The Rise of Cannabis: The Ultimate Market Disruptor

Cannabis is poised to disrupt virtually every consumer industry, from foods, hot drinks, soft drinks, alcoholic drinks to beauty, consumer health, tobacco, tourism, packaging and home & garden. Within 10 years, some form of legal cannabis will be a regular part of consumers’ daily routines. But what is it and why now?

The rise of cannabis

Cannabis regulation is currently divided into medical and recreational (or “adult”) use. Medical permits use with prescription only while recreational permits cannabis products containing THC to be sold freely through licensed outlets at a taxable price. The regulatory distinction will eventually fade as recreational use becomes more widely legalised, creating opportunities for FMCG corporations.

Currently, North America is at the forefront of recreational use. Recreational marijuana is now legal in Canada and in a growing number of states in the US, which accounts for the largest individual legal cannabis market of US$10bn today, growing to US$60bn in 2025. Euromonitor expects world legal sales to reach US$166bn by 2025, representing over 1,000% growth on the present day.

It’s all about CBD…for now

All cannabis plants contain compounds called cannabinoids. The best-known cannabinoids are CBD and THC. CBD is currently the functional cannabis ingredient of choice, being non-psychoactive and thus legal. It is reputed to have anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and relaxant properties and is currently used in a variety of products from skin care to bottled water.

As CBD becomes commonplace and consumers become more educated about cannabis, many other cannabinoids will rise into prominence. In particular, THC, with applications from one end as a stimulating social lubricant to replace alcohol and tobacco, and on the other as a relaxant to replace opioid-based sleeping aids.

Outcome-based products are the future

The future of cannabis is thus THC-driven. As scientific studies develop, a range of cannabinoids in specific combinations will be created for certain ailments or mood states, paving the way for outcome-based cannabis products branded by household names.

The average consumer will be able to wake up and have a pick-me-up cannabis beverage; take a shower using cannabis toiletries, eat a cannabis snack or take a cannabis supplement, consume cannabis sports nutrition after the gym, pop out in the evening for a non-alcoholic THC drink with a buzz and fall into bed at the end of the day with a THC sleeping aid. No consumer market will remain untouched by cannabis as a functional super-ingredient.

Register for our upcoming webinar, Cannabis Legalisation: How it Will Disrupt the Future, for more insights into how cannabis will shape the future of consumer industries globally.