A Guide to the Expanding Portfolio of Cannabis Extracts, Infusions, and Concentrates
The global legal cannabis market has been predicted to , cannabis extracts and oils are the fastest growing product sector in this blooming industry. if current trends in legalization measures and public opinion hold steady. According to
Understandably then, cannabis companies are eager to carve out their slice of these potential profits by creating and marketing novel products that could dominate a segment of the cannabis market. This has led to an incredibly wide portfolio of different cannabis extracts, infusions, and concentrates that are each tailor-made to appeal to a specific demographic or audience in order to meet consumer demand or spur a new popular trend.
Trending cannabis products for 2019
Simple and straightforward – cannabis oil
In the United States, where cannabis is still federally illegal, one cannabis oil made headlines in 2018 when it became the first cannabis-derived product to receive official approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for medicinal use. That oil, , proved its efficacy at treating seizures in rare forms of epilepsy through clinical trials, and so the FDA awarded the cannabidiol-based oil its approval. In states with legal medicinal cannabis programs, or countries where medicinal cannabis is legal, cannabis oils are also caused by conditions like multiple sclerosis.
Outside of medical prescriptions, cannabis oils are also becoming popular as an e-liquid choice for e-cigarettes. These cannabis oils can have a number of different formulations with varying cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content to suit the consumer’s needs. Using cannabis oil in e-cigarettes is often a popular choice for to use cannabis than smoking cannabis flower, as the vapor from cannabis e-liquids often has a much less potent smell than the smoke from a cannabis flower cigarette. For those who want to be extra-discreet, cannabis oils can often be placed directly on or under the tongue and consumed.
Looking good – cannabis skin care products
Hemp, a non-intoxicating form of the cannabis plant, and its oil extracts are also starting to appear in more mainstream products. Hemp tends to be high in CBD, which is known to be a and can be absorbed through pores to . In addition, also linked trace THC in hemp oil to a positive antioxidant effect on the skin, and noted that hemp oil also tends to be high in vitamins A, B, C, D, and E, as well as Omega 3 and Omega 6, which are important to general skin health.
Hemp oil and CBD-containing skin creams and beauty products can be found with relative ease at a number of mainstream health and beauty outlets, . Manufacturers of CBD and hemp oil-based products often claim they are good for fighting acne or skin redness, due to CBD’s anti-inflammatory properties, but some also claim that they are able to help with pain relief, skin hydration, or generally promoting a relaxed feeling. There is even a , that uses the oil as a vegan alternative for the beeswax binding agent that’s common in mascara formulas.
Shaken, not smoked – cannabis drinks
Cannabis beverages haven’t quite made it as mainstream as cannabis skin care products – you can’t go into your local bar and see a range of cannabis-infused beers available on tap. But that future may not be far off.
THC-infused zero-alcohol beers are already being produced by several brewers – including ; a THC-infused low-calorie IPA-style beverage produced by the Heineken-owned , and ; a Belgian-style white “ale” developed by , the same brewmaster behind the Blue Moon Belgian-style ale. The products are usually to give the flavor of beer, but care is taken to filter out alcohol during the brewing process, leaving a non-alcoholic beer that can be infused with THC. The drinks are marketed as a and experience the cannabis high without smoking.
Due to cannabis remaining federally illegal in America, these THC-infused beverages are only available in states where recreational cannabis has been legalized at a state level, and even then the drinks can only be sold in recreational cannabis dispensaries.
But it isn’t just THC-infused drinks that are worth keeping an eye on – the cannabis health and wellness trend has also led to . While CBD-infused skincare products tout the anti-inflammatory and mild pain-relieving effects of the cannabinoid. Those in the wellness market say that CBD’s effectiveness at can promote feelings of calm and relaxation. These wellness CBD drinks are usually some type of flavored sparkling water, marketed for .
Given the recent legalization of hemp-derived CBD in America under the (more commonly known as the Farm Bill), these products can be easily , rather than being confined to dispensaries. This wider accessibility could make the CBD drink market an attractive prospect for investors and start-ups in 2019.
How are these products made?
There are a number of different techniques for creating the THC and CBD extracts that are used to create these products, and which extraction technique is best will depend on what exactly the product manufacturer desires or prioritizes.
For example, cannabis alcohol extraction might be a poor method for producing products where the flavor of cannabis oil won’t be masked by additional flavorings, as a polar solvent like ethanol can also extract pigment compounds like chlorophyll, which can give the . But for other purposes, alcohol extraction can be an excellent choice, as the process can be carried out at atmospheric pressure and there is no risk of toxic residual chemicals being left behind in the extract.
Alternative methods, such as come with the drawbacks of high up-front cost, as the method requires a lot of specialist apparatus that can operate under high pressure and heat, but it also produces a very high final product yield with very little waste, making the method incredibly efficient.
In the face of increasing demand for cannabis extracts, producers of these extracts will also be looking for extraction methods that can be scaled safely. For example, hydrocarbon extraction, which commonly uses propane or butane solvent, can be extremely effective on small batches but when scaled up the presented by the large quantities of light hydrocarbons should be a red flag to extract producers. Additionally, any large-scale operation should be looking to minimize the environmental impact of the operation by using predominantly environmentally friendly solvents and minimizing waste products. Cannabis science researchers are for use in cannabis extraction.