As the cannabis industry continues to mature, consumers are beginning to demand fresh, new products. Traditionally, most consumers smoked cannabis via joints or other paraphernalia. Now, while it still is the most popular method, the number of users simply smoking cannabis is quickly diminishing.
Each year, reports have shown that more users are beginning to use cannabis alternative products such as edibles, concentrates, and extracts. The concentrates and extracts markets are gaining traction particularly quickly.
For instance, when Colorado began its legal adult-use cannabis sales, flower dominated the marketplace. By the end of the first year, flower accounted for 67% of Colorado’s overall cannabis sales, according to BDS Analytics. However, four years later, flower sales plummeted and have accounted for just 44% of total sales. During the same time span, the concentrates market closed the gap as its market share increased from 15% to 31%. Similarly, California witnessed its flower sales falter during the first four months of adult-use sales. California’s flower sales fell from 43% in the beginning to 40%, while concentrates narrowly rose from 30% to 31%. Just like every other global industry, consumer trends change each year and people begin to demand for innovative products.
Consumers within the cannabis market are now demanding more potent and cleaner alternatives to smoking the plant. Furthermore, according to data compiled by Ameri Research, the global legal marijuana market was valued at USD 14.3 Billion in 2016. By 2024, legal marijuana global sales are projected to reach USD 63.5 Billion while exhibiting a CAGR of 21.1% from 2017 to 2024. AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC: AREVF) (CSE: AREV), Auxly Cannabis Group Inc. (OTC: CBWTF) (TSX-V: XLY), Liberty Health Sciences Inc (OTC: LHSIF) (CSE: LHS), Nightfood Holdings, Inc. (OTC: NGTF), United Cannabis Corporation (OTC: CNAB)
Cannabis concentrates and extracts are basically umbrella terms that harbor products such as vape oils, hash, tinctures, dabs, and CBD oils. They are generally derived from the cannabis flower and then processed into a concentrated form that delivers a potent effect. While a gram of flower is significantly cheaper than extracts, they heavily differ in THC levels. Cannabis buds tend to range anywhere from 10% to 25% THC, while extracts and concentrates fall in the range between 50% to 90%. While the initial purchase can be quite hefty, the major trade off is that consumers receive more THC while using less of the product. Depending on the user, a half gram of oil can last a seldom user for over a couple of weeks. On the other hand, a frequent consumer can finish a half gram in a matter of a day or two, according to Bailey Rahn, Senior Content Manager at Leafly. Additionally, consumers now have a variety of products to select from when choosing an extract. Predominantly, the most popular extracts are budder, butane hash oil, CO2 oil, crumble, rosin, shatter, and wax. Generally, the only difference between these products is the texture and appearance, however, certain products can either be vaped, smoked, or dabbed. “We have markedly more data on flowers…concentrates are still new. Concentrates can get a lot more THC into the bloodstream a lot faster. If you’re supremely nauseated or in a lot of pain or about to panic, this can be a huge advantage. The flavors and aromas are detectably different but subject to personal taste,” said Mitch Earleywine, Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany and a member of the Board of Directors at NORML.
AREV Brands International Ltd. (OTC: AREVF) (CSE: AREV) is currently listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: AREV). Earlier in May, the Company announced that, “it has contributed DNA samples from select BC Bud Depot genovarsTM to the inaugural batch run on the world’s first BeadArray genotype chip to be designed specifically for the cannabis genome. The Illumina Infinium HTS microarray, designed and wholly owned by Lighthouse Genomics Inc., allows up to 96 samples to be economically tested in a single batch run. Through its holding BC Bud Depot, AREV has entered into a Letter of Intent to undertake genetic quality screening of all BC Bud Depot strains and genovarsTM. This advancement in genomics technology provides BC Bud Depot access to what is now the world’s most efficient and cost-effective method of gathering quality, targeted data from the cannabis genome.
Under the terms of the LOI, BC Bud Depot will receive preferential pricing on Lighthouse sequencing, genotyping and consulting services for a period of one year, subject to renewal upon mutual agreement of both parties. During this period, BC Bud Depot will test and provide consultation on new services or technologies offered by Lighthouse Genomics. Initial services are to focus on mapping genetic diversity of the BC Bud Depot catalogue, creating genetic profiles of unique individuals and co-developing data-handling protocols for BC Bud Depot’s genetic screening and cannabis breeding program.
“The Lighthouse cannabis array provides us an efficient tool for screening a vast number of plants for their genetic value,” stated Matthew Harvey, Founder and Lead Breeder at BC Bud Depot. “We have been anticipating the completed manufacture of this custom cannabis array, as it is specific to our needs of producing genetic intelligence for our breeding programs. It draws our focus to those unique plant genomes holding especially high potential for enhancing the genetic quality and diversity of our cannabis gene pool.”
The Lighthouse array provides 40,000 data points per sample relating to high-interest single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and can be used to determine which samples warrant deeper analysis through the whole genome sequencing program that BC Bud Depot has already initiated, as previously reported. Whole genome sequencing provides accurate data covering approximately 800 Million base pairs of DNA, the entire cannabis genome. With this data, AREV can overlay mass spectrometry data from crops to investigate linkages between plant metabolite profiles and genes associated with the production of specific cannabinoids and terpenes. From there, BC Bud Depot can stabilize a gene by a non-GMO method referred to as haploid breeding.
According to Dr. Gina Conte, Chief Scientific Officer of Lighthouse Genomics, the 40,000 SNPs targeted by the array were selected to include SNPS “annotated to be involved in cannabinoid, terpene or secondary metabolite biosynthesis, as well as genes involved in flower production.” In addition, she notes, the array targets genes “well-distributed across the genome” with a high degree of “PC loading,” or SNP variability, to enable “reliably distinguishing a practically infinite number of varieties.”
Mike Withrow, CEO of AREV Brands, stated “This new technology empowers AREV and BC Bud Depot to investigate the state of cannabinoid and terpene synthase genes, including the likelihood that plants will breed true for genes that regulate the production of compounds used in extractions and oils. Using the most advanced cannabis genotype array known to exist worldwide helps AREV and BC Bud Depot to continue our mandate of leading as pioneers in the development of novel genomes tailored to precise medical needs and consumer experiences.”
Timothy Harvey, CEO of Lighthouse Genomics, stated “This inaugural batch run is an historic moment for Lighthouse. We are extremely pleased that BC Bud Depot has chosen to join us in this venture. The collaboration enables us to customize our bioinformatics software to render genomic data to suit their specific industry needs. That BC Bud Depot is able to use these tools for a competitive advantage is a testament to the diligence and prowess of their breeding programs.”