I don’t know about you, but me personally, I feel like every time I set foot into a cannabis dispensary (whether it’s a new one or one that I frequent regularly), I’m pleasantly surprised by a wide array of new and innovative products. Me being a stoner, I’m tempted to try them all, but I also don’t want to waste money on a passing fad that won’t produce the desired effects. From traditional flower to unique edibles, and even topicals, capsules, and THC-inhalers… What are the top cannabis dispensary products today?
Weed is the best; and what’s particularly fun about today’s industry is the sheer variety of products you can find online or in most dispensaries. In-fact many of the top cannabis dispensary products could be found online, if you know where to look for them. If you would like to learn more about how to find them online, or try out different products make sure to Subscribe to The Delta 8 Weekly Newsletter to learn more and for exclusive deals on Delta 8, Delta 10 THC, THCO, THCV, THCP & HHC.
A Quick Overview of What’s Popular
Point blank, flower remains king when it comes to the most popular cannabis products, included in nearly half of all dispensary transactions. Next in line are edibles (including beverages) and pre-rolled joints, raking in 17% and 11.5% of total sales, respectively. Also popular are concentrates and vape pens.
Additionally, a survey conducted by Headset, a well-known cannabis industry data and market intelligence company, broke it down even further to see what type of flower is most popular. According to their numbers, hybrid flower is the best seller at over 25% of total flower transactions, followed by indica at 11% and sativa flower at 10%. This might come as a surprise to many people considering how heavily most budtenders push the indica strains.
When it came other products, gummies and high-quality chocolates, carbonated beverages, live resin, and various vaping items are seeing a sharp spike in popularity. Of the above listed products, live resin has the highest growth rate, averaging about 29% higher sales every month.
Keeping it Old School with Flower
According to the budtenders I’ve spoken to, they estimate that traditional flower accounts for roughly half of all dispensary sales. And statistically, that number is not far off. Data provided by Headset, indicated that 49% of all dispensary transactions are for the purchase of flower.
That being said, “traditional” flower is not quite so traditional anymore, with quality and overall potency on the constant uprise. Even on the lower end, today’s strains average 16-18 percent THC, but for top-shelf buds that number can soar to over 30 percent. Compare that to an average of 10 percent with high quality flower clocking in about 20 percent just a decade ago, and you can see that despite peoples’ inclination to chose flower, there is a growing demand for higher THC products.
Even when people use other products, like concentrates and edibles, they often buy some flower as well. Additionally, flower products are often the first choice for novice users and good flower deals are proven to help attract new customers to a business.
Eat or Drink Your Cannabis
When looking at both THC-infused food products AND beverages, this sector makes up just under 17% of the overall market. Food product transactions stand at 13.1% and beverage sales account for about 3.7% – totaling 16.8% of a standard dispensary’s sales.
Although dosing isn’t particularly accurate with edible products, they offer many other benefits including discretion and potency. Not to mention the sheer variety of products you can find these days. Sweets like gummies, cakes, cookies, brownies, and chocolates dominate the market, but some stores sell savory treats like chips and popcorn as well.
Cannabis-infused beverages are also an up-and-coming trend, with many people preferring them over other options because they are easy to consume and often have less sugar and dietary fat than most of the readily available dispensary edibles.
One of the primary reasons that edible products are so popular is because they offer more intense, and longer-lasting effects than smoking or vaping flower. When THC is processed via the digestive system, the body breaks it down and metabolizes it in the liver, producing the cannabinoid metabolite 11-hydroxy-THC (11-OH), which is regarded as being much more potent than regular delta 9 THC. It takes longer for 11-OH to reach the brain, but once it does, the high will be much more intense and can last for a few hours, whereas smoking hits almost immediately but the effects fade after about 1 hour at the most.
Concentrates or “Dab” – Wax, Shatter, Live Resin, and More
Cannabis concentrates, or “dabs” are extracts that contain high levels of certain cannabinoids, typically THC. Popular concentrates include wax, shatter, crumble, sugar, sauce, badder, live resin, and many others. They typically average 70-80% THC content, but some will boast close to 100% purity. Most concentrates are extracted using butane, CO2, hydrocarbons, alcohol, heat, propane, and/or water.
