The cannabis industry is moving at lightening speed and with it new trends are born (and die) at a rapid pace. Sitting at the center of a cannabis community at HelloMD I see the lifecycle of the industry all around me from many different perspectives. I also see new patterns emerging, which to me often signals the birth of a new trend. Based on my observations over the past 12 months, I’m going to give you the top 5 health trends I see emerging within the industry today.
THCA: The New Star Cannabinoid
Most people have heard about THC and CBD, but not many know about THCA. THCA is the precursor to THC and is found within the raw cannabis plant. It is a powerful anti-inflammatory, an anti-proliferative, a neuro-protectant, an anti-emetic and antispasmodic. It also happens to be non psychoactive. When heated, THCA becomes Delta9-THC, but it also loses some of its natural healing properties. THCA is harder to extract and stabilize, which is why it is not as widely found as CBD and THC. Anecdotal stories abound of the wonders of THCA, but there is little to no research out (yet) on the medicinal benefits.
Microdosing: A Little Cannabis Goes a Long Way
Microdosing is the practice of taking a specific low dose in order to produce a desired effect. With microdosing a consumer is able to self titrate medicine in order to alleviate a condition whether that be anxiety management or chronic pain. Typically, a microdose of cannabis might be anywhere between 2.5mg to 5mg for the average consumer and will make you feel good without the feeling of being stoned. New studies indicate that microdosing is more beneficial than macrodosing due to the biphasic effect.
Marijuana Education Goes Mainstream
In the past, the level of cannabis education, especially for doctors and nurses nationwide, has been lacking. Today, 28 states are legal in some capacity including the District of Columbia. Within many of the states, especially those on the east coast, the opioid epidemic is wildly out of control. As people turn to cannabis to help control chronic pain, the level of education for the patients, people within the industry (or who hope to be) as well as those who actually recommend cannabis is going through a rapid growth cycle. Cannabis education is coming to the forefront and will only grow in strength in the coming years. UC Davis recently announced it will be offering a cannabis physiology course on cannabis. Davis will be the first public university in California to offer such a course.
Weed Replaces Opioids
Multiple studies have come out recently that indicate when patients use cannabis in lieu of opioids, there is a reduction of abuse with highly addictive painkillers. A recent HelloMD study (to be published soon) done in conjunction with UC Berkeley mimics these findings. The study, which was the largest of its kind, concluded that over 95% of chronic pain patients reduced or eliminated the use of opioids when cannabis was used to manage pain. Lastly, in states where cannabis is legal there is a 24.8% lower rate of opioid related deaths.
Effects: Controlling the Weed Experience
A trend that is growing, but still in its infancy, is how to control the cannabis experience. This is playing out in a variety of ways and the paths diverge from the central idea that the cannabis experience is too widely variable and the experience needs to become more consistent from person to person. The buzzword in the industry among cannabis brands today is ‘Effect’ and you will see this more and more in the coming year.