Cannabis is quickly becoming big business. With many industry forecasts generally pointing up and to the right, especially in the longer term, there are some key cannabis trends to keep an eye on should you be interested in investing in the industry, learning more about emerging research on the medicinal benefits of cannabis, or whether you’re keen on discovering new cannabis-infused products. Below are 10 top cannabis trends to watch out for.
1. Cannabis Trends: Marijuana Legalization Expands
The expansion of marijuana legalization is among the most exciting cannabis trends today. For decades in the United States, marijuana was illegal at both state and federal levels. The war on drugs disproportionately targeted communities of color, and Black men in particular, sending thousands into prisons to serve sentences related to minor, non-violent drug offences. Pot smokers across the country were afraid to toke up in public.
Fortunately, much of this is changing. Many states now legalize medical marijuana use, while others have legalized both recreational and medical marijuana. While THC remains classified as a Schedule 1 drug, there is increasing momentum towards descheduling, decriminalizing or outright legalizing marijuana at the federal level. The MORE Act of 2019 is one of the more progressive examples of legislation that aims to decriminalize weed and repair the damage done to communities of color by prison reducing sentencing and providing financial resources for weed businesses in impacted communities. While it hasn’t passed yet, the MORE Act is yet another sign of the trend pointing towards increasing legal acceptance across the board.
2. Cannabis trends: Higher sales than ever
The sales forecast for the cannabis industry is looking as rosy as ever. In the summer of 2020, forecasts predict retail sales of medical and recreational cannabis in the United States to surpass $15 billion by the end of the year. The increase represents a 40 percent increase over sales in 2019 – and this is in spite of uncertainties and upsets (including the coronavirus pandemic). Longer-term forecasts are predicted as being solid, coming in at around $37 billion by the end of 2024. Part of these positive-looking cannabis trends has to do with increasing social acceptance, the overtake of legal marijuana markets from black markets, and an increasingly favorable legislative climate.
3. Cannabis Trends: There Will Be More Types Of Products Available
As cannabis becomes increasingly legalized at a state level, along with indications of more favorable federal laws to come, entrepreneurs have been more keen than ever to research and develop a range of new products. Savvy businesses are exploring new niches to exploit, and have created markets for products that simply didn’t exist before – from beef jerky to bath soaks.
4. Cannabis Trends: People Will Be More Aware Of The Benefits
While known and loved for centuries by many cultures the world over, people in the United States are still only waking up to the full range of benefits provided by cannabis. Of course, everybody is different and people will have varying experiences of cannabis based on their metabolism, body weight, and other factors. However, as more studies become available illustrating the effects of cannabis – including reducing chronic pain, anxiety, and even potentially helping alleviate symptoms related to cancer – people will likely turn to the plant as an effective way to cure ailments. And as cannabis advocates take this accumulating evidence to influence policy and public awareness, the popularity of cannabis will likely only grow.
5. Researchers Are Studying New Uses Of Medical Marijuana
Over two decades of research has revealed many ways in which cannabinoids interact with the endocannabinoid system of the human body, yet these insights are just beginning to be revealed. Research is ongoing to more clearly understand the effects of cannabis on pain relief, stimulating appetites, and controlling nausea and vomiting, as well as psychological effects including THC’s inducement of calmness, sedation and euphoria. Clinical testing and trials are becoming more acceptable and in-demand, as the public discovers the medicine of marijuana.
6. Products other than flower are gaining market share
Gone are the days when sharing a spliff with your friends was the most common way to imbibe in marijuana. While still popular, bud is giving up some of its dominance as the cannabis market diversifies. Products such as vapes, edibles and beverages are relatively new, yet already beloved, ways of getting a solid dose of cannabinoids into your system.
The year 2019 marked the first time that sales of concentrates eclipsed flowers, with the majority being sold as oil for vapes. One study observed growth of nearly 70 percent in California and 80 percent in Oregon in 2018 alone.
Edible sales have been seeing steady growth in recent years. Products such as chocolates (both THC and CBD), gummies, and infused oils expanding their market share significantly. One analysis forecasted the edible market to grow by around $22 billion between 2020 and 2024, attributing this growth in part to the Millennial generation’s embrace of a variety of edible products.
While cannabis beverages have been gaining popularity pretty much since they hit shelves, new infusion technologies are taking these products to the next level. The last two years have seen steady growth for cannabis bevvies, with one analysis recording an overall market share increase of 0.22 percent, up to $3 million in 2020. Brands such as Weed Claw, Hi Fi hops and Oh Hi are some of the big players in the sector.
7. CBD Market Maturation
Industrial hemp, a variety of the cannabis sativa plant that has THC levels under 0.3 percent, has been the forerunner of the plant within major industrial processing, thanks to the legality of it’s most sought-after cannabinoid: CBD. Used in a variety of applications, from vape oils to face creams to edible gummies, CBD is touted for its medicinal and wellness benefits, while not producing the psychoactive effect of THC. With the global CBD market pegged at 4.6 billion dollars in 2018, with an expected compound annual growth rate of around 22 percent until 2025, the CBD market is well on its way to maturation, in part due to the lack of stigma associated with being classified as an illegal drug.
8. Doctors Will Recommend Medical Marijuana More Often
For decades, marijuana was a taboo subject, painted as a drug for addicts unworthy of scientific study. However, this perception is changing. As people become more aware of the health benefits of marijuana, they will begin asking their doctors and physicians about the effects and for advice on marijuana. Doctors will need to become conversant with the plant’s effects, and this could lead to more recommendations for medical purposes. Combined with more studies being conducted which illustrate the health and medical benefits of cannabis, it is likely that doctors will begin recommending mariuana to patients more often.
9. Cannabis Stocks Will Be Excellent Investments
Many are predicting that, in the long term, cannabis stocks will prove to be excellent investments. Ups and downs are common regardless of the industry; with cannabis, things have been especially volatile in recent years. As the green rush dried up, so too did investor money representing the exuberant optimism that came from increasing deregulation. Accordingly, the industry has shifted towards more sustainable growth for the longer term, rather than explosive boom and bust cycles. With a predicted value of the global market for legal marijuana of $73.6 billion by 2027, it’s expected that cannabis stocks will be good investments for the long haul.
10. Growth in Cannabis Jobs
As the cannabis sector continues to grow, jobs are expected to as well. Because marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not recognize the industry as legitimate and so does not count cannabis jobs within its national survey of employment. Fortunately, cannabis companies are taking matters into their own hands. In 2020, Leafly issued a jobs report for the industry, finding a 15 percent increase in jobs since the same time one year ago, and a 100 percent increase since 2017, when the company began collecting data.
The legal cannabis industry is still relatively new in the United States, and all signs are pointing towards growth as the plant becomes more socially and legally acceptable. Thanks to increasing legalization, growing popularity of edibles, more studies into the medical benefits of cannabis and exciting new products constantly being developed, cannabis may be a wise and lucrative investment.