Compass with green arrow pointing to word “Trend,” indicating CBD trends in 2022.

Curious about CBD consumer trends in 2022?

Recent industry report shows need for consumer education on CBD, hemp and more


Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Rustning

Cannabis analytics firm BDSA released new Consumer Insights data on CBD consumption trends in February 2022. While the data are geared toward a business audience, we thought our Leaf411 followers might appreciate a quick look at some highlights, along with Leaf411’s unique insights on current trends based on the patients and consumers we serve on our guidance line.

Consumers lack education on using CBD

One of BDSA’s top findings was just how little CBD consumers know about the products they’re using. According to the BDSA Consumer Insights report, about 40% of CBD consumers rely on friends and family as their main source of information on CBD. Yet 30% of these consumers haven’t heard of terpenes, and 10% haven’t heard the term “cannabinoids.” Cannabinoids, including CBD, CBG, CBN and others, are core to hemp and marijuana’s beneficial effects, while terpenes play a vital role in the plant’s entourage effect. A basic understanding of these plant compounds can go a long way when it comes to finding the best product for your needs.

The BDSA report doesn’t surprise us at Leaf411. Our own data show that about 40% of our calls are focused on Plant 101. We sometimes even hear inaccurate information from callers who “heard it from a friend.”

At Leaf411, we hope to be part of the solution. The BDSA report mentioned the need for brands and retailers to improve their educational outreach–we can help! If you’re a hemp CBD or cannabis brand looking to level up your consumer education game, reach out to us or consider joining Leaf411 as a business member which brings benefits for both your brand and your consumers. Click here to learn more.

Young Black woman looking at CBD product label in a retail supplement store.

Using CBD for health and wellness? You’re not alone!

According to BDSA’s report, CBD consumers cite health and wellness as their primary reason for purchasing CBD. When it comes to specific uses, pain relief tops the list, with better sleep, stress management and anxiety management rounding out BDSA’s top four list.

While our Leaf411 caller data cuts across both hemp CBD and cannabis, we can also say that pain tops our list of conditions that callers contact us about, followed by mental health issues including anxiety and stress, and sleep issues. While the order is a bit different from BDSA’s findings, the conclusion is clear–many people are seeking alternatives for relief when it comes to these issues!

Healthy, fit young Black woman running along sea wall, reflecting a healthy lifestyle.

Smoke it? Not when it comes to CBD for most users

BDSA’s Consumer Insights report found that the majority of CBD consumers (around 75%) are using CBD edibles, with CBD topicals coming in second place. Only one-third of consumers report consuming CBD inhalable products including vapes, concentrates and flower.

There may be various reasons for the dominance of this CBD product format: 

  • CBD edibles offer a user-friendly format for new consumers who are familiar with other orally-ingested products like vitamin gummies.
  • CBD edibles are portable and discreet, providing benefits without noticeable smells or smoke.
  • The smokeless format may appeal to consumers’ concerns about respiratory health during the pandemic
  • CBD edibles are shelf-stable and fit with other retail products sold by health foods stores, grocery stores and other general goods stores.
  • CBD edibles are readily available when compared to hemp CBD flower and concentrates which can be difficult to find.

Whether you prefer edibles, topicals or inhalable products, we have fully-vetted business members who offer a wide range of hemp CBD products–visit our business member directory to learn more.

Our fully-licensed Leaf registered nurses (RNs) can also help guide you to the optimal product format for your needs, reducing the need for trial-and-error which saves you both money and time. Click this link to get started scheduling your call. 

Young white woman gesturing “no thanks” with her hand, saying no to smoking hemp CBD.

Assortment of CBD and THC products including Elixinol Omega Turmeric and CBD; KOR Calm CBD sublingual spray; 1906 Love milk chocolate edibles with 5mg THC and 5mg CBD; Wana Quick Pina Colada Gummies with 5mg THC; Altus Juicy Pear Gummies with 10mg THC; trupura Relief Cream with broad spectrum CBD; Seed & Smith Purple Punch strain flower; and a PAX Era Pro used for vaping cannabis oil extracts. 

Many people use both hemp CBD and cannabis

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of CBD consumers also consume cannabis containing higher amounts of THC, according to BDSA’s report. 

At Leaf411, a little over one-third (36%) of our callers report previous use of both cannabis and CBD hemp, a noticeable difference from BDSA’s Consumer Insights data. Keep in mind that the BDSA report is looking at a broad cross-section of consumers (purchases made), while Leaf411’s callers represent consumers (both thinking about a first-time purchase or have already made a purchase) seeking clinical information or guidance around specific issues.

Our Leaf nurses are here to help with your questions about CBD!

Click this link for our online scheduling service and find a day and time for your Leaf nurse guidance call. Every day our Leaf RNs help consumers and patients at all levels, from canna-curious people who’ve never used CBD or THC before, to experienced users looking for the best cannabis options to address specific health concerns. 

Interested in joining Leaf411 as a business member and supporting our mission to improve access to trustworthy information and guidance on plant-based medicine? Visit our Business Membership page to learn the benefits of supporting Leaf411

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Older wellness-focused white man sitting at laptop in his kitchen, staring out window as he thinks about his CBD questions for Leaf411.

