The Rising Influence of Minor Cannabinoids in Illinois’ Edibles Market
There’s no denying that the cannabis market in Illinois is massive – but what’s overshadowed by the state’s enormous sales numbers is the role that minor cannabinoids have played in this local market’s success.
A runaway success story
Since first legalizing in 2020, the cannabis edibles market in Illinois has experienced nothing short of exponential growth. Its rise to become a booming pillar of the state’s economy took even the true believers by surprise. This rapid surge in popularity can be attributed to a variety of factors, including increased social acceptance, shifting consumer preferences for edibles, and innovative product formulations. However, one of the most significant – but subtle – contributors to this evolution is the rising influence of minor cannabinoids.
While THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) remains the most recognizable cannabinoid in edible products, minor cannabinoids are gaining traction as consumers seek a more finely tailored, therapeutic experience in their edibles. In this blog, we’ll delve into the fascinating world of minor cannabinoids and explore how they are reshaping Illinois’ edibles market.
The Rise of Minor Cannabinoids
For the last 3 years, THC had largely been seen as the only game in town. Shelves have been stocked with nearly identical edible cannabis products, each looking to one-up the others by squeezing an additional percentage point of THC into their formulations. That trend appears to be changing.
Minor cannabinoid-infused edibles are now outselling their THC-only counterparts by a staggering more than 15-to-1 margin.
While total YOY growth in Illinois’ overall edibles category came in at a respectable 1.5%, minor cannabinoid-infused edibles surged a comparatively massive 28%. This substantial difference not only underscores the increasing demand for products that go beyond the traditional THC experience, but also serves as a valuable object lesson for brands looking to escape the THC race to the bottom.
Who are Illinois’ winners and losers?
Among minor cannabinoids, CBN (cannabinol) stands out as the frontrunner in Illinois’ edibles market. Over the last year, CBN-infused products have captured about 65% of revenues in the minor cannabinoid-infused edibles space. Given CBN’s well deserved reputation as a powerful and non-intoxicating relaxant, CBN’s broad appeal to wide groups of consumers makes sense – after all, everyone appreciates a restful night’s sleep.
The influence of CBN extends well beyond the minor cannabinoid market, as it now accounts for 8.5% of the entire edibles market in Illinois. This substantial market share highlights the impact that CBN has had on the state’s cannabis industry, positioning it as a formidable player in the evolving landscape of edibles.
While CBN may be capturing the lion’s share of the revenue and attention, other minor cannabinoids are making their presence felt in the consumable cannabinoid space. CBG (cannabigerol) commands a respectable 30% of the market, with THCV (tetrahydrocannabivarin) and CBC (cannabichromene) trailing behind with 3% and 1% respectively.
That underwhelming THCV data deserves a bit of special attention. This is the only minor cannabinoid that’s experiencing sales stagnation, which we suspect is due to an inferior input of delta 8 THCV. When it comes to this particular minor cannabinoid, the delta 9 version is the only type that delivers any real results to users. The prevailing theory is that after consumers in Illinois tried the ineffective D8 THCV that was available to them, they quickly realized it wasn’t worth a second purchase.
Brands still have time to rehabilitate their THCV product sales with access to the right ingredients.
How does Illinois’ CBN market data stack up?
To put Illinois’ CBN growth into perspective, it’s worth comparing this burgeoning midwestern market to more established cannabis markets like the one in California. While Illinois’ 8.5% total YOY growth in CBN sales fell short of California’s 19% CBN growth, CBN’s rapid rise in Illinois still demonstrates the fact that innovation and consumer preferences can lead to seismic shifts in the market, even in regions where cannabis legalization is relatively new.
Innovation continues to be the key to brand success
One of the driving forces behind the success of minor cannabinoids in Illinois’ edibles market is the evolution of existing product formulas. In just one such case, Incredibles reworked their “Snoozzze Berry” formula (which originally contained low doses of CBN) with new ratios of THC, CBN, and CBG to deliver a more balanced relaxation experience. The older, lower dose CBN product is still available, but this new formulation has become the #1 selling sleep product in the state.
Not all success has been driven by reinvention of existing formulas – Wyld recently introduced an entirely new 1:1 THC/CBC Blood Orange Gummy product to the market. This product aims to tap into the potential benefits of CBC (cannabichromene) and offers a balanced ratio of THC and CBC. It will be interesting to see how this product performs in the coming quarters and whether it sets a new trend for CBC-infused edibles.
