The Austin Chronicle

SXSW Panel Recap: Cannabis “Futurists” Share Five Micro-Trends for 2050

By Jessi Cape, March 17, 2022, 8:15pm, SXSW

It’s no secret that the cannabis market is evolving rapidly, to the relief of millions of Americans and the dismay of a handful, and cannabis brands are already thinking about their future in 2050. As one moderator and multi-hyphenate Javier Hasse put it, “blah, blah, blah, cannabinoids and terpenes.”

That’s old news for some folks in the cannabis space, apparently. Panelists Julian Cohen, CIO of Canopy Growth, and “renowned futurist” Faith Popcorn discussed five micro-trends that are already starting to restructure the cannabis conversation.

The first and second trends were “Taking Back Our Time: Finding Calm in Our Lives” and “Cannabis at the Office: Our Full and Best Self at Work.” Both touched on the shifts that the pandemic forced upon people everywhere, and in particular in our work lives. Cannabinoids – of which there are possibly upwards of 200 – can aid in mood moderation that helps with “Big Three” factors: pain, sleep, anxiety. “Cannabis is about homeostasis and creating balance,” said Cohen. Popcorn suggested that because the metaverse is the future (a sentiment corroborated by the others and allegedly many other speakers at SXSW), having separate avatars could also contribute to the idea that we can do more with different self iterations, but that if so, we should be able to employ the medicinal effects of cannabis in that pursuit even as a tangible human employee. They all agreed that we “bring our glasses to work, so…” and referenced the “hedonic treadmill,” as theorized by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. “Cannabis is the shock absorber” on the journey, said Cohen.

The other three trends were notably less expanded, but were “Dr. Me: The Role of Cannabis in Personal Wellness” and “Aging With Cannabis: Living Longer, Happier, and More Connected” and “No More Too Much: Farewell to the Bad Trip.” A few takeaways: Cannabis is not a panacea, but does serve very specific and wide-ranging medicinal purposes; humans will and can never eliminate pharmaceuticals or alcohol; we haven’t even come close to unlocking the full power of cannabis and perhaps humans aren’t ready because we won’t take responsibility a la Raphael Mechoulam, who first isolated the THC compound.

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