The Future of Pot: Will Vape Pens Replace Joints?

The Future of Pot: Will Vape Pens Replace Joints?

Sales of cannabis concentrates, flower and related products are higher than ever, according to new data from leading cannabis industry research firm ArcView. The industry is expected to break sales records for years to come.

ArcView forecasts that legal U.S. retail sales of marijuana in flower form will exceed $8.5 billion by 2020. Sales of cannabis concentrates, they predict, will also rise to $8.5 billion by 2020.

Humans have been enjoying the many benefits of the cannabis flower itself for over 5,000 years. Simple concentrates like hand-rolled hash have also been around for centuries at least.

But in the past decade, as legalization efforts have taken root, the concentrate form has become far more prevalent.

The average cannabis user is changing, too.

Cannabis concentrates appeal to a wide variety of users, for a wide variety of reasons.

Many seasoned smokers turn to wax, shatter, live resin, and other extracts for their increased strength, aroma, flavor, and effects.

Concentrates are also more discrete, which can appeal to many new cannabis users. Plus, you don’t need a lighter. With vape pens, there’s no ash. There’s no lingering odor. You can get stoned with minimal hassle.

The numbers from ArcView back this up.

By the end of this year, cannabis concentrates will have raked in $2.9 billion in retail sales. This is a 49% jump from 2014, when the category made up just 10% of overall cannabis sales.

Of that nearly $3 billion in sales, 58% was from pre-filled vaporizer pens. That is a statistic that cannot be ignored.

It’s only going higher…

Amazingly, that number will only rise as vape cartridges are projected to engulf 80% of all cannabis concentrate sales by 2020. That is a whopping $6.5 billion market share.

As more states move to legalize the cannabis plant, either medicinally or recreationally, demand for cannabis will continue to skyrocket.

This could actually help the cannabis industry’s suppliers as well as consumers. In a prefilled vaporizer cartridge, a common ingredient is cannabis oil distillate. To get the oil, the process used to extract THC from the cannabis plant is very forgiving, when it comes to the quality of the plant material being used. So midgrade flowers, which might not look glamorous on a dispensary shelf, can be processed into safe, clean distillate.

Many legal markets are struggling under the weight of heavy taxes, regulatory costs, and competition from a thriving black market. The profit margins that cannabis concentrates can provide could help small businesses compete.

But the question remains: Will the vape pen ever replace the old-school cannabis joint?

By 2020, it will, according to the analysts. And for some cannabis users, this technology may be the only kind of joint they ever know.


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