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Business

These 23 industries are using marijuana in ways you never thought possible

Updated : April 26, 2019 05:45 PM IST

Marijuana or cannabis, which was once an illegal and niche product is now expanding into almost every business, ranging from CBD oil-infused wellness and beauty products to banking for marijuana retailers. With marijuana becoming legal in most states of the United States, the industry is growing fast. Medical marijuana is already legal across most of the states in the US.

Global consumer spending on cannabis will reach $32 billion by 2022, according to BDS and ArcView Market Research, around 3 times the current level. More traditional industries are now expanding their sectors by trying to incorporate cannabis into their products. Here are a few industries that are being impacted or likely to be impacted first.

1. Medicine: With the legal use of cannabis in the United States, researchers have found it to be a cure for several ailments, even worldwide. Researchers are increasingly studying chemicals found within cannabis — cannabinoids — to discover new medical applications. Cannabidiol, one of the most well-known cannabinoids has drawn attention for its use in curing epilepsy, cancer, anxiety and neuropsychiatric disorders. They are also helping patients with chronic pain. About 100 cannabinoids are found within the plant.
1. Medicine: With the legal use of cannabis in the United States, researchers have found it to be a cure for several ailments, even worldwide. Researchers are increasingly studying chemicals found within cannabis — cannabinoids — to discover new medical applications. Cannabidiol, one of the most well-known cannabinoids has drawn attention for its use in curing epilepsy, cancer, anxiety and neuropsychiatric disorders. They are also helping patients with chronic pain. About 100 cannabinoids are found within the plant.
2. Pharmaceuticals: According to a research published by the University of Georgia, the influx of medical marijuana prescription will drive the pharmaceutical industry to the tune of nearly $4 billion per year. GW Pharmaceutical, a cannabinoid-based drugmaker made history when its drug Epidiolex was approved by the US FDA. The DEA listed Epidiolex under the lowest classification of the Controlled Substance Act, Schedule 5, terming it as less likely to be abused than recreational marijuana.
2. Pharmaceuticals: According to a research published by the University of Georgia, the influx of medical marijuana prescription will drive the pharmaceutical industry to the tune of nearly $4 billion per year. GW Pharmaceutical, a cannabinoid-based drugmaker made history when its drug Epidiolex was approved by the US FDA. The DEA listed Epidiolex under the lowest classification of the Controlled Substance Act, Schedule 5, terming it as less likely to be abused than recreational marijuana.
3. Wellness and Beauty: CBD oil which is a non-psychoactive (you won't get too high) and provides relief from pain, anxiety, and depression has gained a market in the wellness and beauty sector. It also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties. Another use of CBD oil is being seen among athletes who are looking to boost workout results. Some have claimed CBD oil can reduce post-exercise inflammation and promote muscle growth. Beauty and cosmetics retail giant Sephora also now stocks a wide range of CBD products, sometimes referred to as “beauty and bong” items, in its stores.
3. Wellness and Beauty: CBD oil which is a non-psychoactive (you won't get too high) and provides relief from pain, anxiety, and depression has gained a market in the wellness and beauty sector. It also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-acne properties. Another use of CBD oil is being seen among athletes who are looking to boost workout results. Some have claimed CBD oil can reduce post-exercise inflammation and promote muscle growth. Beauty and cosmetics retail giant Sephora also now stocks a wide range of CBD products, sometimes referred to as “beauty and bong” items, in its stores.
4. Packaging: According to Reports and Data, a marketing firm, the cannabis packaging industry is expected to reach $5 billion by 2026. From cannabis flowers in glass jars to concentrate in heatproof, borosilicate glass, packaging for cannabis products is highly regulated, with requirements for child-resistant and resealable lids, tamper-proofing, and opacity. This has led to new companies flooding the market to meet the specific demands of the industry. Many companies, apart from using Ziploc-like products have created tins, slide boxes, blunt tubes in various colours and little jars that look like contact lens cases. While companies might find it challenging to maintain transparency and quality (and still remain unique), packaging innovation could help boost product sales for brands looking to dominate the marketplace.
4. Packaging: According to Reports and Data, a marketing firm, the cannabis packaging industry is expected to reach $5 billion by 2026. From cannabis flowers in glass jars to concentrate in heatproof, borosilicate glass, packaging for cannabis products is highly regulated, with requirements for child-resistant and resealable lids, tamper-proofing, and opacity. This has led to new companies flooding the market to meet the specific demands of the industry. Many companies, apart from using Ziploc-like products have created tins, slide boxes, blunt tubes in various colours and little jars that look like contact lens cases. While companies might find it challenging to maintain transparency and quality (and still remain unique), packaging innovation could help boost product sales for brands looking to dominate the marketplace.
