1. Artisanal Products
Small batch, artisan products have gained traction in the world of craft-beer, so why not the world of cannabis? More cannabis companies are beginning to embrace a farm-to-table approach to curating unique and specialized marijuana products. Small, artisanal producers have gained popularity in some of cannabis’ biggest markets, like California, and their popularity is projected to continue to grow.
Flow Kana, a company out of California’s Mendocino Valley, focuses on sustainable, boutique cannabis strains that are grown in small batches. Flow Kana has relationships with small family farmers that allow them to access high-quality outdoor grown cannabis that is up to their high standards. Flow Kana fits a niche in the cannabis industry, providing specialized strains to dispensaries all across California.
Herba Buena, another artisanal cannabis producer, is known for their specially curated tinctures and products that bring craft-style to functional medicinal cannabis. Herba Buena embraces its Napa location through a winery-like approach to producing unique, sun grown cannabis products. Herba Buena uses organic and biodynamic cannabis when crafting their products. They even embrace wine-like tastings that expose people to the wonders of different cannabis products and strains through the guidance of “sensameliers”.
Bloom Farms is another medical marijuana company that works with small family farmers in California. They extract their cannabis oil products without any solvents, leaving their products residue free. Lab testing is integral product production and release for both potency and purity, providing patients with small batch, clean products. Bloom Farms is also committed to bettering the world in which they conduct business by being a part of a 1 for 1 program. For every purchase from Bloom Farms, they will donate one meal to someone in need.
2. The Industry is Getting Professional
The cannabis industry is moving out of a grey zone and into the mainstream. Overwhelming nationwide support means that cannabis no longer needs to hide in the shadows. According to the latest Gallup Poll, 87% of Americans support medical cannabis and 60% support recreational cannabis.
Silicon Valley executives are now leaving their tech jobs to join the rapidly growing industry. Mark Williams and Sasha Robinson, the founders of Firefly Vaporizers, both left tech jobs in the Silicon Valley to create one of the most high end vaporizers on the market. This is a trend we expect to see continue, especially as the industry expands into new markets. It is no surprise, however, because the industry is expected to accelerate to a projected $25 billion in the coming years.
3. Big Pharma & Synthetic Cannabinoids
Cannabinoids are continuing to gain traction as viable medicinal products, particularly in the wake of the opioid epidemic sweeping the country. As more people are becoming addicted to legal opioids, there is a constant search for pain relieving alternatives without the highly addictive qualities of opioids. There are a few synthetic cannabinoids currently on the market, mostly targeted towards patients with conditions like cancer. Synthetic cannabinoids, however, are becoming more attractive to people, especially after the DEA’s recent clarification that even hemp based cannabinoids are considered a Schedule 1 substance. Fear over possible legal repercussions will cause people to seek out synthetics, pushing the industry to expand.
4. Sports Will Green Light Marijuana Use
Many athletes have become advocates for marijuana use to help recover from sports related chronic pain and injuries. From UFC fighters like Ronda Rousey to football players like Ricky Williams, professional athletes have become advocates for stopping marijuana testing and allowing players to use cannabis as a medication. Rousey made comments at a press conference after the suspension of MMA fighter Nick Diaz for marijuana use, saying that marijuana is not a performance enhancing drug and it is only tested for political reasons. Williams, who also experienced a series of suspensions and repercussions from his cannabis use while in the NFL, has now become an advocate for marijuana use in the world of professional sports. The former Heisman Trophy winner and All-American has even founded a cannabis-friendly gym that allows people to incorporate cannabis into their workout regime.
Rousey and Williams are just two of the many athletes calling for a change. All major sports leagues in the United States, except for the NHL, ban the use of marijuana by their players, but they allow for the use of harmful substances like opioids. The opioid epidemic is one of the many reasons some players are hoping that marijuana will become allowed for players in states where it is medically legal. Many athletes, who often get injured due to the nature of their job, find themselves being prescribed opioids for everything from invasive surgeries to shoulder pain. Many players think that marijuana is the most viable alternative to addictive opioids and that if they live in states that approve of medical marijuana, they should be able to access it as a medication without repercussions.
5. Luxury Cannabis Products
Luxury cannabis products that give cannabis users an experience, rather than just a dose of marijuana, are becoming increasingly popular in the industry. Madame Munchie is a company that makes traditional macarons complete with a 20 mg dose of THC. The gourmet french pastries have won a variety of awards, including San Fransisco patients’ choice, High Times best edible, and HempCon’s best desert. The variety of flavors, including Hazelnut Mocha and Grilled PB+J, are made to be savored and enjoyed in one sitting. Unlike the high dosage of some cannabis edibles, Madame Munchie makes their products to be enjoyed completely rather than being split apart to be consumed.
Défoncé Chocolates makes luxury chocolate bars that happen to be medicated with high quality cannabis. Défoncé is a company run by two chocolatiers who have used their chocolate making skills to craft chocolate bars infused with single-origin, sun grown cannabis. The chocolate bars come in almost every flavor imaginable including vanilla, matcha, milk, coffee, mint, dark, hazelnut, and extra dark. Each bar comes with 180mg of THC.
