Which CBD Product Types Do Today’s Shoppers Prefer?

Shopper preferences for CBD products are shifting. At the same time, average Americans are increasingly positive about CBD, and more than half of the country has now tried the cannabinoid.

What does this all mean for those of us focused on formulating the best, most successful CBD products on the market? Find out as we unpack a recent Forbes Health survey that provided unprecedented insight into the factors that make shoppers and CBD products come together.

The Forbes Health CBD survey: Key findings

Published in April 2022, a detailed survey in Forbes Health¹ showed just how far consumer sentiment in the United States has shifted in favor of CBD. Less than a decade ago, fewer than a third of Americans had tried CBD, but according to Forbes, the percentage of American adults who have used the cannabinoid is now in the majority: 60%.

The majority of Americans also believe CBD is safer than alcohol, but a third of adults still don’t know the differences between basic types of CBD products.

Below, we’ll break down the most important findings of the Forbes Health survey by category.

CBD gummies, capsules, and oils are the most popular

First, let’s take a look at the findings most relevant to our current inquiry: the types of CBD products that shoppers currently use. Forbes broke their survey results into the percentage of respondents who currently use each product type — multiple product types could be selected at once. The findings were as follows:

– Gummies & edibles: 58%

– Capsules: 55%

– Tinctures: 55%

– Lotions: 53%

– Other topicals: 42%

– Vapes: 32%

– Flower: 16%

Shooting past CBD oils to take first place are CBD gummies, a shift everyone with a stake in the industry should note immediately. Americans now prefer CBD gummies over all other CBD products.

More than half of the respondents who use CBD use lotions, which seems surprisingly high. Serums, balms, and other alternative topicals are also becoming increasingly popular — in fact, they’re nearly as popular as CBD tinctures.

Almost a third of American CBD users now use CBD vapes, a trend that has emerged unexpectedly. Plus, another 16% use CBD flower, making it important to track these product categories carefully going forward.

64% of Americans think CBD is safer than alcohol

What’s behind this sudden embrace of practically every CBD product category imaginable? Partially responsible is the fact that the American hive mind has completed its considerations, and it has determined CBD to be safe and desirable in most ways.

The majority (bordering on “most”) of Americans now believe CBD is safer than alcohol. With 64% of Americans now starting to recognize the impressive safety benefits of CBD, it’s clear that the current scope of the industry is only the beginning. The true growth potential of the CBD industry is only held back, at this point, by a lack of knowledge — an impediment that is about to be washed away.

60% of American adults have tried CBD

It has finally happened — the majority of Americans have used CBD. Some liked it, others loved it, and still others weren’t so sure. What’s incontrovertible, however, is that CBD has penetrated all the way to the heart of America, and it hasn’t found much resistance along the way.

What is there to resist, after all? CBD has few — if any² — serious side effects, and it can be offered in a way in which any associations with THC are entirely erased. Liberated from stigma and misconception, CBD becomes what it is — a remarkably effective natural compound with an impressive safety profile and low production cost.

CBD education remains minimal

Some Americans still don’t have much to judge CBD on. According to the Forbes Health survey, 33% of respondents flat-out don’t know the difference between isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum CBD. Another 23% weren’t sure, making only 43% of respondents certain they knew the difference.

Knowing what makes isolate CBD different from broad-spectrum isn’t a deal-breaker by any means. Having an idea of how much shoppers know regarding this single facet of the CBD industry, however, helps us better understand the general status of CBD education across all subjects. In short, CBD ambassadors haven’t done a great job explaining to the general public what the different kinds of CBD products are and what they do.

Further implications

That’s not all the Forbes Health survey had to say, and we have some thoughts of our own to add as well. What does this sea change in the CBD industry mean in wider contexts? Let’s explore.

CBD is now remarkably popular and widespread

Take a moment, and let it sink in that the majority of Americans have now tried CBD. For those of us who have been involved in the industry from the very beginning, it sometimes seemed like this day would never come. We can look back now, though, and understand how we got here to predict where we’re going.

First, why is CBD now so popular? Because the reasons for using it have changed. CBD first entered the public awareness in the context of childhood epilepsy, and the focus then quickly shifted to chronic pain in adults. Now, there has been another shift — a much more important one.

People are using CBD primarily to relax (62%).

