Beyond 2020: A Look at the Future of Cannabis Vaping and Terpenes
(Note: This article was written by a guest contributor.)
The vaping and cannabis industries enjoy a powerful marketing synergy, given the popularity of THC & CBD cartridges for vape pens and e-liquids for tank-style vape mods. This is largely due to cannabis’s well-documented diversity of therapeutic benefits and millions of ex-smokers switching to vapes to lessen the health risks of habit-forming combustibles.
However, 2020 has been a particularly difficult year for several industries — the airline, tourism and restaurant industries worst of all. Six months of lockdowns and social distancing present new challenges, demanding adaptation strategies for a possible new normal. Without adequate flexibility, less resilient players in their nascent stages could wind up being little more than flashes in the pan.
So, what do industry trends say about the future of vaping and cannabis as a powerhouse combination going forward? In this post, we look at key factors indicating continued success for these two industries in the global market — not just for the remainder of the year, but on to 2021 and beyond.
Effects of Government Regulation on Synthetically Flavored Vaping Products
That bill has already passed the House and is currently working its way through the Senate, but state legislators are taking independent action to clamp down on synthetic flavors early. As of August 31st, Gov. Gavin Newsom made California the fifth state to officially ban flavored vapes and tobacco products.
While the flavor ban is seen as seriously detrimental to the vaping industry by vapers and retailers alike, it’s sure to be a boon for cannabis terpenes. Therapeutic benefits aside, terpenes are most renowned for the distinct flavors and aromas they impart to virtually all plant life—including the most popular strains of cannabis.
Vapers will have to say goodbye to synthetic flavors like “cantaloupe bubble gum jumble” starting January 2021 and when they do, the cannabis vaping space will almost certainly switch to enhancing their CBD or THC cartridges with their favorite terpene profiles. After all, the lively flavors of cannabis terpenes, such as limonene, myrcene, geraniol and pinene are already commonly used by cannabis chefs, caterers and mixologists around the world to complement their creations and strains.
Cannabis Terpenes & Their Potential to Treat COVID-19 Symptoms
A recent Eybna study made waves among medical researchers in August, showing impressive potential in the utilization of cannabis terpenes for treating cytokine storm syndrome, an inflammatory response commonly caused by COVID-19.
Cytokine storm syndrome (commonly referred to as “cytokine storms”) describes the process of white blood cells rapidly releasing inflammatory cytokines, activating more white blood cells in turn. This causes exhaustion, fever or nausea in mild cases, and swelling to the point of compromised organ function in severe cases.
The Eybna study on cytokine storms was conducted in three phases: using CBD, using terpenes and using both in combination. CBD, a well-established anti-inflammatory in its own right, outperformed the conventional corticosteroid Dexamethasone in inhibiting cytokine activity. However, the use of CBD and terpenes together easily outshined the efficacy of CBD alone. Reports from the study showed the combination sample was two times as effective as Dexamethasone.
According to Eybna co-founder and CEO Nadav Eyal, the study made use of select terpenes to produce synergistic effects with CBD “effectively targeting specific health conditions” such as cytokine storms.
Consumer Trends, Terpenes & Full-Spectrum Cannabis Products
It’s worth noting that the value of cannabis terpenes isn’t just in their potential to treat viruses. Decades of research bearing out the therapeutic benefits of terpenes (along with a recent wave of medical and recreational marijuana legalization) have done plenty to pique consumer interest. Naturally, the new stars of the terpenes niche within the cannabis industry are so-called “full-spectrum” products.
Full-spectrum CBD, for example, goes beyond bottling or infusing isolated CBD. Instead, it extracts CBD with cannabis terpenes intact, allowing consumers market access to its much sought-after entourage effects without the psychoactive effects of THC.
As the body of scientific literature on cannabis grows, consumers are becoming increasingly educated and selective as to what aspects of the cannabis plant they’d like to access. Fitness-inclined individuals and professional athletes are good examples of people who aren’t interested in cannabis to get high, but for its medicinal and therapeutic potential. NFL superstar Rob Gronkowski and singer John Legend are just two CBD and terpene mega-pioneers driving public interest toward cannabis as a health supplement.
Steady Growth in Dark Times
The vaping and cannabis industries have shown impressive resilience despite the ongoing pandemic-triggered recession. While experts are anticipating a post-COVID boom, only time and investor confidence can bear out their predictions. If nothing else, it certainly is safe to say that consumer interest in cannabis vaping and terpenes won’t be dying down anytime soon.