The traditional cannabis consumer is changing. Photo credit: Twenty20photos.
Cannabis consumption is increasing as it becomes more accessible. While the market continues to evolve, so does the typical consumer.
For years, many have perceived cannabis users as lazy young adults who have no motivation, lay around all day, eat too much, and smoke weed. But, within the last 10 years, cannabis has become far less stigmatized as many accept the plant’s potential benefits.
As a result of legalization in many states, cannabis sales have skyrocketed. Its accessibility has also created a more diverse cannabis-consuming demographic.
Gender Shift in Cannabis
Although men still buy more cannabis than women — and lead cannabis sales at 60%, according to Akerna — women are becoming the fastest-growing group of consumers. This is due to decreased stigma around its use, and increased consumer education. In fact, women currently make up over 38% of total sales so far in 2021. This is already a 3% increase from 2020’s 35% total sales.
Furthermore, Green Entrepreneur reports, the number of female cannabis consumers doubled in 2018 alone.
Lauria Gregory, chief brand and product officer at Michigan-based dispensary chain, Skymint, tells Fox 17 West Michigan that the company has “definitely seen an intake of women consumers really across all age groups, which is exciting.”
In Fact, in 2020, Skymint reported a 45% increase in the number of women buying cannabis products from the previous year.
As a result, Gregory discussed how Skymint is creating a welcoming atmosphere for its customers. “It doesn’t feel like this kind of dark, dirty, I’m doing something bad place,” she added. “It makes people feel happy. It’s allowed more women to feel good in this space. And then they’re finding amazing benefits.”
Age Shift in Cannabis
Older Americans are using more cannabis. Photo credit: Rawpixel.
But, women aren’t the only demographic whose interest in cannabis is growing. With medical cannabis use legal in 36 U.S. States and recreational cannabis legal in 18, according to U.S. News; older adults ages 57-75 have been using cannabis to treat chronic ailments such as stress, anxiety, depression, arthritis, and insomnia.
According to a Verilife study, 50% of boomers reported using cannabis for medical purposes only. More specifically, 28% use it for recreational reasons only, and 22% for both. Boomers’ favorite way to consume cannabis is by inhaling it (pipe, joint, blunt). This is followed by capsules at 23%, and then edibles at 14%.
More specifically, CNBC has also reported that American adults over the age of 65 increased their cannabis use by 10 times from 2007-2017.
According to the Psychiatric Times, medical cannabis use has been linked to improvement in both movements and neuropsychiatric symptoms in individuals with neurodegenerative conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. Boomers who lived through the War on Drugs are now witnessing a drastic turnaround with cannabis becoming more readily available and socially acceptable, the publication explains.
With 71.6 million boomers born during the War on Drugs era, it makes sense why they would be skeptical of cannabis use. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that in 2018, opioid prescriptions fell to their lowest rate in 13 years. This may be attributed to the fact that older adults are using cannabis products as a way to help treat chronic illnesses that come with aging, instead of immediately turning to prescription medications.
How Are People Consuming Cannabis?
For years, joints were the most common way to consume cannabis because they are simple and easy to use.
But as cannabis consumption becomes more popular, so have other delivery forms. Nowadays, one of the most common ways people get high is with vaporizers and dab pens, i.e. portable electronic devices.
There are several formats of cannabis vaporizers – herb or oil and wax pens. Affordability, ease of use, dose consistency, and cleaner hits are among the perceived benefits of this method of consuming cannabis. However, to make it as safe as possible, it is essential not to neglect the maintenance of vaping devices and cleaning coils regularly – you can find out more about replacing coils at vapekit.co.uk.
Additionally, a popular alternative to inhaling cannabis is edibles. Edibles have become extremely popular since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, edible sales increased from $767 million in 2019 to $1.23 billion in 2020 in seven states according to MjBizDaily.
Joseph Bayern, CEO of Curaleaf tells MJ Biz Daily that he believes edibles are a good way to attract new users who are looking for alternatives to smoking.
A study conducted by RTI International, an independent research institution, reports that people prefer edibles because there is no smoke or smell, which can be off-putting. Edibles are also more discreet and can have longer-lasting, more intense highs.
Leafly explains how the main difference in the effects of smoking cannabis vs. ingesting it is that THC in edibles typically take more time to absorb into the bloodstream. Therefore, it is important to start with a low dose and wait for it to kick in.
The most popular edibles, according to MJBizDaily, are fruit-flavored gummies. These goodies account for more than 83% of the market share of all edibles. Fruit-flavored edibles dominated the edibles sales in California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.
Whether consumers have a craving for sweet infusions, vaping, or smoking; cannabis is attracting more and more people of all ages and backgrounds, and for different reasons. As the push for federal legalization continues, cannabis consumption is going to continue to rise in different demographics.
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