In regards to percentages, very few members of the population suffer from childhood epilepsy. More have chronic pain concerns, but not a plurality.

Every single person in the United States (and beyond, for that matter) likes to relax. Many of them specifically like to get just relaxed enough to not worry and feel better but not so relaxed that they feel high. In that way, CBD is a nearly perfect solution, and the average American has caught wind.

Quality will become increasingly important as education spreads

Primarily because people have sorted through the misguided marketing material sufficiently to realize CBD is relaxing even if you aren’t in pain, interest in the cannabinoid has recently caught on like wildfire. With mainstream interest, though, come mainstream critiques, making product quality an increasing priority for every ethical CBD company.

As we’ve mentioned, less than half of CBD shoppers are certain they know the difference between common types of CBD extracts. This particular facet of uncertainty is intimately tied to another: shopper perceptions of the danger of failing a drug test after using CBD.

Even as recently as 2022, 46% of Americans believed that using CBD could cause a positive drug test, a concern that — albeit rooted in valid science — is not relevant to most people who use CBD. As industry professionals know, only full-spectrum CBD has any chance of causing a positive drug test, and even then, you usually have to use quite a lot.

Average shoppers have very little to fear from drug testing after using CBD products. The occasional false positive does occur, but not to the extent that nearly half of Americans are justified in their worry that CBD might make them test positive for THC.

Speaking of testing, though, it will come out sooner or later that only 7% of CBD companies properly test their products for potency and contaminants. When the wall of ignorance breaks and that day inevitably comes, only those companies that offer genuinely high-quality, fully-tested products will see the other side.

There is plenty of room to add more cannabinoids

Social acceptability plays a massive role in shopping habits. Consumers will adopt new trends if they seem socially acceptable, and they’ll overlook the genuine merits of others if they’re deemed unacceptable.

To that end, it’s interesting to find out how Americans feel about the relative social acceptability of using the two most famous cannabinoids: CBD and THC. In the Forbes Health survey, 45% of respondents indicated that they felt CBD was socially acceptable to use but that THC isn’t. Comparatively, only 16% approved of using both CBD and THC.

For those with any understanding of the history of the CBD industry, this might come as something of a shock. CBD originally gained popularity exclusively among those who had some degree of openness to Cannabis sativa in general. As these data show, however, the core of the CBD shopper base has moved to those who approve of CBD but not THC.

What about cannabinoids that aren’t either CBD or THC, though? In the case of cannabinoids that are like CBD, the Forbes Health data show that consumers will be open-minded. They’ve accepted CBD already, after all, and they’re curious about what else the hemp plant has to offer.

The bottom line: How to offer CBD products shoppers want

Nobody seemingly steered the situation this way, but American shoppers now seem to equate CBD with their evening beer, albeit healthier. Sure, CBD is still used for pain, and it’s used for a lot of other purposes too. What all those purposes lack, though, is universality. Everyone needs to relax, and CBD seemingly gets the job done with practically zero drawbacks.

As long as it’s in the same line of relaxing, trustworthy CBD, shoppers will be eager to try whatever products you create. Cannabigerol (CBG) and cannabinol (CBN) are prime targets — especially CBN given its recent explosive growth trajectory and inherent associations with relaxation, the new prime driver of CBD sales.

Don’t make the mistake of believing everything associated with hemp will be accepted with the same enthusiasm, though. CBD users like the cannabinoid because of what it does, not because of what it is.

CBD shopper preferences FAQ

Learn more about how CBD shopping habits are developing below:

1. What are the most popular CBD products on the market?

Right now, the three most popular types of CBD products are gummies, capsules, and tinctures. These have remained the top 3 CBD product types for quite some time, but it’s only recently that gummies and edibles have overtaken tinctures to reach the number-one slot.

2. What are the 3 types of CBD?

The three major types of CBD extracts are isolate, broad-spectrum, and full-spectrum. As the name implies, isolate features isolated CBD — nothing else. Full-spectrum CBD, on the other hand, retains all the beneficial compounds present in CBD-rich hemp flower. Broad-spectrum does the same but removes any traces of THC — sometimes to the detriments of the natural, aromatic terpenes that emerge in Cannabis sativa during flowering.

