By Reginald Reefer, Cannabis.net, February 17, 2022 – It seems that as of writing this article, flower is still the most preferred method of consumption within the cannabis market. However, compared to other products within the cannabis market – flower saw a slower growth than these other products. Now to be clear, by flower we mean consumers prefer to buy the bud and then do with it as they wish.

Other cannabis products include oils, tinctures, prerolls, edibles, etc. In a recent article in MJBiz Daily they covered a market report by “Headset”, a company dedicated to understanding market trends. What they found was that flower predominantly remained the king of sales, however – other products like “prerolls” grew in popularity and outpaced that of flower in terms of growth.

Nonetheless, flower sales grew from $4.92 billion in 2020 to $5.49 billion in 2021. But compared to the growth of the previous year, flower market share dropped by about six percent. Pre-rolls climbed by some 30+%.

Additionally, we saw a decrease in cost per gram as more producers entered into the market. The cost per gram dropped from $6.78 in January of 2021 and ended in December at $5.82 within the six markets that Headset tracked.

In the rest of this article we’re going to be exploring some of the other things they found and the “why” behind these market trends

Why flower dominance is waning

When it comes to comfort, people will buy what is easier. While a bud is a nice thing to have, a pre-roll requires nothing more than a lighter. Therefore, it makes sense out of sheer convenience that these items will sell at a higher frequency than flower. Nonetheless, flower sales will always be strong because consumers like to have weed laying around. Pre-rolls will eventually dominate simply because it will be an easier way for people to consume on the go without needing to bring their own papers. It’s like with tobacco, while the option to buy pure tobacco is available – most people buy prerolled cigarettes and pay more for it simply because it is convenient.

As other products enter into the marketplace, such as drinks and edibles – we’ll see a subset of consumers prefer this method of consumption. Similarly, disposable pens will continue to rise in popularity due to the convenience, higher profit margins, and so forth.

Immature markets like high THC

What Headset noticed was that newer markets had a tendency to prefer higher THC as their main motivation for purchasing. Strains with 25%+ THC typically sold at a higher price and a higher volume.

Mature markets liked diversity…

However, in markets like Colorado where legal cannabis has been going around for a while now – consumer trends are shifting. People no longer crave the highest form of THC they can find but are placing heavier emphasis on minor cannabinoids as well as terpenes.

This change in consumer behavior will eventually become the norm for the cannabis industry, however as we can see – when the newer markets appear, high THC rules the sales.

But why is this?

Novelty HIGH!

The main reason why THC is the main metric for new markets is because up until the legality of cannabis, there was no way that you could know the actual THC count in your weed. Now, with legal weed people have a choice to buy high end weed.

However, over time, too much THC can become burdensome. Sometimes, people don’t want to get shitfaced and would much rather have a buzz. If 25%+ THC is your shot, lower percentage THC is like having a beer – both are still alcohol, except one is far more potent than the other.

In a similar vein, consumers begin to find their sweet middle over time and begin to adapt their consumer behavior to mimic their likes. Therefore, eventually metrics like taste, side effects, smell, other minor cannabinoids become more important.

What’s next?

Right now, the only thing that is standing in the way of cannabis is the legal hurdles it must still overcome. The market is already beginning to show us how it will behave, but it can’t possibly spread its proverbial wings until the federal restrictions are removed. There is a possibility that this might happen this year, but after years of reporting on cannabis I am not so sure.

All signs point to “yes” weed will be legalized this year in the entire North American area (Canada, US, Mexico) – but politicians can always find a way to screw that up. Nonetheless, once these federal restrictions are removed, we can expect the price of cannabis to continue to drop as more competition sets in. We’ll also see that branded products will become more important. You won’t just be buying a “pre-roll”, you’ll have a favorite brand.

While flower will always have a nice portion of the market, there will be other products that will sell better simply due to brand recognition. As markets mature, we’ll also see that the importance of THC will wane, however, it will still be an important metric – especially if they want to place caps on THC limits. In the case of caps, there will be a home market that will be catering to high-THC weed, however – considering that high THC weed is a top seller, I doubt that there will be an indefinite cap to THC. They may experiment with it, but the rise of a grey market will quickly remind them why we have a legal cannabis system in the first place.

Weed seems to be growing year after year, and will continue to do so for the next 10-20 years while it positions itself as another good within society.