4. Banking: Smaller, localised banks are bridging the gap in the banking industry as few large nationwide banks are still reluctant to provide loans to the cannabis business as marijuana is still illegal in major parts of the US. More than 400 local banks and credit unions have marijuana-related clients, a number that has more than tripled since 2014. According to The Washington Post, Severn Bancorp charges higher-than-normal fees for cannabis account, as much as $3,000 to open an account. Partner Colorado, a credit union near Denver has become the largest banker in the marijuana industry with its clients depositing $931 million in 2017.
4. Banking: Smaller, localised banks are bridging the gap in the banking industry as few large nationwide banks are still reluctant to provide loans to the cannabis business as marijuana is still illegal in major parts of the US. More than 400 local banks and credit unions have marijuana-related clients, a number that has more than tripled since 2014. According to The Washington Post, Severn Bancorp charges higher-than-normal fees for cannabis account, as much as $3,000 to open an account. Partner Colorado, a credit union near Denver has become the largest banker in the marijuana industry with its clients depositing $931 million in 2017.
6. Cryptocurrency: Several cryptocurrencies are popping up to fill the gaps that the traditional banking sector is unable to do. Seattle-based company Düber, for example, aims to help cannabis companies struggling to secure bank accounts. It is planning a new cryptocurrency called dübercoin that will enable more efficient transactions between cannabis consumers and retailers. Cryptocurrencies like PotCoin and HempCoin have come into the fray specifically for cannabis transactions. Cannabis startup Paragon has launched its own cryptocurrency Paragon Coin (PRG) and a 4,300-square ft cannabis friendly co-working space in Los Angeles known as Paragon Space.
6. Cryptocurrency: Several cryptocurrencies are popping up to fill the gaps that the traditional banking sector is unable to do. Seattle-based company Düber, for example, aims to help cannabis companies struggling to secure bank accounts. It is planning a new cryptocurrency called dübercoin that will enable more efficient transactions between cannabis consumers and retailers. Cryptocurrencies like PotCoin and HempCoin have come into the fray specifically for cannabis transactions. Cannabis startup Paragon has launched its own cryptocurrency Paragon Coin (PRG) and a 4,300-square ft cannabis friendly co-working space in Los Angeles known as Paragon Space.
7. Agriculture: Hemp farming is revolutionising the agriculture sector after the US Congress legalised the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp by passing the 2018 Farm Bill. This development has major implications for the hemp-derived CBD market, which is expected to hit $22 billion by 2022, according to Brightfield Group. Unlike cotton, hemp holds its strength when wet and can be woven into light materials for clothing, durable textiles for commercial industrial purposes and even very strong ropes and cables for heavy lifting and pulling. After CBD oil, which holds the largest market share for hemp growers, more than 25,000 other products can be made from hemp, including food, fabrics, building materials, ethanol, and biodiesel.
7. Agriculture: Hemp farming is revolutionising the agriculture sector after the US Congress legalised the cultivation, processing, and sale of industrial hemp by passing the 2018 Farm Bill. This development has major implications for the hemp-derived CBD market, which is expected to hit $22 billion by 2022, according to Brightfield Group. Unlike cotton, hemp holds its strength when wet and can be woven into light materials for clothing, durable textiles for commercial industrial purposes and even very strong ropes and cables for heavy lifting and pulling. After CBD oil, which holds the largest market share for hemp growers, more than 25,000 other products can be made from hemp, including food, fabrics, building materials, ethanol, and biodiesel.
8. E-commerce: Online retailing is the next big step for the multi-billion dollar legalised marijuana industry which currently deals mostly in cash and in-person business. Companies are flooding the space with new e-commerce solutions specifically aimed at supporting the cannabis industry. Meadow, for example, is a site that allows consumers to get a prescription for medical marijuana over video chat and order from a nearby shop that delivers. Baker’s Shop dubbed the “Shopify for Cannabis,” aims to deliver an e-commerce solution that can help retailers establish online storefronts.
8. E-commerce: Online retailing is the next big step for the multi-billion dollar legalised marijuana industry which currently deals mostly in cash and in-person business. Companies are flooding the space with new e-commerce solutions specifically aimed at supporting the cannabis industry. Meadow, for example, is a site that allows consumers to get a prescription for medical marijuana over video chat and order from a nearby shop that delivers. Baker’s Shop dubbed the “Shopify for Cannabis,” aims to deliver an e-commerce solution that can help retailers establish online storefronts.
