In a highly competitive and overcrowded industry such as the CBD industry, where there are hundreds of premium brands – and as many fake ones – it’s only natural that all brands need to vie for space and up their marketing strategy – continually – to ensure they get noticed by the masses.
In fact, thousands of CBD brands exist in the United States alone!
Now think from a consumer’s point of view.
This mad rush by the CBD brands only creates confusion and leads to wrongful information going around. That could not only harm the individual users’ health, but it also damages the reputation of the industry as a whole!
To add to the confusion, most brands source their hemp from the same farmlands and sometimes even deploy the same facilities to produce their offerings. So how can one brand stand out from the 1,000 others?
In this digital era, when most of the world’s population are online most of their waking hours, social media influencers shape public opinions, the masses’ thought process, consumerism, and literally maneuver any industry forward.
While the CBD market is foreseen to turn into a $22 billion market by 2022, people look for a familiar face, well-known for their credibility and dissemination of useful information, to vouch for brands with reputation and verifiable integrity.
Often known as brand ambassadors, CBD influencers are experts, advocates, and activists, who are popular among the masses for being well-informed about the industry and its brands and their offerings, and who can utilize their digital clout to “influence” people’s opinion and their spending decisions.
In short, CBD influencers are those who bridge the gap between the brands and the consumers with their brand reliability and digital reach.
Here are 18 of the leading influencers who drive the CBD industry.
CBD Influencers to Follow
1. Dr. Sanjay Gupta: (@drsanjaygupta)
A neurosurgeon by profession, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is an Emmy award-winning chief medical correspondent for CNN, who, despite his initial opposition to marijuana use by patients, realized the benefits that cannabis has to offer while working on a CNN documentary, “Weed 3: The Marijuana Revolution” (released in April 2015). He then understood how cannabis has actually helped improve the health conditions in many of his patients.
Ever since then, Dr. Gupta has been instrumental in driving the cannabis industry towards the path of legalization in America. From publicly endorsing CBD as legitimate medicine to promoting it through his videos, Dr. Gupta has come to be accepted as one of those go-to persons when it comes to “clearing to doubts about marijuana from the professionals”.
Dr. Gupta, who is an Emory Healthcare general neurosurgeon at Grady Memorial Hospital, has been a medical practitioner since the early 2000s.
2. CBD Examine: (Jeremy Orozco Youtube Channel)
Jeremy Orozco, who hosts CBD Examine’s YouTube channel, reviews different CBD products by lab testing and taste-testing them individually to check their authenticity, veracity of brands’ claims, and their efficacy, among other factors.
While CBD Examine offers honest reviews of different products with the help of third-party lab-tests, backed by in-depth research, Jeremy boldly fronts CBDexamine.com’s social media reviews by differentiating between good-quality products and fake ones through CBD Examine’s official YouTube channel.
Being one of the most active influencers in the CBD industry, Jeremy’s videos are engaging (often funny too!), informative, and extremely easy to follow. He is very responsive to his viewers and makes sure to get across all essential information on dosage, potency, taste, efficacy, purity, and ingredients of the products he reviews.
Interestingly, every time he tries out new products by different brands, he not only highlights on what the labs reveal about their potency, safety, and ingredients, but he also tries them himself to give you a direct, first-hand experience of how effective they were and how they felt while using them – topically, sublingually, etc. Besides, he also elaborates on each ingredient of these products and their benefits, even citing studies to support his opinions.
3. Dr. Peter Grinspoon: (@Peter_Grinspoon)
A medical doctor by profession (MD to be exact), Peter Grinspoon actively works with physicians who suffer from substance abuse disorders. Given his medical background and understanding of the world of cannabis – from both sides of it – he has been an inspiration and a knowledgeable guide for people looking for better healthcare options from unconventional sources.
Although he is 10 years clean now and lives in Newton, MA, with his wife Liz Grinspoon, and his blended family, he once fought with his addiction. His experiences with his own substance abuse are what inspired him to author the memoir Free Refills: A Doctor Confronts His Addiction.
Apart from teaching medicine at Harvard Medical School, he is also a frequent contributor to the Harvard Health Blog.
He currently also practices as a primary care physician at an inner-city clinic in Boston, besides being on the staff of Massachusetts General Hospital. Earlier, he served as an Associate Director for the Physician Health Service (Massachusetts Medical Society) for two years, where he worked with doctors with substance abuse issues.
After attaining his medical degree from Boston University School of Medicine, he studied philosophy from Swarthmore College. He had also served as a Campaign Director at Greenpeace for five years on the organization’s “nuclear-free sea” campaign.
