Background Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating substance of Cannabis sativa L., is gaining consumer attention. Yet, legal regulations in the EU are complex and questions of potential health risks remain partly unanswered. In Germany, little is known about people who use CBD products. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to gain insight into the user group of CBD, reasons for consumption and risk perception towards CBD-containing products. Methods The study consisted of two parts: In the first part of the study, the prevalence of CBD awareness and usage in Germany was estimated using a telephone survey and a population-representative sample of n = 1,011 respondents. Based on these results, n = 2,000 participants being aware of CBD were surveyed with an online questionnaire in the second part of the study to examine usage and perception of CBD in users and non-users. Results When the study was conducted at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, 40.2% of the German participants had already heard of products containing CBD, and 11.4% had actually used them. 42.1% of the users consumed such products regularly, at least once a week, primarily orally via oils or tinctures, and purchased them mainly online. Besides curiosity – addressed especially in young adults – anticipated health benefits including pain and stress relief were main reasons for use. More than half of the study participants perceived the health benefits of CBD use as high or very high. In contrast, the health risks were rated as low or very low by most respondents. Assumptions about official testing for safety as well as physical effects of CBD-containing products varied between users and non-users. Conclusion About one in nine people in Germany uses CBD-containing products. Given reasons for consumption and perception of potential health risks and benefits suggest that people are insufficiently informed about CBD-containing products. The results of the study indicate that risk communication is needed to raise awareness for the topic and to inform (potential) users.

Background Cannabidiol (CBD), a non-intoxicating substance of Cannabis sativa L., is gaining consumer attention. Yet, legal regulations in the EU are complex and questions of potential health risks remain partly unanswered. In Germany, little is known about people who use CBD products. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to gain insight into the user group of CBD, reasons for consumption and risk perception towards CBD-containing products. Methods The study consisted of two parts: In the first part of the study, the prevalence of CBD awareness and usage in Germany was estimated using a telephone survey and a population-representative sample of n = 1,011 respondents. Based on these results, n = 2,000 participants being aware of CBD were surveyed with an online questionnaire in the second part of the study to examine usage and perception of CBD in users and non-users. Results When the study was conducted at the end of 2020 and beginning of 2021, 40.2% of the German participants had already heard of products containing CBD, and 11.4% had actually used them. 42.1% of the users consumed such products regularly, at least once a week, primarily orally via oils or tinctures, and purchased them mainly online. Besides curiosity – addressed especially in young adults – anticipated health benefits including pain and stress relief were main reasons for use. More than half of the study participants perceived the health benefits of CBD use as high or very high. In contrast, the health risks were rated as low or very low by most respondents. Assumptions about official testing for safety as well as physical effects of CBD-containing products varied between users and non-users. Conclusion About one in nine people in Germany uses CBD-containing products. Given reasons for consumption and perception of potential health risks and benefits suggest that people are insufficiently informed about CBD-containing products. The results of the study indicate that risk communication is needed to raise awareness for the topic and to inform (potential) users.  Read More  

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