Minor cannabinoids are having a moment in Illinois – and it won’t be over anytime soon
In the ever-evolving landscape of Illinois’ cannabis edibles market, the rising influence of minor cannabinoids cannot be underestimated. With products featuring minor cannabinoids outselling THC-only counterparts by a remarkable margin, it’s clear that consumers are eager for some diversity in their cannabinoid products.
CBN, in particular, has emerged as a dominant force, capturing a substantial share of both the minor cannabinoid, and overall edibles spaces. This success serves as a testament to the potential of minor cannabinoids to shape the industry, and to help brands escape the THC content one-upmanship that’s left many brands feeling stale and undifferentiated.
As research and innovation continue to advance, we can expect even more exciting products that straddle the line between traditional cannabis, and health and wellness industries. As this line continues to blur, revenues for innovators will continue to rise.
If you’d like to see how your brand could benefit from a minor cannabinoid formulation, let’s start a conversation.
As the cannabis industry continues to unlock the therapeutic effects of federally legal cannabinoids, minor cannabinoids are becoming a central focus of clinical research. Research institutes, hemp and cannabis brands, and consumers alike have embraced the growing potential of minor cannabinoids—particularly compounds like cannabichromene, or CBC.
Ongoing research points to multiple clinical applications for CBC isolate, and cannabis innovators are responding with new products and formulas that create a targeted and replicable effect. But today’s brand leaders need an insider’s look into CBC as they consider this bliss-inducing, inflammation-fighting, and pain-reducing minor cannabinoid.
This guide is a quick primer on all things CBC: current clinical knowledge, its market presence, and recent sales insights. Plus, we’ll break down how FloraWorks can help today’s hemp and cannabis brands navigate an ever-changing market and boost their bottom lines.
CBC 101: A Brief Overview
So, what is cannabichromene, or CBC? Cannabis industry professionals likely already know that there are two major cannabinoid categories:
- Major cannabinoids – THC and CBD
- Minor cannabinoids – The more than 100 additional cannabinoid compounds found in various strains of the Cannabis sativa plant, typically in lower concentrations than THC and CBD
CBC is a minor cannabinoid, and it hasn’t received as much attention as its major counterparts in cannabis culture, scientific research, and product development—until recently.
Clinical researchers are investing in minor cannabinoids more than ever before, and consumers have responded to new research findings with undeniable demand—we’ll explore all of these data below.
The bottom line: In a market saturated with products that aren’t meaningfully different from one another, CBC offers cannabis brands a uniquely low-cost opportunity to innovate their way to valuable product differentiation.
CBC Benefits: Backed by Science
Much of the increased demand for CBC can be attributed to recently published scientific data. Let’s dive into the details of CBC isolate in a clinical context.
Mood Boosting Potential
CBC has been shown to elevate levels of anandamide—the chemical commonly referred to as “the bliss molecule.” As its name implies, the brain produces this chemical to promote feelings of happiness and to dampen feelings of fear and anxiety.
CBC’s ability to enhance natural levels of this chemical not only makes this minor cannabinoid a potentially powerful therapeutic solution for anxiety and depression, but it also makes it appealing to the wide range of consumers interested in a simple, non-intoxicating daily mood boost.
Anti Inflammatory Properties
A recent study determined that CBC is a CB2 receptor agonist with the potential to modulate inflammation. But what does that mean?
- The body’s endocannabinoid system (ECS) features two receptors: CB1 and CB2. CB1 is mostly distributed in the central nervous system (CNS) while CB2 is mostly found throughout the immune system.
- CBC agonizes (or activates) CB2 receptors. Since CB2 is an immune system receptor, one of its many functions is to regulate immune system activity, including inflammatory response.
- Since CBC does not interact with CB1 receptors (which, when activated, produce an intoxication response), CBC can play a role in inflammatory regulation without psychoactive effects.
It’s important to note that both this recent study and one of its predecessors (a 2012 study that explored how CBC can modulate immune responses in the GI tract) used rodent models and isolated mouse cells for study. But the results are promising, and experiments on human cells are likely on the horizon.
The entourage effect was, until recently, a long-standing hypothesis. Two recent studies have clarified key facts about the entourage effect:
- Terpene compounds work in tandem with cannabinoids to produce unique physiological effects.
- The different major and minor cannabinoids work together (independently from terpenes) to create specific physiological responses.
