Solventless Rosin Cartridges & The Future of High End Vapes
Vaporizer technology has caught the hearts and dollars of scores of consumers around the world since emerging roughly around 2010. In the years since their emergence, these products have cut into the market shares of virtually every other product on sales shelves.
However, its market took a two-prong beating over the past calendar year with the EVALI lung injury crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite staggering market setbacks, these products stand poised to remain a significant part of the cannabis marketplace and its community.
The cannabis vape market is heading towards a major evolution concerning high end cartridges. Once relegated to chemically extracted options, commercial-scale solventless extraction methods and tech have changed the landscape. Today, a commercially sold solventless cartridge is not the rarity it once was. Products like rosin cartridges serve as higher-end options for consumers, from the connoisseurs to those seeking a consumption experience free of chemicals.
Consumers get to choose from a range of carts on shelves in most states. Keep in mind that not all cartridges are equal. The disparity in products is worth taking note of when selecting a product to purchase. That said, each type of cartridge, from 100% rosin carts to CO2 extracts to distillate, helped create a behemoth sector of the market that is only growing due to the ease of use vaporized cannabis cartridges provide.
Vape Sales in America
Vape cartridges and batteries have been eating into the cannabis concentrate and flower market for years now.
By 2017, vaporizer tech had expanded from the classic G-Pen to scores of branded cartridge consuming devices. The surge in tech only helped fuel consumer interest to the next level. By 2015 and 2016, cannabis flower sales were on the decline as consumers preferred chemically-extracted and solventless cartridge options. The data, provided by an Eaze report, noted that sales for cartridges rose 400% during that period.
The spike in interest led some to speculate if vaping was the future of cannabis consumption. Some would say it's upending the industry, serving as a disruptor to traditional methods meant to dominate the market. Reasons for the shift in consumption preferences ranged from its smokeless features to the ease of use to its discretion and several others, depending on who you ask.
Vape cartridge interest continued to rise in 2018, as solvent-based options reigned supreme while solventless cartridge options began to emerge as tech scaled. The combined efforts and consumer interest of each side of the U.S. cannabis concentrates market drove expected consumer spending to reach just shy of $3 billion. The number was forecasted in an Arcview Market Research/BDS Analytics report, which also cited a 49% sales increase from 2017.
No market can surge forever. While some level off, others face difficult times. It would be an understatement to say the vape cartridge falls into the latter.
The EVALI lung injury crisis was the first significant blow to the marketplace. Victims across each state, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were reported. In total, 2,807 people were hospitalized, with 68 deaths confirmed across 29 states and the nation's capital. The once surging cartridge market reeled from the news, seeing its sales drop off 26% in the first two months of the outbreak.
However, the market would rebound as it became apparent that the injuries stemmed from vitamin E acetate used by unlicensed, illicit actors rather than the approved solvent-based and solventless cartridges sold in dispensaries.
By spring 2020, most companies reported having sales back to normal, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Analytics firm Headset said in the MJBiz Daily article that early reform adopter states out West did experience steep dropoffs, which began to level off near the end of September and beginning of October. That said, Colorado and Nevada had seen additional slides, though reporter Bart Schaneman pointed out that correlation was not necessarily causation.
The article would state that as sales level off, it entered the COVID-19 pandemic with the rest of the world. These trying times have been fair to much of the market, but it remains to be seen how the market responds to initial claims that smoking and vaping could put a person at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. In the weeks since that claim, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has since shifted its stance to stress an uncertain impact while warning that smokers and vapers could face worse conditions if they do contract the virus.
That said, vape cartridges stand poised to remain a player in the space, despite the staggering setback from EVALI and the possible impact from COVID-19.
Various Cartridge Choices, Solventless Reigns Supreme for Quality, Experience, and Taste
Of the various carts to choose from, we recommend 100% solventless cartridge options. They are the choice for those seeking a cartridge that is free of fillers, cutting agents and solvents. These carts represent the pinnacle of full spectrum oil that other extraction methods can’t provide. Made from only premier washed or sifted flower, products like rosin cartridges give consumers the closest thing to the whole plant experience without decarboxylating any buds or using harsh additives.
Blue River Terps is a leading name in the space, leading rosin carts from a rather rare market into the in-demand product it is incrementally becoming. While rare today, their popularity is on the rise. As it takes an expert hand, some companies will need some ramp up time to get their ice water hash or sift processes down pat to make a solventless cartridge properly. That said, companies should strive to be a leader in the space, as solventless cartridges represent an ample opportunity that has yet to be claimed by any brand.
Another newcomer on the rise in the solventless hash rosin cartridge market is CAMP, based out of Nevada, and whose cartridge is featured in our headline image. Bringing the first true 100% rosin vape cartridge to Nevada, CAMP's effort to release this kind of product has paid major dividends for their brand among the luxury connoisseurs of the state.
If solventless isn't in your brand's SKU goals, consider other cartridge options as well while considering their drawbacks. Cartridges made from 100% live resin full spectrum extract are high-quality but use BHO extraction, making them less desirable overall. CO2 carts remove solvents from the process but often use trim or mid-grade flower and are the current mid to low level go-to for producers. The same can be said for distillate extracts. The flower selection is often low-grade, while many products are made from various strains rather than a single origin.
Solventless carts represent a future worth exploring now or soon enough. Depending on your operation, now may be the time to make a move. Reach out to us and chat with experts in the space. We’ll be happy to get you going.