Over the last decade, the world has witnessed the unprecedented growth of the cannabis industry. The world has watched international politics come out of a nearly 100-year cannabis prohibition, which has fundamentally changed the way that modern science and the economy receives this lucrative plant. The gross value of the cannabis industry continues to grow in a fashion that no one could have predicted.
All of the information in this article about cannabis industry trends comes from BDS Analytics’ forecast for cannabis in 2019. So let’s elaborate on the cannabis industry trends of 2019 — the biggest year for cannabis.
It’s all CBD
Modern technology has done things for the cannabis industry that would never have been possible were cannabis legalized just a couple of decades ago. The most pertinent is the extraction technology that allows us to isolate cannabinoids and produce CBD-only products. This non-psychoactive cannabinoid can be extracted from both hemp and marijuana, and is increasingly popular around the USA.
- The leading method of consumption for CBD in the USA is ingestibles (such as edibles or oils), representing 39% of sales.
- The second most popular way to use CBD is in the form of topical treatment (lotions and balms), representing 24% of sales.
- However, consumer education needs a refreshing uplift, as up to 69% of Americans say there’s no difference between THC and CBD.
Branding is the new cool
According to BDS Analytics, the days of buying unbranded cannabis flowers in plastic vials are over. Basically, in any product that isn’t a cannabis bud, brands are substantially leading in sales. Brands that can deliver on promises with respect to quality and experience represent the highest-selling products.
- In Colorado, 96% of the edibles market is made up of branded products.
- The leading brand for edibles in Colorado made up 23% of all edible product sales in the state.
Drinking cannabis – who would have thought?
Sipping on cannabis is heavily on the rise in 2019, and dispensaries around the country are stocking water-soluble cannabinoids, CBD beverages, cannabis-infused kombucha and even hemp tea. CBD beverages are especially popular right now, as they can be sold in health food stores and supermarkets as well as dispensaries.
- In November last year, beverages made up 5% of the US edibles market, and the number continues to rise.
- The sale of beverages is forecasted by BDS Analytics to negatively impact the sale of other edible products.
Cannabis isn’t just for young people anymore
The legitimization of the cannabis industry has drastically expanded the demographic of people who use cannabis. While cannabis was commonly associated with young people and recreational use, its purpose is expanding into the Baby Boomers generation, who often find medical uses for cannabis.
- According to BDS Analytics, up to 67% of Baby Boomers consume cannabis for health or medical reasons.
- However, up to 60% of Baby Boomers also admit that using cannabis also helps them to unwind and relax.
The medical vs. recreational war is over
When cannabis was first legalized, there was still stigma surrounding recreational cannabis use. The overwhelming consensus was that if cannabis was going to be used, it should be medicinally. This began a long-winded war between medical and recreational cannabis use. But things are changing, because even those who use cannabis medicinally admit that it is fun and enjoyable to use. In this way, even their medicinal cannabis use turns out to be recreational.
- Up to 64% of Americans believe that cannabis has some sort of medical application, and 88% of people in legal states endorse medicinal cannabis.
- Among Americans who use cannabis for pain management, 73% of them also say they enjoy marijuana for social and recreational purposes too.
- In the absence of a recreational market, the medical market continues to expand: in Arizona, the medical market expanded from $22 million in January 2017 to $56 million in May 2018.
It seems that the longer the cannabis industry is in operation, the more it begins to transform into its own entity. The world would perhaps never have anticipated a market where the sale of cannabis edibles or CBD beverages exceeded that of cannabis flowers. The market trend this year is all edibles, beverages and CBD. And the business model that should be the most successful at this point in time is the one that appeals to both recreational and medical users and provides all the cannabis ingestibles that consumers are looking for!