Photo courtesy of Seabedee LLC.
Seabedee’s top sellers are the full spectrum tincture and calming blend, the Sour Neon CBD gummies and the CBD infused peach rings.

Photo courtesy of Seabedee LLC. Seabedee’s top sellers are the full spectrum tincture and calming blend, the Sour Neon CBD gummies and the CBD infused peach rings.

According to market analysts, the CBD industry in the United States generated sales of roughly $5 billion in 2019. Projections estimate CBD sales will surpass $20 billion in the U.S. by 2024.

But, as shelter-at-home orders continue throughout the state of California and most of the country, data indicates San Diegans and other Americans are turning more and more to CBD and CBD products for self-care and anxiety relief right now – due to COVID-19.

With consumers focusing more closely on health, wellness and boosting their immune systems as well as combating the potential effects of being quarantined, including insomnia and depression, CBD companies and dispensaries, including some right here in S.D.’s backyard, are reporting a rapid uptick in sales.

A Spike in Business

For Torrey Holistics, based in Sorrento Valley and with 60 employees, the spike in CBD-infused products, like flour and edibles, happened the first few days following the lockdown. Kalina Fernandez, purchasing manager, compared it to the toilet paper hoarding that also took place as a result of the pandemic.

“It wasn’t just of CBD,” she said, “it was of 1:1 ratio CBD to THC, meaning equal parts of each. It’s known to combat anxiety and it is anti-inflammatory, among other benefits.”

Tony Hall, founder of Torrey Holistics, concurs.

“We believe that customers purchased more products during the first day of the shutdown not knowing if Torrey Holistics would be considered an essential business and stay open,” he said. “They wanted to ensure they had the products they needed during these uncertain times.”

Tinctures and Edibles

Peter Stadniuk and Paul Clotar, co-founders of La Jolla-headquartered Seabedee LLC, a CBD products company, said it has seen an increase of 75% in online CBD sales over the last month. Its top sellers are the full spectrum tincture and calming blend, the Sour Neon CBD gummies and the CBD infused peach rings, Stadniuk said. And, as of late, the CBD Infused Hand Sanitizer has also been selling well, he added.

Clotar believes CBD sales have grown since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic because it is a natural approach to wellness.

“I think sales have sky-rocketed since COVID-19 because everyone is stuck at home and because people are looking for natural remedies, specifically to help with anxiety,” he said. “Right now, CBD is being prescribed by pretty much every single news syndicate to help people relax.”

Opioid Addiction

According to reports, some of the health and wellness claims of CBD include helping with headaches, aching joints, anxiety and skin conditions as well as relaxing and rejuvenating the body. More recently, it is also believed CBD may help with opioid addiction and withdrawals, Stadniuk said.

In line with reported self-care trends in the overall CBD industry, Seabedee, which recently released its CBD “Bark Bites” Pet Treats, will launch a CBD-infused skincare line later this year, the co-founders said. The company is projected to grow its revenue from $500,000 in 2019 to roughly $3 million in 2020, said Stadniuk.

Sales Increased by Double Digits

Ian Eckstein, editor-in-chief of San Diego-based The CBD Insider, a resource for CBD news, said while there is a lack of public sales data for the CBD industry, the company’s research indicates that overall CBD sales have increased by double digits since the start of the pandemic. In fact, he said traffic to The CBD Insider has increased by 26%, with e-commerce sales of CBD through the site’s “Trusted Brands” list generated by referral clicks increasing by 65%.

“With most of the nation sheltering-in-place, e-commerce sales are replacing a significant percentage of brick and mortar retail sales,” he said, “which likely accounts for some, but not all, of the 65% increase.”

March and Ash, a dispensary headquartered in Mission Valley and with additional locations in Imperial Valley and Vista, said since mid-March, the company has seen a growth of 40% in CBD sales across the three stores.

Existing Customers

Spencer Andrews, its public affairs director, said he wouldn’t attribute the increase in CBD sales to new users, but more so existing customers that are ramping up their in-home supply during the lockdown.

“People that haven’t necessarily used before – I wouldn’t attribute the increase in sales on those folks. More so, to existing users who may be looking for an alternative way to intake cannabis,” he said, adding that tinctures of varying CBD and THC ratios have been rapidly selling at March and Ash, as well as edibles. “Throughout this whole crisis, we’ve been able to see a trend and pattern in consumer behavior and have seen an increase in CBD sales and wellness products in general, whether that is for products with sedative properties that allow you to sleep better or straight CBD products.”

The reason for this is twofold, Spencer said.

Non-Inhalable CBD Products Preferred

First, people have found a lot of benefit in using CBD products to help with anxiety and insomnia, he said. Secondly, because of connections between COVID-19 deaths and pre-existing respiratory conditions such as asthma, a lot of users are more hesitant to inhale cannabis. So, more people are gravitating toward non-inhalable products, like CBD tinctures and edibles, instead, he said.

39% to Use More CBD

According to the research company Brightfield Group, as per a survey conducted in mid-March, 39% of CBD consumers indicated they expected to use more CBD during the coronavirus crisis. Specifically, 49% of Millennials and Gen Z planned to use more CBD in the weeks and months to come.

“There is no question that with much of the country recommending to shelter-at-home and a pandemic sweeping the globe, anxiety levels are skyrocketing,” reads the report, adding that anxiety is the No. 1 ailment reported by CBD users, with depression coming in at No. 3 and insomnia at No. 4. “Interestingly, when we analyzed social media posts involving CBD and the coronavirus, we found that the most common topic people were discussing was self-care. With so much of the country in quarantine right now, many are turning to self-care indulgences to keep themselves sane and even just pass the time, which is likely to help boost some CBD self-care products during quarantine time.”