9. Billboards: In the states where cannabis is legal, billboards, offering a way for shops to skirt state regulators’ limits on signage at retail locations, are becoming increasingly common. In August 2014, Seattle-based cannabis producer Dàmà unveiled what was widely billed as the US's first-ever billboard campaign by a cannabis business. In Los Angeles, MedMen, one of the stores
9. Billboards: In the states where cannabis is legal, billboards, offering a way for shops to skirt state regulators’ limits on signage at retail locations, are becoming increasingly common. In August 2014, Seattle-based cannabis producer Dàmà unveiled what was widely billed as the US's first-ever billboard campaign by a cannabis business. In Los Angeles, MedMen, one of the stores "mainstreaming marijuana", implemented mobile billboards, employing trucks to drive around the city wrapped in advertising, in addition to featuring the same ads on billboards.
10. Food: Cannabis-infused food is now a major culinary trend and according to Green Market Report, consumers in California purchased $180 million worth of cannabis-infused food and drinks in 2016. It amounted to 10 percent of the state’s total marijuana sales. It rose to 18 percent in February 2018. Dixie Elixirs was one of the first companies to enter the market. This Colorado-based company sells marijuana-infused products such as truffles, chocolate bars, mints, juices and many more.
10. Food: Cannabis-infused food is now a major culinary trend and according to Green Market Report, consumers in California purchased $180 million worth of cannabis-infused food and drinks in 2016. It amounted to 10 percent of the state’s total marijuana sales. It rose to 18 percent in February 2018. Dixie Elixirs was one of the first companies to enter the market. This Colorado-based company sells marijuana-infused products such as truffles, chocolate bars, mints, juices and many more.
11. Alcohol: Beer, wine and spirits companies are looking to expand their offerings by including cannabis-based beverages. According to a TV report, Diageo, whose brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, and Bailey’s, has been holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal for a pot-infused drink.
11. Alcohol: Beer, wine and spirits companies are looking to expand their offerings by including cannabis-based beverages. According to a TV report, Diageo, whose brands include Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker, Guinness, and Bailey’s, has been holding discussions with at least three Canadian cannabis producers about a possible deal for a pot-infused drink.
12. Tobacco: The legalisation of marijuana affects tobacco industry the most. Similar to alcohol companies, tobacco brands could pivot to increasingly incorporate cannabis in their products. Tobacco firms could market the use of smoke-free devices such as vapourisers for cannabis as well.
12. Tobacco: The legalisation of marijuana affects tobacco industry the most. Similar to alcohol companies, tobacco brands could pivot to increasingly incorporate cannabis in their products. Tobacco firms could market the use of smoke-free devices such as vapourisers for cannabis as well.
13. Law: Since the legalisation, the intricacies in each state's laws have helped create a new industry, cannabis lawyers. The National Cannabis Bar Association, which is in the process of reorganizing itself into the International Cannabis Bar Association, formed in the United States in 2015. This association now hosts events of interest to the cannabis legal community both in the US and in overseas locations such as Berlin and Tel Aviv.
13. Law: Since the legalisation, the intricacies in each state's laws have helped create a new industry, cannabis lawyers. The National Cannabis Bar Association, which is in the process of reorganizing itself into the International Cannabis Bar Association, formed in the United States in 2015. This association now hosts events of interest to the cannabis legal community both in the US and in overseas locations such as Berlin and Tel Aviv.
14. Textiles and Fashion: Hemp which is known for its durability, however, does not dye well as cotton and has a linen-like and scratchy feel to it. However, manufacturers like Colorado-based EnviroTextiles, are introducing new hemp-based textiles that look like denim or wool. In a sign of growing momentum, denim brand Levi’s recently debuted a fully recyclable cottonised hemp collection.
14. Textiles and Fashion: Hemp which is known for its durability, however, does not dye well as cotton and has a linen-like and scratchy feel to it. However, manufacturers like Colorado-based EnviroTextiles, are introducing new hemp-based textiles that look like denim or wool. In a sign of growing momentum, denim brand Levi’s recently debuted a fully recyclable cottonised hemp collection.
15. Plastics: Since plastics are non-biodegradable, hemp companies are stealing the opportunity to capitalise on the same by providing an alternative. With hemp production rising and the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing the production of industrial hemp, entrepreneurs in this space may have an opportunity to develop biodegradable bioplastics using hemp.
15. Plastics: Since plastics are non-biodegradable, hemp companies are stealing the opportunity to capitalise on the same by providing an alternative. With hemp production rising and the 2018 Farm Bill legalizing the production of industrial hemp, entrepreneurs in this space may have an opportunity to develop biodegradable bioplastics using hemp.
16. Biodiesel: Apart from soybeans, which is currently the only crop grown on a large scale for biodiesel in the US, hemp, that thrives on a variety of soil and requires minimal input can produce four times as much oil. Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it potentially attractive as a raw material for producing biodiesel.
16. Biodiesel: Apart from soybeans, which is currently the only crop grown on a large scale for biodiesel in the US, hemp, that thrives on a variety of soil and requires minimal input can produce four times as much oil. Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it potentially attractive as a raw material for producing biodiesel.
