2023 Cannabis Industry Predictions: Cultivation, Agtech, Science, Hemp, & Psychedelics

In the second installment of our 2023 predictions series, we asked experts in cannabis science, cultivation, and agricultural technology — as well as industrial hemp and psychedelics — to weigh in with their industry expectations for the next year.

Full story after the jump.

Welcome to the second installment of our 2023 Cannabis Industry Predictions series! The cannabis, hemp, and psychedelics industries are poised for an incredible 2023 with multiple new markets, exciting inventions, and millions of new consumers looking to partake in the industry.

With this week’s collection of expert input, we prioritized cannabis industry professionals and leaders in the fields of cultivation, agricultural technology, and science. This section will also cover predictions for the burgeoning industrial hemp market, expected trends for psychedelics-based wellness, and other policy developments.

Scroll on to read more, or click here to check out the first installment of our 2023 Cannabis Industry Predictions series.

Cultivation


Photo credit: Sam Gehrke

Jesce Horton – Chief Executive Officer at LOWD
“More markets will experience saturation as new licensees become operational and others expand their footprint. Cultivation companies must improve efficiencies in their operations via process and energy improvement measures, and improve quality and consistency to remain competitive.”
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Carlos “Los” Arias – CEO of Green Horizons
“Cultivation in 2023 will be driven more than ever by Low COGS and strategic partnerships. Operators that have enacted efficiencies to drive lower COGS and align their plant material to an in-house brand(s), and/or strong off-takes, will be the winners. The inevitable commoditization of raw plant material has arrived and is the new normal. I do think we’ll see an uptick in prices throughout the year, but wholesaling material ad infinitum is not a tenable long-term strategy, particularly in California. Partial integration, with the right execution and strategy, can survive and thrive in any market environment.”
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Agtech


Albert DeChard – Owner of Geomat
“I believe the droughts and scarce water conditions many regions are currently facing will only continue to become a more prominent and pressing problem among agricultural industries. More specifically, indoor agriculture is amidst an environmental revolution, meaning it will be of utmost importance to install sustainable practices and efforts that are designed to save wastewater throughout the various roles and uses in cannabis. States and counties will experience more restrictions on water use, and cannabis and agricultural industries will be directly affected and urged to further capture, conserve, recycle, and reuse the precious resource that is water.”
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Brett Stevens – CEO of Fohse
“The industry is under a lot of pressure as it continues to develop and become more competitive, so growers are looking for solutions that yield more product while using less energy. Unfortunately, there are a few bad actors – who are overpromising and under-delivering. At Fohse, we have spent years doing R&D focused on innovation and sustainability before taking products to market ensuring the cannabis industry receives the highest quality products it truly deserves. Regarding 2023, we are working even harder to meet and surpass our customers’ demands. Customers want optimal greenhouse application, increased yields and decreasing energy use so the demand for high-wattage lights with high efficacy and low failure rates are in demand.”
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Science


Lo Friesen – Founder and CEO of Heylo Extracts
“In 2023, solventless concentrates will remain a coveted premium product. However, I see a bleak future for products in the “Live Resin” category. Because Live Resin is an extract produced from fresh-frozen cannabis flower it has a completely different chemical profile than its cured form. Companies have taken advantage of the fact that there are no agencies monitoring the use of names like “Live Resin”. Consumers are being deceived and lawsuits have already begun. I look forward to consumers becoming more skeptical, putting their money in companies that earn their trust, and demanding better cannabis products.”
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Matthew Noestheden – Market Development Manager for SCIEX
“We’ve seen a lot of progress regarding testing standardization in recent years, and I expect that to continue into 2023. There has also been a strong push by organizations like NIST and AOAC International to offer certified reference materials (CRMs) for cannabis and hemp. I hope to see regulators mandate the use of CRMs as they become more broadly available. They are the perfect complement to standardized testing and in tandem they will greatly advance our function in the industry, which is to support consumer safety.”
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Kristen Goedde – Founder and COO of Trichome Analytical
“Despite the legalization of hemp cultivation several years ago, cannabis and cannabis-derived ingredients remain unapproved by the FDA for use in food. However, the recent appointment of an experienced cannabis policy expert hints that the FDA may soon finalize regulations for cannabis-derived products. Beyond ensuring the safety and efficacy of cannabinoid-infused products, FDA regulations on cannabinoid hemp products will provide a baseline for future federal high-THC cannabis regulations. I expect to see some form of regulatory framework on the testing, manufacturing, and labeling of cannabinoid hemp products before the end of the year.”
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Josh Rubin – Co-Founder & CEO of Day Three Labs
“As we know, questionable additives are making their way into emulsions that are used in everything from gummies to beverages. As the industry matures, we’re seeing more demand for transparency in edibles’ ingredients from consumers and manufacturers as well as greater consumer expectations for a predictable edibles experience. While many cannabis companies will continue to focus on cutting costs in 2023, those with the capacity for R&D and continued investment in innovation will be well positioned for the future of the edibles market which offers a fast-acting, consistent high, with clean and simple ingredients.”
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Photo credit: Sam Gehrke