Due to their strength, and the fact that you may need specific, often more complicated devices to consume them, concentrates can be intimidating to some users – especially older or inexperienced users. By late last year, concentrate sales reached $94.8 million and account for just under 30 percent of total dispensary revenue; and that number is on the rise.
Nick Tennant, founder and chief technology officer of Precision Extraction Solutions, a hemp- and marijuana-extraction company based in Detroit, says that concentrates are often a small part of new markets, but they tend grow in popularity over time.
“We tend to see an 80%-20% in favor of flower in early markets,” he said. “As consumers become more seasoned, you see that trend shift. The shift can go all the way to 65% flower versus 35% concentrates as the market evolves.”
Healthier Consumption with Vape Pens
Between vaping and smoking, vaping is without a doubt the healthiest option out of the two. The reason is because you can regulate your device to heat up to whatever the optimal temperature is for the particular product you’re consuming. Regardless of how many benefits there are to using cannabis, inhaling burnt plant matter comes with some risk of side effects, albeit less than cigarette smoke.
And when you consider that today, you can vape concentrate, oil, AND raw flower, it’s no surprise that vape pens are one of the most popular dispensary products on the market, accounting for about 8.2% of all industry transactions. You can get a very basic vape pen for standard carts for under $20 at most dispensaries or headshops, but some of the more specialized, brand-nape options can run up to well over $150.
Pre-Rolled Joints for Convenience
Although this is technically a flower product, pre-rolls deserve their own category because of how much growth this particular item is experiencing. A lot of people, even many of my own friends, prefer pre-rolled joints because they’re discreet, convenient, disposable, and moderately inexpensive. For example, my local dispensaries sell packs of 14 prerolls, each one weighing 1 gram, for $50-55, which is roughly the same price as a quarter of raw flower but with much less work if you’re a regular joint smoker.
Despite popular belief that dispensaries use their low-quality shake in the pre-rolled joints, that’s actually not true. Prerolls are usually made with the same cannabis that they sell in flower form. The product that I referenced above, comes from the Pacific Stone brand, who also sells a variety of flower strains.
In total, the sale of pre-rolled joints in general grew 59% last year, from $704 million in 2019 to $1.12 billion in 2020. The sale of multipack prerolls grew by 69.4 percent while single joints only saw an 18.1% boost. By comparison, the entire cannabis market which has seen substantial growth, has only increased by 54.2% during the same time period.
Let’s Take a Look at Profit Margins
All these products are experiencing significant growth, but when it comes to actual profitability, some products have much higher margins than others. What’s interesting is that profit margins don’t always correlate with product popularity. They are simply a measure of how much net profit a product brings in after expenses.
Flower, which is the most popular product in all dispensaries, has the lowest profit margin at 53.5%. Shake and trim also has low margins. The least popular product in the industry, capsules, have the highest profit margin of 58.0%. When it comes to finding that perfect middle ground, vape pens are both popular and carry high profit margins. Edibles and prerolls also have relatively high margins. You can see there is a trend with convenience products, and these tend to have high margins and sell quickly.
According to Priconomics Data Studio, flower products are less profitable from the retailers’ perspective. “That’s why they are probably glad, if not encouraging, the rising popularity of alternatives. People are increasingly likely to leave a dispensary with baked goods, candies, gum, and vapor pens. This may hint at a shift in marijuana habits. Or these alternative products may just be the dispensary equivalent of impulse buys at the cash register.”
Cannabis Dispensary Products – Final Thoughts
Most of the available data examines the cannabis industry as a whole, but it’s important to look at the sales statistics and profitability of individual products – one, because it gives a good idea where the consumer side of the industry is headed (hint, convenience products are on the rise), and two, because it offers some sort of guidance for new dispensary owners.
What are your favorite dispensary products? I’m personally a fan of raw flower and concentrates, but I love a nice, infused preroll occasionally as well. Let us know your go-to items in the comment section below. And thank you for stopping by CBD TESTERS, your hub for all things cannabis-related. Remember to subscribe to The CBD Flowers Weekly Newsletter for more articles like this one and exclusive deals on flowers, vapes, edibles and other products.