It’s that time of year again! We’ve been keeping our eyes on the people, trends, and products in the cannabis industry that are on the rise. When growth is as rapid as the cannabis industry, things change quickly. And while we don’t claim to be cannabis clairvoyants, we do have some data-driven predictions of upcoming cannabis trends.
BDS Analytics has crunched the numbers from 2018 and compiled their predictions for what will be the biggest cannabis trends for 2019.
Boomer Use is Blooming
Baby Boomers are an important and growing demographic. They are more likely to consume cannabis because it helps with their health (67 percent). But it’s not that simple, 60 percent of them also admit just doing it for fun.
Brand + Quality = Success
Brands that are In every category outside of flower — edibles, concentrates, and topicals — brands are driving growth by building loyal fan bases with quality products.
In Colorado, branded products equal 96 percent of the edibles market And its competitive out there. During Q3 2015, the top five brands controlled 61 percent of concentrates sales in the state. But by Q3 2018, sales in the top five accounted for only 35 percent. Others are coming on strong as brand awareness of fighter brands increases.
Fancy a cup of cannabis? Cannabis drinks racked up sales of $30 million through November 2018, and are forecast to reach $374 million by 2022. This frothing market is overflowing with choices; kombucha, tea bags, pre-packaged canna-coffee, water-soluble powdered mixes, beers, and wines. Bud-based beverages are in full ferment, and CBD (without THC) beverages are both big and increasingly mainstream.
There are many ways to consume cannabis, but perhaps none easier — or more socially acceptable — than simply sipping your sensimillia.
Cannabis prices keep on dropping because consumers prefer affordable products. In Oregon, the most competitive state, the average price of flower has dropped from $9.27 a gram (Jan 2016) to $4.27 (Nov 2018). But, the price-dip scenario was reversed in California. Edibles prices averaged $14.43 (March 2017, before recreational legalization) and rose to $20.93 (Nov 2018) after supply & demand dynamic responded to more stringent testing laws.
While prices in all broad categories — flower, concentrates, edibles and topicals — have declined in Colorado, none of the drops compare to flower. Concentrates, for example, fell merely 20 percent between January 2016 and November 2018
Therefore it seems that premium products can still triumph. Educating the public will ensure continued rapid growth while offering a combination of price value, consistent/accurate dosing, convenience and quality is a sure way of establishing a strong, loyal, and more frequently purchasing customer base.
While some people love elaborate glass dab rigs, the masses crave convenience in all forms, especially novice users. That’s why “location location location” is a top consideration for where consumers shop.
In fact, 67 percent of consumers say it’s vital, with 50 percent admitting they are “largely” influenced by the convenience of the consumption form when choosing a product. It’s a top five decision factor. Therefore it seems likely that convenient delivery modes of accurately dosed products (like sublingual strips) will become increasingly popular.
And finally, delivery matters — as in delivery services — just as it does for all other products. Who today isn’t having others shop for what they are buying? Uber weed anybody?
Education Is Key
CBD is super hot right now. That’s because its the single most therapeutic part of cannabis, with demonstrated anti-inflammatory, antioxidizing, bone strengthening, brain protecting, analgesic qualities and more. With a rep like that, CBD products are taking off across the US, with edibles making up 53 percent of products, and topicals 24 percent.
But public/consumer knowledge is low. In fact, 69 percent of US citizens still don’t know the difference is between CBD and THC, let alone that CBD cant get you high AND reduces the high of THC.
That’s why most CBD users are already cannabis savvy, but even then only 39 percent of cannabis users have tried CBD. In contrast, only 9 percent of acceptors and 1 percent of rejectors have tried CBD.
Honesty in Advertising
While weed is safe enough to wing your dose, more consumers are demanding products accurately dosed to ‘dial in’ an exact experience. 33 percent of edibles consumers prefer low-dose products, (defined as products containing less than 10 mg of THC per serving), 40 percent of edibles consumers prefer high-CBD products, and 27 percent of these consumers prefer low (1mg)THC/high CBD (10 mg) products. 33 percent of consumers want more accurately dosed products and 41 percent of consumers want labels to state effects, (‘relaxation’, ‘energy’).
Innovation = Understanding Consumers
While mainstream consumers keep growing in number, engaging with the discerning, educated, and experienced consumer is key. What they like today, the mass market will likely embrace in six months. Discerning consumers are influencers, early adopters and lead indicators who are willing to spend more for quality, keep up with technology, care that products are locally grown or manufactured, and prefer local, natural, organic, and socially interested brands. They also care about things like processing methods, terpenes, additional cannabinoids, growing methods, and packaging.
Rec or Med… It Doesn’t Matter Anymore
The Boomer crossover is a clear trend in cannabis consumption. Already, 64 percent of US citizens realize that cannabis has health value, and 88 percent of citizens in legal states endorse it for health. Therefore, as people become more canna-savvy, and the herb loses its stigma, more consumers will use it to feel good and to feel well.