His medical internship and residency were in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
4. David Bienenstock: (@pot_handbook)
Author of ‘How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High’ (2016; Penguin/Random House), as well as the co-creator and co-host of the podcast ‘Great Moments in Weed History with Abdullah and Bean’, veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock is a self-proclaimed cannabis consultant and was featured in Adweek for his prowess on everything cannabis.
David is at present associated with Leafly, a Washington-based, global news, and scientifically-backed information outlet on the CBD and cannabis industry. He contributes some amazing articles for this online news outlet, keeping its readers abreast of all the goings-on in the industry from the current perspective.
As one of the most popular CBD influencers, David was also featured in Fast Company’s ‘6 Branding Lessons from the Pioneers of Weed Design’, besides being profiled by The New Yorker, Vanity Fair, The Los Angeles Times, Rolling Stone, LA Weekly, Food & Wine, Slate, and elsewhere, while making frequent media appearances, including on CNN, NPR, MSNBC, HBO, and Fox News.
As the Content Head and Editor of High Times, David Bienenstock had he had profiled some of the most prominent figures, activists, and advocates of the cannabis industry, who have been instrumental in bringing about and leading the movement that led to the legalization of CBD and cannabis products in the US and other parts of the world.
He was also a columnist, contributor, and vlogger at VICE Media and was well-known for co-producing the series Bong Appetit. One of his episodes, A Gourmet Weed Dinner at Hunter S Thompson’s House and Marijuana Nonna went viral and literally took the internet by storm.
Apart from VICE, he was also a contributor for GQ, Motherboard, Salon, Munchies, The Guardian, and other publications.
From being a paid advisor to a feature filmmaker to pro-bono redesigning The Wo/men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana’s website (that hosts US’ most compassionate medical cannabis collective), David Bienenstock brings to his followers a decade of experience and expertise on the marijuana culture, politics, science, cultivation, and branding. Interestingly, he also has considerable experience in marketing and tourism catering to marijuana enthusiasts, besides an insight into the future of the rapidly growing CBD industry.
5. Dr. Rachna Patel (Youtube Channel)
Well-known across the world as a licensed CBD-based medical practitioner, Dr. Rachna Patel has been guiding and helping find relief from their symptoms through the use of CBD since 2012.
Not only does she regularly update her website and upload videos on YouTube to educate people on CBD, but she also attends to patients online through her website’s Book an Appointment section.
Besides her videos and podcasts, her book, “The CBD Oil Solution: Treat Chronic Pain, Anxiety, Insomnia, and More – Without the High”, is an excellent source of information for those seeking to learn more about the CBD’s benefits.
As a CBD oil expert, as well as the Founder and CEO of Doc Patels (her own line of CBD products), Dr. Patel assists patients with their health concerns, both through consultations as well as her CBD products that are independently lab-tested for potency, purity, and safety.
6. Zoe Sigman: (@zoe_sigman)
As a writer, educator, and cannabis advocate, Zoe Sigman has been associated with Broccoli Magazine as its Science Editor. Zoe Signman’s name is also associated with organizations like Farma and Groundworks Industries, Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), and Hudson Hemp for her insight into the cannabis industry and the mine of scientific research on cannabis.
From explaining the intricacies of cannabis use and how to make the most of it, Zoe has gone the length to bring both people and brands to FDA to make for an easier and smoother transition in the world of cannabis legalization.
Apart from being a vocal advocate of cannabis and its benefits, she has testified before the FDA in support of CBD and has been instrumental in bringing about proper cannabis regulation in the US.
Today, she publicly speaks about issues concerning and ways to benefit from cannabis and cannabis science with patients, medical professionals, and consumers. Her discussions range from the impact of cannabis legalization to the impact of cannabis regulation on college-goers, from the scientific breakdown of cannabis to better utilization of cannabis, far from the human affinity to everything psychedelic.
Incidentally, she credits the lacunae in public school education for her heightened interest in science and scientific research. To do justice to the people and learn more about what cannabis holds for mankind, she went as far as to dig deep under piles of scientific white papers to gain insight into the world of cannabis and its innumerable health benefits.
7. Elise McDonough: (@EliseMcD420)
Like David Bienenstock, Elise McDonough is another cannabis expert, who frequently contributes to Leafly and is associated with the Bong Appétit brand.
