As we stand on the cusp of a new year, the landscape of the cannabis and psychedelics industry is poised for unprecedented growth and transformation. In this exclusive insight, we invite you to get ahead of the curve and explore the anticipated trends that will shape the narrative of 2024. From groundbreaking technological advancements to pivotal regulatory shifts, staying informed is the key to navigating the evolving terrain of cannabis and psychedelics.
New product offerings
The cannabis industry is propelled by the introduction of new cannabis products, such as edibles, vapes, and bespoke items that are gaining popularity at cannabis dispensaries. As personalization becomes the next big trend, consumers will be able to tailor their cannabis experience to their unique preferences. For example, some products may contain a balanced ratio of THC and CBD, while others may be more dominant in one or the other. Some products may also have a strong terpene profile, while others may be more subtle or bland.
Technological Advancements & Groundbreaking Research
The cannabis industry is undergoing a revolution driven by technological innovation, spanning from automation and AI in production to sophisticated packaging solutions enhancing safety and labeling. These advancements are driving the growth of ancillary industries, such as cannabis delivery services, infused beverages, and edibles, all of which contribute to an increasingly efficient supply chain. In research and development, we can expect new strains, better cultivation techniques, and the use of data analytics to optimize production.
Research into cannabis compounds like CBN and CBG is expected to increase, leading to new insights into their potential therapeutic uses. Studies on the neurocognitive function of people who consume alcohol, cannabis, or both will also be on the horizon.
Legal milestones and challenges
The cannabis industry’s market trends and opportunities are significantly molded by legal milestones and challenges. The push for federal legalization in the US, international legal developments, and regulatory hurdles are all aspects that will impact the industry’s growth. For example, some states, such as New York and New Jersey, may legalize recreational cannabis in 2024, while others, such as Texas and Florida, may expand their medical cannabis programs. Meanwhile, some countries, such as Mexico and Israel, may also legalize cannabis for adult use, creating new markets and opportunities.
Market Developments: Diversification and Specialization
The cannabis and psychedelics market is entering a phase of diversification and specialization. In 2024, there will be more diversification and specialization in the cannabis and psychedelics industry in 2024, as the market becomes more mature and competitive. Diversification refers to the expansion of product offerings, customer segments, and geographic markets, while specialization refers to the focus on a specific niche, product, or service.
Some examples of diversification and specialization in the cannabis and psychedelics industry are:
Diversification of product offerings: Cannabis and psychedelics companies will offer a wider range of products to cater to different consumer preferences and needs, such as edibles, vapes, topicals, beverages, and bespoke items. Some products may also contain different ratios of cannabinoids and terpenes, or different types of psychedelics, such as psilocybin, LSD, or DMT. Some products may also combine cannabis and psychedelics, creating novel synergies and effects.
Diversification of customer segments: Cannabis and psychedelics companies will target different customer segments, such as medical patients, recreational users, wellness seekers, or microdosers. Each segment may have different motivations, expectations, and behaviors, requiring different marketing strategies and product formulations. For example, medical patients may seek products that are consistent, reliable, and effective, while recreational users may seek products that are fun, innovative, and potent.
Diversification of geographic markets: Cannabis and psychedelics companies will expand their operations to new geographic markets, both domestically and internationally, as more countries and states legalize or decriminalize these substances. This will create new opportunities and challenges, such as regulatory compliance, cultural adaptation, and market penetration. For example, some countries, such as Mexico and Israel, may legalize cannabis for adult use in 2024, creating new markets and opportunities.
Specialization of niche products: Cannabis and psychedelics companies will specialize in niche products that cater to a specific consumer segment, need, or occasion, such as women, seniors, pets, or sports. These products may have unique features, benefits, or branding, that differentiate them from the mainstream products. For example, some products may be designed for women’s health, such as menstrual relief, hormonal balance, or sexual enhancement.
Specialization of product quality: Cannabis and psychedelics companies will specialize in product quality, such as organic, craft, or premium products, that appeal to consumers who value quality over quantity, or who are willing to pay a higher price for a better experience. These products may have higher standards of cultivation, extraction, testing, or packaging, that ensure purity, potency, and safety. For example, some products may be certified organic, meaning they are grown without pesticides, herbicides, or synthetic fertilizers.
Specialization of service delivery: Cannabis and psychedelics companies will specialize in service delivery, such as delivery, subscription, or membership services, that provide convenience, affordability, or exclusivity to consumers. These services may use technology, such as apps, websites, or drones, to facilitate ordering, payment, tracking, or delivery of products. For example, some services may offer delivery within minutes, subscription boxes with curated products, or membership clubs with discounts and perks.
Regulatory Changes: A Shifting Landscape
The regulatory landscape of cannabis and psychedelics in 2024 is expected to see a lot of change, as more countries and states legalize or decriminalize these substances for medical or recreational purposes. However, there will also be significant legal and regulatory challenges, such as compliance, quality control, and access to market.
