia in November 2017 and New Zealand in November 2018. Thanks to changes such as these, more health-conscious consumers than ever are turning to hemp milk, juice, seed oil, protein powder, tea, and other hemp-containing foods and beverages.
The global hemp industry is certainly not without its challenges.
For example, the FDA continues to frustrate American farmers and companies alike with its negative stance towards CBD, while British farmers still can’t grow hemp for CBD. More importantly, CBD remains illegal in many countries.
But the overall trend is positive, as the world continues to become aware of — or more accurately, rediscover — hemp’s amazing versatility and value.