Britain pivoting to weed product as a wellness tool will boost sector 478%

Cannabis plants fill a room in an aquaponics grow operation. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Osorio
Cannabis plants fill a room in an aquaponics grow operation. Photo: Reuters/Carlos Osorio

The market for cannabidiol (CBD), a product of the cannabis plant, is booming in Britain and is set to grow 478% by 2023.

That’s according to a new report, first seen by Yahoo Finance UK, by analytics and market research firm Brightfield Group, which provides benchmark data for legal CBD and cannabis industries.

CBD has grown in popularity over the years, especially in light of studies that have shown it can help alleviate anxiety, movement disorders, and pain. In the report, entitled European CBD & Cannabis Market 2019 Report, Brightfield said the CBD market in the UK was $76.2m (£57.7m) in 2018 and will grow to $440.8m by 2023.

“In recent years, CBD has gained significant traction in the UK, not only as a valued wellness product in and of itself, but boosted by the lack of viable alternatives in a market where medical cannabis access is tightly restricted and adult-use cannabis is prohibited altogether,” Brightfield said in the report.

“Though the growth of ingestible CBD products will be slowed in 2019 by regulations put into place recently, large brand retailers (Holland & Barrett, Superdrug) continue to offer CBD products in their stores, giving the British public broad access to product.

“Furthermore, CBD e-cigarette and vape use is common among the UK population, either as a supplement or substitute to tobacco smoking, and these product types are not subject to the same regulatory structure as ingestibles, making smokable CBD likely to continue growing at a rapid pace in the country.”

Brightfield said that tinctures — a supplement that comes in liquid form and has a very potent cannabidiol content — accounts for 32% of the market, while pharmacies, smoke shops, and specialty stores make up key distribution channels in Britain.

Chart: Brightfield Group
Chart: Brightfield Group

Europe’s CBD market was estimated at $318m in 2018 and is tipped to rise to $416m in 2019. It is then expected to grow to nearly $1.7bn by 2023.

The growth prospects for weed has turned the heads of companies in London.

Earlier this month, Yahoo Finance UK exclusively revealed that London-listed natural resources company Highlands (HNR.L) is getting into cannabis after making a surprising discovery.

READ MORE: London-listed oil producer moves into weed after a surprising discovery

During the summer of 2018, the company discovered a naturally occurring source of nitrogen, which was subsequently found to also include hydrogen. The combination created a natural and organic fertiliser. Highlands then began selling this gas to an organic cannabis grower in Colorado.

It was then discovered that the gas essentially turbocharged the growth of cannabis plants.

This has led to the group’s decision to move into weed by raising more than £1.27m ($1.69m) to establish an organic, vertically integrated cannabidiol (CBD) operation in Colorado, through a newly established and wholly-owned Highlands subsidiary, Zoetic Organics.