While the term “entourage effect” is only recently in vogue in clinical research, the positive effects of administering CBC in combination with THC specifically have been well-documented for over a decade. One study from 2010 discovered that:
- The combination of THC and CBC reduced symptoms of edema (trapped fluids causing inflammation) in mice.
- THC enhanced the pharmacological effects (in this study, inflammation reduction) of CBC, increasing its efficacy in mouse subjects.
Barring a few studies like this one, CBC’s specific role in the entourage effect isn’t well understood—at least not yet. With more in-depth studies in progress, researchers can continue to unlock new, clinically significant information about CBC’s interaction with other cannabinoids.
Why Formulate with CBC?
The clinical research findings above are perhaps reason enough to invest in CBC formulations. But why else might today’s cannabis and hemp brands introduce CBC to their inventories?
- The “canna-curious” are often looking for a non-psychoactive introduction – For consumers who have never tried a cannabis-based product before, potential intoxicating effects can be intimidating—especially for those consumers looking for therapeutic or clinical relief. Since CBC isn’t psychoactive, it can offer consumers a soft entry into the world of cannabis and hemp and build a bridge for brands to reach first-time users or skeptics.
- Mood-boosting and anti-inflammatory products are a hit with consumers – In 2022, the mood support supplements market reached $656 million in total sales worldwide—a metric that’s expected to break the billion-dollar high water mark by 2033. Similarly, market experts expect inflammation-related supplement product sales to continue to grow in multiple age groups throughout the next decade. Clinical research has already begun to uncover the anti inflammatory and mood modulation properties of CBC and consumers are already creating demand.
- CBC products are still novel – The hemp and cannabis market is saturated with THC and CBD products. CBC formulations present an opportunity to showcase a unique product to both long-time cannabis customers and newcomers alike. Especially for up-and-coming brands, introducing CBC formulas could simply help companies stand out in a sea of THC and CBD providers.
CBC in the Market: Brands that Stand Out
To meet consumer demand for CBC, many of today’s cannabis brands are including CBC isolate in formulas for products like:
- Softgels and pills
- Vapes, concentrates, and other combustible products
Here’s a snapshot of some brands that are already implementing CBC formulas with success (and their CBC products):
- Wyld Blood Orange Gummies – 1:1 (100mg CBC, 100mg THC)
- Baked Bros Happy Gummies – 1:1:1 (100mg CBC, 100mg CBD, 100mg THC)
- Betty’s Eddies Ache Aways (50mg CBC, 200mg CBD, 50mg THC,)
- TasteBudz C-suite Gummies – 2:2:1 (100mg CBC, 100mg CBG, 50mg THC)
- Innocent Pain B-Gone Topical Balm – 1:1:1:1 (50mg CBC, 50mg CBN, 50mg CBD, 50mg THC)
CBC Sales are Poised to Explode: A Data-Driven Insight
Cannabis brands are formulating CBC products to meet consumer demand—but how are those products performing? Recent sales data indicate that:
- YOY CBC-infused edible growth was 1260% from Q2 2022 to Q2 2023.
- CBC-infused edible sales jumped from $1,025,878 in Q1 2023 to $5,330,047 Q2 2023—an astounding 419%.
- Only 7 brands in nine major markets (AZ, CA, CO, IL, MA, MI, NV, OR, and WA) currently offer a CBC-infused edible.
The numbers are clear: demand is only increasing for CBC products, and today’s brands have an opportunity to serve new niches, create innovative formulas, and grow their market share.
FloraWorks: Your CBC Ally
As today’s brands embrace the future of the cannabis industry—and the growing demand for formulas with CBC—they need a supplier that delivers consistent, high-quality minor cannabinoid ingredients that are worthy of their products.
In addition to products like CBN, CBG, and CBC isolate for sale, FloraWorks offers numerous solutions for brands, like:
- Regulatory guidance – FloraWorks has the perspective and expertise to guide brands through an ever-changing regulatory landscape. Navigate the often murky waters of cannabis industry compliance with ease.
- Market insights – The FloraWorks team always keeps our ears to the ground—we’re here to help our partners parse market trends and produce formulas that keep customers coming back.
- Specialized formulation and isolation – As a science-focused supply chain partner, FloraWorks has the tools and connections to help our partners create specialized, one-of-a-kind formulas that harness the full therapeutic potential of cannabinoids.
We’re so much more than a supplier. FloraWorks is a strategic partner offering a science-based, growth-aligned approach to cannabis products. If you’re ready to discover a growth-centered partnership, let’s start a conversation.
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