Cannabis has come a long way since the federal government considered hemp legal in 2018. Though the reality is not as smooth sailing as it sounds, this natural alternative to conventional health and wellness solutions made an impact on the lives of people from all walks of life.
Yes, some continue to associate cannabis with sketchy back-alley deals. The media can’t seem to shake off their penchant for portraying users in ways that discredit the true powers of cannabinoids.
And yet the numbers show a different picture.
Let’s talk about what cannabis consumers look like nowadays. How different are they from society’s expectations of them? Will this become the norm from here on out, or can we expect this market to evolve continually in the coming years?
Onwards and Upwards
According to BDSA—a trusted market research company specializing in the cannabis industry—the revenues generated by legal cannabis have increased from $14.4 billion in 2019 to $21.6 billion the following year. That’s a growth of more than 50%, and it hasn’t shown signs of stopping soon.
This rapid development shows that cannabis appeals to a diverse group of people. It’s not limited to the young or old only. The lines separating people from different backgrounds and means become somewhat blurred since cannabis products are more accessible now than ever, especially with the introduction of CBD (cannabidiol) and the minor, albeit potent, cannabinoids.
Given the optimistic market outlook, the profile of modern-day cannabis consumers will continue to diversify. Therefore, companies should strive for creativity and innovation to keep the market interested and engaged with its potential therapeutic benefits.
The Young and The Old
According to the 2021 report of another cannabis market research company called Headset, the generational breakdown of the consumers are as follows:
|Baby Boomers||55 to 73 years old||15.8%|
|Generation X||39 to 54 years old||25.7%|
|Millennials||23 to 38 years old||51.5%|
|Generation Z||Less than 23 years old||5.9%|
Millennials remain to be the most ardent supporters of cannabis products. Data also shows that many people from this age group exhibit a greater interest in investing in cannabis companies than the rest.
On the other end of the spectrum are Gen Z. While their numbers are significantly lower, experts have noted that their percentage has almost doubled from last year. This indicates the growing appeal that new forms of cannabis have to the young generation.
There’s also an uptick among the boomers. According to a 2020 Reuters report, the population of boomer cannabis consumers has increased by 75% in the past four years—most of which began using since the global pandemic started.
Men vs. Women
Dissecting these numbers further, we found that more men than women buy cannabis products.
The information presented by VisualCapitalist.com describes the imbalance in the gender of consumers as 53% male and 47% female. However, a more detailed breakdown from Headset depicts a more significant difference:
|Generation||Age Range||Male-to-Female Ratio|
|Baby Boomers||55 to 73 years old||60:40|
|Generation X||39 to 54 years old||62:38|
|Millennials||23 to 38 years old||67:33|
|Generation Z||Less than 23 years old||62:38|
The disparities can be better observed if we look into the cannabinoid preference of these genders.
Apparently, more than half of the male participants reported having a preference for THC products, such as cannabis flowers, vapor pens, and edibles.
Meanwhile, female participants are more likely to purchase products made of non-psychoactive CBD instead. Some marketing experts interpret this as a sign that women are after cannabis products designed to improve our health and wellness rather than recreation.
A 2021 Brightfield consumer trend report further elaborated that women enjoy gummies. Again, the global pandemic appears to be one of the catalysts for this development since several women stated that they use it to manage their stress and anxiety better due to their current circumstances. CBD helped them feel more relaxed and get better sleep.
For Pleasure or Pain?
Speaking of therapeutic benefits, the majority of cannabis users turn to cannabinoids for medical purposes. About 44% consume it for recreation, but brands and marketing experts believe the skew may become inverted sooner than we anticipate.
More and more states are legalizing the use of cannabis for purposes other than health and wellness. There is also a movement to decriminalize marijuana. Brightfield stated that the issue is being considered positively by both the Democrat and Republican lawmakers, so we may soon have safer options to enjoy the mood-enhancing properties of this controversial plant.
Boomers defy the ongoing trend for medical applications by preferring to use cannabis for pleasure. A probable reason for this is explained in a 2019 study, wherein the older generation feels uncertain and frustrated over the lack of sufficient educational materials about cannabis. Sure, almost 90% of them hold the belief that cannabis can be beneficial for our body and mind, but that is not enough to drive most of them to use it to alleviate the pains and aches brought about by their advanced age.
Reliance on Cannabis-Infused Products
Since several brands recommend taking a dose of hemp-derived CBD or THC every day, the data from VisualCapitalist.com indicates that 36% of the respondents consume cannabis twice a day, while 14% reported having a single dose each day.
Cannabis companies may have achieved this level of trust and dependence by engaging with the consumers on an emotional level. It’s no longer enough to list down the potential benefits of using the product.
Nowadays, brands must reach out to their target market and make them feel like they truly understand their hopes and desires. They also have to demonstrate a high level of transparency in the formulation and manufacturing of cannabis products.
We also cannot discount how effective content marketing is in establishing and nurturing the emotional attachments of the customers to the brands. That’s why almost all leading cannabis brands maintain a blog and various social media platforms where customers can easily connect with them.
While all of these may sound tedious, the Brightfield Group noted that the consumers reward companies with their loyalty and repeat purchases of their favorite cannabis-infused products.
The Importance of Understanding the Modern-Day Cannabis User Demographics
As you have learned in this article, several market research groups have devoted their time and energy to describe the needs and preferences of cannabis consumers.
From the viewpoint of an entrepreneur, the data obtained from these studies are of great importance in the development of cannabis-infused products. Even the way you promote the product will be influenced by the demographical information of the target market.
If you’re looking at these data as a consumer, it may reassure you that cannabis may hold the key to a better quality of life for you and your loved ones.
You might be assuming that only millennials can find relief and enjoyment from a cannabis vaping pen or edibles. However, as you have seen earlier, regardless of age, gender, needs, or background, cannabinoids may be the ideal solution to achieve the healthy lifestyle you’ve been dreaming of.
All in All
The demographic profiles of modern-day cannabis users paint a picture of the current state of the industry and where it can head in the next few years.
At the moment, millennials continue to dominate the scene. Still, we’re also witnessing the budding interest of Gen Z, who will likely benefit significantly from the upcoming changes in how we perceive and use cannabis.
The traditional barriers between the groups are also being torn down as the brands continue to churn out exciting product forms that men and women from all ages and backgrounds may enjoy. With the diversification of the cannabis market, we hope this will also inspire researchers to continue unlocking the mysteries surrounding cannabinoids. Now that they have entered the mainstream, more watchful eyes are turned in their direction.