CBD, the non-psychoactive compound derived from hemp plants, is having a moment. Products containing the ingredient are now not only sold in small-scale head shops (which sell smoking paraphernalia), but have spread to health food stores, beauty aisles and cafes across Europe and the US.
The jury’s still out regarding the exact benefits of consuming CBD, but initial research shows it can reduce anxiety, improve sleep, increase immune function and relieve chronic pain. These promising claims – along with a general increased interest in wellness – have led to a surge in CBD’s popularity.
Hemp-based product sales in the US totalled £642m in 2017 – and are expected to grow up to £1.5bn by 2022 – with hemp-based CBD accounting for almost 25% of those sales. The CBD industry is poised for a wild ride in the coming years – and is now closely watched by investors.
Not Pot aims to de-stigmatise hemp with its quirky branding – designed by Leslie David, who also worked on beauty brand Glossier’s identity – and cute gummies. The brand also wants to make sure that profits from legalisation are reinvested in communities most harmed by prohibition through The Bail Project, an organisation that combats mass incarceration by offering a revolving bail fund.
Not Pot is the first edible CBD product I’ve ever tried. I’m not sure why I’m surprised but it actually does taste like weed – a different but actually rather nice taste for a gummy sweet. Available by subscription, each Not Pot jar contains 30 bear-shaped, vegan candies – classed as dietary supplements – which are each infused with 10mg of hemp extract.
It’s really hard for me to pinpoint the health effects, as I expected. The brand promises less stress and pain, and I could maybe say that my tense shoulders were a bit more relaxed after a few days of Not Pot. But, to be fair, I ate them during the holiday season, so perhaps there were other factors at play.
If I’m honest CBD feels like just another health trend that’s taking the world by storm, just like collagen, matcha and snail slime did before it. I will, however follow the evolving research on the benefits of CBD more closely than on other health trends.
Jenny Gyllander is an investor at Backed VC and founder of product-reviews Instagram account @thingtesting.