Specifically, a cannabis edibles expert and an 18-year veteran of the cannabis industry and movement, Elise McDonough authored the Bong Appétit cookbook and The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook. Besides, Elise is also Leafly’s Product Specialist for Northern California.
On her The Official High Times Cannabis Cookbook, Vogue’s Jeffrey Steingarten is quoted to have said, “in a category of its own—intelligent, savvy, and knowledgeable about food, with excellent general information about cannabis and cooking with it.”
Elise has been profiled as a cannabis expert and an educator by The New York Times, Bon Appetit, The Associated Press, and The Vice.
A cannabis industry veteran since 2002, Elise has tested more than 500 cannabis-based edibles as a judge for The Cannabis Cup.
From a wide variety of interesting articles on the CBD industry, like California Dreamin’: 11 Cannabis Options for the Best Sleep of Your Life and 7 New Gadgets That Make Dabbing a Whole Lot Easier, she has catered to everyone’s cannabis needs – from the canna-curious to the canna-expert.
Some of her recipes, involving cannabis extracts, like Bake Like a Boss With California’s Best Legal Infused Oils, Butters, and Ghee, have given readers an insight into the world of canna-benefits!
Being a woman herself, she has also given ample thought (and voice) to the leading ladies of the cannabis industry in her articles, like Meet the Women Leading America’s CBD Wellness Revolution.
8. Kathryn VanEaton (@thestonermom)
Colorado-based, medical, and recreational marijuana enthusiast, Kathryn aka The Stoner Mom is your average next-door mother-of-four, running usual household errands, keeping the house clean, and taking care of her kids.
What is unusual about her, though, is her understanding of the millennials and cannabis use (as well as abuse!). While making youngsters aware of the dangers that lurk behind recreational use of marijuana, she has also tried to bust stereotypes and the stigma associated with marijuana and revealed the good side to these natural, benevolent plants (that can have bad effects, if they’re misused).
Kathryn is one of the most prominent and influential CBD industry drivers, who has touched the lives of many with her warm, fun-loving, and easy approach to how to use cannabis responsibly.
Featured in media outlets, such as The Daily Beast, CBC, CNBC’s 9 News, Marijuana Venture (Journal of professional cannabis growers and retailers), Vegas Cannabis, Boston Magazine, Civilized Life, Magnetic Magazine, Culture Magazine, mg Magazine, her blogs and vlogs mainly focus on cannabis use by young American mommies!
Although the brand The Stoner Mom came into being 2014, she has already been blogging on issues concerning cannabis use while parenting for the past 15 years. Back in the early 2000s, she was a photographer who found fresh inspiration in clicking pictures of cannabis plantations and young users, while writing about being a mom as well as being a legal marijuana user.
Through her website, her Stoner Mom Show, and her The Mom And Dad Are Stoned podcast, she reaches out to all the mothers out there who have been or still are cannabis users. She talks about the responsibilities of parenting and users must be careful about using cannabis with children in the house (or rather when not in the house!).
She also penned down a book titled “The Stoner Mom’s Guide to a Safe and Plentiful Cannabis Grow” that is available both as an e-book as well as an audiobook in which she spoke of how one can safely grow your own cannabis and use it responsibly.
9. Sara Brittany Somerset: (@BritGeo)
An UN-based cannabis correspondent and a global drug policy analyst, Sara Brittany Somerset’s work has been published in several reputed outlets, such as The New York Times and High Times, for which she had been the UN Bureau Chief for a considerable period of time. The key focus of her 15-year tenure of writing on the cannabis culture has always been on the human aspect of issues, like social justice and equality.
She is well-known for having covered cannabis as a foreign correspondent during the blood diamond wars in Sierra Leone. More recently in 2018, she received AxisWire Star Media Award for the Best Freelance Cannabis Writer. A couple of years later (2020), she was listed on Green Market Report’s 100 Most Important Women In Weed.
Sara currently writes for Forbes, Civilized, Marijuana Break, Leafly, and a plethora of other cannabis-oriented publications, which include UOL, New York Daily News, Metro.us, High Times, amNewYork METRO, HERB, The Fresh Toast, Cannabis Now and DOPE Magazine.
Apart from being an online influencer, she has reached out to the masses through public speaking as well. She has appeared at the Cannabis Media Summit, CannaTech, Collision, Pot or Not, World Cannabis Congress, the Green Market Summit, CWCBE, NCIA, iC3, cLAB, entOURage, and Cannabis Europa, among other public platforms.
Besides being an award-winning journalist, cannabis and CBD influencer, and thought leader, Sara is also the Chief Communications Officer of Driven Deliveries and a managing partner of Greenbox Robotics.
