Cannabis is now legal for adult use in 18 states, the District of Columbia and territories, and legal for medical use in 37. With such a new and emerging market, it was difficult to pinpoint just who would be keen on consuming marijuana.
However, with almost a decade of research, we now have a much clearer understanding as to who exactly is making this a multi-billion dollar industry.
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been reported that Gen-Z consumers are the largest growing audience for cannabis. According to cannabis sales data platform BDSA, for instance,
Gen-Z consumers overall saw the fastest growth during the pandemic.
While there is no clear indication as to why analysts are seeing this trend, it’s believed this is due to a lack of stigmatization, more normalization in culture and the fact that many are turning the age where they can purchase marijuana.
Furthermore, analysts at Headset found that there are more Gen-Z women consuming cannabis in comparison than any other generation and gender, in year-over-year sales. In 2020, the sales by Gen-Z women grew by 151 percent, whereas Gen-Z men saw an uptick of 118 percent. Millennials and Gen X saw between 30 percent and 50 percent sales growth.
In accordance with Bethany Gomez, managing director at Brightfield Group, a cannabis market research agency:
“The future of cannabis is female. An order of magnitude more.” When asked about the reasoning, Gomez stated, “[Cannabis is] more acceptable, more compact and packaged in a way that’s more feminine.”
While cannabis flower has been the dominant product of purchase for both men and women, the report found that Gen-Z women are more likely to prefer pre-rolled joints, edibles and beverages. With that, we may also see a change in the products hitting cannabis dispensary shelves a few years down the line.
The cannabis market overall is creating itself to be in favor of everyone. This can be visually seen with packaging which holds less of a “stoner” vibe to it and more of a modern medicine quality.
Furthermore, no longer are the days where we have to meet our drug dealer in an alleyway only to purchase an overpriced, half-assed gram of middies. Now, we can step into a shop and be presented with specific information such as the cannabinoid profile and the conditions in which the cannabis was grown.
Cannabis Across Other Generations
With the industry taking such a professional turn, it’s natural that all generations are getting involved. The key difference between Gen Z in comparison to Millennials, Gen X and Baby Boomers is the fact that they don’t have nearly as much a history of stigma against cannabis.
With that, the statistics concerning other generations may initially appear to be underwhelming. However, it can be forgotten that this change of attitude is what allowed Gen Z to flourish in the cannabis market.
In one study that observed cannabis consumption behavior between Baby Boomers and Millennials, it was found that Baby Boomers are more likely to use the plant medicinally, whereas Millennials are more likely to use it recreationally.
Some of the reasons Baby Boomers turn to cannabis include arthritis, chronic pain, cancer and migraines. On the other hand, Millennials choose to recreationally consume cannabis to relax, help with anxiety, promote better sleep and simply because it’s used often in social settings.
In terms of product selection, cannabis capsules tend to be more popular among Baby Boomers whereas inhalables and vaporizers are preferred by Millennials. Interestingly, edibles hold almost equal popularity among these two generations.
Boomers tend to prefer consuming cannabis in the morning and afternoon, while Millennials tend to be more active in their marijuana habits in the evenings and at night.
Similarly to Gen Z, all generations saw an increase in cannabis consumption throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.