2024 Preview: 10 Key Factors Driving the International Cannabis Market
Driven by millennial consumers, expanded medical usage, and growing awareness of cannabis’s health benefits, it’s safe to say that the cannabis market is evolving rapidly. South African cannabis entrepreneurs should take note of these trends.
Tatum Blakeney, Viiahemp
This was first published as a blog in Viiahemp.com on 5 January 2023.
The US cannabis industry is projected to increase in market size by USD 46,904.91 million and is estimated to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 24.03% from 2022 to 2027.
While it’s hard to fathom the enormity of these numbers, the cannabis market’s impact is undeniable. This remarkable growth is not just a financial phenomenon — it’s significantly reshaping the health and wellness landscape, reflecting a change in how individuals approach their well-being. More importantly, it’s influencing legislative changes across the United States, reflecting the societal shift in the perception of the cannabis plant.
We won’t speak on the global cannabis market too much, but we’ll focus closer to home in the United States, where the legal framework is rapidly adapting to market growth.
We’ll explore the driving factors behind this growth, from the surge in artisanal and personalized cannabis products to the expansion of consumption methods beyond traditional smoking. We’ll also delve into the increasing importance of third-party lab testing, which indicates a growing demand for quality and safety in cannabis products.
1. Increased Legalization and Regulation of Recreational Cannabis
A significant trend in the United States is the increased legalization and regulation of recreational cannabis.
Several states are actively considering or preparing to vote on marijuana legalization, including Hawaii, South Dakota, Florida, and Nebraska.
States like Oklahoma, Wyoming, and Ohio are also expected to vote on this issue in the coming elections. These movements reflect a growing national shift towards embracing recreational cannabis, signaling a major change in public opinion and state policies.
As more states warm up to marijuana legalization, we can also expect market expansion and innovation. This move means new cannabis companies entering the market, a flood of investments, and a whole variety of cannabis products to come.
2. Growth in Medical Cannabis
As the cannabis industry grows, so does the funding for research.
Come 2024, we’re looking at some exciting breakthroughs. This research is going to shed more light on how cannabis works, its benefits, and all the ways it can be used — We’re talking about a whole new level of understanding and appreciation for medical marijuana in the health world.
The Medical Cannabis Research Center at Drexel University has funded two new studies for its 2023-24 pilot funding cycle.
These studies include an analysis of marijuana dispensary locations across the U.S. and their impact on marginalized communities and a study focusing on the use of medical cannabis among parenting women, particularly in relation to mental health concerns like depression and anxiety.
To add to this, the Centre for Medicinal Cannabis Research at McMaster University is conducting research into the use of cannabis for various mental health indications, such as anxiety and bipolar disorder.
They’re also evaluating the use of medicinal cannabis for pain management and its efficacy in different clinical settings, and the impact of legalization from health economics and policy perspective.
3. Focus on Quality and Safety
Since the CBD market took off in 2018, customers have become savvy about what they expect from their CBD products. It’s no longer just about catchy branding or trendy packaging — shoppers want to be assured about the quality and safety of their products.
Fly-by-night companies struggle to survive as consumers demand more from their CBD brands.
People want to know exactly what they’re putting into their bodies, and they’re asking the right questions. This shift means that third-party lab testing has become the norm, not the exception. Customers want to know about any potential contaminants, the exact concentrations of active ingredients, and the overall purity of the product.
And it doesn’t stop there.
This isn’t exclusive to the cannabis market, but many consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious and want products that are not only safe for them but also kind to the environment. This preference has pushed brands to source their ingredients responsibly and sustainably.
Brands prioritizing sustainable practices, from cultivation to packaging, are gaining more consumer trust and loyalty. This focus on quality and safety is reshaping the CBD industry, setting high standards that ensure consumers get the best, most reliable products.
4. Diverse Consumption Methods
Gone are the days when smoking was the only way to enjoy cannabis.
Now, we’re seeing an awesome trend of diverse consumption methods that cater to everyone’s preferences and needs. Think vaping for a smooth, quick experience or tinctures for precision dosing.
Even transdermal patches are making waves for their discreet, long-lasting effects. Each method offers its unique experience and benefits, making cannabis more accessible and enjoyable for a wider audience.
5. Minor Cannabinoid Focus
We’ve seen this trend coming for a long time, but expect it to become even bigger in the cannabis business, and we’re talking about minor cannabinoid-focused products, which include hemp cannabinoids such as CBN (cannabinol), CBG (cannabigerol) and THCa (tetrahydrocannabinolic acid).
