Top 10 Predictions for Cannabis Marketing Trends in 2022
Trends in this post:
- New psychoactive compounds
- Cannabis beverages
- Hybrid plant wellness products
- Increased testing standards
- Niche product targeting
- More educated budtenders
- Flavonoids focus
- Delta-8 THCV
- Medical hemp products
- Product innovation
The cannabis industry is no stranger to growth. We’re in the middle of a green wave, and 2021 was a year of unprecedented success.
But 2022 promises to be even more significant for the cannabis industry. While it’s impossible to predict all the changes to come, we’re keeping our eyes on standout trends and innovations we think will continue rising in 2022 and beyond.
1. New Psychoactive Compounds
THC has been the king cannabinoid for much of hemp and cannabis’ recent history. While the plant contains over 100 cannabinoids, most occur in minor quantities and are not psychoactive. These compounds help contribute to the plant’s therapeutic profile, but they’re historically less appealing to consumers.
However, in 2021, we saw a deluge of THC isomers and hemp derivatives that delighted consumers with new avenues to explore legal psychoactive experiences. These included Delta-8 THC, Delta-10 THC, THCO-A, and HHC, which we’ve researched extensively on our blog.
While none of these compounds offer the same intoxication of high potency Delta-9 THC, they provide exciting new options to deliver mild psychoactive effects. These products are top-rated in states without recreational cannabis, and sales will likely continue booming in 2022.
2. The Rise of Cannabis Beverage
Ingestible products are today’s biggest growth sector in the cannabis community, and nothing grew faster in 2021 than beverages.
Beverages present an alternative to alcohol at social functions and a new product category to attract cannabis-curious consumers. Cannabis drinks are inconspicuous and easy to consume. Doses range from 2.5 mg per can up to 15 mg.
Beverages also open the door for experimentation with combining cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids to create delicious, endocannabinoid activating experiences. Brands like House of Terpenes (based in Canada) and American-based CANN pair cannabinoids with complementary flavors and terpenes for a unique drinkable experience.
3. Hybrid Plant Wellness Products
Medicinal mushrooms have been increasingly popular in the wellness space for several years. So combining therapeutic fungi with plant medicine like CBD was inevitable. Mushrooms and hemp have complimentary benefits, including immune-boosting properties, improved focus, reduced stress, and neuroprotective qualities.
Mushroom/ CBD blends are currently on the market in several forms, including teas, tinctures, and capsules. Popular capsule brand Caps by Cookies combines the medicinal properties of CBD, CBG, CBN, and terpenes with the healing powers of Lion’s Mane and cordyceps.
4. Testing Standards Help Brands Stand Out
The cannabis industry ran afoul of more than one issue with improperly tested or mislabeled products in 2021. But these problems are avoidable with proper testing standards. As consumers become more educated about cannabis and the risks of mislabeled products, brands that focus on product quality will rise to the top.
Displaying easily accessible and understandable test results on cannabis products through QR code-linked COAs is an easy way for brands to stand out from the competition. Another option is to showcase verified seals that prove the product has been tested to the highest national standards.
In 2021, our ACS team launched the Safety Seal Testing Program to raise the bar on testing requirements and help brands earn consumer trust. Since the launch, the American Cannabinoids Council endorsed the Seal, and various hemp and cannabis clients have started displaying it on their product packaging.
Our safety seal allows consumers to feel confident in their purchases, knowing the products are free from contaminants, pesticides, and solvents and have searchable COAs. This elevation in testing is core to the future of cannabis marketing.
5. Niche Product Targeting
Cannabis may have a broad appeal, but many of the most successful brands have a niche focus. Consumers actively seek brands that align with their values, so companies that aren’t afraid to be specific with their formulas and marketing efforts will see greater levels of success.
Brands like Bhūmi stand out not just for their high-quality CBD and hemp products but also for their targeted products that address women’s health concerns, support women leaders in the industry, and raise the standard for consumer advocacy and budtender training.
Brands like Bhūmi are moving beyond generic commodities and highlighting specific cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids instead.
6. Higher Levels of Budtender Training
Conversations around budtender training will only become more critical in the coming months. Consumers regard budtenders as experts. Still, most cannabis associates don’t receive comprehensive education before standing behind the counter. Brands like Bhūmi and A&A Apothecary are leading the way in changing that reality.
Conscious companies are starting to focus on employee training, giving the industry a new framework for creating expert budtenders that inspire trust and brand loyalty. Bhumi employees, for example, must study and comprehend a 54-page manual about cannabis as well as a 40-page manual on the products stocked in their stores. A&A Apothecary launched an “Ask A Doctor” program to allow consumers to talk to board-certified physicians along with their budtenders.
7. More Focus on Flavonoid Testing
Flavonoids are tiny compounds making a big splash in the cannabis industry. The market for flavonoids is projected to grow in 2022, bolstered by the increased interest from brands and innovators. But flavonoids are not well understood by the general public yet, so there’s a significant gap between industry interest and consumer education that needs to be filled in 2022.
Part of the problem is that most consumers are unaware precisely how customized their cannabis experience can be, based on the cannabinoid, terpene, and flavonoid combinations. Fortunately, improved testing standards can help close this information gap by providing easy-to-understand COAs illustrating the products’ specific compound profiles. When more brands, consumers, and budtenders have access to this information, they can seek blends to meet their needs.
8. The Rise of Delta-8 THCV
Cannabis-derived THCV is popular due to its metabolism-boosting properties, helping consumers suppress appetite and increase focus. Delta-8 THCV likely has the same effects and a more desirable legal status because it’s hemp-derived.
In 2021, hemp-derived Delta-8 THC experienced explosive growth because it was easier to synthesize, purchase and sell than cannabis-based Delta-9 THC. Similarly, Delta-8 THCV can expect the same reception in the coming year. Delta-8 THCV products are currently limited, but they’re available in vape cartridges from brands like Binoid.
9. Medical Hemp Products
Most medical marijuana (cannabis) programs focus on THC, but hemp-derived CBD rather has many medicinal benefits and is federally legal. This makes CBD of great interest to patients who may not want to experience an intense psychoactive effect.
Medical CBD products encountered rapid growth this year, showing no signs of stopping in 2022 and beyond. The demand will continue to grow, particularly as more Boomers and Gen X patients opt for alternative wellness options rather than taking prescription medications.
A new extraction technique that infuses CBD gummies with hemp-derived Delta-9 (potency less than .3%), also called CBD with feeling, is becoming increasingly popular. The gummies are compliant because they are less than .3% THC but they will provide a mild psychoactive effect.
10. Incredible Product Innovation
We already touched on beverages, but 2022 will be incredibly kind to the entire spectrum of edibles. As more consumers discover hemp and cannabis, brands will start creating comprehensive options beyond the potent and sugary kinds prevalent today. In 2022, brands will focus on low-dose edibles to meet consumer demand for healthier options that allow them to feel relaxed while remaining functional.
Brands are also testing ingredient quality, and some, like Kiva, are experimenting with live resin edibles over THC distillate. The edible onset experience may change as well in 2022. Time-released cannabis capsules are already available on the market, but some manufacturers are eyeing time-released edibles as the next significant innovation, allowing a more mild and enjoyable experience over time.