The cannabis distribution process is much more complex than what people think. When you buy cannabis, do you know where it’s actually coming from? Do you really know what quality you get? Hundreds of factors can influence cannabis quality, with the distribution process being a huge part of it.
Since cannabis legal sales are projected to reach 23 billion dollars in revenue by 2025, it should be no surprise that countless new cannabis-related businesses appear every single month. In North America alone, there were investments of $10 billion in 2018. This might seem great for the industry as a whole, but it also raises concerns. Of these investments and sales, what was the quality of the cannabis product?
It is important to know as much as possible about the cannabis you buy, this includes the distribution process. So, here are five things you most likely did not know about it.
Most users don’t care how their cannabis is produced, but the quality of the process can influence the overall experience of any product. There are different cannabis extraction methods used right now for making products such as concentrates and oils. The regular consumer knows about THC and CBD. These are typically made with a short path distillation kit. There is no perfect solvent and there is a huge debate going on right now about what method is best.
The truth is that every single cannabis extraction method has its own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the most common solvent used right now is butane and is favored because of non-polarity and the pure byproduct obtained. However, if the butane used is low-quality, which is the case with many unscrupulous extractors, harmful toxins are retained.
America is a top cannabis producer. This is especially the case with high-quality, potent strains. It is impossible to determine exactly how much is sold in the US, but estimates are between 10,000 and 20,000 tons yearly. Only around half of it is produced in the country with the top cannabis production states being California and Washington.
The rest of the sold cannabis comes from literally all around the world. The cannabis you buy might come from:
- Mexico – Around 7,400 tons of cannabis per year. A large part might reach the US soon.
- Paraguay – Around 6,000 tons per year.
- Africa – The leading producers are Nigeria, South Africa, Morocco, Egypt, and Ghana.
When we think about growing cannabis, we naturally imagine fields but technology evolved to the point at which indoor growing is easy. In fact, it is preferred in many regions. As an example, outdoor pot growing in Washington state is close to impossible due to weather. Producers thus rely on indoor growing methods.
Most of the indoor cannabis grown right now is indica since flowering time is just 8 weeks, as opposed to 12 weeks with sativa. This is great for medical marijuana patients since indica strains are better at controlling nausea and pain. At the same time, sativa strains offer a better high so they are preferred by recreational users.
There are two streams in the cannabis industry: medical use and recreational use. These are expected to quickly split in the following years. During the mid-nineties, California legalized the medical use of cannabis. The recreational users managed to easily get prescriptions because of the lack of regulation. Nowadays, individual states are much more effective at regulating marijuana consumption. Because of this, the entire industry is spreading.
Recreational use cannabis consumption is based on consumer segmentation, marketing, brands and customer insights. Medical-use cannabis consumption relies on clinical trials, distribution, and science. Numerous companies that now sell cannabis and claim they do it for medical purposes are actually consumer marketing companies. This will not be the case in the future as medical and recreational use will clearly be separated.
In states where cannabis use is legal, for both recreational and medical use, there is an ongoing fight between licensed and unlicensed sellers. The authorities are finding it difficult to identify all unlicensed sellers due to different regulatory loopholes and ways in which selling is hidden.
License requirements vary a lot from state to state. It is possible that you buy cannabis from a seller that does not have a license. This is why it is really important that you research as much information as possible about the seller.
The cannabis industry is still in its infancy but it is evolving at a really fast pace, summing up to a total overall value in 2018 of $10.4 billion. More and more states are legalizing marijuana use in the US and we will soon see an increase in the number of recreational users, as legislation is improved.
Technology evolves and more producers join the market every single year. The facts mentioned above are just some of those that you might be interested in. So, before you smoke your cannabis, make sure you research as much as possible about the vendor and the distributor!
Tara has been writing cannabis industry-related articles for years. She is the Content Marketing Manager at the California-based company CaliExtractions. With a passion for enlightenment and years of knowledge in the cannabis industry, her articles have stretched from a variety of subjects including the legalization, extraction, and upkeep of cannabis.
Currently, she’s contributing to a variety of blogs in the cannabis industry in hopes to spread valuable information on useful topics for the benefits of the industry.
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