The Herbal Revolution
Cannabis use in the US is becoming more normalized across the country, and you can give a round of applause to education and legalization for this long-awaited progress. New York recently became the latest state to legalize cannabis, which means 16 states have now legalized recreational use, and 36 states have legalized the medical use of cannabis. We aren’t mathematicians, but it appears if we add legalized use and boatloads of new education, we have ourselves accessibility! Americans have never had this much access to cannabis, and it’s truly changing the game.
Your aunt Betty may have been secretly making the most potent brownies on the block in the 70s, but now she doesn’t need to hide in her kitchen or even do the work herself. Betty can join us in the digital age and order her products online for delivery or pickup.
With estimates that the legal cannabis industry will reach $41 billion in annual sales by 2026, it’s safe to say that we are only at the beginning stages of this budding industry. From Aunt Betty and her secret brownies to large-scale (and legal) grow operations, we have entered an era of less stigma and more power to explore all the ways cannabis can make our lives better.
Cannabis is available in a variety of forms, including pills, edibles, oils, teas, topicals, and more. If you are looking for the buzz of THC, the calming effects of CBD, or the best of both, the world is your oyster.
Celebrities are also getting in on the action by launching cannabis companies in all capacities. It’s no surprise that Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg are cannabis lovers, but enter John Legend, Kristen Bell, and even Martha Stewart now has her own line of gourmet CBD products, but what do we expect? She is Snoop’s bestie, after all!
How Many People Use Cannabis in the US?
You may be surprised to learn just how many people use cannabis in the US. According to a survey from Marist College and Yahoo News, more than half of American adults have tried cannabis at least once in their lives, and 35 million are what the survey considers “regular users”. Gen Z is the fastest-growing generation consuming cannabis, making up 27% of regular users, with Millenials just trailing behind at 22%. Gen Z is the first generation to grow up in a world that openly values the therapeutic properties and potential benefits cannabis can offer. The stigma surrounding “pot” isn’t a part of Gen Z’s narrative, resulting in an entirely different attitude towards cannabis use in the US than the generations that came before them.
The primary use for cannabis consumers in the United States remains recreational (89.5% of adult users), with only 10.5% reporting use for medical purposes, and 36.1% of users reporting a mixed medical/recreational use. Millennials and Gen Z primarily fall into the recreational category, lighting up for social events or kicking back and relaxing after a long day. These generations are also digging the effects on health and wellness, like easing anxiety and depression, regulating sleep, and soothing sore muscles after a long workout. Baby boomers, on the other hand, tend to enjoy their herb alone and are not likely to smoke up before going in public. They also generally choose strains more for medicinal benefits than recreational use.
As the cannabis industry continues to grow, so has its use among women in the US. In 2020, adult-use sales to men totaled $5.6 billion, while women spent US$2.7 billion. But in relation to 2019, Headset reports year-over-year sales for women increased by 43%, compared to 37% sales growth for men. These growth rates among women span across generations, led by—you guessed it—Gen Z females.
Spending habits among generations also highlights why Gen Z is leading cannabis consumption in the US. Gen Z is the digital generation, so they are all about convenience, which the new cannabis culture is capitalizing on because who has time to grind, roll and smoke, am I right?! Millennials value experiences over possessions and prefer to spend their money on something that has added value and is shareable. Baby boomers are credited as one of the wealthiest generations to date, holding $2.6 trillion in buying power. Despite controlling most of the disposable income in the US, boomers are typically bargain-oriented and value investing in their family and health. This reinforces that boomers gravitate to cannabis for its medicinal qualities.
Spending and consumption habits may differ, but you can always count on bud to unite the generations.
What The Doctor Ordered
A little herb a day keeps the doctor away—that’s the saying, right? Medical applications play a significant role in cannabis use in the US. Studies indicate that it might help with a variety of conditions, including cancer, HIV, epilepsy, chronic pain, and insomnia. Although much research is still in progress, people are trying to find more natural forms of treatment.
Boomers are trying to replace existing medications and improve their overall health by integrating cannabis into their routines. Medical usage for physical ailments is lower among Millennials and Gen Z; however, the younger generations are still tapping into the health and wellness benefits to help ease anxiety, insomnia, and migraines. The cannabis plant is pretty freakin’ dynamic, and although there are some barriers to research with ongoing education and consumer awareness, people are learning about the potential healing properties and continue to show signs of reaching for pot instead of pills.
More Bud For Your Buck
Remember the math equation we went over? With education and legalization comes accessibility. With accessibility comes innovation, creating new ways for people to enjoy cannabis. Americans are learning that cannabis doesn’t mean you are hiding in a dark alley sharing a flimsy joint with your buddies and then raiding the candy aisle of 7-11 before melting into the basement couch. The number of choices people have in terms of how they consume cannabis has certainly led to an increase in usage.
The ability to consume cannabis discretely without the smell lingering is a huge perk for many users. Companies are creating convenient, fun, and highly marketable products like gummies, drinks, oils, and capsules, all in a variety of doses, flavors, and intended uses.
Old-fashioned inhalation is still the most popular way to get your greens in. Just take a look at how many people use cannabis in the US, and you will see that flower is still in the lead for consumption methods, but it is declining overall, which is not really a shock when you have so many products to choose from. We are living in a world of convenience, and people are ditching the joints and pipes for other more convenient and discrete options like vapes, edibles, ingestibles, and topicals.
The New Age Of Cannabis Consumers
With cannabis use in the US on the rise, there is no stopping the industry or the consumers. People across generations are quickly catching on to cannabis being much more than a plant that can get you high. As stigma continues to be challenged, we will also continue to see an increase in how many people use cannabis in the US. We’re just glad that Aunt Betty can make her brownies with no judgment.