3. What is the best CBD type?

Most users agree that broad-spectrum CBD is the best type of extract since it offers the best of both worlds. On the one hand, there is no THC, entirely eliminating any potential of failing a drug test. On the other, all the cannabinoids and terpenes present in full-spectrum extract are still there — provided that your broad-spectrum CBD was produced by a competent extractor, that is. However, there is no factual “best” type of CBD, just preference.


1. Hall, A. (2022, April 21). Survey: 64% Of U.S. Adults Think CBD Is Safer Than Alcohol, Despite Legality Concerns. Forbes Health. https://www.forbes.com/health/body/2022-cbd-survey/

2. Larsen, C. P., & Shahinas, J. (2020). Dosage, Efficacy and Safety of Cannabidiol Administration in Adults: A Systematic Review of Human Trials. Journal of Clinical Medicine Research, 12(3), 129–141. https://doi.org/10.14740/jocmr4090

US Cannabinoid Product Mislabeling Remains a Major Concern

Hemp is an incredibly complex plant. One of its myriad functions is to remediate soil by removing toxins. These toxins then remain in the hemp plant, though, where they can be unwittingly ingested.

That’s only one of the problems related to mislabeling that are rampant within the modern hemp industry. Shoppers understandably want to know what is in their CBD products, but since the federal government doesn’t compel them to, many CBD brands don’t provide genuine information.

According to recent Leafreport data, over half of CBD products remain mislabeled. Find out what that means and how to avoid mislabeled products in this guide.

Overview of the issue

CBD may seem mainstream now, but it still exists within an entirely unique legal and regulatory environment. Let’s summarize CBD’s regulatory status in bullet points:

  • The 1971 Controlled Substances Act made CBD illegal since it is part of Cannabis sativa.
  • The 2014 Farm Bill provided for legal CBD under very specific circumstances, inadvertently opening a legal loophole that founded the online CBD industry.
  • The 2018 Farm Bill expanded on previous legislation to allow widespread hemp cultivation and commerce in the United States — provided that CBD products contain less than 0.3%.
  • Federal law does not require that CBD products be tested before they reach the market.
  • Individual brands can either choose to properly test their products or not, leading to serious quality control concerns.

The latest Leafreport data

Now, we’ll turn to Leafreport to provide more data on CBD product testing in the United States. According to a document entitled “CBD Market Report: Over Half of CBD Products Are Mislabeled¹,” CBD mislabeling remains rampant in the United States.

Out of the 221 products that Leafreport tested, only 40% actually contained the amount of CBD listed. Quite a few products also contained isolate CBD when they were listed as full-spectrum or otherwise contained a different type of CBD than what was listed on their labels.

Only 88 of the 221 CBD products tested earned an overall “A” grade for testing. 50 products (22%) earned a “B” grade, and 10% (21) earned a “C” grade.

What’s truly shocking, though, is the number of tested CBD products that utterly failed to match their stated potency. Leafreport discovered 62 products that were deserving of an “F” grade — 28%.

Let’s take a closer look at the most important findings Leafreport included:

  • 60% of CBD products tested were at least 10% off from their stated potency
  • The average CBD product was 25% off from its stated potency
  • Beverages were the most egregiously labeled — only 18% listed correct potency, and two products did not actually contain any CBD
  • 44% of products labeled as broad or full-spectrum actually contained isolate CBD

After providing the raw statistics, Leafreport turned to experts in the field for their opinions. One expert noted that, when it comes to CBD, “there is no reason for a consumer to purchase a product that has not been tested.” Another chimed in that the problem with CBD testing is “made worse by businesses that don’t follow basic aspects of quality control.” A third expert hoped to see “more accuracy and regulation around testing practices and product labeling” as the industry evolves.

Those who are in a position to know appear to agree that inaccurate labeling is one of the biggest safety and credibility concerns facing the CBD industry. Brands that want to succeed as CBD industry professionals would do well to place a heavy emphasis on proper transparency and testing. 

Why cannabinoid product mislabeling matters

All too often in the CBD industry, there is a sense of unearned entitlement. Why should we have to prove to customers that our products are safe? We worked so hard to make them, after all.

Shoppers aren’t satisfied with a simple “trust us,” however. They’re used to the types of ironclad assurances issued by agencies like the FDA, confirming to consumers that substances are safe or desirable to use.

