Industrial hemp – Low THC Cannabis
Industrial hemp is a type of cannabis sativa l. plant that contains .3% THC or below, the only known psychotropic phytocannabinoid (cannabinoid found in a plant). 0.3% THC is an arbitrary limit set by the regulations. Many hemp strains grown naturally can develop 1% or higher THC levels. Hemp is widely cultivated in many countries across the globe for industrial, nutritional and medicinal uses. In the US, 30 states have introduced legislation that allows for hemp cultivation, and 20 states have passed such legislation (R. Johnson, 2015). Currently there is a bill in Texas in the making that will allow the cultivation of hemp and will stand to benefit farmers, fiber, food and nutrition, supplement and many other industries. The global hemp market is estimated to consist of 25,000 products in various uses such as food, agriculture, and personal care. Hemp can also be used as a rotational crop and is less environmentally damaging than other crops (R. Johnson, 2015; Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity, Congressional Research Service Report)
Market share:Hemp Business Journal estimates the total retail value of hemp products sold in the U.S. in 2015 to be at least $573 million. National Hemp Industries Association shows an average 20% growth in the hemp marketplace over the last few years.
High THC Cannabis – Medical and Adult-Use Cannabis
Medical cannabis or medical marijuana refers to the use of various types ofcannabis sativa, indica, and hybrid plants that typically contain about 7-15% of intoxicating THC. Medical cannabis is regulated in over 25 US states and many countries across the world allow the use of medical cannabis, including for children. Each US state that regulates cannabis has distinct law that regulates the grow extraction and distribution process of medical cannabis. In Texas, the medical cannabis bill (Texas Compassionate Use Act)was passed in 2015 to allow the use of a very low 0.5% THC or below cannabis for children with intractable epilepsy. That law states that Texas will issue medical cannabis grow cultivation, and distribution licenses to make these products available to select groups of patients by the end of 2017-2018. Currently proponents of this act would like to broaden the use of medical cannabis to other chronic and intractable illnesses. In addition, percentage of THC and its therapeutic value varies greatly, depending on the patient and the target problem. Thus, ideally it should be the recommending physician that deduces the most effective dose and concentration of THC and other major phytocannabinoids with known medicinal properties, like cannabidiol (CBD).
Adult-use cannabis, also referred to as recreational cannabis can be legally purchased by those over 21 years old without having a medical cannabis card or medical condition. Currently 5 US states (Washington DC, Colorado, Oregon, Washington State, and Alaska) have passed laws for legal adult-use of cannabis. California, the sixth largest economy in the world, is poised to legalize cannabis in November of 2016. Canada will likely be the first G7 nation to legalize cannabis.
Market share: MJBIZ Daily estimates that ‘medical marijuana’ sales will hit between $3.5 billion and $4.3 billion in 2016. However, at a recent cannabis business conference in Oakland, Lieutenant Governor of California Gavin Newsome said that according to unofficial reports, Emerald triangle in California generated over 6 billion dollars in wholesale of cannabis and its products! MMJ (‘medical marijuana’) retailers are doing as good of a business per square foot as stores like Costco and Whole Foods. Medical cannabis industry’s total US economic impact is set to double in growth from about 20 billion in 2016 to about 40 billion in 2020.
Synthetic ‘Marijuana’ is Not Cannabis!
National Institute of Drug Abuse defines Synthetic marijuana as “new psychoactive substances” (NPS). NPS are unregulated psychoactive (mind-altering) substances that have become newly available on the market and are intended to copy the effects of illegal drugs.” Synthetic cannabinoids sold in many head shops, like Kush are dangerous, even lethal. These synthetic substances do not occur naturally in cannabis plant and are usually presented to the consumer sprinkled over some plant matter or in a vaporizer form. In Houston, Texas in 2017 there are dozens of deaths that resulted from synthetic marijuana overdoses. In contrast, to date, there are no reported death cases from natural cannabis. The synthetic substances do not affect the brain in the same why as does cannabis plants or natural THC. Advertisements for these products will often say ‘gets me as high as THC, but does not show up on a drug test’. This is truly false advertisement, because it does not even say what the substance sold is. Be smart about cannabis and be aware of fake dangerous synthetic marijuana. Because it is more accessible (head shops), does not make it legal or any less dangerous.
Market share: Forget it! Let’s not even give this any market share. There are no statistics on the sales, but instead there are many reports of deaths from synthetic cannabinoids.