Industry Partners

CBD’s 2020 Winners and Losers

Brightfield Group breaks down the category and looks ahead
Photograph: Shutterstock

What’s next for the CBD category in 2021? The newly released 2020 Cannabis Innovations Report from CBD and cannabis data provider Brightfield Group said look to states such as Arizona, Montana and New Jersey, which legalized adult-use cannabis in the November elections. Meanwhile, medical cannabis was legalized in Mississippi, and South Dakota legalized both adult-use and medical cannabis in November as well.

The more mature West Coast markets in California and Nevada can spread their wings in Arizona, Brightfield said, joining the numerous brands already in operation that serve the medical market in the state.

And while the Brightfield report highlights last year’s winning categories in CBD, including candy, cartridges/pods, resin/rosin, disposable pens and baked goods, it also looks at three categories that didn’t fare as well as expected. Namely, drinks, bud, tinctures and topicals.

Drinks Disappoint

“Cannabis drinks have yet to find their niche in the market,” Brightfield said. Despite all eyes on CBD drinks, the category “didn’t deliver” the way the industry had hoped, according to Brightfield, adding that for heavy cannabis users, drinks weren’t cost effective, and occasional users didn’t flex enough purchase power for the category to scale.

Bud Loses Shelf Space

While bud had been the top-distributed product type, it moved to the No. 2 spot in terms of shelf space in 2020, Brightfield reports. But make no mistake, bud is still very popular. As bud was the first product to enter the marketplace, its slip in the rankings may be the result of greater demand for product diversity on shelves, Brightfield said.

Tinctures and Topicals

Perhaps suffering from a more “clinical” vibe than cannabis bud, vapes and candy, tinctures and topicals “have yet to crack the code in attracting cannabis users to these interesting product types,” Brightfield said.


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