The year ahead looks bright for cannabis, with all signs pointing to sustained growth over the next several years.
In fact, Marijuana Business Daily reports that legal cannabis sales in the U.S. are expected to surpass $30 billion in 2022. The increase comes after several states passed recreational and medical cannabis initiatives in 2021, increasing access to marijuana. Insider reports that 18 states and Washington, D.C. have now legalized recreational cannabis, and 37 states allow medicinal cannabis use.
Down below, we’ll give you the scoop on cannabis industry trends and expectations for 2022.
A Gallup Poll published this year found that 68% of Americans support marijuana legalization.
As popular opinion favors cannabis, businesses will likely be even more incentivized to invest in the industry. The popularity of embracing plant-based medicine for pain relief will likely grow, too. And, in time, smoking a joint or eating an edible may be as socially acceptable as having a glass of wine or cracking open a beer.
Cannabis research is in full swing
We often think about cannabis legalization from a customer-based perspective, but there’s another benefit to its growing availability.
After a dormant period, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has moved on authorizing federally authorized marijuana manufacturers for research. According to an article in Marijuana Moment, this opens the door to studying the characteristics of cannabinoids and how they get into the bloodstream.
Before 1999, there were fewer than 5,000 published cannabis studies in total, but with cannabis reform, over 3,500 peer-reviewed scientific papers were published in 2020 alone. This critical work helps to destigmatize cannabis and reinforces the potential medical benefits of cannabis. Plus, understanding cannabinoids can lead to more efficient products.
Clarity in the industry
Some consider the blurred boundary between indica, sativa, and hybrid strains a barrier that hinders the marijuana industry. Cannabis connoisseurs understand the current stain names well, but they can be intimidating to new customers.
Today, the amount of named crossbred hybrids is almost limitless. New hybrid strains are constantly replacing strains as they phase out. And many of these hybrids vary on the scale between sativa and indica.
As Leafly reports, that means the genetic mapping used to understand seeds’ genetic material is critical because it can lead to better clarity between customers and budtenders. Research may help distinguish cannabis experience using science rather than relying on subjective user experience.
The library of cannabinoids
THC and CBD may be the most popular cannabinoids today, but others will get their time in the spotlight soon.
In total, there are more than 500 cannabinoids — all of which interact differently with each individual. Some minor cannabinoids that are gaining steam are CBN, CBG, and THCV.
Cannabinol (CBN) is gaining interest because of its pain relief, insomnia relief, and general sedative effects. It’s similar to CBD in that it has non-psychoactive effects, and it appears to be highly effective as a sleep aid.
Cannabigerol (CBG) is another non-psychoactive cannabinoid. Its promising results in treating very specific physiological systems have piqued the interest of the medical community.
THCV is present in most cannabis plants, and this non-psychoactive compound is significant because it can mitigate the high THC delivers. It ends up producing a clear and euphoric state. A new year means new possibilities, with several additional states looking at measures to pass legalized recreational cannabis use. The sky’s the limit on how high the cannabis industry can go.
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