This Group Is the Fastest Growing User of Marijuana

Posted by Mark Mariotti on May 20, 2019

More Baby Boomers are getting high on life … literally. A study on marijuana use published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence has found that 9 percent of adults between age 50 and 64 have used cannabis in the past year.

At first, that may not sound like much. However, it is when you consider how much it has grown in ten years. In 2006 - 2007, only 4.5 percent in this age group had used cannabis. It has since doubled.

Baby Boomers and Marijuana Use

Many in this group first used marijuana when they were young adults in the 1960s and 1970s. While cannabis use has increased, those who have previous experience with it are more likely to use it again. However, it does not mean they've been using it all these years.

A "State of Cannabis" report confirms Baby Boomers are one of the fastest growing groups by age with an increase of 25 percent in 2018. On average, Boomers also spend the most per month. This study looks at purchases in California, which is why the data diverges from the Drug and Alcohol Dependence report.

Part of the reasons for their increased consumption of cannabis products is to fight the effects of aging such as pain and sleeplessness. Another possible reason could be they're empty nesters. They don't have to worry about children finding marijuana in the house. And of course, another factor in the increase is the changing laws and its legalization.

Don't Just Target the Baby Boomers

Baby Boomers aren't the only ones consuming cannabis. The "State of Cannabis" finds that millennials are the largest users of cannabis out of all the generations. The good news is that cannabis is gaining greater acceptance while the stigma is dropping.

The "State of Cannabis" report highlights:

  • Average age of consumer: 31
  • First-time buyers increased: 140 percent
  • Consumers who are people with disabilities: 11 percent
  • Biggest sale days: Day before Thanksgiving, April 20, and Halloween
  • Most popular item: gummies

The report finds that women tend to buy edibles, topicals, and drops. Men lean toward marijuana flower and concentrates. Why do people buy marijuana? The most common reason is to help them sleep better.

Cannabis as a Less Harmful Alternative

Many consumers use cannabis instead of alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs. The "State of Cannabis" shows a 71 percent decrease in the consumption of over-the-counter medicine and a 35 percent decrease on prescriptions. Almost one-third of Gen Z who buy cannabis consumes less tobacco.

Why is replacing alcohol, prescription and OTC drugs, and tobacco with cannabis possibly a good thing? Several studies disclose people view marijuana as a less dangerous option. One study from the British Government measures the level of harm for different substances. The higher the score, the more harmful the product.

Total drug (to users and to others) harm ratings from British government study:

  • Alcohol: 72
  • Heroin: 55
  • Crack cocaine: 54
  • Cocaine: 27
  • Tobacco: 26
  • Cannabis: 20

A Gallup poll says people believe heroin and prescription painkillers are more serious than marijuana. Marijuana is the lowest on the list for those who identify it as a crisis or a very serious problem.

The biggest takeaway for cannabis companies is to target more than just the younger generations of millennials and Gen Z. Word is that the industry isn't doing a good job of marketing to Baby Boomers. The companies that do, may just boost profits.

Businesses that implement a proper dispensary security plan will also get ahead of the competition. Cannabis regulations contain strict requirements for live video monitoring. That's why you want to work with a company with experience in cannabis security. To learn more, please contact us.


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