For as long as there have been concentrates, there has been debate as to which is “better” — a concentrate or old fashioned flower. Obviously, today’s cannabis customers can be overwhelmed by choices in the realm of concentrates. Still, it seems the basics still apply: People prefer buds. Despite the fact that concentrates definitely have more active ingredients, and there are new and wonderful ways to enjoy concentrates appearing each month it seems, in a study conducted by Arizona State University, 78% of the over 500 respondents said that herbal cannabis was their preferred style. Does this spell doom for the concentrates business? Hardly.
NORML reports that it’s not so much the way to consume cannabis that’s the question here. In fact, concentrates are a growing segment of the cannabis portfolio, in part because technology allows anyone to carry something the size of an ink pen in their pocket and have ready access to cannabis in a way that just wasn’t possible a generation ago. Also, makers of concentrates can actively select exactly which compounds go into them — so besides THC, there can be any number of humanly-selected terpenes and cannabinoids in a concentrate. While consumers love this convenience and precision, it seems they also love something about flowers as well.
That “something” is, believe it or not, smaller amounts of THC. A lot of first time concentrate buyers may bite off more than they can, smoke, let’s say, the first time. Like edibles, a pot smoker may not realize just how potent a concentrate is until it’s been ingested. That leads to more buzz than expected, and that can alter plans for the evening. It’s much like the Deputy Director of NORML, Paul Armentano, says, “Just as the majority of those who consume alcohol prefer relatively low potency beer or wine over hard liquor, most adult-use cannabis consumers gravitate toward herbal cannabis preparations and away from the comparatively stronger alternatives.”
The nice thing is, at least these consumers have choices. In states where pot is still completely illegal, not even medicinally, their options are often concentrates without proper quality controls, and which could be bootleg products masquerading as something else. While concentrates may not be preferred, the fact is that in markets where they are regulated, there are many options, with many levels of potency.
The market is still finding its footing, too. Cannabis sales continue to expand (despite COVID), which will eventually mean more variety for customers. Right now, customers seem to like high-potency concentrates but also prefer a variety of buds, some of which may be lower-potency. After all, higher THC strains might not even get you higher, based on some research. Perhaps the consumer base is wise to this, or is consuming cannabis in ways that are more responsible.
Retail numbers bear out consumer preferences as well: People are buying buds. Chalk it up to the familiar or the cautious, but concentrates just aren’t as popular. Still, they’re an important part of the cannabis ecosystem and certainly won’t go away any time soon. For smaller producers, it’s probably a good thing that buds are still so popular, as concentrates can be expensive to produce in quantity.
Read reviews about different types of flower and concentrates at Marijuana Strains Review.