Some of the major developments and issues in the regulatory landscape of cannabis and psychedelics in 2024 are:
Canada: Canada is one of the leading countries in the global medicinal cannabis market, due to its favorable agricultural conditions, innovative processes, and strict quality control requirements. The latest draft of the Country Investment Strategy recognizes cannabis as a legally traded agricultural commodity and prioritizes the development of a regulatory framework for medicinal cannabis production and export. However, Canada still faces some challenges, such as harmonizing its regulations with international standards, ensuring product safety and consistency, and establishing domestic demand and registration of medical cannabis products.
Europe & The United Kingdom: Europe and the United Kingdom have a diverse and dynamic regulatory landscape for cannabis and psychedelics, with varying degrees of legal and medical restrictions on their use, possession, and distribution. In the Netherlands, for example, some psychedelic mushrooms are legal to possess and use under certain circumstances. In most other countries, they are regulated as controlled substances. In the United Kingdom, psilocybin is a Schedule I drug, although there are growing calls for its reclassification to allow for therapeutic use. The European Union is also developing a common framework for the regulation of medical cannabis, which could facilitate cross-border trade and research.
South America: South America has a rich and ancient tradition of using psychedelic plants, such as ayahuasca, for spiritual and healing purposes. These plants are legal and widely practiced by indigenous communities, although the use of these substances outside of traditional contexts is typically prohibited. However, some countries, such as Brazil and Peru, have recently allowed for the scientific and therapeutic use of these plants, creating new opportunities and challenges for the psychedelic industry.
The United States: The United States has a complex and evolving regulatory landscape for cannabis and psychedelics, with different laws and regulations at the federal and state levels. At the federal level, these substances are classified as Schedule I substances, indicating that they have a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. However, at the state level, some states have recently passed laws allowing for the therapeutic use of these substances under certain circumstances. For example, some states, such as New York and New Jersey, may legalize recreational cannabis in 2024, while others, such as Texas and Florida, may expand their medical cannabis programs. Meanwhile, some states, such as Oregon and California, may also legalize or decriminalize the use of psychedelics, such as psilocybin and MDMA, for medical or personal use.
Integration of Psychedelics into Mainstream Health
The New Year is expected to mark a notable shift in the integration of psychedelics into mainstream health and wellness practices. We will see more integration of psychedelics into mainstream health in 2024, as more clinical trials, regulatory approvals, and public awareness will pave the way for the use of these substances for therapeutic purposes. Some of the key developments and trends that will facilitate the integration of psychedelics into mainstream health are:
More clinical trials: There are currently over 80 active Phase II trials with psychedelic medicines, such as psilocybin, MDMA, ketamine, and ibogaine, for various mental health conditions, such as depression, PTSD, addiction, and anxiety. These trials are expected to produce more evidence of the safety and efficacy of these substances, as well as the optimal dose, method, and setting for their administration. Some of these trials may also progress to Phase III, which is the final stage before regulatory approval.
More regulatory approvals: Based on the results of the clinical trials, some psychedelic medicines may receive regulatory approval from agencies such as the FDA or the EMA, which would allow them to be prescribed by doctors and used in licensed clinics. For example, MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for PTSD is expected to be approved in North America by late 2023, and in Europe by the fourth quarter of 2024. Psilocybin-assisted therapy for depression is also expected to begin Phase III trials in 2022, which could lead to approval in the following years.
More public awareness: The media, the scientific community, and the general public are becoming more aware and interested in the potential benefits of psychedelics for mental health, as well as the challenges and risks associated with their use. There are more books, documentaries, podcasts, and articles that cover the topic of psychedelics, as well as more events, conferences, and workshops that educate and inform the public about these substances.
More access and availability: As psychedelics become more accepted and regulated, there will be more options and opportunities for people to access and use these substances for therapeutic purposes. Some of these options may include:
Legal medical access: People who have a medical condition that qualifies for psychedelic-assisted therapy may be able to obtain a prescription from their doctor and receive the treatment in a licensed clinic, under the supervision of trained therapists.
Compassionate use: People who have a medical condition that does not qualify for psychedelic-assisted therapy, or who live in a country where these substances are not approved, may be able to obtain a special permission from the authorities to use these substances for compassionate reasons, such as terminal illness or severe suffering.
Decriminalization: People who use psychedelics for personal or spiritual reasons may be able to do so without fear of legal consequences, as some countries or states may decriminalize the possession or cultivation of these substances for personal use, such as Portugal, Oregon, and California.
Conclusion: Navigating the Horizon
As we approach 2024, the cannabis and psychedelics industry is on the brink of a transformative period. Staying informed about these anticipated trends will empower industry enthusiasts, businesses, and consumers alike to navigate the horizon with confidence. Whether you're a seasoned professional or a curious observer, buckle up for a year of innovation, adaptation, and growth in the dynamic world of cannabis and psychedelics. Here's to the future!