Posted by:- Wax Liquidizer –
In a period of just five fast years, cannabis has gone from the frequently maligned status of stoner counterculture to a social phenomenon. Popularity of the plant has eclipsed even the most avid marijuana supporters’ expectations. That success has had a lot to do with many decades of activists fighting for legalisation country by country, combined with powerful political interests in America and now most of Europe. Taking a can’t-beat-em-join-em approach to the popular substance. There are enormous profits to be made in weed and corporations are ready to do what they do best — acquire it, scale it, and mass distribute it into every type of business on the planet.
The principal event that’s affected the greatest change to date was in the American cannabis industry which occurred last December with the federal legalisation of hemp (the non-psychoactive cousin of marijuana) passing with the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018. That bill effectively sounded the starting gun for legal, hemp-derived cannabis products to be sold across the country starting in January of this year. The trendy cannabis compound CBD (short for cannabidiol) has been the biggest hit so far of the cannabis renaissance, showing up seemingly everywhere at once. A recent estimate reckons the collective market for CBD sales in the U.S. alone should surpass $20 billion by 2024.
The European market was estimated at £252.5 million ($318 million) in 2018 and is expected to grow over 400 percent through 2023. That stratospheric number shouldn’t really come as a big surprise, as CBD is currently an ingredient in a variety of goods, including sleep aids, face creams, energy drinks and pet products.
Terpenes – the new player in the market
Now another floral star is about to hit the scene hard: cannabis terpenes.
The essential oils present in the cannabis plant — and in fact in all plants — terpenes are like the hardworking herbal roadies to the cannabis flower rock-star. Labouring behind the scenes, terpenes give cannabis its distinctive aromatic and flavour qualities, as well as imparting a host of therapeutic effects. Cannabis terpenes like linalool (also present in lavender) and pinene (in conifers) have been used to promote sleep and fight inflammation. Studies by the National Institutes of Health have also shown the terpene duo can produce an antidepressant-like effect.
A Mass-Market Appeal
For years, devoted cannabis consumers have been aware of cannabis’s therapeutic benefit, but it’s only recently that the idea of these hidden properties has truly penetrated popular culture. One high-profile example this year was Kim Kardashian West’s baby shower. The company True Terpenes – creators of terpene products including lotions, make-up, chocolates and candles — was hired to provide guests with terpene-infused teas for the “CBD and Meditation”- themed celebration. “It’s fun to see a family like the Kardashian’s with such a large audience helping to educate the world about CBD and terpenes.”
Recently, at a bar called the Sidecar in San Luis Obispo, cocktails were being shaken up with cannabis terpenes provided by Golden Apple Cannabis Co. Sidecar’s creations have included new cocktails using myrcene and limonene — compounds also found naturally in citrus, basil, and hops — inventing mixtures from the wide spectrum of tastes available in cannabis terpenes.
New Terpene Tech
We have Terpene companies that now create terpene mixtures that mimic the properties and flavours of cannabis without using any marijuana at all. Strain profiles are developed without using any ingredients derived from cannabis. Instead, they work with non-cannabis botanically derived terpene isolates, essential oils, and flavourings to recreate a strain’s terpene profile from scratch.
Varietals, which are also referred to as “strains,” include all the old standbys that cannabis enthusiasts have enjoyed for years (e.g. Skywalker OG, Zkittlez and Girl Scout Cookies). Part of the appeal, and what makes it all so well-suited for the introduction of cannabis to the mass market, is that terpenes in and of themselves are not high-inducing. They are simply essential oils.
And then, of course, there’s the psychoactive market, which is a mammoth industry also looking to optimise the enjoyment of terpenes. Products are online that specifically cater to consumers looking to make the most of marijuana’s psychoactive lift, taste and terpene effect. This allows consumers to more efficiently capture the wide spectrum of terpene flavours available in cannabis.