Cannabis consumers prefer flower, equate potency with quality and use potency number to make product decisions, according to findings from the new “Cannabis Trends in 2023” report from analysts at New Frontier Data. However, as the space develops, a preference for a forms beyond flower and an increasing popularity of low-dose options have begun to trend among consumers.
The report, which is based on an online survey of more than 5,500 people, including more than 4,300 self-described “consumers,” is intended not only to review trends within the industry, but also how the history of prohibition impacts these trends. According to the authors, decades of prohibition have led to consumers preferring flower and to seeking out the “biggest bang for their buck.”
“Even though legalization removed the criminal penalties and allowed consumers to access cannabis in a safe and legal environment, the first few years of legalization saw old habits die hard,” the report states.
To that end, 40% of consumers said THC potency was “extremely important” to their decision, the highest of any reason.
According to the findings, 20.7% of consumers stated that edibles were their most frequent form in 2023, up from 16.6% in the 2022 survey, even topping the “favorite product form” category for users ages 35-54.
Those who exclusively use “noncombustible forms” tend to be older and women, with 63% of women saying they exclusively use non-smoked forms.
Pre-rolls remained stable, but the report states that product forms “common to the illicit market,” such as blunts, fell both in terms of most frequent use and favorite forms. Joints remain the most common preferred form of consumption.
Low-dose options continue to climb in popularity, according to the study, with 83.9% of edibles/beverages consumers saying they know the THC dose in their products; 60.8% of consumers who use edibles/beverages seek doses that are 10 milligrams or less of THC.
The 35-page report also looks at trends within the industry itself, including a drop in both the number and value of capital raises from 2021 to 2022 and the growth of social consumption such as lounges or other activities, including tourism. The report also shows growth in the minor cannabinoid market, with the interest highest among men 25-44, as well as the emergence of hemp-derived cannabinoids, such as delta-8 THC.
— Brian Beckley