Generally, the growing process of a cannabis plant heavily determines the cannabinoid content within the strain. Cannabinoids, like tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) or cannabidiol (CBD), are a chemical substance within strains that connect to the cannabinoid receptors within the consumer’s body and brain, causing a stimulating effect.
To note, THC and CBD impart widely different effects because of their genetic makeup. Specifically, THC derives from the marijuana plant of the cannabis family, which is commonly known to cause mind-altering effects for its consumers.
On the other hand, CBD stems from the hemp plant within the cannabis family and unlike THC, does not cause any psychoactive effects. Moreover, the growing process also determines the terpene development of cannabis plants, helping to dictate the flavor and aroma a strain gives off, similar to how an orange radiates its citrusy smell and taste. The most common terpene found in cannabis plants is myrcene, which is also found within mangoes.
Myrcene is responsible for giving a strain’s distinctive smell that most people acknowledge. Additionally, myrcene is known to provide several therapeutic benefits as well as anti-inflammatory properties. But perhaps most importantly, myrcene can also determine whether a strain is indica or sativa-dominant.
Generally, plants that contain more than 0.5% myrcene are said to be indica. The common perception is that sativa offers consumer cerebral-altering head highs, while indica strains provide more of a body-dominant effect. However, it is difficult to consistently classify many strains as either exclusively indica or sativa because of rampant crossbreeding.
For instance, many cultivators tend to crossbreed sativa and indica strains to purposely select specific cannabinoids and terpenes within each strain and create a unique, desirable mix. Breeders can mix and match between well over hundreds of different strains, creating an endless array of hybrid options.
The ability to create hybrid strains from already pre-existing strains opens a whole new market for the overall cannabis industry. And as a result, the global cannabis market is projected to grow from USD 10.3 Billion in 2018 to USD 39.4 Billion by 2023 at a CAGR of 30.7%, according to data compiled by MarketsandMarkets. Pasha Brands Ltd. (OTC CRFTF) (CSE CRFT), Canopy Growth Corporation (NYSE CGC) (TSX WEED), Charlotte’s Web Holdings, Inc. (OTC CWBHF) (TSX CWEB), Origin House (OTC ORHOF) (CSE OH), KushCo Holdings, Inc. (OTC KSHB)
The initial growing process of a cannabis plant is a crucial step because it can determine the resulting potency of the strain. Most large-scale cultivators use machinery to automate their grow houses, which can boost production levels significantly. However, the major drawback is that machinery can often damage the cannabinoid content within the plants, resulting in weaker strains.
Nonetheless, by using automated machinery, many large-scale cultivators are able to mass produce tons and tons of cannabis each harvest, allowing them to redistribute the cannabis at wholesale prices, which appeals mainly to an average or new consumers.
On the other hand, small cultivators have engaged in cultivating craft cannabis, which is known as the artisanal process of creating organic and premium-grade cannabis. Craft cultivators are able to achieve high-quality products because they avoid using machinery and artificial chemicals.
And while machinery can automatically operate grow houses, it can also damage the cannabinoid content within plants, thus reducing the potency of the product. Moreover, artificial chemicals such as pesticides or growth stimulants can damage cannabinoid growth.
As a result, craft cultivators tend to each and every individual plant to ensure a healthy growing process. And during harvest periods, craft cultivators also hand-trim each plant to maintain the cannabinoid integrity throughout the whole plant. Overall, while large-scale cultivators can produce much more than smaller cultivators, the two appeal to different consumer markets; the larger operators market towards the average consumers, while craft cultivators appeal to cannabis enthusiasts looking for a premium product.
The staggering number of marijuana strains being developed is creating a connoisseur culture that favors small-scale, artisanal farms that can nimbly adapt to shifts in market demand. Because such farms can market themselves as small, sustainable, and local, they can better reflect 21st-century food movement ideals, said Ryan Stoa, Associate Professor of Law at Concordia University School of Law. It is probably inevitable that Big Marijuana will take hold in some form, but that doesn’t mean the market can’t support the small businesses that have enabled marijuana to become a uniquely local and artisanal industry.