CBD – an opportunity to build brand loyalty through information and education


1. Consulting Director, Health & Wellness Research, HCD Research,
New Jersey, United States
2. Manager of Behavioral & Marketing Sciences, HCD Research,
New Jersey, United States


CBD (cannabidiol) products are exploding on the global market. This cannabis-derived compound is being added to a variety of products ranging from pet care to sexual health, often including exaggerated claims suggesting CBD can cure almost any ailment. Additionally, conflicting stories in media about CBD make it challenging for consumers to form fact-based opinions. Understandably, consumers are overwhelmed and confused, a situation that often leads to their indecision and category exit. Brands would benefit by using an evidence-based approach to their inclusion of CBD in formulations and the claims they make on those products. Consumers need to be aware that CBD is not a simple vitamin or mineral supplement but a compound with complex effects that can impact the user’s physiology as well as interact with pharmaceutical medications, thus impacting efficacy and outcomes. Consumer communication and education around CBD and its benefits and risks are key to building consumer confidence and repeat purchase.

From ingredients to brands, consumers are faced with a myriad of decisions daily when choosing types of products to use. These decisions are often driven by biases, or mental shortcuts, to help the consumer navigate the complexities of shopping. Yet, there are times when these biases keep consumers uninformed or narrow-minded about products on the market based on preconceived notions. Therefore, it is not at all surprising that the vast majority of consumers are overwhelmed and confused in trying to parse the claims and categories of products containing cannabis or cannabis-derived compounds, including cannabinoids like cannabidiol (CBD). The continued consumer confusion around the legality, safety, indications, and efficacy of CBD makes it a potentially high-risk proposition for producers (1). To give consumers more comfort and agency in their choices, there is a clear need for more consumer information and education around what CBD is, how, when, and why to use it, and risks associated with its use (2). Further, brands can demonstrate their knowledge and appreciation of CBD by carefully considering whether to includ ...