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Explosive Growth: Japan’s Hemp Cannabinoid Market Surges 600% Between 2019-2023

The hemp cannabinoid market in Japan has experienced significant expansion from 2019 to 2023, with a sixfold increase to ¥24 billion (around $154 million), based on a recent report by Euromonitor International as reported in the Japan Times. This growth is mainly due to the rising demand for CBD products in the country.

Euromonitor International estimates that Japan currently has approximately 588,000 active CBD consumers. Despite the growing interest, Japan maintains strict laws that criminalize the possession and use of cannabis products with intoxicating effects.

In a noteworthy development in December, Japan’s parliament approved revisions to the Cannabis Control Law, marking the first step towards decriminalizing the use of medical products derived from cannabis. The updated law also addresses loopholes by explicitly prohibiting cannabis use.

Aya Suzuki, a senior analyst at Euromonitor International, shared insights with the Times, highlighting that leading companies like UHA Mikakuto and Cheerio have already introduced CBD-infused gummies and beverages in specific regions and sales channels. Suzuki mentioned the increasing diversification in product offerings, stating, “The primary method of CBD consumption remains liquid form (vapes), but we anticipate major corporations entering the market with CBD-infused food, drinks, and dietary supplements.”

Furthermore, Suzuki noted that it is common for Japanese businesses to import CBD product ingredients from abroad. However, some business owners have faced challenges with customs officials suspecting THC content in the imported goods, resulting in confiscations.

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