A lot of the hype surrounding marijuana is about the adult-use market and products that are high in tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). But cannabidiol (CBD) keeps growing in popularity, and as more studies come out about what it has the potential to treat, the possibilities for that market segment continue to expand. The latest estimates from Arcview Market Research and BDS Analytics have the total CBD market in the U.S. reaching $20 billion by 2024.

What might surprise investors is how that market is expected to be split. Pharmacy sales are forecast to make up only $2.2 billion of that total, while dispensary sales are projected to be $5.3 billion. The bulk of CBD sales is expected to come from general retail -- a total of $12.6 billion. 

One of the assumptions in that growth figure is that CBD becomes accepted as a food additive or supplement -- presuming that issues with the Food and Drug Administration are resolved.

What's included in the retail market?

Health and wellness is a big part of what's growing the CBD industry. Whether in creams, oils, or even infused water, CBD is finding its way into many products that people use every day. The big advantage that CBD has over THC is that it doesn't give users a high, so it's a lot easier to subtly add to a product. CEO Troy Dayton of Arcview said: "Unlike with alcohol, coffee, or other plant-sourced consumables, cannabis product marketers have more than taste and strength to work with. They also have the subtle effects of 100-plus cannabinoids other than THC."

hemp cannabis oil

Image source: Getty Images.

Adding CBD to a product can make it more appealing to health-conscious consumers. While more research is needed to determine just how effective it is, that hasn't stopped consumers from wanting to buy products that contain it. In 2018, CBD product sales, which included hemp products, were $238 million. While that's still fairly small, sales were up 57% from the prior year. Researchers still expect a lot more growth from CBD for the foreseeable future.

What does this mean for investors?

While there is no shortage of marijuana stocks that could be good investments, this is an important reminder not to neglect the potential of the CBD market, especially those companies focused on that segment. Green Growth Brands (OTC:GGBXF) has been making a lot of headway into the retail portion of the market and could be poised to benefit from a lot of that growth. Using partnerships with key retailers and a growing presence in shopping malls across the U.S., Green Growth has made retail a key part of its strategy, with its Seventh Sense retail brand being a core part of that.

The stock could be an attractive opportunity for investors who want to take advantage of the strong retail growth that's expected for CBD products, especially since it is well-positioned in high-traffic areas.