In its sixth year, the Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition drew over 176 exhibitors and thousands of attendees to the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in New York. The event, commonly referred to as CWCB, is known as a leading forum for dispensary owners, growers, suppliers, investors, medical professionals, government regulators, legal counsel, and entrepreneurs looking to achieve business success and identify new areas of growth in this dynamic and fast-growing industry.
This year was no different, as brands from around the world turned out to showcase their new products and innovations. There were companies offering everything from cannabidiol-infused beauty products and edibles, to security services, legal counsel, and grow technology—there was even a tiny house made entirely from industrial hemp materials, presented by the National Hemp Association.
However, while stereotypes of this industry conjure certain images, the scene at CWCB is not a menagerie of tie-die shirts. On the contrary, the atmosphere on the ground was one of results-driven, business-focused innovators, entrepreneurs, and investors.
We came away from the event with a tremendous amount of inspiration and insights, however, there were a few emerging trends and innovations that stuck out to us.
Customized user experience
Cannabis is unlike most other common consumer goods, as in the experience of the product is not merely predicated on preference but biology. Depending on the strain, cannabis can provide a wide variety of sensations for different individuals.
To account for this, companies are creating avenues for a more customized experience with cannabis. For instance, Omē Wellness, which was in attendance, has created a 23andMe-style DNA test that suggests specific weed strains based on genetic profiles.
Expect this trend to continue within the industry, as more and more consumers are interested in exploring how cannabis products can benefit them.
What’s good for me is good for my pets
Several years ago, the pet food industry went through a seismic evolution with organic food. Consumers were determined to provide not only the best food choices for themselves, but their pets too.
This trend has transferred into the cannabis industry now, where we are seeing CBD-pet treats, food, massage oils, and much more. We anticipate that as the general public becomes more and more aware of CBD’s benefits, this initial trend will turn out to be simply the beginning of a much larger wave that will hit the industry.
A little CBD with your coffee
Over the past couple years, the food and beverage industry has been a hotbed for cannabis and CBD-based products. This year, we saw the emergence of CBD-infused coffee. While we’ve already seen independent and smaller coffee chains introduce CBD product into NY cafes, we expect this trend will inevitably evolve into bigger chains and retail brands. It will only be a matter of time before a notable name coffee company, such as Starbucks or Dunkin’, joins the cannabis fray.