Kikoko Teas, which are currently only available for pre-order, are specialized cannabis teas in a variety of flavors, each one with a different purpose. The teas were created by two incredibly accomplished women who designed their teas as an alternative to traditional pharmaceutical medications. The teas come in four different flavors: positivi-tea (for mood enhancement), sensuali-tea (for libido), sympa-tea (for pain), and tranquili-tea (for sleep). Kikoko Teas is also a company with a cause, donating 5% of their profits to providing cannabis medication to children with seizure disorders.
6. Microdosing-Friendly Products
Microdosing is a great way to achieve many of the benefits of medicinal cannabis without the high that marijuana is known for. Microdosing can help people manage their symptoms throughout the day without any unwanted side effects. Microdosing friendly products are now becoming more popular as more people begin to embrace the low dose practice.
Kiva Confections, who is well known for their product that are great for microdosing, has come out with a line of mints. Each Petra mint has 2.5mg of THC and they come in two different flavors, Moroccan Mint and Eucalyptus. Both flavors of mints are infused with matcha and are sugar free, making them a great choice for micro dosing on the go without an increased sugar intake.
Satori chocolate bites are also giving patients the ability to deliciously dose small amounts of cannabis throughout the day. Satori chocolate bites come in a variety of different flavors and different doses. Satori’s coffee beans in dark chocolate and high bush blueberries in milk chocolate each have 2 mg of THC per piece, while their raisins in organic milk chocolate come in at 1 mg per piece. They also have wild strawberries in organic milk chocolate that have 3 mg of THC per piece. Their dark chocolate products are made with Fino de Aroma, some of the most sought after cocoa beans in the world, while their milk chocolate is sourced from THCO, an award winning and sustainable chocolate company. Satori infuses their products with sun grown cannabis oil that is created by AbsoluteXtracts.
CannaAthlete, is a new brand to the market and is backed by two industry veterans Jim McAlpine of 420 Games and Seibo Shen of VapeExhale. Deep ties into the athletic community led them to the development of their micro dose product called Activation Spray which may be self titrated at 1mg a spray. They seek to elevate rather than obliterate.
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7. Cannabis Tastings
Cannabis tastings are becoming more popular as more states are legalizing both medical and recreational cannabis. Cannabis tastings are associated with the artisan cannabis movement. People are beginning paying attention to the quality and intricacies of different cannabis products. Herba Buena’s social club is a member only group that organizes wine-like cannabis tastings. The cannabis tastings are very educational and they provide patients with explanations of different products available and what their purpose is.
Herba Buena’s social club currently requires a membership and a medical marijuana card, but the world of cannabis tasting is soon to expand to a wider clientele in California since the recreational marijuana legalization bill passed in the most recent voting cycle. Cannabis tastings have become popular in Colorado, where cannabis is often paired with food and wine for a fully immersive experience. Pairing cannabis strains with meals, much like wine, is the cutting edge of the recreational marijuana industry. Colorado is planning to increasingly capitalize on this trend too, as Denver recently legalized Amsterdam style cannabis cafes.
8. Intriguing and Interesting Product Design
Many of the products in the cannabis industry were built with utility in mind, but tides are turning as style is becoming increasingly incorporated into a variety of products. The recent swing towards design focused products include the sleek and practical Hmbldt vaporizer pen that was named one of the 25 best inventions of 2016 by Time magazine. The modern and minimalist styled vape pen dispenses a specified dose of cannabis oil, specifically with a medical necessity in mind. The pens include relief, sleep, bliss, and calm, each made to target a specific symptom or medical condition.
The world of marijuana glassware is getting an update as well. Jane West, a leading cannabis activist and founder of Women Grow, has recently raised $1 million in capital for a new glassware collection. West has collaborated with Grav Labs, an Austin based company that is known for their production of high quality glassware, on the venture. The collection includes 5 glass pieces so far, each in a stunning cobalt blue color with unique shapes curated with ergonomics in mind.
9. More Marijuana on TV
Aside from cannabis guest starring more often on television shows as a casual or medicinal product, rather than a taboo, marijuana based television shows are starting to go more mainstream. High Maintenance, which started as a web series before making it to the small screen, follows the life of an unnamed pot delivery man. MTV’s new show “Mary + Jane” stars two women as “pot-reprenuers” who created a cannabis delivery app and follows their life in the industry. Sony Pictures recently booked John Malkovich to star in a new drama called “Humboldt”, which is about the marijuana industry that has flourished in the town. Even Netflix has jumped on the cannabis train, recently ordering a new series for 2017 called “Disjointed” starring Kathy Bates.
10. Athleticism and Cannabis
Cannabis has gained traction in the athletic world, not only as a way to recovery after injuries, but also as a way to enhance athletic prowess. One Colorado triathlete and gym owner, who was interviewed by Men’s Journal, claimed that he trains with better form and focus when he enters a controlled meditative state caused by marijuana edibles.
An Outside Magazine correspondent, named Gordy Megroz, also got interested in cannabis’s relationship with sport through many of his friends who claimed it helped their skiing performance. Megroz conducted a series of test that compared his performance when he had taken cannabis and when he had not. In a series of tests he conducted on a treadmill, which was set at 5 mph with a 2.5% increase in incline every two minutes, he found that he could consistently last 30 seconds longer when he had consumed cannabis.
Many pro-athletes who advocate for cannabis also thinks it helps their performance by assisting them in recovery and getting them back on the field faster than traditional pharmaceuticals, especially when they are rehabbing from injuries. Cannabis and athleticism is an topic which will be explored more in the coming year as more people have access to cannabis as a medical and recreational product.