It’s no secret: the cannabis industry is experiencing a dramatic uptick as demand for its products increases amid shifting public opinion and a changing regulatory climate. In 2019 alone, growth reached nearly 40%; by 2021, analysts expect revenues to eclipse $30 billion.
Given the financial potential those figures demonstrate, forecasting trends for the industry holds interest for both insiders and investors. While there’s no crystal ball to predict the future in this rapidly-evolving business landscape, a number of developments seem likely to define cannabis markets over the next year. Curious? Read on.
1. Continuing Maturity of CBD Markets
The health benefits of CBD will continue to drive demand in 2020. As a non-habit-forming pain reducer and natural anti-anxiety solution, CBD offers a lot to consumers.
Not surprisingly, sales are projected to rise 107% by 2023. Insiders anticipate better experimental data on health effects and improved product blends to support a thriving market for CBD in 2020.
2. Increasing Use Among Women
Men have long been the primary consumers of cannabis products, using at about twice the rate of their female counterparts.
But that demography is changing. Since 2009, the number of women turning to cannabis-derived goods has been increasing faster than the tally of men.
In part, that’s due to increasing awareness of female-specific health benefits. About two in five women to one survey indicated they found therapeutic relief in cannabis for managing menstruation and menopause. Others found it functioned as a sleep aid or as way to enhance their sex lives.
With that kind of value, expect more women to explore cannabis in 2020, particularly as plant-based derivatives show up in everything from cosmetics to custom blends of CBD designed to counteract PMS.
3. Growing Appeal for Senior Citizens
The market for cannabis has usually skewed younger. Only 8% of seniors aged 65+ report consuming CBD (compared to 14% of the general population). But as the medical advantages of this all-purpose oil for elderly users become more evident, expect that to change.
Its anti-inflammatory and stress-reductive qualities have found a ready market for an aging population dealing with arthritis, chronic pain, poor sleep, and anxiety.
A bellwether for this trend? Of seniors who do regularly use CBD, 89% say they’d recommend it to a friend. With that many convinced evangelists, industry analysts feel confident in predicting a wave of adoption in the retirement-age bloc.
4. More Jobs in the Cannabis Industry
If the trends hold, market gains should translate into more job opportunities for everyone from botanists to marketing experts. Currently, the industry employs about a quarter of a million workers, and is primed for further growth. Demand is up 76% and pay is 11% more than the median US salary.
Employment patterns are still evolving, but a few positions should be in high demand:
- Dispensary tech
- Lab workers
- Security personnel
5. Continued Political Change
The hardest trends to predict are political. Contradictions abound. Regional disparities and pendulum shifts in national politics can have profound impacts, particularly in election years.
Nonetheless, it seems safe to predict that tectonic shifts in public opinion and political campaigns against prohibition will reshape the politics of cannabis distribution.
On the one hand, the outlook for legalization — both for recreation or medication — looks bullish. Thirty-three states have greenlighted therapeutic applications of cannabis, and eleven more decriminalized recreational use. More should join those ranks in 2020 if public opinion trumps bureaucratic obstruction.
On the other hand, regulation and high taxes mean illicit distribution won’t stop. One study suggests that only 40% of existing black market consumers of cannabis plan to switch over to state-sponsored dispensaries.
In an industry so new and so sensitive to changes on the political landscape, it’s hard to venture guesses at where the cannabis markets are headed.
Nonetheless, the numbers don’t lie. As public opinion shifts, and the benefits of cannabis derivatives become better publicized, expect the industry to continue on a healthy growth trajectory. At the same time, look for the consumer demographics to diversify as the industry matures and attracts more to the benefits of this all-natural cure-all.
Guest Author Bio
Jamie is a freelance writer who covers trends in business, technology, and health. She loves to go skiing, camping, and rock climbing with her family.
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