If you are a regular cannabis user, you might take for granted the fact that your local pharmacy or dispensary has the products you want every time you pay a visit. You would be forgiven for doing so. We buy all sorts of retail product without considering how they make it to store shelves. In the cannabis industry, growers and processors work together to make it happen.
There are at least five players in the cannabis supply chain. In some cases, there may be more. The first two players are processors and growers. You could make the case that they are the most important players of all.
- Growers Are Cultivators
Cannabis growers are often referred to as cultivators because they do so much more than just grow plants. Here is what you need to know: hemp and marijuana are the two types of cannabis plants the industry relies on to serve cannabis customers. Growers take those two cannabis species and use them to create endless varieties.
They do this for the purpose of enhancing the desired compounds found in cannabis plants. As it turns out, there are a lot of compounds to deal with. Cannabis plants naturally produce more than one hundred cannabinoids along with terpenes, flavonoids, and more. All the compounds can be manipulated through crossbreeding and genetic engineering.
Growers make their operations more attractive when they can produce different varieties of plants. Processors want as much a variety as they can get their hands on. Why? Because more variety allows for a much longer product list. It is in the best interests of grower and processor to work together to create the most desirable varieties possible.
- Variety Influences Properties
Regular cannabis users are probably more familiar with the term ‘strains’ rather than ‘varieties’. It is just a different word for the same thing. At any rate, plant variety influences its properties. You might have one cannabis strain that offers a very intense high and is optimal for relieving pain. Another strain may offer a less intense high but help the user relax.
Processors care about this sort of thing because it plays into the extraction process. According to CedarStoneIndustry out of Houston, TX, processors extract cannabinoids and terpenes from cannabis biomass. They then distill the resulting crude oil in order to create their product formulas. The entire process is made simpler when they have access to cannabis plants specifically engineered to enhance certain cannabinoids while diminishing others.
Let us say you have a processor who specializes in cannabidiol (CBD) products for the health and wellness market. That processor may choose to utilize CO2 extraction, just like a competitor whose products are mainly THC products. It is in that processor’s best interests to buy biomass with a high concentration of CBD. The other cannabinoids are of less interest for the most part.
Hooking up with a hemp grower capable of producing plants with a high concentration of CBD makes the processor’s job easier. And by producing those plants, the grower has a customer they know they can sell most, or all, of their product to.
- Cooperation Is the Key
Getting cannabis from field to retail shelf requires quite a bit of work. Making it happen in an efficient and profitable way also requires cooperation. You might even say that cooperation is key.
For growers and processors, working together with a common goal is just good business. Cooperation opens the door to creating highly customized products that can make the difference in a company’s brand. There is good money in it for those capable of figuring it all out.