CBD popularity cannabis study international

Will Low-THC Cannabis Be The Next Big Trend in Cannabis?

For many decades THC was the most popular and well-known cannabinoid.

That has changed in recent years to some extent.

THC is still very popular, however, other cannabinoids have seen their popularity increase recently, with CBD seeing the most dramatic increase in popularity and awareness.

Google search trends show that CBD is queried more often than THC, and that has been the case for a few years now.

Interest in CBD is clearly on the rise, but what about actual use? 

Will CBD products, often referred to as ‘low-THC’ products, ever eclipse THC in terms of actual popularity among consumers and patients?

More Favorable Laws

Most internationally available low-THC products are derived from hemp, and the laws and regulations for hemp are typically more favorable in many countries compared to non-hemp varieties of cannabis.

Switzerland is a great example of that.

Low-THC cannabis, sometimes referred to as ‘floral hemp’ is extremely popular in Switzerland right now and widely available to be legally purchased by adults.

As long as cannabis products have less than 1% THC in them they are legal in Switzerland while higher THC products remain prohibited for recreational use.

Not every country has a cannabis law similar to Switzerland’s from an adult-use standpoint, but a growing list of them do for medical use. 

A country is far more likely to approve a low-THC medical cannabis law than a high-THC recreational law as history has shown and that has an impact on consumer popularity.

Low-THC Is Easier to Cultivate

Cannabis strains that are high in THC are less common in nature compared to strains that are lower in THC.

To get a plant to yield large amounts of THC takes the right environment and ecosystem.

Compare that to low-THC hemp which will grow just about anywhere that isn’t too hot or cold.

Low-THC products will be easier to get to international marketplaces because they can be locally sourced from massive fields nearby (if they exist, of course).

Since low-THC varieties of cannabis are easier to cultivate compared to high-THC varieties, their availability will be more widespread which in turn will boost popularity among consumers.

Associated With Reduced Use Of Prescription Drugs

Increased availability of low-THC cannabis products is not only good for cannabis consumers and patients, it’s also good for the rest of society.

A recent study found that increased availability of low-THC products is associated with a reduction in the use of pharmaceutical drugs, and that benefits everyone indirectly via a reduction in health-related public entitlement costs.

Researchers in Italy recently examined data regarding low-THC product availability and the use of sedatives and anxiolytics.

“Local availability of light cannabis [low-THC, CBD-based products] led to a significant decrease in the number of dispensed boxes of anxiolytics by approximately 11.5 percent, a reduction of dispensed sedatives by 10 percent and a reduction of dispensed anti-psychotics by 4.8 percent,” researchers concluded.


  • Johnny Green is the Media and Content Director for the International Cannabis Business Conference and has blogged about cannabis since January 2010.

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