Older white man holding stomach and grimacing due to nausea from cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS).

Are You at Risk for Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?

Get answers to questions about cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS), a rare yet concerning issue

Medically reviewed by Katherine Golden, RN, and Eloise Theisen, NP
Written by Denise Rustning

Many people rely on cannabis to help with overall wellness and health, even using cannabis as an alternative to opioids which carry risk of addiction and other unwanted side effects. 

So with that in mind, what’s up with the scary-sounding condition called cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS) that has been popping up in the news over the past year, where cannabis appears to make people sick?

What is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (CHS)?

CHS was officially recognized by medical professionals in 2004. It is a complex, poorly understood medical condition triggered by cannabis use that causes abdominal pain, extreme nausea and vomiting–basically the opposite of what you would expect when using cannabis! 

CHS’s primary symptom is extreme, persistent nausea and vomiting that cannot be traced to a different medical cause, hence the word “hyperemesis.” 

The progression of CHS includes three phases:

  • In the prodromal phase, the patient experiences early morning nausea but does not find relief in hot showers/bathing. 
  • During the hyperemesis stage, vomiting becomes cyclic and is relieved with hot showers and bathing, though the only long-term solution appears to be to completely stop all cannabis use.
  • Recovery starts when the patient stops using THC.

Young Black man experiencing CHS nausea, standing with one hand on stomach, other hand over mouth.

In general, CHS appears in a small number of people after long-term use of marijuana (weekly use over at least a one-year period). Some doctors have also reported seeing the condition in young people who are using a lot of high-THC concentrates, most often “dabbing” the product, even after short-term use. 

One other challenge of diagnosing CHS is that the symptoms are very similar to those of cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS) which is characterized by episodes of severe vomiting that have no apparent cause. CVS is not connected to cannabis use but can present in a similar way. 

Because diagnosing CHS is often a process of elimination, ruling out other medical causes, the costs of diagnosis and care can run into tens of thousands of dollars.

Stack of sticky notes referring to how difficult CHS diagnosis is, with notes saying “Yes,” “No,” “Maybe,” “Don’t know,” and question marks.

Getting too high can make you nauseous – but it’s not CHS if it’s a one-time event

When it comes to cannabinoids like THC, the dose matters. Dr. Russo has discussed how many cannabinoids, including THC, have a biphastic effect. That means THC will do one thing at a low dose, and have the opposite effect at a higher dose. 

For example, THC at a low dose may help with relaxation, but at a higher dose it can cause anxiety. While a low dose of THC often helps reduce feelings of nausea, a higher dose may trigger short-term nausea that goes away as the THC wears off. This short-term nausea from getting too high is different from CHS which is a chronic, long-term condition.

Are you at risk of cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome?

You may be wondering if you’re at risk of developing CHS, especially if you use cannabis regularly as part of your daily wellness routine.

Thanks to the work of Dr. Ethan Russo and others, we do know some factors that appear to influence CHS:

  • There is some evidence that repeatedly using high-dose THC may trigger CHS in some consumers, including newer users. It appears that persistent THC use causes CB1 downregulation and the receptors start to hide within the cells leaving more THC circulating and therefore causing increased side effects. 
  • Researchers have also looked at whether plant pesticides play a role in triggering CHS, zeroing in on NEEM in particular. However, based on a few unique CHS cases where researchers knew pesticides were not present, this hypothesis doesn’t hold water.
  • Dr. Russo and others are looking more closely at genetic differences that may make some people more prone to develop CHS, focusing on specific genes. This promising research is in its early stages.

If you want to learn more, we suggest checking out Project CBD’s interview with Dr. Russo at this link.

Clipboard with “Risk Factor” written on it indicating CHS risk factors, shown beside stethoscope.

Our Leaf nurses can help with your questions about cannabis and CHS

Curious whether your current cannabis use puts you at risk of CHS? We can review your current usage and goals and provide information based on the latest research.

A pattern our Leaf nurses have seen when talking to callers across the country is that most callers know something is very wrong but they’re in denial about the severity of their condition and delayed asking for guidance due to the fear that they would be told they needed to abstain from cannabis use. So what is the solution? When it comes to CHS, we believe that wide-scale education regarding the warning signs may help consumers avoid crossing that threshold into CHS.

At Leaf411, we hear from people every day whose lives have been improved with plant-based medicine. Our fully-licensed, cannabis-trained registered nurses also regularly review the research on cannabis’s therapeutic potential. 

Our Leaf nurses are also honest about the fact that cannabis may not be the best option for everyone and that in some instances, it may even be contraindicated, which means that we would advise against using cannabis in those cases.

We are happy to help with your questions about CHS or any other questions about cannabis and hemp. We provide unbiased, nonjudgmental guidance tailored to your specific situation. 

Live in a state where marijuana is illegal? We can provide guidance on hemp-based options. 

Visit our homepage and click on the “Let’s Talk” button to get started scheduling your Leaf411 guidance call.

The Leaf411 cannabis nurse hotline provides education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. We partner with select business members who meet our rigorous standards to extend our education and outreach efforts.

Keyboard key labeled “medical help” with green cross indicating medical marijuana/cannabis/hemp guidance.