When evaluating the cannabis product landscape, it can be too easy to focus on cannabis form factors that make up the biggest shares of legal sales. With the largest inhalable product categories (flower, concentrates and pre-rolled joints) bringing in ~83 percent of dollar sales across BDSA-tracked markets in 2022, one may overlook smaller categories like sublinguals, which made up <1 percent of total dollar sales in 2022.
But these smaller-but-still-mighty categories are very much worth exploring for retailers, brands and consumers. Why? Because becoming a dominant brand in a smaller category can be even more fruitful than fighting for a leading position in a larger, but more saturated sector of the industry. The sublingual category is especially worth considering when we look at emerging medical markets in states like Pennsylvania, which has a huge potential market size, but regulatory limitations that restrict some of the more popular ingestible form factors, such as baked goods and gummies.
BDSA’s best-selling sublingual brands
Papa & Barkley
California cannabis brand Papa & Barkley is no stranger to the sublingual game, with the brand making up a 13 percent share of sublingual sales in California in 2022. Bringing in almost $1.8 million for December 2022 – February 2023, Papa & Barkley was the best-selling sublingual brand across BDSA tracked markets.
Green Thumb Industries subsidiary Dr. Solomon’s was the second best-selling sublingual brand for December 2022 – February 2022, with sublingual sales in Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. The brand saw $1.75 million in sublingual sales over the trailing three month period, with the 66 percent of these sales coming from the Pennsylvania market.
Care By Design
A popular brand out of California, Cannacraft-owned Care By Design takes the third spot in our best-selling sublingual brand list. Care By Design brought in $1.7 million in sublingual sales across California and Missouri (medical sales only in Missouri) between December 2022 and February 2023.
One of the top performing independent brands in the category, Treeworks has seen strong growth in sublingual sales over the past year, with the brand’s monthly dollar sublingual sales in February 2023 coming in over four times that of their total in February 2022. Treeworks has been able to use their strength in the Massachusetts market to become the number four best-selling brand across all BDSA-tracked markets, with $1.65 million in sublingual sales for December 2022 – February 2023.
Another MSO brand to see strong sublingual sales in the trailing three months is Denver-based Mary’s Medicinals, a subsidiary of BellRock Brands. Mary’s Medicinals brought in $1.6 million in sublingual sales across California, Colorado, Maryland, Michigan, and Nevada, making it the number five best-selling sublingual brand across BDSA-tracked markets.
Rounding out our top brand list is California-based Yummi Karma. With just under $1.6 million in dollar sublingual sales for December 2022 – February 2023, this brand’s strong performance in the California sublingual market was enough to land them the number six spot on our list.
With the industry evolving and becoming more competitive each year, it can be easy to develop tunnel vision when considering the cannabis product mix and focus on the form factors taking up the most shelf space at retail and bringing in the biggest share of total market sales. However, smaller categories like sublinguals have an important heir place in the legal cannabis space, and a savvy brand that can rise to the top of this category can see significant returns.