Cannabinoid Market Spotlight – Interview with MC Nutraceuticals

Cannabinoid Market Spotlight - Interview with MC Nutraceuticals
Image: Zoltan Tasi/Unsplash
May 15, 2024

(This post contains excerpts from the April 2024 Hemp Spot Price Index Monthly Report. Subscribe to access the full interview in addition to monthly hemp and hemp-derived product price assessments)

Hemp Benchmarks spoke with Bret Worley, CEO of MC Nutraceuticals, for his perspectives and opinions on the current and future market opportunities for hemp cannabinoids.

How has the market for the minor cannabinoids changed for you and your customers over the past 6 to 12 months? 

“There’s been an increased amount of demand, for a few reasons, including availability of cannabinoids, education about cannabinoids, and consumers being more willing and more comfortable with adding other cannabinoids (CBN, CBD or CBG, for example) into a delta-9 gummy. And then there’s consumer demand and related product innovation. That’s probably the biggest thing is that the consumer wants a tailored effect. And there’s another layer when we discuss inclusion of terpenes. We see very promising results. Anecdotally, we see our consumers becoming more educated, which creates more demand, and then we pick up on the supply side.”

You talked a little bit about demand and some of the drivers – availability, education, product innovation. What are the top 3 or 4 observations or trends from the past year?

“Delta-8 continues to be the number one cannabinoid. In the last year, we’ve seen a resurgence in THCa, which is more of a regulatory framework issue than anything. THCa has been the hot commodity of the last year. Everybody wants it because it’s as close to marijuana as you can get, definitionally. From a Federal definition and legal standpoint, it is legal as long as it’s under 0.3% delta-9. We have done a lot of reverse engineering and formulations with the THC molecule. We’ve done quite a bit of work putting the plant back together, if you will, which I think is where this is all heading. This is where consumer demand comes back into play. The plant doesn’t necessarily make the best product. Most of the time, it’s grown at mass scale, so you can’t tailor the product to the consumer… the consumer gets what they get, and that’s where we’re seeing a change…”

When you say delta-8 is the number one cannabinoid, what does that mean in terms of sales in volume or dollars?

“It’s probably 50% on a volume basis. The volume of demand for delta-8 is still there. It was the first hemp consumer demanded molecule, if you will. I didn’t really believe that there was much demand for CBD in the market in the early stages. I think it was a little bit of tulip mania, and then the FDA put the kibosh on it from a drink and food perspective, which was everyone’s plan. So, delta-8 was the thing that saved the hemp industry. It’s a great compound because of the openness to it, particularly in red states. There ended up being a correlation between red and blue states with hemp versus marijuana. With hemp being less psychoactive, I think it brought in a lot of consumers that were impulse buyers. You don’t go to the dispensary and impulse buy marijuana; you go to a dispensary to buy marijuana. It gave new consumers an opportunity to try new products, like vape pens…”

So you see prices staying level through the first half of the year and then starting to increase in the second half of the year?

“Yeah, I think that that is reasonable. I predict that. We’ll start to see biomass and crude start to rise a little bit. CBD isolate is our main input. We don’t extract anything, we buy the CBD isolate and we haven’t seen the price of that move; but it will. It’s not feasible that the crop and the crude goes up and the isolate doesn’t.”

So from the standpoint of higher prices, the power of the seller, combined with increased competition and consolidation, you think there will be higher prices?

“Yes, I think eventually prices will go up. They don’t make as much sense now. I also expect that, as the industry stabilizes, there will be farmers that get back in. We lost a lot of farmers because of the 2018-2019 oversupply; and now there will be an opportunity for farmers to take a second crack at it, or secondarily, new entrants that can grow it instead of corn and clean their fields.”

For the full interview and access to monthly hemp and hemp-derived product pricing, including Delta-8 THC Distillate, Delta-10 THC Distillate, THCa Flower and THCa Distillate, subscribe to the Hemp Spot Price Index Monthly Report.

MC Nutraceuticals, a subsidiary of MC Global Holdings, is focused on bringing brands the highest quality input materials for their customers, along with same day shipments of raw materials. For more information, visit their website here.

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