EducationThe latest UK CBD statistics explained

The latest UK CBD statistics explained

7 min read

Kerry Charron

The latest UK CBD statistics explained

CBD officially became legal in the UK in 2017, with medical cannabis following in November 2108, and since that time we have seen a true explosion in the sector. With industry experts anticipating almost untapped exponential growth in the coming decade (and beyond), it is truly an exciting time for the CBD market here in the UK. 


Market demand has increased as more people learn of research findings highlighting CBD’s safety and efficacy in potentially alleviating an array of symptoms. Researchers are convinced this trend will hold and momentum will pick up as CBD use becomes more common in the UK, and internationally.

To provide you with a better understanding of the significance of the CBD industry’s potential, this article will explain some of the reasons CBD has grown in popularity in recent years, as well as some of the key regulations that have been placed on the market.

CBD and its popularity in the UK

Approximately 1.3 million people in the UK take CBD regularly, and over 6 million have tried a CBD product within the past year. Users represent a broad range of demographic populations in terms of age, gender, and background.

Like many countries that have recently experienced similar CBD trends, the UK is witnessing growing interest and use. UK policy governing CBD changed in March of 2021, flipping the market from a mostly unregulated sector to one that is much more stringently controlled. 

CBD edible products are now classed as “Novel Food Items” and must go through a lengthy, expensive process before receiving permission to be sold here in the UK. CBD cosmetics are also legal, and have a different regulatory framework governing their sale, 

The basic criteria that must be met for CBD products to be approved here in the UK are as follows:

  • The source of the CBD must come from industrial hemp. This hemp has to be grown according to EU standards.
  • CBD products must hold less than 0.2% THC, or no more than 1 mg of THC per container

It is important to understand the rapidly changing market pressures and various regulatory policies in the UK and on a global level. Policy reform can happen quickly, so it is essential for all individuals to remain aware of current policies on product quality, access, third-party lab testing, and other consumer matters.

CBD Statistics here in the UK

Studies point to a growing CBD user base, increased product diversity, and strong future revenue growth in the CBD sector. A study commissioned by the UK Centre for Medicinal Cannabis stated that the UK industry was worth £300 million in 2019, and is expected to hit £1 billion by 2025.

There are over 1.3 million regular CBD users in the UK who consume CBD products on a daily or routine basis. Roughly 6 million people have tried CBD. UK statistics show that most CBD users are over the age of 55 years and female.

Tinctures are the most popular product, followed by capsules and gummies.

A majority of UK residents support the CBD industry and believe regulations regarding hemp production should be less stringent.

CBD users represent all ages, genders, and backgrounds, but most CBD consumers tend to be women, white, and over the age of 50. About two-thirds of CBD users report CBD benefits their overall health. Many use CBD for one or multiple reasons pertaining to mental and physical wellness. Some main reasons are to manage pain, stress, anxiety, and inflammation.

CBD users report various mental and physical benefits including improved sleep, skin health, gastrointestinal health, mental balance and many other reasons. Although tinctures are the preferred method of use, many use topical and edible forms of CBD to achieve specific levels of pain, anxiety, and inflammation reduction through regimented dosing.

If you are interested in accessing CBD for medicinal purposes, it is strongly recommended that you consult with a doctor that is not only registered to prescribe medicinal cannabis but who has a bunch of experience doing so. While CBD products are legal for over-the-counter sale, and the regulatory framework surrounding these products has strengthened in the last few years, prescribable CBD is put through a much more stringent process. The prescribing doctor will be able to offer these products, and also tailored advice regarding dosage sizing and frequency.

Total Market Size of the CBD Industry in the UK

Increased interest in health and wellness, in general, is fueling the UK’s curiosity in trying all things cannabidiol (CBD). There is great interest in organic, non-GMO ingredients, so many CBD products feature ethically-sourced raw materials and GMP manufacturing practices.

Market projections focus on growth in the infused food and beverage products sector. Skincare products will also continue to diversify to include targeting common problem skin issues such as acne or dryness.

As we mentioned above, the market value is expected to push the £1 billion mark by 2025, and this definitely seems to be a strong possibility. It jumped from £314 million in 2019 to a whopping £690 million in 2022, which is a more than 100% increase in less than a full three years. This is an exponential pattern of market growth, with the UK now sitting a close second, in terms of the consumer CBD market, behind the USA.  

Consumer attitudes towards CBD in the UK

A study by UK Foods Agency found that about a quarter of survey respondents indicated they were regular users. About 40% of respondents used CBD on an occasional basis. A significant amount of respondents (about 75%) have been only using CBD for a year or less. 

This last stat alone proves the increasing interest in CBD as a consumer product, but how does it fare as a potential therapeutic addition?

An increasing number of studies show that CBD holds promise in managing symptoms associated with a wide range of health conditions. These research highlights have helped cultivate a positive understanding of CBD. The general UK population generally thinks of CBD as a legitimate, safe and effective addition to a holistic treatment plan. 

The public has shown greater interest after the publication of several key studies and media attention to special hemp-derived products. For example, high CBD-low THC strains like Charlotte’s Web have brought awareness to how medical cannabis helps children with intractable epilepsy achieve a better quality of life.

Trust in CBD products and manufacturers

Although the emerging industry shows a need for more thorough regulation and standardization of certain procedures, these changes will increase reliability and consistency. For example, many policymakers and industry leaders are highlighting the importance of third-party testing, GMP practices, and non-GMO and organic ingredients.

The change in 2021 of classing edible CBD products as “Novel Foods” was a step in the right direction, but many see the need for further legislation. The demand for higher quality and safety standards continues to grow, which bodes well for the industry in general and consumers looking to access CBD products.

The medicinal cannabis market, CBD included, is subject to far great regulatory oversight than the consumer market. This means that prescribed CBD products are much more reliable than those available over the counter. Patients must have a valid prescription before gaining access to any medicinal cannabis products, and this allows for tailored advice and dosing instructions from a prescribing doctor.


It is an exciting time to be a part of the CBD market here in the UK, no matter if you are a consumer, patient, or producer. The statistics show that the UK CBD market is growing rapidly with increasing demand for safe and quality products. The public’s trust in CBD products and manufacturers is increasing, as is the number of legal regulations set forward to ensure consumer safety and product efficacy. 

Most importantly, an increasing number of studies are showing that CBD may have potential therapeutic benefits for a variety of health conditions. Consequently, it is important to consult with a medical professional before starting any form of CBD regimen. With the right guidance, UK consumers can feel safe in their decision to take CBD products as part of a holistic health support strategy. 

Releaf understands the importance of medical cannabis in treating various medical conditions. With our tailored monthly packages, specialist consultations for medical cannabis, and a unique medical cannabis card for protection, you can access the treatment you need without worrying about the stigma.   

Releaf - Removing the Stigma from Medical Cannabis

It is important to seek medical advice before starting any new treatments. The patient advisors at Releaf are available to provide expert advice and support. Alternatively, click here to book a consultation with one of our specialist doctors.

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Kerry, with experience as a medicinal cannabis cultivation technician and expertise in business licensing applications, is passionate about developing educational content and advocating for better access to medical cannabis worldwide.

Our articles are written by experts and reviewed by medical professionals or compliance specialists. Adhering to stringent sourcing guidelines, we reference peer-reviewed studies and scholarly research. View our editorial policy.

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