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Like a Meteor: A Look Back on CBD’s Rise to Wellness

12/04/2021 13 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal
12/04/2021 13 MIN. READ Alyssha Bal

Every champion deserves a showcase, and CBD is no exception. Our VAAY team clocked on to CBD’s early potential: both science and intuition told us that it was worth special attention. In a very short space of time, this all-star compound has become a household name in Germany, the UK and many other places. If you’ve ever wondered why so many people buy CBD products, this is the article for you. 

You’re not alone if you’ve ever found yourself wondering: Why is CBD so popular? When it comes to wellness, cannabis-derived supplements such as CBD have rapidly advanced from the fringe of society to the foreground. The hemp leaf logo - which was once a symbol of subversiveness, liberty, and solidarity - is now emblazoned on popular wellbeing products far and wide. CBD’s meteoric rise shows no signs of stopping, and as sales soar, it’s good to appreciate how far we’ve come. This article will review how and why CBD has become one of the world’s most-loved natural wellness compounds. First, let’s appreciate today’s wellness market.


Content Overview

  1. The Modern Wellness Market
  2. The Humble Beginnings of CBD
  3. Iconic CBD Research
  4. Why Are CBD Products So Popular? 
  5. CBD: A Superstar Supplement
  6. The Future of CBD
  7. About Us


The Modern Wellness Market

According to a recent report by Well to Do, the global wellness industry has become a great source of innovation, sustainability, and forward-thinking in recent years. It is currently a savvy avenue for new businesses, and many corporations deliberately infuse wellness principles into their workplace cultures. Increasingly, we’re becoming aware of the fact that our wellbeing impacts our quality of life and our professional performance. 

Perhaps you’ve even received a company newsletter or attended a Zoom session dedicated to themes such as meditation, self-care, nutrition, and exercise. These initiatives are no coincidence. Within the modern wellness market, we’re often encouraged to take part in digital experiences and seek natural products that demonstrate honesty and a planet-conscious attitude. 

Do ‘Snake Oil’ Salesmen Still Exist Today? 

Between the 19th and 20th centuries, several seedy American salesmen marketed an over-hyped product called ‘snake oil’ as an instant “cure-all”. Often, they took to the streets in eye-catching wagons and tried to attract customers in a dazzling manner. Rhode Island authorities even charged pedallers like Clark Stanley for selling products that contained 0% snake oil! As unappetising as it sounds, authentic Chinese watersnake products may have been rich in essential omega-3 fatty acids. They may have also offered some potential wellbeing benefits - including anti-inflammatory properties and cognitive enhancement. However, the flagrant lies that salesmen spoke to promote their fake products caused historical commentators to use the phrase ‘snake oil’ as a negative shorthand for counterfeit products sold by charlatans. 

Fake CBD Oil: The New ‘Snake Oil’

As you may know, ‘snake oil’ is another name for an over-promoted wellness product presumed to be of little value. Are there snake oil salesmen in the modern wellness industry? On rare occasions, yes. Emerging evidence connects CBD with some impressive potential benefits, but not all brands are created equal. For example, some so-called CBD products sold on the British high street may actually contain 0% CBD! On top of this, online scammers may offer “free CBD” in exchange for your precious bank details. Thankfully, strict laws prevent real companies from being dishonest - though it still pays to be cautious. Doing your research and buying from reputable brands will ensure that you’re not the victim of false advertising. 

Cannabis-Inspired Wellness Trends

Before we go on to appreciate the modern CBD market in its full splendour, let’s first consider cannabis. Depending on where we live, many of us may struggle to shake off its reputation as an illegal substance. In Britain, recreational cannabis is a Class-B drug, and users are liable to undergo criminal charges. However, the cannabis plant species may also possess practical and botanical potential. Scientists and researchers have been studying it for years! 

Before introducing controlled substance laws in the early 1900s, people grew cannabis on their own land and even purchased it via local pharmacies. Can you imagine buying cannabis and toothpaste from the same shop? Shortly afterwards, these practices were banned. Now, almost one century later, legal cannabis-derived extracts are back on the market - with roaring success. As a result, CBD products can seem progressive, exciting, and even a bit mysterious. As this article will explain, there are many reasons to be curious about the possible benefits of CBD.

The Humble Beginnings of CBD

As flashy new products flood the contemporary CBD marketplace, it can be easy to feel out-of-touch. Let’s take a moment to reconnect with CBD’s natural roots and origin story.

What is CBD (Cannabidiol)?