10. Mike Adams: (@mikeadams73)
Mike Adams is a freelance writer and a cannabis advocate, who writes for Forbes magazine. Earlier, he used to contribute to VICES.
Hailing from Southern Indiana, Mike loves moving people with his writings on the wide range of therapeutic effects of cannabis. Having been in the cannabis scene for over six years, Mike writes for other publications that include High Times, Cannabis Now, and BroBible. His writings have also been featured on Playboy’s Smoking Jacket, Mashable, Salon, and the New York Daily News, among others.
His articles, while being a tad bit on the dry humor side, has the flavor of humility and conveys not like an expert that he is, but you’re your next-door neighbor who has recently been educated on something really great!
Although he is well-known as a CBD influencer and a writer, he avoids attention. In fact, he humbly informs the public of his plans of penning down the first novel that he hopes will bring him enough money to disappear from the public eye.
11. Lisa L Gill: (@Lisa_L_Gill)
Lisa L Gill is an investigative reporter (Health & Medicine) for the Consumer Reports. Her niches are pharmaceutical drugs and cannabis. She is also a public speaker and a self-proclaimed Yogi.
Earlier she had been the Editor of Retail Pharmacy Management Magazine of McMahon Publishing and Editor of Cybergrrl.com and Webgrrls.com. She has a Bachelor’s Degree from Indiana University Bloomington in Journalism and History as well as Gender Studies.
With over a decade of experience and experience in the healthcare industry, especially concerning the access to and cost of pharmaceutical medications, Lisa, as part of Consumer Reports, has gained considerable trust among people as an influencer.
For her work, she coordinates with other journalists, consumer advocates, and medical professionals, and encourages consumers to play a proactive role in their health choices and make informed decisions.
Through media outlets, associated with Consumer Reports, including Consumer Reports magazine, CR.org, “Consumer 101” (CR’s television show), as well as its online videos and social media presence, Lisa has become a key Consumer Reports spokesperson on important health and wellness issues.
On behalf of CR, she has appeared on other media outlets, including the BBC, NPR’s Marketplace, NBC Nightly News, NBC’s Today, CBS This Morning, ABC’s Good Morning America, The Dr. Oz Show, MSNBC, CNBC, Bloomberg News, PBS Weekend Edition, FOX News, CNN, among others.
Well-known as Consumer Reports’ drug expert in publications, like The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, and other major metro dailies, Lisa had recently testified before the US Senate Special Committee on Aging on the topic of “drug costs”. Besides on two occasions, she had appeared before the FDA on topics of CBD and drug advertising.
Previously, Lisa was associated with several other publications, including the Los Angeles Times and USA Today.
12. Dan Ophaug: (Linkedin)
While most influencers are known for their video blogs, Dan Ophaug has reached out with his vast knowledge on the cannabis industry with the written letters – his blogs on Herb, an immersive digital platform, offering a varied range of information on the CBD and cannabis industry – from farming to purchase of different products.
Dan is currently one of Herb’s Branded Editors. Herb serves a vibrant and ever-growing community of over 14 million consumers, with more than 265 million visitors. The site has around 41 million monthly engagements and 80 million video views.
Previously, he has contributed articles for a number of companies, including Format Magazine, RED Academy, Xelo, INVIVO Communications, and Benji.
13. Stephanie Dolgoff: (@formerlyhot)
From being an award-winning, New York City-based journalist and NYT bestselling author, Stephanie has made her mark in the world of health, fitness, and wellness journalism. According to her, “If I’m an expert at anything, it’s connecting with women about what’s important to them.”
And that’s exactly what she’s done through her years of work as a writer for publications, such as Good Housekeeping, Self, Glamour, Real Simple, Parenting, Cosmo, “O” The Oprah Magazine, Fitness, Health, Parents, Redbook, Seventeen, Ladies Home Journal, Prevention, American Photo, New York Post, among others. Her topics ranged from nutrition to psychology, from sexuality to autoimmune diseases and cancer.
Her writing career began as soon as she graduated from college in 1989. Currently, she is the Deputy Director for the Health Newsroom of Hearst Lifestyle Group.
The first book that she authored was “My Formerly Hot Life: Dispatches From Just The Other Side Of Young”. Based on her blog Formerlyhot.com, this book was launched on August 17, 2010.
One of her unique niches was writing a monthly sex column for teens – Ask Anything (for the now-defunct YM magazine) – that she did for five years.
