Extracted Episode 13: The Future of Cannabis in Canada Report

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It’s been a big year for cannabis in Canada. But where are we going next? Without any data on consumer behaviour, it’s been difficult to predict future trends. That is, until now. This Future of Cannabis in Canada Report from Resonance Consultancy and Valens is Canada’s first forward-looking cannabis study post-legalization. The research provides valuable insights into the demands and trends in cannabis consumption, straight from Canadian consumers.


In our recent episode of Extracted, we were joined by futurist and President of Resonance, Chris Fair, to take a deeper dive into the data from this innovative new report. We discussed cannabis consumer preferences around product types, purchasing, places to consume, and a whole lot more. The future’s looking bright!


Real data from Canadian consumers.

For this nationwide study, Resonance Consultancy and Valens partnered with Insights West to survey 1,500 Canadian cannabis (those who had used cannabis in the past year). Insights West also surveyed 1,001 Canadians from the general population. Respondents were all of the legal age in their respective provinces.

The objective of this comprehensive study is to better understand cannabis consumer preferences, behaviours, and intentions among Canadian adults. As Chris mentions, it’s the “intentions” that separate this from other research. “(It’s) not just around what their attitudes are today and how they’re consuming cannabis, but how do they want to consume it in the future? Where do they want to consume it? These are the types of questions that we wanted to get into.” The study also aims to explore differences among demographic subgroups.

“We’re focused more on looking at aspirations, intentions, and experiences around cannabis that might have potential in the future.”


Who is consuming cannabis in Canada?

According to the research, about one-third (32%) of Canadian adults are likely to use any form of cannabis in the next year. This number is up 5% since legalization which represents hundreds of thousands of new cannabis consumers. The typical cannabis consumer in Canada skews slightly male (55% male vs 45% female). Consumption spans all age ranges but skews slightly younger with Canadians 18-34 having the highest proportion of cannabis users at 39%. Interestingly, there doesn’t seem to be any real variations around income when it comes to the cannabis consumer. The variation comes in how different demographics have consumed cannabis and how they’re planning to do so.

“1 in 3 Canadian adults are consumers of cannabis today.”


Joints today, edibles tomorrow.

The research indicates that joints are by far the preferred method of consumption right now. However this is likely to change, says Chris. “That’s how people are consuming cannabis today, but we what we wanted to do was go beyond that to think about what are the potential future types of cannabis products that would resonate with the market.” The results indicate that there is a significantly higher interest in edibles, with 58% of respondents saying they would definitely or probably consume edibles.

With more unique product offerings coming online, we believe it will provide new and exciting entry points for people to experience cannabis. At Valens, we’re excited to be at the forefront of this new frontier.

“That is where we see cannabis heading–moving from smoking it to edibles.”


Cannabis vs alcohol.

Perhaps one of the more surprising findings from the research is the perception of cannabis compared to alcohol. Almost two-thirds of Canadian cannabis users think cannabis is healthier and has less negative side effects than alcohol. “Far and away across Canada,” Chris says, “the attitude towards cannabis is that it is a better alternative to alcohol.” What’s more, alcohol and cannabis are seen as different products that don’t necessarily go together. Fewer than 20% of respondents say they consume cannabis and alcohol together.

“It’s not necessarily a complement to alcohol. Cannabis is a replacement to alcohol for many Canadians.”


The evolving stigma.

This research supports the sentiment that the stigma is changing for the better. Almost two-thirds of Canadians support legalization. As Chris says, other than universal healthcare, it’s difficult to imagine many other issues that such a large percentage of the population would agree on. “I think there’s a broad consensus here that the legalization of cannabis is a good thing. I think with that, attitudes towards cannabis are going to shift and evolve over time.”


Next steps.

We’re proud to have partnered with Resonance on this exciting research project. These findings represent a significant first step in highlighting where consumer preferences are now and where they could be heading. Resonance is hoping to repeat this study on an annual basis to see how trends evolve over the years, and we certainly hope to be involved. For now, we invite you to enjoy reading this report and know you’ll find the data to be insightful.

Listen to the full episode for more insights into the research, straight from the source.