In fact, concentrates, usually sold in vape form, are the most popular product in California, the largest U.S. recreational market. Last year in California, cannabis concentrates outsold flower for the first time since being tracked, according to BDS Analytics (37 percent compared to 33 percent). But, given all the recent concerns over vaping illnesses, the industry is about to experience another major shift in consumption habits.
Edibles Are Cooking Up the Market
Cannabis-infused edibles have also been gaining in popularity and market share. According to statistics from Arcview Market Research, spending on cannabis-infused food and drink reached an estimated $1 billion in 2017 in the U.S. and Canada, and sales are on track to reach more than $4.1 billion by 2022. According to the report, the majority of cannabis edibles sold in the United States are candy and chocolates, which accounted for over 60% of total U.S. consumer spending on cannabis edibles.
One of the most promising categories within edibles is cannabis-infused beverages.
While still relatively small, according to a report by Zion Market Research, the global cannabis beverages market was valued at approximately $1.6 billion in 2018, and is expected to generate around $4.5 billion by 2025, representing a 15.6% growth rate between 2019 and 2025.
Beverages containing THC offer a number of advantages over smoking, vaping, or eating marijuana. And, given the national alarm over respiratory illnesses linked to vaping, it’s worth taking a closer look at the advantages to sipping your weed over vaping it.
The Problem with Vapes
It’s easy to understand why vaping has become so popular. Vape pens are portable, convenient, and discrete, and they require no igniting of fire to use – just put your lips together and inhale. However, a deluge of illegal and unregulated cannabis cartridges has been flooding the market, and for some consumers, it’s come at a terrible cost to their personal health. Over the past year, at least 2,290 cases of e-cigarette, or vaping associated lung injury (EVALI) have been reported to the CDC from 49 states (all except Alaska).
Even from regulated sources, there are a lot of compounds in vape cartridges and pens that are allowed but questionable, including diluents used to make the vape pen oil thinner and easier to turn into vapor. Consumers need to be concerned about vape pen cartridges and what they’re inhaling. Each of the 11 states where adult use is legal and 33 states that permit medical marijuana have all adopted different rules, so even products sold under the same brand name can vary, depending on the state.
“Because consumers cannot be sure whether any THC vaping products may contain vitamin E acetate, consumers are urged to avoid buying vaping products on the street, and to refrain from using THC oil or modifying/adding any substances to products purchased in stores,” the FDA said in a Sept. 6, 2019 statement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention called for a broader halt to all e-cigarette use, both nicotine and THC.
Drinking In Cannabis Beverages
A more beneficial alternative to vaping and even edibles is sipping a cannabis beverage. When you drink a cannabis-infused beverage, the small marijuana particles absorb through the walls of the small intestine and enter your bloodstream, after visiting your digestive tract. The cannabinoids interact with the cannabinoid receptors of your body’s natural endocannabinoid system. In doing so, the effects take much less time to kick-in, compared to ingesting most cannabis edibles. Since beverages are already in liquid form, you get much faster results.
In contrast, edibles take hours to affect you, while drinks, like cannabis-infused beer, for example, take minutes. Drinks are also more efficient, giving you a much stronger high. And, they’re more controllable, allowing you to consistently get the same feeling from the same dosage. Another consumer trend called microdosing, taking small amounts of THC to maintain a lower-level effect, is also much more predictable and consistent in drink form, over edibles.
So, if you’ve been concerned with the safety of smoking and vaping, as well as with the unpredictability of edibles, reach for a cannabis-infused beverage and drink your way to happiness, health and wellness. When it comes to cannabis consumption, ‘Tis far better to sip than to inhale,’ is what Will Shakespeare would have said, if he were alive today and living in CA.