She won several accolades for a section she helped oversee – SELF magazine’s 2005 Breast Cancer Handbook, which included the ASME Award in the category of Personal Service. Her writings have also been published in several books, such as The Elephant in the Playroom (Penguin) and The Enlightened Bracketologist (Bloomsbury). One of her essays appeared in Behind the Bedroom Door (Delacorte), in 2008.
14. Kit O’Connell: (@KitOConnell)
Kit’s Twitter Bio reads: ‘Gonzo journalist. He/him. Disabled. Queer. Antifascist. Editor @Ministryofhemp’. His unique persona has set him apart from the crowd, making everyone stop and take notice and also making him one of the most efficient influencers in every niche and industry he touches.
Apart from being vocal about his political lineation and radical views, Kit was also a staff writer at MintPress News, with several of his writings appearing in Truthout, The Establishment, and Firedoglake. He was also associated with Shadowproof, Counter Current News, The Horn, and Simple. He was very active on Twitter during Occupy Austin (given he hails from Austin, Texas) between November 2011 and December 2013.
His writings on cannabis are mostly focused on human rights and equality – quite like his political writings!
15. CBD Woman (Youtube Channel)
Rachel, better known as CBD Woman, is a popular British YouTuber, who has touched the lives of people worldwide and inspired many to live better by sharing her experiences and her 10-year journey of using and benefiting from CBD.
As a CBD advocate, Rachel has been sharing her experiences with the world since 2017. In her videos, she talks about what she has learned about CBD and cannabis and how it has helped her improve and support her health in so many ways.
Her videos cover topics like CBD dosing, benefits of using tinctures versus vaping CBD, among others. Her YouTube channel also contains some very simple and easy how-to tricks for both new users and experienced ones alike.
Her suggestions and advice are based on her two-year research into the benefits of CBD, the industry, and its products by different brands, besides her own experiences.
Apart from her YouTube channel, Rachel also hosts a website “Excite For Life”, in which she has described her experiences with an assorted collection of CBD products from different brands that she found to be genuinely good and useful.
16. Eric Stober: (@ejstober)
Eric is an experienced, freelance journalist, based in Toronto, Canada, who enjoys cannabis for its diverse benefits.
Apart from writing for Global News, Post City Magazines, The Grid, Bayview Post, The GrowthOp, Green camp, CHDR (Cranbrook, BC, he has also authored many blogs, most of which covered cannabis culture.
17. Aisling Bea aka Aisling Cliodhnadh O’Sullivan (@weemissbea)
As an Irish actress, comedian, and writer, Aisling Bea has appeared in many TV shows across the world. Besides, she has also released a number of stand-ups.
After years of being in the limelight, she is now utilizing her public image to spread awareness about and promote CBD and its efficacy in treating insomnia.
Owing to her own struggles with sleep issues, Bea is perhaps the best person to promote CBD as an excellent sleep aid, and has proven to be so with people really taking to her advice and relating to her experiences with sleep deficiency.
18. Catherine: (@FoodsThatHealYouCBD)
As a certified nutrition consultant, Catherine is the founder-owner of two remarkable brands – Foods That Heal You and Foods That Heal You-CBD – both of which have helped people worldwide gain both knowledge and products concerning healthcare in modern times.
Like Dr. Patel, Catherine set off on the road to helping people with her brand of products after having treated them medically and herself benefitting from CBD. She is yet another prominent CBD influencer and is quite popular among CBD users worldwide.
Why & How Influencers Matter In The CBD Industry
With the rise of online sales and marketing, branding has changed completely. Nowadays, it is more important for brands to be endorsed by people prominent in the industry – who is already known as a well-informed educator and expert in the industry – than being promoted by random celebrities acting as brand ambassadors.
As part of this new-age branding culture, influencer-marketing is what is needed by brands, especially in the case of the CBD industry, which is best sold online.
- Influencers fuel word-of-mouth marketing
- Influencers can build brand reliability
- Influencers can boost brand awareness among the masses
- Influencers’ visibility among the target group is more effective than regular TV or newspaper ads
- Influencers can give your social media strategy a BIG BOOST
- Influencers can build stronger relationships and partnerships
- Basically, Influencers can BUILD BETTER BRAND IMAGE
Naturally, a lot of brands choose to get their products highlighted with the help of such people with excellent consumer-c0nnect. While some influencers are medical practitioners, medical journalists, or pharmaceutical researchers, with substantial knowledge and understanding of the industry, others are already in the market with their own line of products.