Snapshot of the CBD Oil Market in Canada – 2 Years After Legalization

Cannabis was legalized just over two years ago in Canada, so how is it going?

When Canada legalized recreational marijuana back in October 2018, no one knew for sure what would happen. There were strong expectations that the recreational cannabis market would boom, but the reality 2 years after legalization has exceeded expectations for the most part, especially for CBD in particular.

Nobody knew how popular CBD would become after legalization, but a recent report by the Canadian Health Food Association has made CBD's impact clear. According to CHFA, the Canadian CBD market is worth close to CAD $2 billion, and it has yet to see its peak.

It goes without saying that CBD has some serious potential. This snapshot of how the cannabis and CBD market has changed over the past 2 years in Canada gives all the insight you need to see where CBD is heading in the future based on its progress so far.

There's Been Steady Growth Among Adults CBD Users

The first point to be made on CBD's growth is that adults are the main users and there are very few reports on underage CBD users (which isn't the case for cannabis products containing THC). This is mostly because CBD isn't an illicit drug-of-choice for young people since it doesn't create a high – it's strictly used for its medicinal qualities.

When you take a look at the numbers, it's clear that there's an upward projection of CBD users for specific age groups, and even specific genders. The stats show that females between the ages of 35 to 44 are the most likely to use CBD-oil products on the reg. For men, it's the 45+ age group that frequents CBD the most while younger men are much less likely to use CBD.

CBD Is Being Used for a Wider Range of Applications

Over the past two years, another thing has become very obvious; there's no one use for CBD, and there's a very wide range of applications that attracts people to CBD products. Before legalization, it was most commonly used to calm the nerves, but now, CBD oil is used for much more than just anxiety and stress relief.

In 2020 and beyond, CBD oils have been used for everything from pain treatment to neuroprotection and brain health for the future, it's even being used for anti-acne. All of these applications come down to the fact that CBD is highly anti-inflammatory, and inflammation is the root cause of many health issues.

Alberta Has the Biggest Cannabis/CBD Retail Market

By 2024, the legal cannabis market in Alberta is expected to reach $940 million, which is a large percentage of the Canadian market as a whole. There are a few reasons for this, but a big one is that Alberta residents use more cannabis products (CBD included) than the national average.

On top of that, the provincial government of Alberta is extremely liberal, especially on the topic of cannabis products like CBD oils. Alberta believes that it's better to be more liberal about things in order to enhance the market growth.

Because of the higher percentage of cannabis/CBD users in Alberta and the more liberal government approach, this province is expected to be a leader in national sales growth, accounting for a 16% boost in sales numbers across Canada between the years of 2018 and 2024.

The Medical CBD Market Has Leveled Off

Although there hasn't been a decline in the medical CBD market, there's definitely been a leveling off and a plateau since legalization. This isn't surprising considering the fact that it's now easier to access CBD oils without a medical license or prescription.

In the past, CBD users could only access CBD oils through medical means, but that's all changed since October 2018. Now, it's possible to find CBD oils in legal dispensaries across Canada, and it's even easy to access through online dispensaries who ship CBD products right to your doorstep.

So while more people are accessing CBD in Canada, less of them are accessing it with medical licensing.

Canada and the US Are Partnering Up

It's no surprise that Canadian CBD companies are building American partners; the US CBD market is the largest in the world, accounting for a huge percentage of global CBD users. It was only a matter of time before big names like Aurora made deals with American companies.

Earlier this year, Aurora entered the US market and agreed to buy U.S.-based CBD company Reliva. This benefits both sides of the partnership, giving Aurora a strong foothold in the American CBD market.

All In All, Legalization Has Been a Success

As of right now, the CBD market in Canada is worth about $2 billion CAD. That number is steadily growing and is projected to reach about $2.5 billion CAD by 2023. The majority of sales are taking place online.

According to leading comparison website, searches for "CBD oil near me" are common but most Canadians eventually buy online. The competition online continues to grow resulting in more choices and deeper discounts for cannabis users in Canada.

So while cannabis sales aren't as stellar as expected, it's safe to say that legalization was a big success for CBD, at least when you take a look at CBD sales and the upward market trends that have been happening over the past 2 years.

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Louis O'Neill
Louis O'Neill

Louis is a writer based in Sydney with a focus on social and political issues. Having interviewed local politicians and entrepreneurs, Louis now focuses on cannabis culture, legislation & reform.