February 15, 2024

The 2023 Fastest Growing Cannabis Brands

Take a dive into the best cannabis brands of 2023. We examine the data to find out what makes them tick.
Written by
Team Headset
Published on
February 15, 2024
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Interested in the vapor pen market? Read our comprehensive 2023 report. Get the low-down on which brands and form factors are gaining the most market share as well as demographics about the consumers doing the most purchasing.

In 2023 the cannabis industry, like much of the economy, saw many challenges. With meaningful federal change remaining on the perpetual horizon some large distributors, producers, and retailers were forced to close their doors entirely. With only a few notable exceptions, most US states saw a contraction in market size between 2022 and 2023.

However, it is not all doom and gloom, there were plenty bright spots as well. Maryland and Missouri successfully opened their recreational markets and are showing great momentum. Although it has a long way to go, the state of New York seems to be getting out of its own way and beginning to issue long-awaited retail licenses. Ohio legalized and should be starting recreational sales early this year.

In the Middle of Difficulty Lies Opportunity

Headset would like to take the opportunity to highlight the brands that bucked the trend and showed incredible growth in 2023. The top 10 list below represents the brands that had the largest year-over-year percentage growth from 2022 to 2023. Headset data is sourced from the point of sale systems of more than 3,000 of our cannabis retailer partners. This data represents more than $24 billion in directly-measured sales across all US cannabis markets. These brands stood out against a slate of more than 7,000 others in the United States that are monitored every day within Headset Insights. In order to qualify, a brand must've had more than $100,000 in sales in 2022 and products on store shelves for each month of 2023.

The Stories Behind the Success

We were able to catch up with some of the top brands to uncover the secrets behind their remarkable growth and success. Leaders from these pioneering companies share their experiences, strategies, and lessons learned, offering an inside look at what it takes to thrive in the ever-evolving cannabis market.

Standard Farms

In a conversation with Chris Kelly from Standard Farms, the brand's notable growth in 2023 emerges as a story of strategic innovation and keen market insight. Kelly credits the brand's success to its ability to spot and leverage opportunities within their product portfolio across key markets such as Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. With the introduction of unique products like Rosin Extracts, disposable Rosin Vapes, seasonal edibles, and 1oz Packaged Flower offerings, Standard Farms has focused on quality, variety, and catering to both premium and value-seeking consumers. This balanced approach highlights the brand's commitment to meeting diverse consumer preferences and staying ahead in a competitive landscape.

The brand's adaptability to evolving market trends, especially the increasing demand for value offerings and navigating price compression, has been pivotal. Through strategic product introductions and targeted pricing strategies, Standard Farms has effectively responded to these challenges, ensuring their offerings remain attractive and competitive. Moreover, the brand's strategic use of data to inform their decisions underscores the importance of insights in shaping product strategies and maintaining a consumer-centric focus. This approach has allowed Standard Farms to optimize their portfolio continuously and adapt to the shifting dynamics of the cannabis market effectively.

Facing challenges head-on, such as the expansion of the value segment and building brand awareness in newer markets, Standard Farms has demonstrated resilience and strategic agility. Through innovative product development tailored to critical market needs and leveraging storytelling via social channels, the brand has worked diligently to overcome obstacles and enhance its market presence. Kelly's insights into the brand's strategies and successes reflect a comprehensive and adaptive approach to growth, showcasing Standard Farms' dedication to excellence in the rapidly evolving cannabis industry.


Missy Bradley, the VP of Marketing at Ript, shares a compelling narrative of teamwork and strategic product development as the cornerstone of their success in 2023. According to Bradley, the cohesive effort across all departments—manufacturing, marketing, operations, and sales—has been pivotal. Identifying a gap in the market for quality, affordable edibles, Ript capitalized on its established gummy platform under the Ripple brand to introduce a cost-effective yet high-quality gummy that delivers fast and impactful effects. The decision to prioritize product quality over packaging and marketing expenses has enabled Ript to offer superior value to consumers, underscoring the brand's commitment to excellence and affordability.

