It was like someone snapped their fingers and suddenly, the world was coated in CBD.
Even though things may not have happened at quite that speed, the truth isn’t far behind. In just a scant few years, CBD has gone from being a meaningless trio of letters to a profitable market that BDS Analytics and Arcview Market Research projects will surpass $20 billion in U.S. sales by 2024. With CBD encumbered by far fewer restrictions than THC, it’s no surprise the celebrity endorsements have begun to arrive.
To be certain, these endorsements are not always the straight-forward “pay me to say I like this product” arrangement that has a Kardashian sharing Pepsis with police officers or Travis Scott putting his signature on the McDonald’s Happy Meal (for real).
In the case of domestic how-to expert Martha Stewart, for example, her forthcoming line of CBD products is both a professional and personal endeavor. Recently profiled in the New York Times, Stewart shared that she now takes dozens of CBD-infused treats a day.
“I pop 20 of them and just feel OK” she explained, “but some of my friends do two and feel high, I don’t know why. It’s not high like a marijuana high. It’s a CBD high, like, relaxed.”
In terms of what Stewart is planning to bring to market, her collaboration with Canadian company Canopy Growth will include the pâte de fruit gummies she now regularly consumes.
In searching for the cultural opposite of Martha Stewart – she of scented-candles, homemade holiday decorations, and family tradition fame – one can perhaps do no better than Hugh Hefner’s infamous Playboy. As a business, Playboy has been around for 66 years. Now, just shy of the centerfold-featuring publication’s 70th birthday, they’ve announced a line of CBD products intended for use in the bedroom.
As reported by AdAge, Playboy’s Pleasure for All e-commerce wellness website is currently offering three CBD products for purchase. They include an arousal spray ($45), an intimacy warming gel ($47), and a bath bomb ($15).
Citing research that’s found that CBD, in conjunction with a healthy sex life, can help “combat a number of ailments like stress and anxiety,” the outlet explains how Playboy’s trio of CBD products “are intended to fix what the company calls an ‘orgasm gap.’ Playboy points to a 2016 study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior that found that while 95 percent of heterosexual men reported that they usually or always orgasm during sex, only 65 percent of heterosexual women reported they do.”
While this doesn’t inherently mean these products are intended solely for women’s arousal, the aesthetics of Playboy’s marketing and stated intent both suggest the suits behind the idea see sales predominantly skewing in that direction. Together with the new line coming from Martha Stewart, it is possible to see a remarkable symmetry in how these two, arguably diametrically opposed manifestations of mainstream culture, are both pivoting to CBD at the same time and in a similar manner.
Be it gummies or bath bombs, the goal is one in the same: associated a legacy brand with the newfangled promise of CBD. The issue with the stampede to sign-off on CBD is that it creates an often-overwhelming landscape for shoppers to navigate. Guides to CBD and other resources available at this very source are immensely helpful, but for those unaware or unable to access such assets, how is one to choose?
For some, the familiar sight of Martha Stewart or the globally-recognized Playboy bunny logo are all that they’ll have to go on. If so, it will be important to watch what happens with these ventures. Will they succeed? Assuming they do, the real question is whether that success will be borne on the strength of their products or rely instead primarily on their recognizability?
It’s not impossible for both things to be true, and that’s certainly an outcome to consider as well. Until that happens, however, the embrace of CBD by the mainstream should be seen as both a victory and a reminder that, pending a more authoritative position on the part of the federal government, it will be the scrutiny and spending of consumers that ultimately determines who thrives and fails.