CBD stands for ‘cannabidiol’ - an organic compound derived from cannabis plants, more specifically the ‘hemp’ strain of cannabis Sativa. Technically, CBD belongs to a large family of compounds known as ‘cannabinoids’. Did you know that your body naturally produces similar substances (endocannabinoids) to support regulatory processes such as breathing, energy-burning, and sleeping? Scientists suggest that consuming CBD may potentially impact our nervous system (specifically, the endocannabinoid system). Many anecdotal reports indicate that it may have a “calming” effect on symptoms of stress

Since CBD is trapped within the leaves, flowers, and stems of cannabis plants, manufacturers must use innovative extraction and distillation methods to release it. 

The ‘Eureka!’ Moment in Cannabis Research

So, when was CBD officially discovered? While a researcher named R.S Cahn theorised the chemical structure of CBD molecules in the 1930s, American chemist Roger Adams was the first person to extract and isolate it in a laboratory setting. Wild hemp flowers and their red-tinted oil were a crucial part of his 1942 breakthrough. Nowadays, modern science tells us that hemp contains over 100 different cannabinoids. However, CBD was the first of these substances to be discovered - paving the way for further studies.


THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is another plant compound unique to the cannabis species. Beyond its handy, three-letter abbreviation and familiar carbon-hydrogen-oxygen arrangements, it doesn’t seem to have much in common with CBD. Since its 1960s discovery by Dr Raphael Mechoulam, THC has had a rocky reputation. Numerous researchers have flagged it as a psychoactive and mood-altering substance - with potentially addictive and dangerous consequences when consumed in excess. THC is also responsible for the euphoric “highs” that some forms of cannabis use can trigger. CBD has a comparatively ‘cleaner’ reputation, and (so far) there is no evidence to connect it with any psychotropic side-effects.

Is CBD Legal? 

This is an excellent question. Persistent trends in recreational cannabis use reveal that a product doesn’t necessarily need to be legal to be popular. However, a recent article from The Telegraph cautions that some forms of illegal cannabis are up to 500% more potent than they used to be. As of January 2021, UK hospital admissions for drug-related mental health problems are at an all-time high! So, are products like CBD oil legal? 

According to the UK Home Office, wellness products containing CBD extract are legal - so long as they feature THC concentrations of 0.2% or less (per product). The 2016 introduction of this legislation was crucial, since it made an essential distinction between cannabis and legal cannabis-derivatives. Technically, British law interprets CBD products either as novel food supplements (CBD gummies, oils, and edibles) or cosmetics (CBD bath bombs and skincare). The industrial hemp subspecies of ‘cannabis Sativa’ is often the go-to plant for CBD production, since it is naturally low in THC. Before you make any significant commitments or purchases, remember to investigate the national policies where you live.

Iconic CBD Research

Now that we’ve answered some opening questions about CBD, let’s explore some instrumental research that has helped to spotlight its unique potential benefits. While we don’t currently have enough evidence to support any direct health claims, we’re sure you’ll agree that the existing, preliminary research paints an intriguing picture.

The Broader Cannabis Research Movement

Since we’re talking about a cannabis-derived substance, it’s helpful to consider the broader cannabis research movement. At one point in time, the choice to contemplate cannabis plants from a scientific perspective was a risky career move. In 1839, Irish researcher William O’Shaughnessy was one of the first scientists to discuss the potential therapeutic value of cannabis (and, by association, cannabinoids). More recently, industrial changes and increased interest have made it possible for researchers to dig deeper into the undiscovered possibilities of this intriguing plant family. 

Contemporary hemp studies highlight some potential botanical benefits, such as:

  • Genetic flexibility (enabling manufacturers to develop new strains safely)
  • The “entourage effect” (as hemp compounds may work together synergistically)
  • Antioxidant effects (influencing some symptoms of oxidative stress
  • Helpful plant compounds (such as cannabinoids, terpenes and flavonoids)

    Potential Benefits of CBD Oil 

    CBD oil is a natural food supplement that manufacturers create by combining CBD extract with an edible base oil (such as coconut or argan oil). It’s not to be confused with medical cannabis-derived products, since the Food Standards Agency (FSA) is in charge of regulating food supplements sold in Britain - including CBD. The NHS suggests that many people who consume CBD oil are motivated by the possibility that it might change how they experience some everyday wellbeing complaints. These unwanted symptoms can range from stiff muscles to sleep disturbances. If you’ve ever experienced these issues, you’ll know that they have the potential to snowball into more comprehensive problems if left unaddressed. 

    Currently, studies suggest that CBD may possibly be a useful wellness tool by: 

  • Reducing some signs of insomnia 
  • Impacting self-perceived relaxation levels by reducing some symptoms of anxiety
  • Influencing some signs of inflammation (which may include acne)
  • Potentially affecting our pain signals (for example, those related to swelling)

  • As we will soon appreciate in close detail, these potential benefits may profoundly resonate with the everyday challenges we face as we try to keep up with hectic modern lifestyles. Perhaps this growing public demand has helped turn CBD into a self-care superstar.