Katie Stem – President, East Fork Cultivars
“We saw up to a 30% increase in non-cannabis materials costs in 2022, and are hoping this trend plateaus. Cannabis pricing decreased, which we expect to continue on a slow downward trend in Oregon. Overall, the market will continue to compress and commoditize because of saturation, MSOs and consolidation. We have taken a proactive approach to these challenges and have chosen to merge with another small, local company, East Fork Cultivars. Together we hope to weather the upcoming economic storm by capitalizing on vertical integration, merged administrative costs, and a more diverse combined leadership team.”
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Dr. Harold Han, Chief Science Officer at Vertosa, Inc.
“From 2023 onward, brands will differentiate themselves by creating products with unique formulations backed by science. The use of strain-specific formulas and minor cannabinoids or other complimentary active ingredients supported by scientific data like pharmacokinetic (PK) and pharmacodynamic (PD), will help brands validate the efficacy and distinct experience consumers can expect. This data could allow for verified marketing claims such as ‘fast-acting’ or ‘promotes relaxation’ to build trust with consumers. Budtender education will play a critical role in passing this information to consumers to equip them with the knowledge to make better choices about the cannabis they consume.”
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Micheal Backes, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer at Perfect
“2023 will be the year of terpenes and consistency. The cannabis plant is capable of producing an enormous range of flavors and effects beyond boring “cake and pie” strains with ridiculously inflated THC levels. 2023 is the year consumers will seek a consistent terpene high, rather than a dull THC stone.”
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Hemp


Weiwei “Vivian” Fellman – Founder of Kota Botanics
“I look forward to 2023 as I anticipate that the CBD industry will continue its steady growth. Besides retail shops like Kota Botanics, we are seeing more and more cannabis dispensaries carrying CBD lines, and it continues to gain acceptance in the natural health and beauty industry. CBD will always have a place in the cannabis industry since not all consumers want the high or euphoria. They want something to manage their pains and stress, and Kota Botanics is proud to be able to provide quality and trusted products.”
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Sergiy Kovalenkov – Founder of Hempire
“Hempcrete is on the rise, people demand architects to design homes using sustainable materials because they want to live in healthy houses. USHBA has done an incredible job bringing hempcrete into US building codes and by educating professionals. Now governments across the world need to step in and protect the farmers by subsidizing hemp programs and providing more grant opportunities. As the world is going through major transformations, hemp will play a crucial role in terms of survival of humans without any exaggeration by providing local economy with food, construction materials, energy biomass and clothing. Traditional supply chain doesn’t work, since transport sometimes costs more than hemp inside the container. This is unacceptable! Only local products for local economy.”
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Psychedelics


Matthew X. Lowe Ph.D. – Research Director for Unlimited Sciences
In the coming year, we’ll see initiatives bolster research examining the therapeutic potential of psychedelics in treating a range of mental health conditions, and solidify psychedelic therapy as the next frontier in mental health treatment. However, research continues to be held back by bureaucratic red tape and funding limitations, and widespread efforts to increase profitability in the psychedelics industry will fuel heightened tensions between corporate- and community-based approaches to psychedelic access. We may see widening inequality in the indigenous, traditional and grassroots communities from which plant medicine has originated, and we must seek out approaches that engage with meaningful reciprocity to honor these communities and ensure equal access.
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Ronan Levy – CEO and Chairman of Field Trip Health
“The interest in psychedelics is growing at an undeniable clip. Last year, 7.1 million Americans alone used psychedelics in some capacity. Psychedelics have been described as “the worst kept secret in corporate America”. Everywhere you turn, psychedelics are in the news, on TV or being discussed. The momentum feels palpable.”
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