What’s appealing about these minor players is how they hold the potential to offer more tailored cannabis experiences.
People are no longer just looking for CBD or THC — they’re curious about the unique benefits and effects of these lesser-known cannabinoids.
Products focusing on these compounds are gaining popularity for their ability to provide specific experiences from sleep support, focus, and more, catering to a more personalized approach to cannabis use.
6. Increased Investment Opportunities in Cannabis Businesses
The cannabis industry is really hitting its stride, and with that comes a lot of financial action, especially in investments, mergers, and acquisitions (M&A).
Companies are super keen to spread their wings, strengthen their positions, and catch the eye of investors who are now more open than ever to betting big on cannabis.
This rush of investment is sparking tons of creativity and growth, helping these companies to grow bigger, tap into new markets, and whip up exciting new products.
7. International Market Expansion
The global cannabis landscape is evolving rapidly, with major companies extending their reach across international borders. A prime example is Aurora Cannabis, a Canadian firm that has made significant strides by acquiring Reliva LLC, a Massachusetts-based CBD seller, and expanding into Germany’s burgeoning medical cannabis market.
As more countries revise their cannabis legislation, we expect to see a similar trend of international expansion.
U.S.-based cannabis companies are increasingly eyeing overseas markets, seizing opportunities created by legislative changes.
This global expansion diversifies their operations and taps into new customer bases, enhancing their growth potential. In the coming years, the international cannabis market is set for a dynamic transformation driven by these strategic expansions and evolving legal landscapes.
8. Personalized Cannabis Experiences
Consumers are on the hunt for something special and unique. They’re all about discovering rare strains, grabbing locally sourced goodies, and enjoying personal and authentic experiences.
This shift shows that customers crave novelty — products that stand out because of their quality, backstory, and personal touch.
It’s a big move towards customization and authenticity, showing how cannabis consumers are looking for more than just a product — they’re looking for an experience that resonates with their individual preferences and values.
If you’re in the business of selling cannabis-infused products and want to tap into this growing market, think about crafting experiences that leave a lasting impression. This might involve weaving engaging stories around your high-quality product catalog, offering tailor-made options, sharing knowledgeable insights, and building ties with the community.
Today’s consumers are looking for something beyond the ordinary purchase — they’re after experiences that speak to their quest for authenticity and a personal touch. This approach will set your products apart in a market increasingly seeking real, memorable connections.
9. Mainstream Retail Adoption
Cannabis products, particularly hemp-derived ones, have been branching out from specialized dispensaries into mainstream retail spaces. This shift isn’t entirely new — it got a big push from the 2018 Farm Bill, which made low-THC hemp products legal, easing their way into regular retail.
Now, we’re seeing these products pop up in places like convenience stores, smoke shops, and even online. And it’s not just there — in states like Minnesota, they’re breaking new ground by selling them in restaurants and bars.
This trend is just warming up.
We predict that you’ll see more of your favorite cannabis products on the shelves of your local grocery and health food stores, becoming as commonplace as any other wellness product.
10. CBD in Sports and Fitness
The sports and fitness world is starting to embrace CBD like never before.
We’re noticing a trend with athletes advocating for cannabis products, recognizing their potential benefits in training and recovery. A great example is VIIA Hemp’s collaboration with UFC athletes “Suga” Sean O’Malley and Tim Welch to create Elevate THC Training Gummies.
This partnership highlights how CBD and cannabis products are becoming more mainstream in the athletic community.
Athletes are looking for natural, effective ways to boost performance and aid recovery, and CBD is increasingly becoming a go-to option. This trend reflects a broader shift in how we view wellness and recovery in sports, with a growing openness to the potential of cannabis products.
Final Thoughts: Cannabis Industry Trends in 2024
As we navigate through the evolving landscape of cannabis legalization in the United States, it’s clear that the cannabis industry is undergoing a significant transformation.
The trends we’ve explored in this article, from the increasing mainstream retail adoption to the innovative use of CBD in sports and fitness, are reshaping how cannabis is perceived and used in our day-to-day lives.
These changes, fueled by progressive legislation and changing public attitudes, indicate a growing and maturing market.
As we look to the future, it’s evident that the cannabis market trends of 2024 are setting the stage for even more dynamic changes.
Ultimately, the story of cannabis legalization and the unfolding of these market trends offer a glimpse into a future where cannabis plays a pivotal role in wellness, lifestyle, and, perhaps most importantly, economic development.