With the burgeoning market and demand for high quality concentrates and extracts of different cannabinoids consuming not only Montana but the greater US market, cannabis companies everywhere are exploring how they can better utilize concentrates. Vaporizers are the largest out of all the cannabis concentrates and with a global market in e-cigarettes anticipated to reach 49 billion in the next four years makes the rise of its cannabis cousin that much more financially interesting. The need to create quality, efficient-to-produce concentrates has become a vital part of many medical and recreational cannabis operations within the US.
Cannabis concentrates accounted for about 3 billion dollars in revenue in 2018. With only nine states and the District of Columbia with full legalization, the demand for such extracts is just going to rise as more states accommodate cannabis. Projected national sales of cannabis concentrates are estimated to be 8.4 billion dollars by 2022, accounting for almost as much as the traditional flower sales forecast for the same year. The largest rise in the extracts and concentrates market is the market increase in liquid vaporization oil.
The oil used in vaporizers tends to be made up of two different groups of oil compounds, the cannabinoids/terpenes and the carrier oil. The cannabinoids and terpenes are, most of the time, winterized to remove lipids and fats from the mixture to improve oil viscosity of the mixed oil compound. The second group is known as the carrier oils. These many times are a blend of plant or synthetic oils like semi-synthetic MCT oil that are designed to aid in oil viscosity and allow for smooth vaporization of product. The type of carrier oil used is extremely important for the end quality of your vape cartridges. Many of the oils used are natural oils like coconut or hemp oil, but as of writing of this article, only propylene glycol (PG) and glycerol are approved by the FDA for use as a vaporizer stabilization oil (carrier oil) in e-cigarettes. PG and glycerol are the only oils that have been researched by peer-reviewed research studies examining the health effects of the oil if it was vaporized and absorbed through diffusion into your bloodstream. Our lungs are fragile systems and it is important to not run the risk of exposing our alveoli to carcinogens given the chance. Even the way the cannabinoids and terpenes are extracted from the plant is important if the solvent is not properly removed or the sample is compromised and becomes bacteriologically exposed. The type of equipment is also important. If the wrong laboratory equipment is used, phthalates and chemical contaminants can leach into your oil from exposure to equipment that is not designed to work with solvent recovery.
It is a scary reality when products are being produced in the cannabis industry every day that have some form of major contamination in them. With the lack of any form of liability insurance due to the federal legality of the drug, many of these dispensaries and grows are left extremely vulnerable to legal action. In many states including Montana, a patient can not only legally go after your company but also go after the individuals personally responsible for the contaminated product. This legal frailty leaves individuals in the industry legally exposed and when you add a product that is produced under less than scrupulous manufacturing conditions, you open yourself up as a company and as an individual to intense legal and financial debt.
With the size of the overall industry and where it is headed, it’s important for this push towards concentrates and vaporizers to be done very professionally. Especially in states like Montana where all cannabis businesses are vertically integrated, the need for rigorous quality control is important to weigh in with operating costs. But ultimately, the combination of the lack of insurance and the possible immune responses of compromised clients in a program like Montana’s medical marijuana program makes the importance of a quality product that much more vital. All of this is why it is so important to cover yourself as an organization legally by producing the best product your company can and with the right ingredients using the right equipment and using good manufacturing practices.
Thomas, Brian F, and Gerald T Pollard. “Preparation and Distribution of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Dosage Formulations for Investigational and Therapeutic Use in the United States.” Frontiers in Pharmacology, Frontiers Media S.A., 31 Aug. 2016, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5006560/.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine; Health and Medicine Division; Board on Population Health and Public Health Practice; Committee on the Review of the Health Effects of Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems; Eaton DL, Kwan LY, Stratton K, editors. Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes. Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US); 2018 Jan 23. 5, Toxicology of E-Cigarette Constituents. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK507184/
“E-Cigarette & Vaporizer Market : Global Demand Analysis & Opportunity Outlook 2024.” Research Nester, Research Nester , May 2019, www.researchnester.com/reports/e-cigarette-vaporizer-market-global-demand-analysis-opportunity-outlook-2024/451.
Weed, Julie. “Vaping Propels Cannabis Concentrates Market To $3 Billion.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 22 Oct. 2018, www.forbes.com/sites/julieweed/2018/09/20/vaping-propels-cannabis-concentrates-market-to-3-billion/#4f6925af78a7.