Europeans Increasingly Incorporating CBD in Relief of Medical Conditions

By Noah Tomares, Research Analyst, New Frontier Data

A survey of European consumers of CBD details how they are opting to use CBD as a health supplement to help relieve their medical conditions while not replacing their prescriptions.

The New Frontier Data 2019-2020 European CBD Survey included feedback from 3,101 respondents in 17 countries across Europe. The largest populations within the sample were drawn from the U.K., France, and Germany (13% apiece), followed by Italy and Spain (10%). Slightly more than half of the sample population were between 18 and 44 years old (52%), with roughly a third (30%) aged 55 or older. The overall age range was 18 to 98. The respondents’ gender skewed male (53% male and 46% female, with 1% described as other or unspecified).

Survey participants were asked whether they had any medical conditions, and if so whether they used CBD as a treatment. Among participants indicating having Alzheimer’s, 60% reported using CBD to manage their illness; among respondents with ALS, 58% reportedly used CBD. For respondents using CBD as a medical intervention, 76% reported that it improved their medical condition. However, the overwhelming majority (87%) indicated that CBD did not displace any of their medications.

The feedback suggests that CBD is being deployed as a supplement to treatment but not as a substitute for traditional medical interventions.

European consumers also reported using CBD to treat a range of common health ailments including body aches (cited by 31%), insomnia (30%), headaches (24%), and joint pain (23%). Again, an overwhelming majority (83%) claimed that they saw some improvement in their ailments through their use of CBD, with 42% reporting having replaced at least some of their use of over-the-counter (OTC) medications with CBD. The higher rate at which consumers replace OTC treatments with CBD products suggests that further expansion of the CBD market will have far greater impact for cannibalization in the general wellness market than in the pharmaceutical market, where it likelier to be used in addition to, not instead of, prescribed medications.

Notably, only 2% of consumers reported negative effects from their CBD use, and less than 1% reported any severely adverse effects. The low-risk profile implied by the limited number of negative health impact stories from CBD may lower the barrier to trial and further adoption of diverse CBD products as they become available.