    Why Are CBD Products So Popular? 

    According to a recent CBD market analysis report released by the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis (CMC), up to 6 million British consumers used CBD at some point during 2019. By the end of 2020, this figure rose to 8 million - causing the UK market value to increase by 50% (to approximately £450 million). Typically, an annual revenue increase of 5-10% is considered a mark of success in the business world. Within a very brief time, the UK CBD market has exploded, and may even exceed £1 billion by 2025! Let’s consider some of the possible reasons why there is such an overwhelming demand for this potentially beneficial plant extract. 

    When Anxiety Attacks

    The increased prevalence of anxiety comes as no surprise to most of us. Often, our hearts sink as we watch the news. Other times, we feel flustered and tense when anticipating our next work presentation or thinking about the future. In moderation, the emotional dimensions of anxiety are perfectly normal. However, persistent anxiety can also manifest as a disorder (or multiple disorders) that interferes with daily life. The World Health Organisation suggests that over 260 million people suffer from chronic anxiety. This 2015 report also indicates that the numbers keep on growing. Interestingly, women may be twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety disorders than men. 

    Even though people can eventually overcome anxiety using strategies such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and self-care methods, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA) suggests that as little as 37% of those suffering from anxiety receive adequate treatment. In recent times, CBD has become a top-rated wellness supplement - particularly among people exploring natural and self-initiated forms of stress management. In his testimonial on our VAAY homepage, German influencer and personal trainer Torben Koenig has commented: “I used CBD often to calm down and relax my body.”

    So far, research suggests that CBD may potentially influence some symptoms of anxiety by: 

  • Influencing our serotonin (“happy hormone”) receptors
  • Decreasing some anxious behaviours (such as ‘jitters’ and frights)
  • Offering some possible anxiolytic effects which could be promising in the future
  • Being a relatively safe and low-risk substance to consume

  • While there is no conclusive evidence to support CBD as a “treatment” for anxiety (and certainly not as a cure), it may possibly provide an opportunity for you to practice self-care and help you to feel better.

    Battling Sleepless Nights

    How have you been sleeping recently? If there’s room for improvement, you’re not alone. The National Health Service (NHS) suggests that up to one-third of adults in Britain may suffer from sleepless nights. Recent Wakefield Research statistics indicate that up to 51% of the world’s population may struggle from a lack of sleep. Sometimes, factors such as pain, stress, and blue-light exposure can physiologically interrupt our rest patterns. Other times, our minds may be racing with worries ranging from health scares and challenging relationships to our work-from-home schedules and finances. By the time the weekend comes, we may find ourselves so run-down that we prefer to simply catch up on sleep, rather than plan something more dynamic. 

    According to a recent Gallup survey, stress, worry, and anger are ever-growing in today’s world. Understandably, people in countries stricken with war and poverty report the most challenging experiences. However, it’s also interesting to note that 55% of survey participants living in developed countries (such as the USA) claim to experience high daily stress levels. As we know, sleep disturbances can be a common symptom of stress, anxiety, and a myriad of other wellbeing concerns. A chronic lack of sleep can even make us more vulnerable to becoming ill. 

    Emerging research indicates that CBD may possibly impact our sleep by: 

  • Inspiring us to create a helpful nightly routine
  • Decreasing some symptoms of insomnia
  • Reducing some stress-related sleep problems
  • Affecting the frequency of some symptomatic PTSD nightmares

  • Inflammation: An Invisible Pandemic?

    According to research published by StatPearl, 60% of worldwide causes of death are chronic inflammatory diseases (such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes). While we hear a great deal about these specific illnesses, there is much less talk about the underlying symptoms of inflammation that unite them all. Like stress, inflammation is a survival mechanism that serves us best in brief, situational contexts when our wellbeing is under threat. However, if our inflammation is chronic, our immune system can go into overdrive by attacking everything it comes into contact with - including our own cells. As you might imagine, this can result in considerable damage.

    Many theorists suggest that modern diets heavy in sugar, saturated fats, and processed foods may trigger an excessive immune response in our bodies. Added to this, periods of prolonged stress can cause us to enter fight-or-flight mode - provoking a surge in hormones and a defensive inflammatory ‘attack’ on a hidden and internal level. Unfortunately, chronic inflammation symptoms may increase our risk of suffering from inflammatory illnesses. 

    Recent CBD studies suggest that cannabis-derived supplements may potentially help by: 

  • Impacting how we experience some signs of oxidative stress (cell damage)
  • Affecting some inflammation-related pain symptoms
  • Influencing some of the chemical exchanges in our nervous system
  • Affecting some forms of tissue swelling and symptomatic joint pain
  • Now that we’ve appreciated how CBD may possibly connect with the inner battles of modern life, let’s take a look at how it might impact the world around us. 

