Alt Products Expo: Show Recap and Hottest Hemp Trends
Top trends in this post:
- Delta-8 isn't going anywhere
- HHC is widely known
- Psychedelics are going mainstream
Fort Lauderdale’s Alt Products Expo was an incredible success. The event brought hemp trailblazers from all aspects of the industry, and we were thrilled to sit down with many of them. We were also honored to speak on two panels:
- One was about Delta-8, Delta-10, THCOa, and HHC testing and product development
- The other was about Analytical Testing: Cannabis and Psychedelic Mushroom testing.
Education was a key aspect of the weekend, but product innovations truly stole the show. For three days, we wandered wide-eyed down the aisles, visiting our partners and exploring the latest trends. We could go on about everything we saw, but for now, let’s stick to the three biggest takeaways from Alt Products Expo.
Delta-8 isn’t Going Anywhere
Delta-8 is banned in twenty states, but you wouldn’t know it by the stunning influx of Delta-8 products lining booth after booth. Aside from a few CBD-only or functional mushroom-only brands, nearly every exhibitor displayed Delta-8 products front and center.
We asked many of these vendors if they had any issues selling and distributing their products due to the legal landscape. The answer was an overwhelming no.
Despite Shopify’s recent bans on Delta-8 sellers accounts, most organizations found ways around the issues–either by manually taking orders through credit card authorization forms, risking it on Shopify or WooCommerce, or turning to high-risk payment gateway companies. Further illustrating that point, Organic Payment Gateways manned one of the largest booths (by footprint) in the entire show.
Delta-8 gummies and edibles were the most prominent product types, but Delta-8 vapes were a close second. We didn’t see many Delta-8 extracts, but we did notice a wide variety of Delta-8 flower pre-rolls, usually wrapped in a kief or CBD-distillate layer. While less prevalent than gummies, Delta-8 pre-rolls took home the show’s awards for most innovative products.
HHC is Widely Known
Similar to Delta-8, HHC vapes and gummies were by far the most common products at the show. HHC didn’t pack as much name recognition as Delta-8, but we saw several exhibitors, including many of our clients, with HHC products on display. We didn’t see many HHC pre-rolls, but that could represent a new product development opportunity for brands to explore.
Following the show, we continue to believe HHC is the next headliner in hemp. Unlike Delta-8, Delta-10, and THCOa, HHC is NOT a THC isomer or derivative because it’s a psychoactive compound that belongs to a brand new chemical class.
So, HHC is not a tetrahydrocannabinol. It is known as hexahydrocannabidiol, which means HHC isn’t subjected to the same regulations as Delta-8 and Delta-10.
As long as brands make HHC products with integrity, wash them of residual acids, solvents, and metals, and test them with third-party providers, we believe HHC has the potential to outlast nearly every tetrahydrocannabinol innovation on the market today.
Psychedelics are Going Mainstream
To be clear, psychedelics are illegal and were not on display at the show. Still, we saw functional mushrooms play a noticeable role in the product assortment. Even more exciting, functional mushroom brands displayed firm commitments to creating high-quality formulas free from sugars and other harmful additives.
Mushroom-based teas and energy drinks stood out to us as trends that will continue to rise. These beverages were tasty, healthy, purposeful, well-designed, and well-packaged. We also saw several products combining functional mushrooms like lions mane, cordyceps, chaga, and reishi with other natural compounds. Some were blended with hemp extracts, while others were paired with ingredients like melatonin, kava, and other non-fungi elements.
Functional mushrooms don’t contain the psychoactive compound psilocybin, but their presence at the show signaled a preview of what’s to come. Sixteen regions in the US have decriminalized psychedelic drug enforcement, and Oregon became the first state to legalize psilocybin therapy last year.
The tide is turning, and we’re at the forefront of amplifying leading psychedelic voices, educating our clients, and advocating for legalization. When the market is ready, we too will be prepared to ensure these products are safe for consumer use.
The Bottom Line
CBD used to rule hemp trade shows, but Alt Products Expo was another event that proved this industry has moved far beyond one compound. It includes an array of natural, plant-derived, and synthetic hemp products with significant market demand. The brands that diversified their assortment while remaining committed to safety and potency testing have grown at incredible rates, and we’re so thrilled to evolve alongside them.