Looking ahead, Ript is poised to dominate the Colorado gummy market, with the launch of three new SKUs on January 1, expanding their range to 10 SKUs. Bradley emphasizes the brand's dedication to continuous innovation and formulation improvement, aiming to maintain the highest standards for their products. Beyond product development, Ript plans to infuse their journey with fun, signaling a brand that not only values excellence but also the joy in their craft, nearly a decade into their operation and now hitting their stride.

Overcoming the perception challenge that low cost equates to low quality has been a significant hurdle for Ript, particularly impacting their Ript Sleep gummy. The brand tackled this misconception head-on through education and direct trial, allowing industry partners and consumers alike to experience the quality firsthand. This approach has gradually shifted perceptions, with the Ript Sleep gummy now on the verge of becoming their top seller. Bradley's insights reveal a brand that leverages teamwork, strategic product development, and direct engagement with consumers to overcome challenges and achieve remarkable success.

Micro Bar

Kyle from Micro Bar shares a story of innovation and principle-driven growth that marked their journey in 2023. Leading with an ambitious and adaptable approach, Micro Bar's commitment to exploring the uncharted territories of the market—symbolized by their love for white space—has positioned them as trendsetters in the cannabis industry. Kyle and his partner Mike have successfully tapped into the evolving cannabis culture, connecting with a new generation of users seeking a brand that resonates with their values and expectations. This keen blend of innovation and cultural insight has been pivotal in defining Micro Bar's success, demonstrating a profound understanding of the market dynamics and consumer preferences.

Innovation lies at the heart of Micro Bar's growth strategy, particularly through their pioneering vaping technology. The Micro Bar Dual stands out as a revolutionary 3-in-1 vape with a dual-tank post-less system, allowing users the flexibility to enjoy two flavors simultaneously or independently. This is complemented by their Quick Strike series, which offers unique, limited edition flavors developed in-house. Furthermore, the introduction of the Macro Bar, an operational and visually impactful version of the original Micro Bar, underscores the brand's commitment to innovation and its ability to create both functional and statement-making products.

Leveraging technology and analytics has been instrumental in guiding Micro Bar's strategic decisions and business strategies. Data from Headset Insights on market trends, such as the declining price of vape cartridges and the nascent data on disposable vapes, enabled Micro Bar to identify and capitalize on emerging opportunities. This calculated approach, rooted in data-driven decision-making, has empowered Micro Bar to focus their marketing efforts on attracting the upcoming generation of cannabis users, ensuring that every move is informed and aligned with market trends and consumer needs. Kyle's narrative highlights the significance of innovation, analytics, and a principled approach in navigating the competitive landscape of the cannabis industry.

EZ Vape

Josh Kilburn, VP of Sales at Northwest Cannabis Solutions, parent company of the EZ Vape brand, highlights the strategic blend of quality and affordability as the cornerstone of their growth in 2023. Recognizing a market gap for lower-priced yet high-quality products, the brand successfully introduced offerings that matched the quality of competitors at a more accessible price point. This approach not only set EZ Vape apart but also underscored the brand's commitment to making quality cannabis products more available to a broader audience.

Looking ahead to 2024, Kilburn outlines ambitious plans to expand their value proposition into other rapidly growing market segments. Insights from Headset underscore the rising demand for infused pre-rolls and disposable vapes, guiding the brand's decision to launch an EZ disposable line and EZ Joints infused pre-roll line in the upcoming year. This strategic expansion aims to build on the brand's success by tapping into consumer trends and preferences, further solidifying their position in the market.

The journey hasn't been without its challenges. Overcoming the skepticism around producing a high-quality product at an economical price was a significant hurdle. However, the brand's dedicated team, driven by a culture of innovation and continuous improvement, was pivotal in developing the EZ Vape cart line. Their efforts underscore the potential for innovation in addressing market needs and setting new industry standards. Moreover, leveraging Headset data has been instrumental in shaping the brand's strategy, enabling data-driven decisions on pricing, flavor production, and cannabinoid variations. Kilburn's insights reflect a deep understanding of the cannabis market, emphasizing the importance of technology, analytics, and a committed team in navigating the competitive landscape and driving sustained growth.

