Subscribe to Entrepreneur for $5

3 Cheers for the Rising Stars of Cannabis

Marijuana flower is likely be a small part of the emerging legal cannabis market in which edibles are increasingly the product of choice.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

The cannabis industry is seeing huge opportunity and creativity from an exciting and experimental new sub-market: edibles. From single-origin dark chocolate bars to energy drinks, the edibles market in the U.S. is positioned to expand the reach of the cannabis industry exponentially.

Koios Beverage Corp. | Facebook

report from market research firm Technavio concluded the global cannabis-infused edible products market has potential to grow at a CAGR of over 25 percent between 2018 and 2022. Several factors are at play when considering this huge market opportunity, but at the forefront is growing social acceptance of cannabis usage globally. According to the report: "The incorporation of new techniques in cannabis cultivation has resulted in the higher growth rate of the global legal cannabis market. The use of these advanced techniques has led to improved quality of the marijuana-derived CBD-oil products, which augurs well for the growth of the market."

This means the real opportunity could lie with mass-market edibles, rather than flower cultivation. The opportunity to capture consumers who have not previously considered cannabis as an option in their treatment regimen exists, but the question is whether entrepreneurs are savvy enough to navigate and capture early market opportunity as social stigma wanes. As cannabis continues to make a difference in so many lives, more voters are pushing for expanded use at the state level.

Related: Here's the Medical Cannabis Super Bowl Ad CBS Refused to Run

Going beyond wake-and-bake.

According to a report from Hexa Research, the U.S. medical cannabis market is expected to grow from $5.44 Billion to reach $19.48 Billion by 2024. With ever-increasing access for medical patients comes a rising demand for alternative methods of getting in your daily dose of CBD or THC. To put it bluntly, sparking up a joint or ripping a dab isn’t everyone’s cup of tea.

But ingesting medical cannabis in a cup of tea is actually already a thing. Medical edibles make access to first-time users much more palatable, which could be why they’re experiencing phenomenal growth in the U.S. as legalization for medical usage expands. Daily use of CBD for chronic pain or arthritis isn't intimidating to anybody when it comes in the form of something as delicious as a gummy.

The edibles market is booming due to the rising demand for medical cannabis, which is now legal in 33 states across the U.S. (and counting). Canada’s recent nationwide legalization for adult use has opened up a whole new world for investors, entrepreneurs and extract enthusiasts alike.

Related: What Will Happen if the U.S. Legalizes Pot Like Canada? A Mind-Boggling Economic Boon, That's What.

Chronic pain at center stage.

Medical cannabis is now regularly used in the treatment of painful, life-altering conditions like cancer, arthritis, epilepsy, nausea, anxiety, Alzheimer's disease, anorexia and multiple sclerosis but chronic pain has been the primary driver of the expansion of the medical marijuana market.

Based on consumption patterns around chronic pain, the category segments itself into into four distinct areas: solid edibles, inhalation-based extracts, drinkable edibles and topical extracts. The cannabis-infused solid edibles segment is expected to grow at a CAGR of 17.8 percent, while drinkables will likely see a faster growth rate during the forecast years.

A toast to getting a little... toasted.

Drinkables as a category are completely unstoppable, especially when paired with the sophisticated research coming out of the nootropics market. Developing a variety of low-dose beverages that contain potent nootropics is proving popular with millennial consumers, who are drinking less alcohol than ever before in favor of “getting lifted.”

In summary? Hard drinking is on its way out, and lifted sipping is here to stay, so let’s take a look at some companies who are making moves in the drinkables market.

Specifically Koios Beverage Corp. (OTC: KBEVF), The Supreme Cannabis Company (OTC: SPRWF), Cannabis Sativa, Inc. (OTC: CBDS), and General Cannabis Corp. (OTC: CANN).

Koios Beverage Corp. (OTC: KBEVF) is also listed on the Canadian Stock Exchange under (CSE: KBEV). The company announced that it has "the world's first cannabis infused nootropic beverage” scheduled for widespread release in November. The new product will be a collaboration with the company's partner, Keef Brands, a division of CanCore Concepts Inc. (CanCore), and Koios' wholly owned subsidiary, Cannavated, which was formed specifically to license the nootropic formulas to other companies working in the area of cannabis-infused beverages. Keef Brands will manufacture, market and sell a line of beverages that are not only infused with THC, but also contain the nootropic supplements from the Koios line of brain enhancing functional beverages. The resulting product will be the first in the world to combine cannabis infusion with nootropic supplements that enhance the consumer's state of mind.

The Supreme Cannabis Company (OTCQX: SPRWF) is a Canadian publicly traded company committed to providing premium brands and products that proudly reflect its consumers, people and uniquely innovative culture. The Supreme Cannabis Company, Inc. recently announced that the company's wholly-owned subsidiary, 7ACRES, has entered into a supply agreement to provide dried cannabis to Tilray Canada Ltd., a subsidiary of Tilray Inc., a global leader in cannabis research, cultivation, processing and distribution currently serving tens of thousands of patients in 11 countries spanning five continents.

General Cannabis Corp. (OTCQX: CANN) is the comprehensive national resource for the highest-quality service providers available to the regulated cannabis industry. As the legal cannabis industry grows throughout the United States, GCC. recently announced it is expanding its presence on the East Coast with the opening of a New York office, positioning itself to be a leader in the space.

Diversification of product offering is key, and we’ll be watching to see what happens as both the edibles and drinkables markets expand in 2019.