Legal marijuana impacts vapor market

Legal marijuana impacts vapor market

December 15, 2017

So far, 29 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for either medical or recreational use, or both. Those enjoying the benefits of legalization are using many new ways to ingest their marijuana. The old standbys of a joint, pipe and bong are ever-popular, but edibles have increased in popularity and variety. They’ve taken the form of cookies, brownies, chewing gum, gummy bears, coffee, chocolate, and even sodas and juices.

One new method of ingestion has soared in popularity since legalization: vaporizing. Far from being just a tool to
help smokers quit burning tobacco, it’s been a huge boon for cannabis smokers to explore new ways of consuming the product and a potential way for investors to get into the market.

photo: Jeremynathan | Dreamstime


Vaporization of cannabis has many benefits—the first being that it is thought to be healthier than the smoking, or carbonization, of the buds. Carbonization releases carcinogens that are linked to cancer, and vaporization does not release these toxins. Another way that vaporization is more beneficial is that, for some people, they can use less product to achieve the same level of relief because vaping releases more cannabinoids than smoking.

Finally, vaporization produces much less of that telltale smell that screams, “Hey, man. I’m smoking pot!” Legalization of marijuana in the U.S. helped vaporizers go from being tools of ex-smokers and wannabe ex-smokers and hipsters to being firmly mainstream. Just last year, the e-cigarette and vaporizer industries combined were estimated to be worth over $1.7 billion. Some expect that e-cigarettes and vaporizers will overtake analog cigarettes in the next decade.


However, it is cannabis vaporization that is creating an additional lucrative market for vaporizer manufacturers and
innovators to plunge into. Take a look at the numbers projected in the cannabis industry alone. IBISWorld, a market research firm, has made projections about the growth of the cannabis industry. With the industry at $3.6 billion in 2015, it projects that the industry will grow to $13.4 billion in 2020. If all 50 states legalize marijuana, that number could grow to $35 billion by 2020. All those people will need a way to ingest their marijuana, and many places are prohibiting the combustion of marijuana in the way they have prohibited smoking tobacco cigarettes. New York and Michigan already prohibit smoking cannabis, but not vaporization.

Another thing that has caused the vaporizer industry to climb in popularity among cannabis users is the rise in popularity of concentrates. Dispensaries have seen the demand for concentrate products, often sold in replaceable
cartridges, rise while the demand for raw cannabis flowers has dropped. Cannabis extracts have been claiming a larger proportion of the industry, and the tools—usually devices similar to e-pens—to ingest these extracts have gained popularity along with them.

Dispensaries have seen the demand for concentrate products, often sold in replaceable cartridges, rise while the demand for raw cannabis flowers has dropped. Cannabis extracts have been claiming a larger proportion of the industry, and the tools—usually devices similar to e-pens—to ingest these extracts have gained popularity along with them. Cartridges of cannabis oils have taken away the uncertainty in dosing that can come with flowers and with edibles.

While concentrates can be composed of as high as 80 percent to 90 percent THC, concentrates have brought another ally to medicinal users to the fore: the use of cannabidiol (CBD) oils and other concentrates. CBD is unlike THC in that you get the medical benefits without the psychoactive high. One only needs to look to California, the first state to legalize the medical use of marijuana, to see how legalization has affected the vaporizer industry.

According to Eaze, a marijuana delivery service, nearly a quarter of all orders in 2016 were for cartridges of concentrates. While vaporizers for dry herbs exist, preparation is required. The buds must be finely ground, and the vaporizer must be given time, usually just seconds, to heat up. Desktop vaporizers like the Volcano remain popular for in-home use, but portability is where the growth is. The availability of vape pens gives recreational consumers and patients alike a way to take their cannabis medication on an as-needed basis, and the ease of consumption is a big-time draw.


It is not just California seeing growth in the use of these cartridges. Similar growth was seen in other legal states as well. BDS Analytics provided the numbers: Concentrates saw a 57 percent growth rate in Colorado, 194 percent in Washington and 105 percent in Oregon. As for the total market, concentrates represented just 6 percent of total sales in the market for 2015. By 2016, that number had grown to 24 percent, making up four times as much of the market in one year. Put into tangible form, we can look at the money side of concentrates. In 2016, they represented $72.54 million in sales in Colorado alone.

In Oregon, that number dropped to $22.65 million, and in Washington, concentrates sales totaled $13.94 million. “Although in its incipient stages, prefilled vaporizers have made it a possibility to consume marijuana within seconds of purchase,” says Roger Volodarsky, CEO of Puffco. “It’s also extremely easy to use the load-your-own vaporizers, giving you the option of choosing concentrates that you trust and prefer. Concentrated marijuana is taking over more and more of the consumption market.” Innovation is another driving factor in the rising popularity of vaporizers in the cannabis industry. Some of the top minds in California’s Silicon Valley are being drawn to the business of creating— and innovating—vaporizer technology.

These trendsetters have put to mind the varying needs of the ever-growing number of cannabis users, some of whom prioritize different things: design, portability, ease-of-use, smart design and cost. Whether the consumer is using a vaporizer for medical marijuana or for recreational, one thing is clear: It is a growth industry that will likely continue to grow in the future. As the popularity of concentrates continues to climb, so will the use of the vape pen to consume these concentrates.

As more and more Americans switch to supporting rather than decrying the legalization of cannabis, the vaporizer industry will be in a prime position to begin claiming more of the market. Simply put, people have more ways to consume cannabis, and vaporization is pulling ahead.

Gone are the days when joints and pipes and bongs were the only way, aside from edibles, to ingest cannabis. The rise of both dry herb and concentrate vaporizers will only continue to soar in the future, many industry experts and market research confirm. Continued innovation and further legalization is going to ensure that vaporizers remain a top contender in the cannabis consumption market.

Michael Jacobs is a marketing and creative content specialist at with a primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness, combined with a healthy lifestyle, are his main talking points.

Category: Breaking News

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