Fewer people will self-identify only as “patients” who need medical-only shops. Rec and/or medical consumers will morph into a single canna-consumer. This can be seen in the 73 percent of pain sufferers who also use cannabis for pleasure, and the rapid expansion of medical cannabis markets in states without adult use (eg. Arizona, $22m January 2017-$56m May 2018).
High there, friend! 71 percent of cannabis fans love to get high for fun and social reasons. 33 percent specifically indulge before meeting others. We think this means that they will leap at the chance for legal public consumption spaces.
Progressive cities like Las Vegas, San Francisco and Denver will likely lead the way, fostering fun the rest of the country will follow. We expect legal cannabis social clubs to blossom through 2019.
Cannabis Classification System Announced for 2022 Emerald Cup Awards
One of the factors that make the Emerald Cup so important to California’s cannabis market is its continued strive for excellence and innovation. For the 2022 awards, the judging process is undergoing a transformation and with it comes a new cannabis classification system that will classify entries based on terpenes, flavour, and effects for anybody — from customers to budtenders, dispensaries, judges, and cultivators.
Cannabis Is More Than Just THC
The days of just searching out the highest THC totals are rapidly receding as research has now proven that terpenes are at the base of the entourage effect that customers desire are rapidly fading.
Terpenes, on the other hand, have mostly added to the consumer confusion already caused by overly broad Indica/Sativa/Hybrid terminology, whimsical strain names, irrelevant THC/CBD percentages, and other ambiguous factors that make selecting the best or correct strain a less-than-satisfying ordeal for even the most experienced cannabis connoisseurs.
The Emerald Cup competition will serve as a testbed for a new classification system for cannabis flowers. The event organisers and their testing partners at SC Labs decided to further break down the flower categories based on the chemometrics of each cultivar (better known as “chemovar” — the evolution of the term “dominant terpene”) evolving beyond last year’s flower category sorting by primary terpene content, in order to level the playing field and eliminate as much bias as possible in the blind/anonymous sampling done by Emerald Cup judges each year.
This paradigm-shifting insight sparked months of additional research and discussion, culminating in the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification System based on PhytoFacts® powered by SC Labs.
The all-new classification system builds on last year’s approach of sorting flower entries by primary terpene content, leveraging a decade of Cannabis phytochemistry research between PhytoFacts®, developed by Napro Research in 2013, and a powerful database of over 250,000 terpene tests aggregated by SC Labs, dating back to their launch of terpene testing on Cannabis in 2013. The key class names were chosen to represent current terminology, are widely used in the business and are familiar to dispensaries and consumers. Each class is further explained using taste notes, effects, and popular strains or cultivars to promote understanding and acceptance.
The New Cannabis Classification System
The classes of the Emerald Cup Cannabis Classification Based on PhytoFacts® powered by SC Labs include:
“Jacks + Haze” Class
- Mostly ‘Sativa’-leaning varietals
- Tasting notes – Fruity, Pinesol, Haze
- Effects – Energizing, Cerebral, Artistically Inspiring
- Common Cultivars – Classic Trainwreck, Jack Herer, Durban Poison, Super Lemon Haze
- Terpenes Profile: Terpinolene, Caryophyllene, Myrcene
“Tropical + Floral” Class
- Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
- Tasting notes – Sweet, Floral, Tropical Fruit
- Effects – Calming, Soothing, Relaxing
- Common Cultivars – Super Skunk, Hawaiian, In the Pines, Dream Queen
- Terpenes Profile: Ocimene, Myrcene
“Sweets + Dreams” Class
- Mostly ‘Indica’-leaning varietals
- Tasting Notes – Fruity, Sweet, Woody, Hoppy, Herbaceous
- Effects – Relaxation, Couch Lock, Analgesic
- Common Cultivars – Blue Dream, Tangie, Forbidden fruit, Grandaddy Purple, Purple Urkel, Grape Ape, Cherry AK, God’s Gift, Purple Punch
- Terpenes Profile: Myrcene, Pinene, Caryophyllene
“OGs + Gas” Class
- True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
- Tasting Notes – Gas, Fuel, Sweet, Citrus, and Pepper
- Effect – Uplifting, Stimulating, Analgesic, Relaxation
- Common Cultivars – Classic OG Kush, ChemDawg, Sour Diesel, Gorilla Glue
- Terpenes Profile: Any combination or shifting codominance of Caryophyllene, Limonene, Myrcene
- True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
- Tasting Notes – Deserts, Doughs, Citrusy & Spicy
- Effects – Stimulating, Racy, Uplifting, Comforting
- Common Cultivars – Classic Bubba Kush, GSC, Gelatos, Cakes
- Any shift in codominance of Caryophyllene & Limonene
“Exotics” (Rare Terpene Combinations) Class
- True ‘Hybrid’ varietals
- Tasting notes – varied based on chemistry of entry
- Effect – varied based on chemistry of entry
- Common Cultivars – rarest terpene profiles entered into the Emerald Cup Competition
This game-changing development in cannabis classification levels the playing ground for the 2022 Cup as well as market competitiveness amongst brands. The system seeks to become an open-source, globally recognised grading solution for Cannabis, with six simple classes/names/descriptions. In the same way that a Chardonnay would not be tested against a Merlot in the wine business, this new system permits strains with comparable profiles to be judged against each other. This new classification system will also be used at the California State Fair Cannabis Awards in July 2022.