    Taking a Stand for the Environment

    Did you know that leading authorities recognise global warming as one of the greatest threats to life on earth? Some commentators have even theorised that mounting climate pressures may have influenced the coronavirus pandemic’s onset. After decades of warnings from scientists and environmentalists, many of us are now choosing to make more environmentally conscious decisions. 

    A recent study suggests that 37% of UK consumers have deliberately prioritised eco-friendly shopping choices since March 2020. Almost 75% of online shoppers expect recyclable packaging and planet-friendly shipping methods. On top of this, up to one-third of British consumers actively adopt a quality-over-quantity shopping style. Here in Germany, climate change is also close to our hearts. We have the largest community of vegetarians and vegans in the Western hemisphere, and we’re also willing to pay more for environmentally sustainable products.

    CBD is a product of the hemp plant - which is an acclaimed sustainable resource due to its: 

  • Minimal environmental impact and efficient growing style
  • Ability to regulate the toxin content of the soil
  • Capacity to cleanse the air
  • Versatility and lack of wasteful by-products

  • Here at VAAY, sustainable wellness and vegan values have always been important. While environmentally-conscious living is much more than a passing trend, it’s encouraging to see so many people choosing to ‘go green’. 

    CBD: A Superstar Supplement

    We should be wary of accepting wellness advice from random ‘celebrity’ endorsers. A recent BBC documentary shockingly depicted swathes of online influencers auditioning to promote a made-up fitness drink laced with hydrogen cyanide (aka, poison!) However, informed advice from reputable public figures has helped to raise the profile of CBD over the past two years. 

    CBD in Celebrity Culture

    Even if we are sceptical of celebrity culture, there’s no denying that some famous people have achieved impressive career accomplishments. As a result, we may be more receptive to any insider knowledge or everyday tips they choose to share with us. Award-winning entertainers such as musician Will.I.Am and actor Tom Hanks have expressed their interest in CBD on numerous occasions. In the fashion world, CBD oil has also attracted attention from social media mogul Kim Kardashian, Gossip Girl star Leighton Meester, and many more. Some celebrities even choose to ‘put their money where their mouth is’ by investing in the CBD market. It’s easy to see how this can help boost the commercial potential of cannabis-derived wellness products. 

    The Best High-End CBD Products

    As the trends and encouraging possibilities surrounding CBD continue to grow, there has never been a better time to experiment with CBD products in your routine. It’s best to choose a top-rated premium brand that maintains vegan-friendly practices and can provide you with a Certificate of Analysis (COA). This way, you can feel at ease knowing that your purchase is secure and your CBD is as high-quality as possible. While the CBD market represents considerable innovation, a few staple product categories continue to generate the greatest buzz. For some quickfire details to get you started, keep on reading. 

    CBD Oil

    As we briefly mentioned earlier, CBD oil is the most popular CBD consumption method in the UK. Manufacturers make it by combining CBD extract and plant-derived base oils (such as hemp seed oil). You can take CBD oil sublingually by dispensing a few drops under your tongue (it’s best to start small) and holding it there for up to thirty seconds. You should be able to feel the potential effects of the extract in as little as 15 minutes! Customers love our signature VAAY CBD oil because it comes in a handy mouth-spray bottle for discreet and on-the-go use.

    CBD Capsules

    If you are already in the habit of supplementing your diet with vitamins and extracts, capsules may be an excellent way to start enjoying CBD. As with other food supplements, CBD capsules include a pre-measured dosage, and you should take them on a full stomach, or with a glass of water. Our VAAY lab team has created exclusive herbal blends to supplement relaxation and sleep, depending on your personal needs. 

    CBD Topicals

    Skincare is a highly trending topic nowadays - especially as we’ve become more aware that stress, pollutants, UV light, and moisture imbalances can leave our skin feeling worse-for-wear. The advantages of using botanically enriched topicals (CBD creams, balms, etc.) are that you can apply them in specific body zones for potential targeted action. Why not show your skin and muscles some love with our VAAY Sport and Active Gel? If you’re looking for something more decadent, you could even try a luxury CBD bath bomb!

    The Future of CBD

    In the beginning, CBD shot across the sky like a meteor. Now, it continues to rise like a skyrocket - thanks to a powerful engine of policy changes, word-of-mouth, fascinating studies and attractive potential benefits. Natural hemp-derived extracts are paving the way for new and environmentally-friendly wellness products that complement our modern lifestyles. One of the most exciting things about the future of CBD is the research that has yet to emerge. Scientists recognise CBD as a potentially promising extract, and many consumers feel comfortable experimenting with it. As more grounded conclusions arrive, this impressive cannabis extract may launch even further into the stratosphere!

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