Minor cannabinoids, major market – Edibles manufacturers are going beyond THC and CBD
While the vast majority of cannabis-infused edibles contain THC and/or CBD, there is a small but growing market for edibles containing minor cannabinoids, prompting a boom in products infused with cannabigerol (CBG), cannabinol (CBN) and others.
National edibles manufacturers like Wyld, Grön and Wana Brands, as well as smaller companies like Big Island Grown in Hawaii or Mr. Moxey’s in Washington, have seen growing demand for their products that contain differing ratios of the various minor cannabinoids, with CBG and CBN being market favorites.
“It’s blown up,” Wana Brands chief marketing officer Joe Hodas says of the demand for the products.
According to an analysis by Research and Markets, the minor cannabinoids market was worth $7.3 billion in 2021, with an annual growth rate of about 20%. While much of the minor cannabinoid market comes from the medical side with THCV being the most predominant cannabinoid in the analysis, the race to introduce products in the recreational markets is well under way.
“In almost every market Wyld is in, our CBN and CBG products are in the top 20 bestsellers,” Wyld spokesperson Rachael Smith said in an email.
More than 100 cannabinoids have been identified within the cannabis plant and all react differently within the body. The most prominent cannabinoid, THC, provides the traditional high associated with cannabis consumption, while CBD tends to produce different, non-psychoactive responses that can help with issues like pain or anxiety. CBG, known as the “mother of all cannabinoids” because the others break down from it, is non-psychoactive, so it produces no high, but has been found to quell anxiety and users often report an increase in focus. CBN, on the other hand, has been found to promote relaxation and sleep.
“What’s exciting about minor cannabinoids is that they’re each kind of bringing something a little bit different to the party,” Hodas says.
And with modern extraction technologies, manufacturers can isolate many of the minor cannabinoids in large enough amounts to begin adding them into products.
The best-selling edibles brand in the country, Wyld, for example, produces a pear-flavored product that contains 10 milligrams of CBG and 10 milligrams of THC, as well as an elderberry-flavored offering with 10 milligrams of THC and 5 milligrams of CBN.
“The combination of THC with minor cannabinoids opens up pathways for cannabis exploration and allows individuals to find the right product fit for time of day, activity, or wellness,” Smith says.
Both products were among the top 10 edibles products in the country, according to BDSA’s December 2022 data.
Wana Brands has multiple products that include differing rations of THC and CBD, but the company’s first triple ratio product was released this spring and includes an equal part CBN as well.
“We’re doing it because we’ve heard from the market so much,” Hodas says, noting that the product makes you “feel high, but you have this focus … you feel very alert but you still get that great euphoria out of it.”
The company also has plans for a “Quick Calm” product as part of its “Optimals” line that includes 1 milligram of THC and 10 milligrams each of CBG and CBD.
The difficulty for producers of minor cannabinoid edibles, however, is in educating the public — and budtenders — to their effects.
“We’re going to have to work with the budtenders because the budtenders are going to have to sell the product that has 1 milligram THC in it and it’s not something that they’re normally interested in selling,” Hodas says.
Smith agreed, noting it is an ongoing concern for Wyld as well.
“Conveying the effects of a cannabinoid and how it can enhance your experience is something we’re constantly working on,” she says.
But with analysts at Markets and Research, among others, predicting a $26 billion market for minor cannabinoid products by 2028, edibles makers are working to stay ahead of the consumer curve, creating products that go beyond THC and CBD.
“The minor cannabinoids are fascinating because when appropriately dosed in conjunction with other cannabinoids, I think we’re going to see some really amazing products,” Hodas says.