The 2022 Emerald Cup Awards will be presented live on stage on May 14th at the Green Street Festival in Downtown Los Angeles, California.
The Sativa Preservation Society Project Will Protect Rare Haze Genetics
Space Coyote, the totally cosmic cannabis company, has launched the Sativa Preservation Society Project — a movement that protects Haze genetics while paying homage to the custodians and cultivators who kept the seeds alive.
Celebrators of the cannabis culture’s stoner heritage, Space Coyote’s aesthetic and ethos embraces the vibes and psychedelic Seventies scene, where the creativity and community of cannabis intersect.
Co-founder and self-confessed ‘Sativa Diva’ Libby Cooper calls it the “ultimate passion project”.
“We’re truly passionate about saving these genetics that are the actual grandmothers of every modern-day sativa strains that people love — all of these desert strains, all of the fruity strains,” Cooper tells me from the Space Coyote van en route to Hall of Flowers.
Founding the Sativa Preservation Society Project
The concept of the Sativa Preservation Society Project was years in incubation as the Space Coyote team deliberated over how to bring it to life. It was important for them to give back to the community while helping to educate about the history of cannabis culture.
The stars aligned earlier this year when the team met Bam Vachher-Gnanathurai, nursery and plant breeding manager from the Posibl Project in Salina. A mutual love of the unique effects of Haze genetics made for a truly cosmic outcome.
“Bam is super passionate about sativa,” said Cooper. “When we went and met up with Bam for the very first time, he rolled a blunt from Cuban Black. It was such an amazing experience to smoke that flower.”
“The initial conversation of the Sativa Preservation Society coming to life happened during that smoke session. It was like, ‘holy shit, we could actually do this.’”
The Haze Experience
The Sativa Preservation Society Project is launching with three incredibly rare cultivars — Cuban Black Haze, Uptown Haze (also known as A5 Haze), and C5 Haze — all of which were originally cultivated in the 1980s by legendary grower Neville Schoenmaker. The flower will be available as bagged eighths and as infused prerolls.
Cooper likens the Haze experience to being “a bit like mushrooms” — colors are brighter, your smell is enhanced and your hearing is sharper.
“It’s really like a cup of coffee without any jitteriness or anxiety usually associated with sativas. This is pure energy without any sort of adverse effects,” explains Cooper. “You really feel as if your eyelids are getting peeled back — you’re awake, you’re uplifted. Basically, I smoke it and I immediately start stretching.”
“Many sativa genetics are dying out due to a number of reasons,” says Cooper. “Typically, they are more difficult to grow, have a longer curing time, and the fluffy buds are easily crushed in transit.” All of which makes sativas less cost-effective in California’s highly competitive legal market.
“This truly is the first time these original sativa strains are going to be commercially grown,” says Cooper. “It really wouldn’t have been possible, funnily enough, without this group named Posibl.”
Learn more about the Sativa Preservation Society Project in the video above. While you’re at it, find your nearest Space Coyote here.
Peach Oz: This Sweet And Juicy Cultivar Will Stimulate Your Creativity
If you’re looking for a premium cultivar with legendary genetics and a euphoric high, look no further than Peach Oz, the latest addition to Wonderbrett’s stellar strain menu.
A cross of Peach Rings with OZ Kush and a descendent of Zkittlez, the sweet, stimulating citrus taste profile of Peach Oz will get your creative juices flowing.
While the cultivar may be new to the public, according to Wonderbrett Co-Founder and famed Breeder Brett Feldman, it’s five-years-old in the world of genetics.
“There’s only a small handful of heady smokers who follow these things,” says Feldman. “I wanted to bring it to the masses to share the experience with everybody. That’s where my passion comes from with this strain. Similar to an amazing dish at a restaurant, you want to share it with your friends.”
Grown in small-batches at scale from the company’s state-of-the-art Long Beach cultivation facility, the strain was first created by Dying Breed Seeds, then perfected by Cannabis By Corey, before making its way to Feldman.
Bursting with flavors and aromas that bring to mind the sweet ocean breeze and fragrant fruit orchards of the California sunshine state, Peach OZ’s four dominant terpenes: Caryophyllene, Linalool, Limonene and Humulene, create a distinct sweet taste of ripe peaches, citrus candy and cream.
“When any strain has that unique, recognizable consistency in its flavor, whether that be peach, lemon or orange, that’s what myself and other breeders appreciate most and look for when bringing a genetic like this to market. It’s mind-blowing what Peach OZ can do that, translating a fruit flavor to a smoking experience,” explained Feldman.
Peach OZ is available at select dispensary and at Wonderbrett’s flagship dispensary in L.A.