The Science Behind the Medical Cannabis Industry
There’s nothing quite like cannabis in the plant kingdom. Beneath its humble surface, over 750 unique compounds exist within – all of which have helped propel the cannabis industry into the multi-billion dollar market it is today.
Today’s infographic from The Green Organic Dutchman takes a deep dive into the cannabis components which contribute to its therapeutic potential, how it interacts with the human body, and the ways it can be consumed.
The Chemical Effects of Cannabis
While many people would be familiar with THC and CBD as the two major cannabinoids, there are a few lesser-known cannabinoids which also play important roles: Cannabichromene (CBC), Cannabigerol (CBG), Cannabinol (CBN), Tetrahydrocannbivarin (THCv), and Tetrahydrocannabinolic acid (THCa).
In different combinations, they work together with terpenes – aromatic oils that are present in most plants – to provide relief for a variety of ailments.
|Pain/ Sleep||CBD, THC||Cramps, Migraine|
|CBC, CBD, CBN, THC||Insomnia|
|CBC, CBD, CBN, THC, THCv||Pain|
|CBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, CBN, THC, THCa||Arthritis, Inflammation|
|CBD, THC, THCa||Crohn’s disease|
|Mood/ Behavior||CBD, CBG||Anxiety|
|CBD, THC||ADD/ADHD, Stress|
|CBD, CBG, THC||Bipolar disorder, OCD, PTSD|
|CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THC||Depression|
|Neurological||CBC, CBD, CBG, CBN, THC, THCa||Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)|
|CBC, CBD, CBG, THC, THCa||Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s|
|CBD, CBN, THC, THCa||Multiple Sclerosis|
|CBD, CBN, THCa, THCv||Epilepsy, Seizures|
|Other||CBC, CBD, CBDa, CBG, THC, THCa||Cancer|
When cannabinoids and terpenes interact, the human endocannabinoid system is already equipped to deal with the entourage effects that are created.
Modern-Day Medical Cannabis
It’s clear that many cultures embraced cannabis long before scientific research came into play. Its therapeutic properties were widely recorded and extolled around the world.
After decades of restricted access and stigma, the tide is turning back towards what our ancestors discovered long ago. Millions of patients rely on medical cannabis today, with Canada and Israel paving the way in cannabis research.
Medical cannabis has been legal nationwide since 2001, aiding scientists in studying its effects.
Funding: CAD$1.4 million (US$1.05 million) invested by the government towards research projects.
Since the 1990s, medical cannabis has been legal for patients of cancer, chronic pain, and PTSD.
Funding: 8 million shekels (US$2.16 million) annual government funding to support innovation.
Back in the day, typically only dried cannabis flower was used. However, consumption methods have evolved into three broad categories today: ingestion, inhalation, and application.
The dosage of cannabis consumed is easy to control using edibles or beverages, tinctures or sprays, and capsules.
The effects of cannabis are quickly felt through smoking, vaporizing, and/or dabbing concentrates.
Transdermal patches and topicals like balms offer localized relief through a controlled dose.
Each of these methods have their own pros and cons, but in the end, they all offer the medical cannabis patient with a wide variety to choose from. Some of these forms, such as topicals and edibles, even lend themselves to the rapidly growing consumer cannabis segment.
In the seventh part of this series, we’ll delve into the rise of retail that’s set to disrupt the cannabis industry.
Why Retail Cannabis Could Be the Next Big Investment Boom
Retail cannabis could flourish into a $47.3 billion industry by 2027. What makes this cannabis segment so enticing for investors and consumers alike?
Imagine being an investor in Microsoft at the time of the company’s IPO in 1986. Or better yet, buying Amazon shares while it was still just an aspiring online book store in the late 1990s.
Chances to be an early adopter in the next billion-dollar industry are far and few in between – but it’s exactly what is happening today with the nascent cannabis market. After close to a century of prohibition, cannabis is back in the limelight as legalization rolls across the U.S. and Canada.
Visualizing the Retail Boom
Today’s infographic from Choom Holdings Inc demonstrates the consumer interest in retail cannabis, and the challenges and opportunities that come with this potential.
Legal cannabis today is a lucrative modern market in the U.S. and Canada. In 2018, sales were $10.8 billion – and they are expected to grow to $47.3 billion by 2027.
Who’s driving this growth? A recent survey reveals that:
- 58% of U.S. cannabis consumers use it at least once a week
- 66% of these weekly users are millennials, aged 18 to 34
- 46% of cannabis consumers who also drink, prefer it over alcohol
- 74% of cannabis consumers who also drink, believe it to be safer than alcohol
With more people using cannabis frequently, the disruptive potential of retail cannabis becomes clear.
The Cannabis Supply Issue
Colorado, Washington, Nevada, and most recently California have been among the major U.S. states to legalize recreational cannabis in recent years.
