Soon there could be another big product on the cannabis market – and this one you take through a straw. Cannabis-infused drinks are set to hit the market and could become the next big thing.
The global legal cannabis market reached USD 7.7 billion in 2017, and with growing consumer demand and the increasing legalisation of marijuana in various countries, that figure is expected to rise to more than USD 146.4 billion by the end of 2025. Additionally, high investment in research and development for safer forms of using cannabis (such as tinctures, oils, and lotions) are expected to positively reinforce market growth.
North America legal cannabis market is expected to grow by 2025
Now, in the wake of the Coca-Cola Company’s announcement to consider adding cannabidiol (CBD) to beverages, many beverage companies may pave the way with marijuana-infused drinks in 2019, adding more billions to the global cannabis market.
CBD, a non-psychoactive ingredient in the marijuana plant, remained 2018’s most popular ingredient to come from the cannabis industry. In addition to food, this compound showed up in dozens of wellness products, promising everything from pain relief to stress reduction. Cannabis introduces a new opportunity for drink makers as well as consumers looking for the next trend, especially as legalisation spreads worldwide.
What are cannabis-infused drinks?
Cannabis-infused beverages are often non-alcoholic, low calorie, refreshing, and relaxing – without the hangover. These drinks can be infused with CBD, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or both. CBD has significant health benefits and doesn’t make people feel high because it contains less than 0.1 per cent THC - the primary ingredient that gives the high.
The taste of cannabis drinks depends on the flavour. Some options include flavours that resemble a dealcoholized beer, fruit, coffee or even kombucha.
Analysts predict a huge market for marijuana-infused beverages
According to Canaccord Genuity, a Canadian investment bank, cannabis-infused beverages could become a $600 million market in the US by 2022. The bank predicts that CBD-infused beverages will create a $260 million market and THC drinks will be a $340 million industry by 2022. Revenue from this emerging market could outpace the demand for other cannabis products more than two times over in the next four years.
While these predictions represent a significant opportunity for cannabis companies, many prominent multinational beverage firms are also looking into this emerging trend to grow their product portfolio. In fact, there are several cannabis drinks already on the market, like Dixie Elixirs from Colorado-based Dixie Brands and soda pop from Cana Cola located in Las Vegas, where cannabis is legal for both medical or recreational use. Lagunitas, Heineken's fast-growing California-based brand, recently launched Hi-Fi Hops, THC-infused sparkling water that contains THC as the main psychoactive ingredient, and no alcohol.
Coca Cola Inc. may possibly enter into the cannabis industry with Canada’s Aurora Cannabis for developing marijuana-infused drinks. The sources said that unlike many other companies aimed at making drinks that will make consumers feel a high similar to inhaling cannabis, Coca-Cola would likely offer beverages that will ease pain, cramping, and inflammation.
Though the firm declined to comment, they told BNN Bloomberg that the company was watching the popularity of CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages. Kent Landers, a spokesman from Coca-Cola said that the space is evolving, and they can’t make a decision at this time.
Last year Constellation Brands, North America’s first publicly traded cannabis company, announced its partnership with Ontario-based cannabis company Canopy Growth Corporation to make cannabis beverages for Canada’s new recreational market. Constellation Brands have already invested $200 million in Canopy Growth Corp.
A licensed agreement took place between Alberta-based Aurora Cannabis Inc. and Alcanna, Canada’s largest private-sector liquor retailer. In last February, Aurora invested CAD$103.5 million for a 19.9 percent ownership interest in Alcanna, which has already started converting several of its existing liquor stores into cannabis retail outlets.
Where can you buy cannabis drinks?
The accessibility of cannabis drinks depends on the laws where you live. In the U.S. states where marijuana is legal, you can go to cannabis dispensaries to buy marijuana-infused drinks from licensed distributors. For Canadians, marijuana drinks are still in limbo. The Canadian Government has plans to legalise cannabis-infused food and drink on or before October 17, 2019.
Cannabis-infused drinks are predicted to be a new trend in the marijuana industry, but there are certain roadblocks along the way – particularly due to federal rulings around the drug. However, customer demand has always won over legislation, and the same may prove to be true in the context of marijuana drinks.
An increasing number of beverage companies and cannabis product makers, growing demand for cannabis drinks, and Canada’s plan to legalize marijuana-infused food and drinks by the next year indicate that cannabis drinks will gain significant space on the shelves in 2019.