Read Time: 3:30 Mins.
For many journeys, it is helpful to know where you’ve been in order to see where you’re going. Without a doubt, 2018 was an exceptionally positive year for the cannabis community. In October, Canada nationally legalized adult cannabis use. After the November U.S. elections, a total of 33 states now permit medicinal cannabis and 10 allow for adult-use. In December, hemp was delisted as a federally controlled substance after the passage of the Hemp Farming Act. Many policy experts see this as a crucial pathway for legalizing cannabis at the national level.
But what’s in store for 2019? Literally, what will prove to be popular in cannabis dispensaries and traditional retail and even online stores? What other cannabis trends do we foresee? The Three Wells research staff searched the Internet and talked with our partners to see what may be emerging this year.
#1 In a Word, CBD
OK, that’s not a word, but with the passage of the Hemp Farming Act, CBD products are set for dynamic sales growth. CBD is a cannabinol found in both the Cannabis Sativa plant and its hemp cousin. THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive cannabinoid in traditional cannabis, so in order for hemp to be legal, it must contain less than 0.3% THC. CBD oil can be extracted from hemp plants and processed into CBD-only products that contain little or no THC. To learn more about the differences between CBD and THC, read our article about it.
Many medical experts recommend CBD as an anti-inflammatory compound that is also beneficial for skin irritation, muscle tension relief, relaxation, and improved sleep. It can be consumed in edibles, beverages, tinctures, topical lotions, and soaps. You can also consume CBD oil and waxes using vaping devices, and smoking raw hemp. Now that the Hemp Farming Act is the law of the land, the Food and Drug Administration is responsible for regulating CBD consumable products. Eventually, shoppers can expect to see CBD products in grocery, drug, and convenience stores, and on the menu in restaurants and coffee houses. Beauty and cosmetic products from major brands will also begin to offer certain CBD-infused products and openly advertise them.
#2 Cannabis for Adults
The plethora of cannabis products and ways to consume cannabis will increase in 2019. More companies are processing cannabis and hemp oil, and they are implementing new, more efficient ways to produce high-quality extracts. This will lead to a larger variety of infused edibles and beverages. Established edibles such as gummies, mints, chocolates, cookies, and brownies will diversify and become even more dosing-specific to address patients’ medicinal needs. More people will discover Microdosing, the concept of using small amounts of cannabis throughout the day. Based on data and sales figures from 2018, the popularity of vaping oil or wax extracts will continue trending upward. For those adults who prefer smoking cannabis, sales of high-quality, pre-rolled joints will also continue to grow as more and more brands produce prerolls. Depending on individual state law, local cannabis delivery companies are also expected to expand as it saves consumers a trip to a dispensary. Beginning in 2019, California cannabis regulations are expected to lead the nation and permit licensed delivery services, but challenges may be on the horizon.
#3 Pro Athletes and Cannabis: Time Out for Better Health and Wellness
Adults are increasing their medicinal cannabis use at every level of society. In turn, ordinary people and medical professionals alike genuinely appreciate cannabis for helping with a variety of medical conditions. This has not gone unnoticed by professional athletes who depend on their bodies to make a living. For 2019, it is highly likely to see more professional athletes launch their own cannabis, CBD, or wellness brands. Former football running back Ricky Williams has already done so, and basketball star Al Harrington launched a CBD oil brand. This trend (and business opportunity) is likely to experience significant growth in 2019.
#4 Cannabis Business Trends in 2019
As cannabis use by adults continues to grow it strengthens the overall industry and improves investment opportunities. Several cannabis companies are already publicly traded on the Canadian stock market. Leading business and media outlets believe that cannabis mergers and acquisitions will continue in 2019. Investors expect profitable returns on their investments and a lack of quality control at any stage can harm the bottom line. As the size and frequency of investments rise, this leads to improved testing results and consistent products with more reliable availability. This actually helps consumers as cannabis businesses at every level must deliver quality products and develop reputable brands. To sum it up, a trend for 2019 is that the industry will continue to improve, new brands will emerge, money will be made, and cannabis consumers will benefit from it all.
#5 Cannabis Jobs and Education in 2019
According to the cannabis recruiting firm Vangst, the cannabis industry is expected to grow by 220% in 2019. That’s a lot of jobs to fill, and an educated workforce plays an enormously important role. It affects everything from Ph.D. cultivators to frontline budtenders. Expect to see more and more educational opportunities develop in 2019. The University of Connecticut may be the first to offer a degree in cannabis horticulture. Organizations such as the Trichome Institute, Oaksterdam University, and the Cannabis Training University offer formal classes and certificates in cannabis education. Other schools exist as well and increased educational opportunities for cannabis careers is another certainty for 2019.
#6 Mature Adults Will Use More Cannabis
One thing is certain as mainstream society further embraces cannabis and CBD products, the stigma surrounding it will continue to fade. Once discussed in whispers, open and honest cannabis conversations will happen naturally and often. This will also lead to a higher percentage of mature adults using cannabis in 2019, and that’s a trend you can bank on for 2019.
What are your predictions for 2019? Let us know!
Karl Phillips is a writer who covers the cannabis industry.