Although cannabis sales across all states have soared, there’s one caveat to mention, which is clearly seen in the case of California. As the state began selling cannabis in stores on January 1st, it also simultaneously ran out of supply when the grey market came rushing up.
This trend of pent-up demand is clear across both mature and new markets – even Canada couldn’t escape the same supply crunch, subjecting customers to long lines and wait times on day one of legalization. For example, only one legal retail store was open in the entire province of British Columbia on October 17th.
It’s not surprising to see why cannabis is such a valuable retail product, though: dispensaries typically outsell Whole Foods and other similar retailers.
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(Source: Marijuana Business Daily)
The Value Play in Cannabis
Seizing an early adoption opportunity is a best-case scenario in the investing world.
Today, such an opportunity may come in the form of retail cannabis. The segment still faces specific hurdles, but these challenges have the potential to convert into golden opportunities as the market matures in North America:
1. Inherited demand
Legal retailers will reach new consumers as the grey market begins to come online.
2. Strong foundation
Retail cannabis is only legal in ten U.S. states, but it already shows strong promise.
3. Building bridges
Retail cannabis stores are just now opening in Canada, but licenses are hard to get.
Retail cannabis is a brave new world for consumers and investors alike – and early entrants to the industry with access to capital and a large retail footprint will likely lead the charge.
5 Key Innovations Driving the Future of Cannabis
Legal spending in cannabis is set to break the $12B mark in 2019 – and technological innovations could drive the future of cannabis to even greater heights.
5 Key Innovations Driving the Future of Cannabis
It’s said that necessity is the mother of invention.
As cannabis breaks into the mainstream, the complex web of regulations surrounding the plant may well be what compels the industry to think outside the box.
Today’s infographic from Valens GroWorks highlights some of the most anticipated areas of technology-based disruption in “cannabiz” – the business behind cannabis.
Potential Industry Game-changers
As the cannabis industry grows, the business behind it must grow as well – and to get an edge, industry players are investing in new technologies and innovative practices that could be industry game-changers.
Here are some of the most disruptive moves happening that could shape the future of cannabis:
As consumers become more discerning, they’ve come to demand premium quality cannabis. That’s why many indoor growers are exploring various means to improve the productivity of cannabis plants.
- Cloud-controlled lights
Using cloud-based IoT technology, cultivators can remotely adjust the colors and cycles of growing lights that cannabis plants are exposed to in their operations. Such precise control ensures consistency in plant quality.
- Tissue culture
Essentially, tissue culture is the multiplication of a single cannabis tissue into hundreds of identical ones. While this method is impressive, it’s incredibly tricky to get right at scale.
Biotech breeding is another upcoming trend to watch out for. Just like the ubiquitous GMO foods you can find in a grocery store, the genetic manipulation of cannabis plants to strengthen specific effects could take the industry by storm.
Millions of patients in North America rely on medical cannabis, which will only intensify as states continue to legalize its use. For the longest time, prescribed cannabis has relied on smoking – but extraction technology is introducing new delivery methods.
- Vaporizer Pens
These pocket-sized pens can deliver a controlled cannabis dose, with lower chances of including dangerous chemicals. The latest models include Bluetooth capabilities and smartphone apps to customize vape temperatures, among other features.
- Oils and Tinctures
Cannabis concentrates, packaged into capsules or as liquid, can be used in vape pens or ingested directly. They also provide a small, controlled cannabis dose, and act fast in a patient’s system.
Recreational consumers won’t be left behind. This growing segment is enjoying cannabis-based products in a myriad of ways, made possible by new extraction technologies.
Water soluble oils demonstrate their potent effects quickly through the bloodstream, instead of relying on the slow-acting respiratory or digestive systems.
With a wide range of skincare products in the market, these cannabis-infused lotions can applied to the skin’s surface, where they are absorbed for a relaxing effect.
Despite the increasing legality of “cannabiz”, many businesses and their customers prefer to deal with cash. Financial institutions are also wary of investing in cannabis, as it’s still perceived as risky in certain circles.
To that end, fintech has stepped up to the plate. Secure and automated transactions can be made and processed via the blockchain, potentially creating an anonymous and convenient way for consumers and companies to transact.
Data and Analytics
Cannabis is finally coming out of hiding, but records around point-of-sale transactions are still lacking. Providing context for such data to give it meaning is difficult, but lucrative.
Leveraging big data to track the cannabis supply chain has secondary advantages of easing the regulatory process, and putting customer demand into perspective. What’s more, digital transaction data on these consumers also offers future opportunities for businesses to address their needs.
As the cannabis space steadily progresses, cannabis companies that respond and adapt to these broad trends of tech innovation will be poised for success.
Tech innovation and ongoing R&D are ingredients that the industry needs to continue to mature and grow.
– Michael Garbuz, CannRoyalty Corporate Strategist
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