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Cannabis Consumer Preferences: Understanding Changing Trends

cannabis consumer preferences

The cannabis industry has seen immense growth and evolution over the past decade. As legalization spreads and public perception shifts, the average cannabis consumer today looks quite different from the stereotypical “stoner” image of the past. Understanding the demographics, preferences, and behaviors of modern cannabis users is crucial for cannabis companies looking to succeed in this burgeoning market.

What Does the Average Cannabis Consumer Look Like?

The cannabis consumer base today is more diverse than ever. While usage remains highest among young adults, the fastest-growing demographic is older generations. Baby boomers are the fastest-growing consumer segment, with usage rates doubling over the past decade among adults over 65. Approximately 25% of cannabis users are now over 50.

The gender gap has also narrowed significantly. In the 1990s, twice as many men used cannabis compared to women. Today, usage is nearly equal between genders. More parents now use cannabis as well – around 5% of adults with children under 18 in the home are cannabis consumers.

Overall, cannabis users span all ages, genders, socioeconomic statuses, and professions. As stigma declines and access increases, cannabis consumption is becoming mainstream. The average cannabis user looks just like the average person today.

Cannabis Consumption Trends and Behaviors

Consumption methods and behaviors are evolving as well. The most popular method remains smoking cannabis flower, particularly among men and younger users. However, other modes of consumption, including vaping, edibles, beverages, and concentrates, are rising in popularity.

Vape pens and cartridges are now used by around 20% of cannabis consumers. Women tend to prefer vaping over smoking. Edibles are also favored more by women, as well as older consumers looking for discreet and measured dosing.

When it comes to frequency of use, light users make up the majority of cannabis consumers. Most use cannabis occasionally or socially versus daily. Dosages are becoming more measured and moderate as well.

Cannabis product selection is increasingly driven by effects. Consumers today are more informed about the different cannabis chemical compounds and their purposes. Over 85% say they consume cannabis for relaxation, stress relief, and sleep. However, consumers also report targeted use for focus, energy, creativity, or specific medical symptoms.

Cannabis Consumer Behavior

Understanding consumer behavior is crucial for businesses in the cannabis industry. Here are some key aspects of cannabis consumer behavior:

  • Purchasing Preferences: Consumers often prioritize product quality, safety, and variety when selecting cannabis products. They rely on trusted dispensaries and online sources for their purchases.
  • Information-Seeking: Cannabis consumers are increasingly well-informed. They seek knowledge about product composition, effects, and potential benefits, relying on reviews, educational websites, and recommendations from friends.
  • Health and Wellness: A growing number of cannabis users are interested in the potential health and wellness benefits. They may be seeking relief from medical conditions or looking for alternatives to traditional pharmaceuticals.

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Cannabis Consumption Method Trends

The way people consume cannabis has evolved significantly. Traditional methods, such as smoking, are still prevalent, but new trends have emerged:

  • Smoking: Smoking cannabis flowers remains popular, with traditional methods like joints and pipes, as well as modern alternatives like vaporizers.
  • Edibles: Cannabis-infused edibles, such as gummies, chocolates, and beverages, have gained traction due to their discretion and convenience.
  • Topicals: Topical products, like creams and balms, are increasingly used for localized relief, such as pain management or skin conditions.
  • Dabbing: Concentrates and dabbing have increased in popularity among experienced users looking for a potent and rapid effect.
  • THC-Infused Beverages: Many people are ditching alcohol and choosing THC- and CBD-infused drinks and cocktails to relax and enjoy the health benefits of cannabis without the hangover.

Cannabis User Personas and Demographics

Cannabis user personas vary widely, reflecting the diversity of the consumer base:

  • The Health-Conscious User: This persona is typically older, often using cannabis for medical purposes or as a wellness supplement. They value product safety, quality, and reliability.
  • The Social Recreational User: These individuals use cannabis in social settings for relaxation, creativity, or enjoyment. They are interested in a variety of consumption methods, such as smoking or edibles.
  • The Wellness Enthusiast: Focusing on holistic health and well-being, wellness enthusiasts often use CBD-dominant products for stress relief, sleep, and overall balance.
  • The Seasoned Connoisseur: Experienced cannabis users seek high-potency products, experimenting with concentrates and appreciating the nuanced flavors and effects of different strains.

The Future Cannabis Consumer

While the past stereotypical cannabis consumer no longer reflects reality, the market continues to evolve quickly. Consumer education, product innovation, and normalized perceptions will likely accelerate changes in demographics, behaviors, and preferences. Companies should track emerging trends closely and leverage consumer insights to succeed in the flourishing cannabis market.

As the industry continues to grow and adapt, we can expect even more diverse and specialized products to cater to the ever-expanding world of cannabis consumers


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