As we have covered rather extensively for two years, vapes rule in California, with market share for concentrates vaulting from 79 percent in January of this year to 85 percent in July according to cannabis market research firm BDS Analytics. No other state comes especially close, although at 71 percent market share in July, Oregon is at least in the same ballpark for vape love.
Either way, it’s old news. And we prefer fresh news.
Thus, we turn to Live Resin. Its popularity is rising nationwide, but especially in California, where it is the second most-popular type of concentrate. It’s newsy.
First — what is it?
The concentrates category includes a wild diversity of products — shatter, wax, caviar, hash, bubble hash, oils, distillate, kief and more. The differences revolve around the processes used to extract cannabinoids from the plant, which often leads to variations in texture (hence, shatter and wax, which often are roughly the same thing but have different textures).
Live Resin stands apart in several ways, most notably for the requirement that plants are frozen immediately after harvesting, and that they remain frozen during the extraction process. The result? Concentrates that allegedly preserve more flavor, aroma and terpenes, due to an extraction process that did not strip them away through heat. The final product looks sort of like crystallized honey.
The more complicated procedures involved with Live Resin production lead to higher prices, with a gram of Live Resin in California in July selling for $30, while a gram of shatter sold for close to half, at $16.80. The higher cost, however, hasn’t stopped this boutique concentrate from capturing the attention of enthusiasts in California, and nationwide.
During January of this year, California’s first month of adult-use cannabis sales, Live Resin saw $1 million in sales, representing 3 percent of all concentrate sales in the Golden State. Back then, both wax and shatter sales exceeded Live Resin sales.
That was then. In July, Californians spent $4.1 million on Live Resin, a rise of about 400 percent in just seven months. Could this dramatic boost in sales be explained by the state’s abrupt regulatory pivot in January? During that first month of adult-use sales, far fewer dispensaries had up-to-date legal licenses than during July. With more dispensaries selling product in July, sales of Live Resin should naturally rise.
It’s true. In January of this year, all cannabis sales in California hit $114.5 million, and in July sales had doubled, to $214.2 million. But sales of Live Resin quadrupled during the same period. And by July, their market share rose to 6 percent, vanquishing both wax and shatter which in January were ahead of Live Resin.
So there is simply no question: Californians may be head-over-heels in love with vapes, but they are getting more and more side-action with Live Resin as 2018 unfolds.
It’s not just Californians who have a blossoming thing for Live Resin. In Colorado, Live Resin captures 12 percent of the concentrates market, just behind vapes, shatter and wax. And its growth in Oregon is impressive — sales of $1 million in July are more than double January’s sales of $464,700. In fact, of the major concentrates categories in the Beaver State, Live Resin’s growth figures are the most impressive. The second fastest-growing concentrate in Oregon, vapes, hit 118 percent in July compared to the previous July. Impressive, of course. But Live Resin’s growth was more than double vape’s.
Live Resin remains a relatively small concentrates category. With vapes so dominant (and increasingly so), it is unlikely we will witness a serious Live Resin challenge to vapes’ supremacy. But among the more boutique concentrates, which describes all of them other than vape, Live Resin has emerged as a powerhouse.