Interest in CBD is falling while delta-8 and delta-9 THC products remain popular.
According to research from PanXchange, the 2022 hemp harvest in the U.S. will fall by half: from 36,925 acres in 2021 to 20,000 acres in 2022.
The flower harvest (used for CBD and other cannabinoid products) will account for 6,400 to 6,800 acres, while the fiber harvest for 8,200 to 9,100 acres, and grain (hemp seed) 4,800 to 5,000 acres. These figures show a decline of 46% from the 2021 numbers reported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS).
Much of the decline has to do with reduced interest in CBD products, with many producers switching their focus to hemp-derived THC. In fact, the report shows that 75% of the hemp extract being made is going toward the production of delta-8 and delta-9 THC products. This synthetic process involves turning the hemp-derived CBD into an (arguably) legal form of THC.
Seth Boone, Vice President for Business Development at PanXchange stated, “Poor conditions and contract prices have resulted in poor follow-through. Grain had the most success for repeat acreage with experienced growers but struggled to find new growers in many areas.”
Truly, this decline started in 2019 when U.S. farmers were cultivating 500,000 acres but ended up only harvesting 120,000 as the CBD market crash occurred. The CBD biomass price has since plunged by 90%.
But reduced interest in CBD isn’t the only reason for the reduction. The hemp farming sector has also had a challenging time in 2022 due to droughts and heatwaves.
And while many have touted the potential of hemp fiber, the PanXchange clearly shows that by the end of 2022, the 9,100 acres harvest for hurd and bast fiber would drop by 30,000. The markets for hemp biomass and hurd are simply not ready and the hemp fiber industry needs more time to grow and develop.
At this point, producers have become desperate to remain solvent and are using the loophole in the 2018 Farm Bill to sell legal hemp-derived THC products.
It should be noted that the bill was never intended to allow for intoxicating, hemp-derived products, as can be seen by THC being federally illegal and many states not allowing the recreational use of marijuana. It’s likely that the 2023 U.S. Farm Bill will address the delta-8 and delta-9 THC loopholes.
Some believe that demand for hemp grain will grow and become the biggest sub-sector in the industry. But U.S farmers have an uphill battle as Canada is firmly in the lead, growing over 80,000 acres of grain hemp and selling 80% of the resulting products to the U.S.
Whatever the case, we’re curious to see how things continue to change in the hemp cannabinoid supplement market. CBD isn’t going anywhere even if demand is down.
Gleb is a freelance writer from Vancouver, Canada specializing in CBD and cannabis. He’s read thousands of studies on CBD and other supplements, helping him translate complex science into plain language. Gleb has tried and reviewed dozens of CBD brands and products, written third-party testing reports, and knows the CBD industry inside and out. When not writing, he likes to kickbox, travel, and tell everyone how awesome intermittent fasting is.