Modern Flower

Kerri Whitfield, the Director of Brand Marketing at Trulieve, shares the story behind Modern Flower's significant growth in 2023, emphasizing a consumer-centric approach that blends quality, innovation, and a deep connection with customer needs. Modern Flower recognizes cannabis consumption as a personal journey, tailoring its offerings to cater to both seasoned enthusiasts and newcomers exploring their options. The brand's success stems from its dedication to understanding and responding to the varied effects and strains consumers seek, keeping abreast of trends within the broader cannabis community to develop products with lasting appeal.

Engagement with their target audience is pivotal to Modern Flower's strategy. Customer feedback serves as a critical guidepost, informing the brand's understanding of how cannabis integrates into diverse lifestyles, desired effects, preferred flavors, and the challenges faced by consumers, from stigma to market access and transparency. Modern Flower's approach to communication eschews technical jargon, focusing instead on directly addressing consumer experiences, thereby helping customers identify products that meet their specific needs.

The journey of brand nationalization presented significant challenges, particularly in maintaining product consistency and a cohesive brand story across varied regulatory landscapes and customer needs in both medical and adult-use states. Collaboration across R&D, brand management, creative development, and frontline retail associates has been key to achieving uniformity within the brand amidst these challenges. Furthermore, leveraging technology and analytics has been instrumental in Modern Flower's evolution. Initially focusing on dessert strains, the brand has adeptly navigated shifting consumer preferences and trends through community engagement and data-driven insights. This strategy has positioned Modern Flower to meet the modern cannabis consumer's needs across a spectrum of categories, distinguishing the brand in a competitive marketplace and underscoring its commitment to innovation and customer engagement.

Paisley Trees

Mark Maurer, the Director of Operations at Paisley Trees, delves into the strategies that have propelled the brand's significant growth and success in 2023. A pivotal factor has been the substantial upgrades in processing, particularly in the growing, drying, and trimming of their flower products. By automating these processes and enhancing their farm's capabilities, Paisley Trees has seen a marked increase in productivity. Additionally, moving away from brokers and building their own sales team has significantly improved brand awareness in the marketplace. Maurer emphasizes the importance of having the right team members in strategic positions, a philosophy that has guided the brand's efforts to assemble a dedicated and effective team.

Paisley Trees' approach to sustainability and social responsibility draws inspiration from outside the cannabis industry, focusing on structuring sales output to ensure future sustainability. Central to the company's vision is prioritizing client relationships, viewing each as a long-term commitment rather than a single transaction. This approach has fostered customer loyalty and satisfaction, underscoring the importance of care and attention to client needs.

Reflecting on the year's lessons, Maurer highlights the analogy of branding as a manufacturing plant, where mechanization and efficiency in every process step are critical to productivity and fulfilling client demands promptly. This perspective has been instrumental in enhancing product availability and meeting market needs efficiently.

Looking ahead to 2024, Paisley Trees is set to increase its plant count by 150% and expand its product offerings across the industry. With significant infrastructure improvements underway, including the addition of a greenhouse capable of producing 500lb of smokable flower each week and a new processing facility, the brand aims to gain greater control over production schedules. These enhancements are key to achieving Paisley Trees' ambitious production output goals for the year, offering a blueprint for growth that emphasizes innovation, team building, and a deep commitment to sustainability and customer relationships.

The Road Ahead

The insights shared by leaders from Standard Farms, Ript, Micro Bar, Northwest Cannabis Solutions, Modern Flower, and Paisley Trees illuminate the diverse strategies underpinning success in the competitive cannabis industry. Central themes such as innovation, quality focus, customer engagement, sustainability, and the strategic application of technology and data analytics pervade their narratives. These cannabis pioneers highlight the necessity of evolving with market trends, placing customer relationships at the forefront, and utilizing advanced technologies to refine operations and product lines. The experiences and lessons drawn from these brands underscore the importance of adaptive strategies and a deep understanding of market dynamics for growth and customer loyalty in the competitive cannabis landscape.

Headset's comprehensive analytics tools offer real-time insights into market trends, consumer preferences, and competitive dynamics, enabling brands to make informed decisions, anticipate market shifts, and tailor their strategies to meet evolving consumer demands. As the cannabis industry continues to expand, the strategic use of Headset Insights can help brands identify opportunities for innovation, optimize product offerings, enhance marketing strategies, and ultimately, drive significant growth.

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