Women and Men Consume Cannabis In Nearly Equal Numbers: And Other Stats That Will Blow Your Mind

As legalization spreads throughout the nation, the cannabis industry is gaining credibility in multiple sectors, including education, testing and consumer data. I recently spoke with Linda Gilbert, Managing Director of Consumer Insights for BDS Analytics, a Colorado-based company specializing in cannabusiness-driven data, who emphasized that, despite the stereotypes, “There is no one cannabis consumer.” There are cannabis users from all walks of life; they just don’t talk about their use in the same way as, say, a twenty-year-old college student does.

BDS Analytics has data for days—prepare to have your mind blown by these stats. As someone in the industry, even I was shocked by what Linda was telling me. But hey, numbers don’t lie.

The following figures are based on information gathered from adults 21 and over in California, Washington, Oregon and Colorado last year. BDS Analytics groups participants into three categories:

  • Consumers: Someone who has “consumed cannabis within the past six months.”
  • Acceptors: Someone who has “not consumed cannabis within the past six months, but would consider [doing so] in the future.”
  • Rejecters: Someone who has “not consumed cannabis within the past six months and would not consider [doing so] in the future.”

BDS Analytics Cannabis Statistics

Participant category breakdown:

Consumers – 28%

Acceptors – 34%

Rejecters – 38%

Yes, Rejecters make up the largest percentage here, but I think it’s more significant to look at the Consumer and Acceptor groups. Together, that means that 62% of participants either partake in cannabis, or would partake in cannabis. That’s huge!

And we all know the “lazy stoner” stereotype—that we’re unemployed (or underemployed), unambitious, you name it. But as Linda declared, “People who use cannabis make more money!” See for yourself:

BDS Analytics Cannabis Statistics

Average annual household income

Consumers – $72.5.1k

Acceptors – $69.1k

Rejecters – $69.6k

Linda also shocked me with some gender breakdowns. I’ve covered women in cannabis frequently here at DOPE, and have had the pleasure to interview scores of successful women who love weed, but I still figured smoker stats would skew wildly male. Men consume more cannabis than women, yes, but not by as wide of a margin as I anticipated:

BDS Analytics Cannabis Statistics

Gender Breakdown

Consumers – 56% male | 44% female

Acceptors – 44% male | 56% female

Rejecters – 39% male | 61% female

The “young stoner” stereotype has also proved false. Linda noted that the average age for smokers in the four states is 42—hardly the twentysomething toker cliché.

In their age breakdowns, the highest percentage of Consumers fell in the age 25-34 category with 30%; Acceptors in the 65+ category with 22%; and Rejecters in the 65+ 29%. The Consumer stats aren’t surprising, but it’s remarkable that the age group most interested in trying cannabis happens to be 65+.

Other insights include:

  • Millennials are more likely to use cannabis for anxiety and to feel happy (social purposes) while Baby Boomers tend to use cannabis for pain relief.
  • 70% of cannabis users prefer inhalable consumption (bongs, vapes, etc.) but 24% prefer edibles, 4% prefer topicals and 1% prefer “other.”
  • Those who have never used cannabis before or haven’t used cannabis in some time are more likely to consume edibles than any other consumption method.
  • Linda predicts that as more Baby Boomers age and cannabis becomes less stigmatized, edibles will have their heyday, as they’re discrete, precise and provide the option to microdose. Keep an eye out for more innovation in this arena targeted at newbies and older folks, specifically with CBD products.
  • Regardless of age, cannabis is most often used in the evening before bed. 35% of participants report consuming before bed, while 28% consume in the morning (with the rest of participants reporting afternoon usage or multiple sessions throughout the day).
  • People who consume cannabis are more likely to describe themselves as socially conscious; compared to other industries, cannabis consumers are more interested in how things are grown/processed and will pay more for a better, safer product that’s eco-friendly, local—the so-called “cannasseurs.”

Mind blown? Me, too. And I write and edit cannabis stories for a living! These stats are proof that, as Linda affirmed, there truly isn’t one single cannabis user. We aren’t lazy, we aren’t mostly men, and we are successful members of society. Put that in your pipe and smoke it!

You can access these facts (and more!) in BDS Analytics’ state reports, “Public Attitudes and Actions Toward Legal Cannabis,” available for WA, OR, CA and CO. Contact [email protected] for more information.

About BDS Analytics: Headquartered in Boulder, Colo., BDS Analytics provides cannabis brands, cultivators, producers, dispensaries, and investors with comprehensive, actionable, and accurate industry research. The company provides a holistic understanding of the cannabis market by producing insights from dispensary point-of-sale systems through its market-leading GreenEdgeTM platform, driving consumer research with its Cannabis Insights Group. To learn more about how you can utilize BDS Analytics’ superior data and insights, please visit www.bdsanalytics.com.

Related – Cannabis Industry Projected to Generate $40 Billion in 2021


Katie Conley

Katie Conley is an editor at DOPE Magazine. She enjoys watching schlocky movies, listening to comedy and true crime podcasts, singing karaoke and napping in inopportune places.

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