CBD users’ profiles in North America and Europe
Are there differences between European and North American CBD consumers?

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a hot topic in many countries, but there is limited information about CBD consumers. Two surveys¹’² in 2018 and 2021 aimed to describe North American and European CBD consumers in the two largest CBD markets in the world. We merged the data from these surveys to drive a head-to-head comparison between the profiles of consumers.


There are more female CBD users in Europe compared to North America. European consumers tend to be younger than their North American counterparts. The difference in the age of CBD users between North America and Europe may be the result of stark differences in access channels between the two regions. While only 17% of North Americans buy CBD online³, the overwhelming majority (69.4%) of European CBD users purchase their product online. Consequently, the older population who are less tech-savvy may have less opportunity to order CBD products in Europe.

Therapeutic use

There are also distinct differences between why Europeans and North Americans use CBD. The comparison of the two surveys demonstrated that anxiety and insomnia are the most common medical reasons for using CBD among European consumers. At the same time, chronic pain and joint pain are the most common reasons for the medical use of CBD in North America. These differences can be explained by the higher ratio of the older population who used CBD in North America compared to Europe. In contrast, CBD was used more for mental health issues (such as anxiety and depression) among younger European consumers.

CBD use for insomnia is another interesting finding in these surveys. A considerable portion of users consumed CBD for insomnia (15-25%), although the evidence suggests CBD has an alerting effect4. The anxiolytic and anti-inflammatory effects of CBD may explain this phenomenon. We should keep in mind that insomnia in both surveys was self-perceived insomnia. Therefore, alleviation of underlying conditions may have resulted in improved sleep outcomes.


The European and North American consumers’ profiles are different because of the distinctive access models in these two regions. Although these surveys are a significant first step, more data on the characteristics of CBD consumers are needed to develop products that address the consumers’ requirements. For instance, while ‘joint pain’ is among the most common reasons for using CBD, there are not enough topical formulations that may deliver CBD locally and avoid unnecessary systemic exposure to CBD. However, the lack of topical products is not only for CBD. There are not diverse enough cannabinoid formulations that we discussed in another post.

The more granular analysis of CBD consumers will help researchers and the industry identify market gaps and design products that address consumers’ unmet needs. At Concinto, we have the expertise to support researchers and the industry in the R&D and commercialization of cannabis-based products to address these issues.

Please contact us if you are interested in having more information about our services.

  1. Corroon J, Phillips JA (2018) A cross-sectional study of cannabidiol users, Cannabis and Cannabinoid Research 3:1, 152–161
  2. Moltke, J., & Hindocha, C. (2021). Reasons for cannabidiol use: a cross-sectional study of CBD users, focusing on self-perceived stress, anxiety, and sleep problems. Journal of cannabis research, 3(1), 5.
  3. Hello MD. Understanding cannabidiol/CBD, summary report. The Brightfield Group. 2017.
  4. Spinella, T. C., Stewart, S. H., Naugler, J., Yakovenko, I., & Barrett, S. P. (2021). Evaluating cannabidiol (CBD) expectancy effects on acute stress and anxiety in healthy adults: a randomized crossover study. Psychopharmacology, 238(7), 1965–1977

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