(Photo by devansiennaescrow via Pixabay)

Despite the still federal regulation of cannabis as an illegal schedule 1 substance, cannabis continues to soar in popularity as the market has become diversified into several sub-segments. While cannabis and smoking used to be an automatic association, innovation in how cannabis could be consumed has led to various modes of use such as vapes, edibles, tinctures, drinkables, as well as flowers.

With so many options available for cannabis enthusiasts, this allows for first-timers and veterans alike to try out the different forms available to ascertain which most conveniently accommodates their specific needs. While smoking has been the traditional method of cannabis consumption, concentrates have emerged as a major player in the industry.

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According to Brightfield Group, flower sales are expected to decline by 7.3% annually between 2015 and 2019 in California’s medicinal cannabis sector, while concentrates will see an increase of anywhere between 12.6% and 28%.

Rising star

A report by ArcView and BDS Analytics called “Concentrates: The Hottest Product Category in Cannabis” further shed light on this new rising star in the cannabis sector, with expectations that the concentrate segment would reach $2.9 billion by the end of 2018 and surpass flower sales by 2022.

“For consumers, it’s a discreet and healthier choice that will likely make cannabis consumers of people who would never dream of inhaling smoke,” said Tom Adams, Editor in Chief of ArcView Market Research. “That will cause the category to represent ever more retail display space, and likely spawn vape-only stores and on-premises consumption venues.”

Concentrates are manufactured using a complicated extraction process that involves C02 in order to remove compounds while preserving the natural cannabinoids and terpenes found in the plant. As the term suggests, concentrates can feature high amounts and mixtures of THC and CBD, the two main cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant that are responsible for many of the merits of medicinal cannabis.

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Vape cartridges are a primary catalyst behind the rising popularity of concentrates as they provide for a very convenient and discrete manner in which to enjoy cannabis. In fact, vape pen cartridge sales expanded by 105% in 2017 and are projected to be worth $6.5 billion by 2020. Vaping has become very popular, particularly with teens who can enjoy a healthier and purer smoking experience while allowing for simplicity and discretion.

Why is it popular?

Cannabis flower continues to lose ground to concentrates (Photo by gjbmiller via Pixabay)

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One of the main benefits concentrates have over other forms like flowers is that they provide much higher concentrations of cannabinoids, which can make them more capable of providing relief for anxiety, depression, PTSD, and other problems by maximizing the capabilities of the body’s endocannabinoid system.

Not only do concentrates contain far higher amounts of THC and CBD than other forms of cannabis, but they are also rapidly absorbed into the body and feature high bioavailability. This enables concentrates to promote very rapid effects that preserve the original quality and elements of the cannabis plant, which generally last for around 1-3 hours.

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Like tinctures, concentrates provide versatile cannabis customization options, allowing for adequate dosages while also being easily incorporated into foods or drinks so that consumers can indulge whenever necessary at their convenience.

Concentrates represent a cost-effective way for cultivators as well, as they allow for the use of the entire plant, as opposed to flowers, which require careful trimming to acquire the necessary elements to produce them. Whole plant cannabis also provides the benefit of the entourage effect, which is the synergy that is produced between the various cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids that are found in the plant.

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By using all elements of the cannabis plant, this can produce concentrates with much higher medicinal efficacy and relief.

Focusing on concentrates could also help cultivators take advantage of the benefits of growing outdoors while focusing on the plant in its entirety, rather than a specific aspect. This can enable them to operate in a more efficient and environmentally friendly manner, as indoor growing requires extensive resources such as lighting and energy needs to promote optimal growth.

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CBD oil

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a concentrate that has generated high demand due to clinical trials and research efforts managing to shed light on how the major cannabinoid could promote wellbeing and provide relief from various symptoms and ailments. While THC directly stimulates the CB1 and CB2 receptors located throughout our body’s endocannabinoid system, CBD was found to reverse these effects and effectively balance out its intoxicating effects as well as other related side effects.

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Epidiolex, the world’s first CBD-derived pharmaceutical was officially endorsed by the FDA and led to the very first reclassification of CBD by the DEA on the conditions that it was used for a certified therapeutic medicine and containing less than 0.1% THC. While this was far from a widespread legalization of CBD, it marked a momentous occasion for CBD enthusiasts pushing for its decriminalization.

Part of the reason CBD concentrates have gained rapid support is the fact that industrial hemp-derived CBD contains 0.3% or less of THC according to regulations, making it non-psychoactive and appealing to those who were wary of endorsing THC due to its still prevalent negative stigma.

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CBD concentrates can be used at the discretion and convenience of consumers, with a variety of products thoroughly available through major distributors like PotNetwork Holdings, Inc. (OTCMKTS:POTN). POTN utilizes C02 extraction to obtain quality CBD oil from organic hemp in order to infuse them into their extensive menu including edibles, vape cartridges, tinctures, creams, and dabs.

With the CBD concentrate market growing in popularity, POTN also developed a CBD Full Spectrum brand to provide potent doses of CBD oil that feature all the cannabinoids found in cannabis. This will allow for stronger forms of CBD to address the more extensive medicinal needs of customers looking to find relief from their pain and discomfort.

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Concentrates continue to outpace other competitors and are well on their way to supplanting flowers as the most popular mode of cannabis consumption. It benefits customers by providing a more discrete yet highly potent cannabis experience while also enabling cultivators to produce more efficiently by incorporating the entire plant in an outdoor environment for optimum growth and cost efficiency.