2019 is undoubtedly going to be an advantageous year for cannabis in Canada, as the country irons out the bumps of the legalization of cannabis in 2018.
Ronan Levy, a Canadian cannabis pioneer and Chief Corporate Officer & General Counsel of Canadian Cannabis Clinics and Chief Strategic Officer of Trait Biosciences, has offered some insights about what we’ll see in cannabis for the nation this coming year.
Elevation of the Cannabis Experience
The cannabis joint has always reigned supreme for cannabis retail and in cannabis culture; this could be the year that the joint takes a back seat. This year Levy predicts will be “the end of the joint as we know it,” as Canada ushers in its new regulations for edibles, topicals, beverages, and inhalables. Canadians will be able to access a bevy of new, sophisticated products that will change the way they consume cannabis.
Along with this emergence of sophisticated products, “the cannabis and hemp consumers are going to become more discerning, both in terms of the quality of product as well as the purity, safety and reliability of product,” Levy told Green Market Report. “It’s going to be a challenge for most producers to keep up with the ever-evolving tastes of consumers.”
Put that Sh*t on Everything
Levy predicts that CBD will be the new Frank’s Hot Sauce, where people will be keen to “put that sh*t on everything”. With the U.S. Farm Bill in the now passed, and more attention being put on CBD over THC, we can expect to see an influx of CBD products come to market.
Of concern to Levy, however, is whether consumers will grow weary of familiar products being brought to market “now with CBD” as cannabis fever takes over.
Above All, Safety
The reports from the Ontario Cannabis Store (OCS) that legal cannabis is containing molds, pesticides, even bugs, there has been a pretty big light cast on cannabis safety across the country, and consumers are the ones shining the biggest light.
“From a purity and safety perspective, we expect to see a few hiccups around mold and pesticides as new entrants into the hemp and cannabis industries face challenges scaling up production,” Levy told Green Market Report. “As we’ve seen in edibles in California [and now in Canada] producers are still struggling to control cannabis pests and mold, which has resulted in excessive use of pesticides. These challenges will create a stronger demand from consumers for purity and safety of the products they consume.”
Big Pharma Moves In
“With more research emerging showing the many different medical applications of cannabinoids,” said Levy in his insights, “drug companies are going to start to feel the heat as safer, natural and effective cannabis-based therapeutics possibly for cancer, pain management, diabetes and a host of other ailments emerge.”
With this shift will come the need for ultimate prudence in the way Big Pharma blends its approaches with the existing knowledge, and culture, surrounding medical cannabis.
“The most important thing the industry can do is to continue investing in science and research of the medical and therapeutic benefits of cannabinoids, as well as professionalizing their business practices,” says Levy to Green Market Report.
“The biggest risk to the industry is people making unsubstantiated claims about the safety or efficacy of cannabinoids, which end up being refuted,” he continued. “Prudent, thoughtful and professional research and development, as well as business management, to avoid any large scandals is the best thing the industry can do.”
Move Over THC and CBD
It’s time for the minor cannabinoids found in cannabis to take center stage in 2019. “As over 100 cannabinoids have been isolated, people will start looking for ways to produce these “minor” cannabinoids in scale, and an increasing amount of research will focus in on them.”
According to Levy, the most likely targets of this work are cannabinol (CBN), which has been shown to be an effective therapy for insomnia; cannabichromene (CBC), which is a potent anti-inflammatory; and cannabigerol (CBG), which is believed to have neuroprotectant and anti-bacterial properties. These are the most well-understood of the minor cannabinoids and thus will receive much of the attention.
A Positive Time for Canada, With Caution
According to Levy, this is a crucial time as cannabis moves forward to develop the consumer experience, explore new cannabinoids, ensure the safety of products, and Big Pharma sets its eyes on cannabis.
“Attitudes are already changing toward cannabis and hemp, and the world is embracing it,” says Levy. “We just need to make sure we don’t give people a reason to change their minds.”