CBD Insights From Public Comments to FDA

FDA recently asked for public comments on Cannabis-related products with the intent to understand public perception on the effectiveness of CBD products and to gauge public interest in legalizing CBD. This request received ~4,000 comments from April to July. We analyzed this data to quantify the public perception on CBD.

Overall, the commenters were very bullish on CBD. Their sentiment on CBD products was quite high as shown in the following graph.


This high sentiment was driven mostly by topics on “Advocacy for CBD Legalization” and a variety of effectiveness related topics as shown in the following graph. There is an ongoing debate on the legality of CBD. In this source, commenters have predominantly argued for making CBD legal.


“Pain Relief” which was the second biggest positive topic has a broad range of sub-topics under it, people are using it for all the following use cases –


Under “Preferred To Other Medicines/ Drugs”, below are the common products for which CBD is used as a substitute


Comments were written by both males and females, with males writing more comments than females, as shown in the graph below:


Emerging Trends In Cannabidiol(CBD) 2019


The CBD industry is growing rapidly and is expected to grow to $20 Billion by 2024 (Forbes). This growth is driven by CBD’s adoption in industries as diverse as cosmetics, food & beverage and pharmaceuticals.

Though there is a strong interest in medicinal benefits of CBD, they haven’t yet been understood fully (Economist). However, consumers have started adopting CBD based products and have started reviewing them on various media. Just in the past 3 years, ~27,000 reviews were written in ~25 sources across the US, UK, and Germany. We have mined this rich source of user experiences to quantify how CBD is benefiting consumers and to uncover the emerging trends. This blog article summarizes the emerging trends over Quarter 2 (Q2) vs. Quarter 1 (Q1) of 2019.


More than a quarter of CBD reviews talk about how effective CBD is in addressing pain relief, stress relief, Insomnia and a dozen other benefits. Among these, Pain Relief and Migraine are emerging benefits in Quarter 2. A higher proportion of customers have used them in Quarter 2 than in Quarter 1.


Also, Customer Loyalty for CBD products has increased (from 9% in Quarter 1 to 11% in Quarter 2). Not only do customers intend to buy more, but more customers are recommending CBD to others.



CBD products are made in multiple formats – pills, powders, tinctures etc. In 2019, products in Tincture liquid format proliferated the market. However, in 2019 Quarter 2, there has been a considerable drop (vs. Quarter 1).



Among all the brands sold in the market, “CBD Armour” and “StarKit” has garnered a higher proportion of  reviews in Quarter 2 than Quarter 1. For “Star Kit”, a specific product, “Startkit CBD E-Liquid”, has grown from 2% on Q1 to 4% in Q2.


Among the existing players, “Pure CBD Exchange” and “White and Fluffy” have witnessed a decrease in the number of Brand level reviews.



Among ~25 sources we covered, “Trustpilot” had the highest percentage increase in the reviews count while “Healthy Hemp Oil” had the highest percentage decrease in reviews volume.



 “Ice Head Shop” is the review site that had the highest number of products being launched coming up every quarter. In Q2 alone, it had ~80 new products being launched.


Are You Listening To The Voice Of Your Employees ?

“The real competitive advantage in any business is one word only, which is ‘people’ “ – Kamil Toume

 Businesses realize the value of mining Voice of Customers (VoC) to derive actionable insights. However, they do not pay much attention to generating and mining Voice of employees (VoE).  Mining VoE and acting on these insights can help create a very engaging workforce. This recent article from economist estimated that a one-point gain in employee satisfaction raises that of customers by 3.2 points in industries where workers have the most direct contact with customers, such as retail, restaurants and tourism.


To practice what we preach to our clients, we at SetuServ aimed to generate and mine feedback from ~50 employees we have. When we initially requested employees to provide constructive feedback, we generated some data but not enough to derive systematic insights. We then ran a contest to write kudos on anyone that they interacted with. This generated ~10x more data. Combination of a variety of such tactics and incentives helped us generate sufficient VoE data to analyze.


We then analyzed the comments using our proprietary text analytics solution to understand the areas our employees were strong and the areas they needed to improve. The following chart shows all the topics that our employees were strong at. We were glad to see that these strengths are what we need to build innovative solutions for our customers.

Analyzing the constructive feedback comments and performance evaluation comments showed that our employees needed to get better at communication and handling high pressure situations. We came up with a Learning and Development plan to improve these skills through training sessions, case studies and mock projects. We also created staffing opportunities that would help our employees practice these newly learned skills. 

Overall, listening and acting on the voice of employees has helped us reduce the project time cycles, improved quality of deliverable and improved employee satisfaction. We plan to repeat this every quarter. Even large companies with hundreds of thousands of employees can adopt this solution. The new generation of text analytics solutions (such as our solution) can easily scale to mine the high volume of employee feedback.