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Trends to Expect in 2018

The US economy is the largest in the world, and with the cannabis market becoming its fastest growing industry within, businesses are poring over the flow of data it’s generating in an effort to divine what products will emerge as big sellers.

The statistics so far paint an interesting picture. Non-consumables, such as glass rigs, bubblers and vaporizers account for a huge share of trending products. Cannabis resource website Leafly recently mined its own data and discovered that nearly half of all states in the US showed interest in more modern ways to consume the substance.

This indicates that recreational users are experimenting with different ways of consuming cannabis. Vaporizers are currently the apex of portability and ease of use, which is why they’re predicted to increase in popularity this year. In fact, vaporizer cartridges were the fastest trending products in more than 20% of states.

In Oregon, which was one of the first states to authorize the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes, one of the most popular products for use with vaporizers has been the Winberry Farms Tropical Trainwreck 1g cartridge. It provides around 250 hits of THC distillate. In Colorado, another early adopter of legalization, the IndigoPro 500mg Night Rider indica cartridge is proving to be a hit.

The rising popularity of vape pens was illustrated by the news coming out of California on January 1st, 2018, which was the first day that licensed retailers could legally offer recreational marijuana. Santa Ana’s 420 Central racked up $54,000 in sales during the day, with co-owner Robert Taft reporting that the biggest sellers were vape pens and pre-rolled joints, along with flower. West Coast Cannabis Club, based in Cathedral City, doesn’t share its sales figures, but CEO Ken Churchill revealed that the retailer sold thousands of pre-rolled joints throughout the day. Vape cartridges accounted for 20% of sales, but flower was the most popular, with a 60% share.

What lies ahead for strains?

Looking at recent figures, it’s interesting to note that more states are interested in indicas than sativas. Of course, the effects of indica strains are more associated with stress relief, and while 2016 saw indicas being the fastest trending strains in just four states, 2017 saw this figure rise to 19. Could this be a sign that the current political uncertainty in the US is affecting consumption? It’s an interesting consideration.

A knock on effect of the consumer market expansion in the US has also led to an increase in the public’s knowledge about lesser-known strains. Rather than go with firm mainstream favourites such as Blue Dream or Green Crack, there are indications that customers are learning more about the variety of options available, such as Purple Trainwreck or Mendo Breath. Kush strains, such as Banana Kush, Blueberry Kush and Platinum Bubba Kush have proved to be generally popular across the US, and this trend is expected to continue into 2018.

Given the wide variety of strains on the market, it comes as no surprise that although some have trended in multiple places, no single strain has dominated the public interest. For example, 2017 saw the popular Strawberry Cough, Grape Ape, NY Diesel and AK-47 all trend in two states at a time, but no more than that.

Will these trends cross the border?

It’s tough to predict if this will be the case in Canada, given that legalization is happening at a federal level. The appetite for product is certainly growing; according to the latest Statistics Canada report, Canadians consumed 697.48 kilos of product in 2015. This is an amazing increase of 47% in just five years. A study by Ryan Macdonald and Michelle Roterman for Statistic Canada shows that growing consumption has been a trend for decades. It comes as no surprise that there was a huge increase in the 1960s and 1970s, before rates stabilized. A dip occurred in the early 2000s, before usage rates again began to climb. It’s interesting to note 2015’s all-time high.
The report found that 22.52% of people aged 25–44 consumed 308,060 kilos of cannabis while 11.31% of adults aged 45–64 consumed 180,400 kilos. Although not everyone included in the study may have been honest or accurate about their usage, it’s clear to see that older people are using the substance more. Assuming that they have higher income rates, the signs point towards further adoption of more sophisticated, convenient ways to consume cannabis such as vaporizers. It’s definitely a trend to watch.

See the Full Statistics Canada report.

Image courtesy of Tantalus Labs.