More Evidence Of The Trouble Alcohol Faces From Legal Marijuana

In states where legalization has occurred, recreational marijuana consumers are now using far less alcohol and over-the-counter medications, according to a new report by High Yield Insights.

The consumer behavior company looked at feedback from recreational users in states where recreational cannabis is legal. They found that more than 20 percent of people who consume marijuana recreationally are using 27 percent less OTC pain relievers and 21 percent less alcoholic beverages. Those weren’t the only steep drops found, either. The report also indicated those consumers are using 22 percent fewer sleep aids, consuming 20 percent less beer, and 18 percent less wine.

“We are just starting to grasp how legalization has impacted consumer behavior, be it spending, usage occasions, or shopping habits. Understanding these changes will lead to new growth opportunities for cannabis and further disruption for other categories,” said Mike Luce, co-founder of HighYield Insights. “Our findings uncovered promising consumer niches for the industry as well. For example, many older consumers 55+ are reengaging with marijuana, with 56 percent reporting a return to marijuana after having tried cannabis products at a younger age.”

The High Yield Insights report concluded that people are using recreational cannabis for pain, anxiety, and sleep due to the fact that the largest total decline in use was in pharmaceuticals. Prescription pain reliever use dropped 13 percent; anxiety medications, 13 percent; and prescription sleep aids, 11 percent.

According to the survey, when asked which type of occasion they typically use cannabis for, the top answers were for relaxation, as a sleep aid and to socialize at casual get-togethers. Other reasons or occasions included creativity, anxiety and before a meal with a friend or partner. People between the ages of 35-44 were more likely to use cannabis for relaxation, while younger consumers used it before various social activities.

Nearly half of the people surveyed use marijuana multiple times a week. Men are more likely to be heavy users, with 50 percent of them using it multiple times a week. Women were close behind at 47 percent. Sixteen percent of consumers use cannabis 3-4 times a month, while 13 percent use 1-2 times a month. Twenty-one percent of people surveyed use cannabis less than once a month.

The report showed that convenient forms, such as edibles and pre-rolls, are in high demand.
It concluded that packaging explaining a product’s effects is necessary to assist people who may not be familiar with the strain they’re purchasing.

The survey found that 65 percent of recreational cannabis consumers see legalization as positive for their communities, even though some are concerned with underage users.

High Yield Insights believes the report can be used by everyone in the cannabis industry to better understand consumers and their wants and needs. More information can be found in their “Recreational Cannabis Consumer” report.

Peggi Clough

Peggi Clough

Peggi Clough is a freelance writer and editor whose clients have included Hallmark Cards, Cerner Corporation and Village Voice Media. Prior to freelancing, she was an editor for National Seminars Training. Peggi is committed to fighting for the legalization of medical cannabis in her home state of Missouri.


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