National CBD Day is technically not a holiday—not like Christmas, or even Black Friday. However, National CBD Day is recognized on the National Day Calendar, the definitive source for celebratory days in the US. It sits among days such as National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, National Ear Muff Day and National Mad Hatter Day. It also exists among other unofficial cannabis holidays, such as April 20 (4/20), a day dedicated to smoking weed, and July 10 (7/10), the day of smoking hash. August 8 is CBD’s annual day but why hasn’t it caught on like the other two cannabis days of observance?
It’s a question we’ve been researching for the past 48 hours, and it doesn’t have a single, defined answer. From the perspective of cannabis culture, there are several reasons National CBD Day remains in the shadow of 4/20 and 7/10. One is that it is built around a culture of health and wellness, not getting stoned.
“We founded National CBD Day in 2018 to bring awareness to an unknown wellness wonder,” says Matt Coapman, CMO of cbdMD, the North Carolina-based CBD manufacturer that founded National CBD Day.“Hemp derived wellness is critical, and August being wellness month, it made a lot of sense to put a finer point on it as a wellness product. We knew back then what we know today: CBD can help millions of people.”
The cannabis industry’s lack of enthusiasm for National CBD Day points to a divide that exists between THC and CBD, and the corresponding industries that exist around both cannabinoids. It also suggests that “holidays” created around a culture of people who participate in a shared activity—such as protesting, praying, shopping or smoking joints or cannabis concentrates—tend to have more participatory appeal.
“CBD doesn’t get you high,” says one cannabis industry executive who asked to remain anonymous. “People don’t go to concerts and smoke CBD, or pack bowls of CBD or connect with others while passing around a joint of CBD. No one’s having the best day or night of their life on CBD. Plus, the effects of CBD are so subtle, it’s questionable whether it’s actually working or if it’s more of a placebo thing.”
Coapman agrees that there aren’t a lot of people using “recreational CBD.” That’s why it’s hard to identify exactly what the culture of CBD looks like, aside from the wellness pastel-aesthetic of Goop. Regarding the science, there’s a lot of evidence showing that CBD reduces inflammation, anxiety, can improve sleep patterns, keep your immune system functioning well and lessen the frequency of seizures in epilepsy patients. Feeling stoned, then, isn’t a barometer for efficacy.
The folks behind the National Day Calendar spent a lot of time reviewing the scientific literature on CBD before greenlighting CBD’s annual day. Marlo Anderson, the founder of the National Day Calendar, explained to Westword in 2019 that he and his small team did its due diligence when considering CBD’s medical efficacy and the reputation of cbdMD.
“There are about 20,000 applications for new days every year,” Anderson said. “Then there’s a committee of four people who review them, and that needs unanimous approval. Socially, it’s all becoming more accepted, even THC. But CBD has additional purposes, so it was more about bringing about the awareness.”
While Coapman explains the goal of the holiday is to raise awareness of the benefits of CBD, National CBD Day was undoubtedly created with the intention of boosting brand awareness. In other words, National CBD Day is—like many US holidays — a “marketing” holiday.
“At its core National CBD Day is really about the power of our belief in these products for health and wellness purposes and bringing the power of these products to the masses,” Coapman says. “I don’t see it as a Black Friday, however, National CBD Day does benefit us as a company for awareness and can incentivize people to try CBD for the first time. But it’s not a promotional deal for us only, I think all CBD companies can benefit from National CBD Day.”
Starting a holiday via the National Day Calendar has tangible benefits. According to the company’s website, getting a national day, week or month on the calendar is likely to lead to “news stories, increase in product sales, market visibility, social media engagement, fundraising opportunities for nonprofits, brand authority” and more. Currently, the National Day Calendar has more than 55,000 followers on Instagram. reportedly, the site has some 20,000 media outlets following it. Coverage of National CBD Day is almost a guarantee every year thanks to the boost provided by the calendar. In 2019, Anderson expected nearly 100 million people to be aware of National CBD Day.
Still, despite the visibility, National CBD Day isn’t known for wild celebrations or even widely publicized CBD sales. Although, if you Google “National CBD Day sales” a number of sites populate offering discounted health and wellness products.
So, what’s the verdict on National CBD Day? It was created to give visibility to CBD, the so-called “healthier” cannabinoid. “4/20 and 7/10 are two holidays celebrating the same cannabinoid,” Coapman says. “Why shouldn’t CBD have a day?”
The day is also meant to give cbdMD a boost in sales and help them serve those who are curious about how CBD can benefit their lives. That, in itself, is a celebration. The more people who get onboard with cannabis—regardless of the cannabinoid they drift toward—the better.
“I’m going to celebrate the way I always do,” says Coapman. “And that’s by taking my CBD as I do my multi-vitamin.”