Since the FDA doesn’t opine on CBD product safety yet, it’s incumbent upon CBD producers to fill the assurance gap. It is the responsibility of CBD companies to make shoppers feel safe buying their products — it isn’t the responsibility of CBD users to test products for safety themselves.

The longer that cannabinoid products continue to be mislabeled, the more educated consumers will look down on the CBD industry as untrustworthy or unprofessional. If CBD producers take Leafreport’s results and use them to offer better transparency and labeling accuracy, they’ll both succeed personally and make the entire CBD industry look good at the same time.

Reliable products gain shopper trust

The CBD industry has endured considerable growing pains, but it has now gained nearly the same legitimacy as any other large natural health industry. Commanding the same degree of respect as melatonin or arnica, CBD is nonetheless hampered by a unique detractor — regulation, and testing.

Not only does a lack of proper testing lead to deceptive business practices, but it also keeps CBD producers from knowing enough about their products to ensure they provide reliable results. As a result, CBD products can sometimes disappoint shoppers when used multiple times over an extended period — batch quality can vary even if the same lab tests are provided for multiple batches.

Some savvy cannabinoid shoppers are coming to understand the importance of batch-specific testing, underlining how essential it has now become to modernize and transparentize the CBD industry. CBD has proved its lasting influence among the American people, but they’ll eventually be turned away in disgust if the industry doesn’t become accountable for shoddy labeling practices.

How to use mislabeling to your advantage

As shoppers become more aware of the dangers of mislabeled cannabinoid products, companies that consistently label their products accurately will be viewed in a progressively better light. If you’re confident that your products are properly tested and labeled, don’t be afraid to tell shoppers so.

This is one of the areas in which the advantages of working with a CBD white labeler become even more clear. Since they manage larger operations with better equipment, it’s easier for white labelers to accurately test their CBD products. Cannabinoid products that you buy from a CBD private labeler arrive fully tested and ready for sale, providing your customers with unparalleled assurance at no extra cost to you.

In general, we should promote proper, accurate labeling throughout the CBD industry. As long as companies continue to give CBD a bad name with products that don’t match up to their reputation, though, there’s no harm in simply providing shoppers with a better option.

Cannabinoid product mislabeling FAQ

Learn more about the details and dangers of cannabinoid product mislabeling below:

1. How many CBD products are mislabeled?

According to recent data from Leafreport we’ve commented on previously, only 7% of CBD companies properly test for contaminants, and only 40% of CBD products match their labeled potency. Overall, it’s safe to say that the majority of CBD products are either untested, mislabeled, or both — posing significant concerns for shoppers.

2. How accurate are CBD labels?

On average, CBD labels are not particularly accurate. In some cases, consulting lab reports provided by the brand can be helpful, but these reports can be falsified or inaccurate. The most surefire way to confirm the accuracy of a CBD product label is to have the product tested by an independent lab and to buy your products from a reputable brand who works with industry leading manufacturers, like GVB.

3. What are the labeling requirements for CBD products?

There are no federal labeling requirements for CBD products, and most states also do not impose labeling requirements for CBD products sold within their borders. The only “requirement” that CBD companies have to test their products is their reputation — educated shoppers will only trust CBD companies that test their products, and shoppers are becoming more educated on CBD all the time.

4. Do you need FDA approval to sell CBD?

No, FDA approval is not required to sell CBD products. The vast majority of CBD products, in fact, are not even eligible for FDA approval. As a result, approval from this federal organization is not the type of credential you should be looking for when determining the safety of CBD products.

5. Is there an FDA warning about CBD?

The FDA has issued numerous warnings to CBD products for mislabeling their products or making illegal claims. This federal agency has not issued any warnings to consumers, however, specifically regarding any potential dangers posed by CBD.

6. How do you know if CBD is real?

One of the best ways to determine if a CBD product is genuine is to check the lab report for the specific product in question. You’ll need to make sure that the report is for the product’s unique batch and that it was issued by a credible lab.

If you still have concerns about the authenticity of a CBD product, you may want to bring it to a lab for further testing yourself. You can avoid all the hassle, though, simply by sourcing your CBD from a reliable, large private labeling company.


1. Oleinik, G. (2022). CBD Market Report: Over Half of CBD Products Are Mislabeled. www.leafreport.com. https://www.leafreport.com/education/cbd-market-report-over-half-of-cbd-products-are-mislabeled-15084


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