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Survey: 58% of Americans Don't Know the Difference Between CBD, THC, and Marijuana

By Rich Duprey - Updated Apr 8, 2021 at 12:52PM

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It matters because ignorance is not bliss when it comes to creating broad market acceptance.

For most people following the cannabis space, the differences among cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), and marijuana are clear. But the vast majority of Americans are not familiar with the differences, and that ignorance makes the broader acceptance of CBD products in the marketplace more difficult, according to a survey released this month.

Data from Invisibly's Realtime Research survey of 1,087 people shows 58% of respondents didn't know the difference between CBD and THC-containing products such as marijuana.

While it's right to assume that people who don't use CBD or marijuana don't realize there is a difference between the psychoactive compound THC and the non-psychoactive CBD (68% of such people were unaware, the survey showed), what's more surprising is that less than two-thirds of those who had consumed CBD understood there was a difference between the compounds.

Green beverages with marijuana leaves

Image source: Getty Images.

That means 36% of those taking CBD didn't know they were ingesting something very different from THC-containing marijuana. It suggests many people may be taking CBD products thinking the effects would be similar to marijuana.

It may also be why many won't try CBD products to begin with. Some 53% of respondents who had not tried CBD say they will not use it for any reason.

Although non-users are in the majority, Invisibly says the survey found people across the board are considering CBD products, though women are the ones who use them more, by over 2 to 1.

As more CBD products enter the market, resistance to usage could fall. Canopy Growth (CGC -6.16%) and HEXO (HEXO -8.41%), for example, have extensive lines of beverages available in Canada, while Charlotte's Web (CWBHF -10.13%) is the No. 1 wholesaler of CBD in North America with a broad range of edibles, gummies, topicals, tinctures, and more. 

Invisibly also found relief from stress, anxiety, and pain were the main reasons for CBD use.

Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Charlotte's Web Holdings. The Motley Fool recommends HEXO Corp.. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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