17. Paper: According to a 1916 US Departement of Agriculture report, an acre of industrial hemp produces around 4x the paper that one acre of trees can. Companies like TreeFreeHemp (part of the Colorado Hemp Company) in Colorado and Green Field Paper Company of California sell paper made from hemp, using as many locally sourced materials as possible.
17. Paper: According to a 1916 US Departement of Agriculture report, an acre of industrial hemp produces around 4x the paper that one acre of trees can. Companies like TreeFreeHemp (part of the Colorado Hemp Company) in Colorado and Green Field Paper Company of California sell paper made from hemp, using as many locally sourced materials as possible.
18. Construction: Hemp-based building materials have the strength to shake the foundation of the building material industry. Hempcrete is a lightweight, cementitious material made with industrial hemp hurds (woody fibres from the plant core), lime, and water. Hempcrete may come in modular blocks similar to concrete units. The first modern hemp residence was built in 2010.
18. Construction: Hemp-based building materials have the strength to shake the foundation of the building material industry. Hempcrete is a lightweight, cementitious material made with industrial hemp hurds (woody fibres from the plant core), lime, and water. Hempcrete may come in modular blocks similar to concrete units. The first modern hemp residence was built in 2010.
19. Non-alcoholic beverages: CBD oil, which has properties that help reduce anxiety and inflammation without getting consumers
19. Non-alcoholic beverages: CBD oil, which has properties that help reduce anxiety and inflammation without getting consumers "high", is finding its way into the non-alcoholic beverages featuring juices, waters, seltzers, coffees, teas, and kombucha. The market for marijuana-infused beverages is estimated to reach $600 million in the US by 2022, according to Canaccord Genuity. Coca-Cola is reportedly considering a deal with Canadian marijuana producer Aurora Cannabis to develop CBD-based drinks.
20. Veterinary:
20. Veterinary: "Pot for pets” products, most of which feature very small doses of CBD rather than the psychoactive compound THC, include hemp oil, chews, treats, and topical creams to help manage common pet ailments like arthritis, anxiety, seizures, and pain. In January 2019, California became the first US state to make it legal for veterinarians to discuss cannabis treatment with their clients, though the legislation does not allow for the actual dispensing of cannabis products.
21. Sleep-aids: Cannabis products may soon disrupt the sleep aid products market. According to a Consumer Reports survey, about 25 percent of US adults have trouble falling or staying asleep most nights, with 68 percent struggling to sleep once a week. Gravity, maker of the popular weighted blanket that aims to help people get a better night’s rest, recently partnered with CBD product purveyor Mellowment to offer CBD sleep aids that combine CBD with melatonin and chamomile. These sleep aids, marketed under the brand name Mellowment + Gravity, are intended to help people drift off to sleep.
21. Sleep-aids: Cannabis products may soon disrupt the sleep aid products market. According to a Consumer Reports survey, about 25 percent of US adults have trouble falling or staying asleep most nights, with 68 percent struggling to sleep once a week. Gravity, maker of the popular weighted blanket that aims to help people get a better night’s rest, recently partnered with CBD product purveyor Mellowment to offer CBD sleep aids that combine CBD with melatonin and chamomile. These sleep aids, marketed under the brand name Mellowment + Gravity, are intended to help people drift off to sleep.
22. Sports Gear: Cannabis are creeping into the sports sector which traditionally does not permit athletes to use marijuana. The National Football League (NFL), which is still battling issues surrounding players’ health, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is not only advocating that these restrictions be loosened but are also promoting cannabis-related products for pain and anxiety management.
22. Sports Gear: Cannabis are creeping into the sports sector which traditionally does not permit athletes to use marijuana. The National Football League (NFL), which is still battling issues surrounding players’ health, such as chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), is not only advocating that these restrictions be loosened but are also promoting cannabis-related products for pain and anxiety management.
23: Tourism: Although Amsterdam has long been famed for its cannabis tourism, other locales spanning from Ontario to Jamaica are entering the cannabis hospitality market now that marijuana is increasingly being legalized around the world. In Toronto, owners of newly opened legal cannabis stores are hoping to spark a trend in cannabis tourism originating from the US, while cannabis-friendly Airbnb hosts are launching “bud and breakfasts” featuring hemp bedding and smoking lounges.
23: Tourism: Although Amsterdam has long been famed for its cannabis tourism, other locales spanning from Ontario to Jamaica are entering the cannabis hospitality market now that marijuana is increasingly being legalized around the world. In Toronto, owners of newly opened legal cannabis stores are hoping to spark a trend in cannabis tourism originating from the US, while cannabis-friendly Airbnb hosts are launching “bud and breakfasts” featuring hemp bedding and smoking lounges.
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