When some researchers over in Washington State decided to figure out how the cannabis market has evolved over the last few years, they found, not surprisingly, that the real mover and shaker in that market was extracts. Concentrates, the study showed, had increased their market share by 145.8 percent from the summer of 2014 to the fall of 2016.
While marijuana flowers still make up the majority of spending in Washington state (66.6 percent of the market), concentrates have become the dark horse of the market. Sales of cannabis extracts more than doubled in the 26 months of study, and now account for 21.2 percent of total marijuana transactions in the region.
Why were researchers looking into the uprise in concentrates, you may ask. Well, it turns out they weren’t. What researchers at the Society for the Study of Addiction (SSA) were trying to find were new trends in the product types and potency in cannabis sales. They then used that info to see how the potency of cannabis products affected their price.
To do this they studied 44 million cannabis transactions. What they found, besides the meteoric rise in concentrate sales, was that in the state, “the legal cannabis market is currently dominated by high-THC cannabis flower,” and that “both THC and CBD are associated with higher per-gram prices.”
What they mean is that high levels of THC or CBD are the main factors in a cannabis product’s price per gram. That’s interesting, because high cannabinoid and quality are not necessarily the same thing. This would be like if the most expensive alcohol you could buy was Everclear or the most expensive cigarette was a stick of pure nicotine rolled in paper. So maybe consumers, at least in Washington, seem not to have a way to determine quality other than potency.
Meanwhile, other states are showing an increase in concentrate sales as well. Colorado saw its hash oil sales increase significantly last year over the year before and in Oregon, edibles and extracts together made up 25 percent of sales as of last year.
What has caused this transformation in the cannabis market? It’s unclear at the moment, but one theory suggests that a major change may have occurred in the industry around February of 2015, the month that Dabs Magazine went live. Since then, concentrate sales have steadily increased. Coincidence?