Americans are more interested in CBD than any other health topic

A new study confirms what most pharmacists already know—Americans are curious about cannabidiol (CBD).

A research team from the University of San Diego analyzed Google search queries for “CBD” or “cannabidiol” from the United States from January 2004 to April 2019. They found that CBD searches grew substantially after 2017. Search volumes increased 126% during 2017 compared with 2016, and 160% during 2018 compared with 2017. Based on observed forecasted volumes, figures are expected to be 118% higher during 2019 than 2018.

The longitudinal cross-sectional study observed 6.4 million CBD Google searches during April 2019, when data was last collected. The study authors noted, however, that the searches may reflect interest in CBD rather than interest in use.

The analysis was able to track searches by state as well. States with the most searches in 2019 included Vermont, Wisconsin, Tennessee, Colorado, New Hampshire, and Oregon.

The researchers, who published the study in JAMA Network Open, said that Google searches for CBD now rival interest in most other health topics, including yoga and electronic cigarettes, as well as acupuncture, vaccination, and veganism.

“Our findings suggest that investigation into CBD should become a public health priority to catch up with the public’s interest,” the authors concluded.

Beginning with more CBD research, studies should focus on epidemiology of CBD use as well as its effects and how it interacts with other drugs, the authors noted. They added that product safety standards also need to be developed, and marketing practices should be standardized.