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Changes in CBD & Cannabis Use during the Pandemic

Written by Paul James

A report by Brightfield Group found that cannabis use increased to 44% during the pandemic in November, up from 34% in March. Gen Z saw the most significant change at 52% with Millennials not far behind at 49%; Baby Boomers saw the lowest change at 25%. Still, no matter the generation, all segments increased usage.[1]

The report also found that, of heavy cannabis users (5+ days per week), 52% further increased their usage; 87% of these users noted that cannabis has helped them deal with stress from the pandemic. Not to mention, some users found cannabis helpful in fighting boredom during lockdowns.

About 37% of users are smoking and/or vaping cannabis, with about 35% using edibles more often. Only 21% find themselves using other products, such as tinctures and creams. It’s worth noting that the majority of those smoking and/or vaping are Gen Z and Millennials.

Another Brightfield Group report evaluated how people were purchasing cannabidiol (CBD). With social distancing and an overall effort to avoid in-store purchases, it comes as no surprise that online sales skyrocketed. With that, there has been greater popularity in curbside pickups and deliveries.[2]

Throughout the first quarter of 2020, about 23% of CBD consumers purchased products online. However, that number more than doubled to 47% by Q2 and Q3. Still, specialty retailers also saw an increase in sales throughout the first, second, and third quarters. Generally speaking, there’s simply been even more interest in CBD products.

Most notably, 2020 saw a number of new CBD users enter the marketplace. In Q1, 12% had been using the cannabinoid for three months or less; by Q3, that number rose to 14%. While these aren’t anything comparable to 2019 statistics, it shows that CBD is continuing to garner interest. It’s worth mentioning that most of these new users were purchasing CBD edibles and tinctures.

It’s also interesting to note that beauty and skincare product usage also increased from 18% in Q1 to 33% in Q3; in fact, their usage surpassed theapeutic topical use in Q3.

2020 has been one of the most difficult years in modern history. Yet, cannabis and CBD use and sales have prevailed and even surpassed expectations, likely attributable to its anxiolytic and sleep-inducing benefits. While the upward trend we’re seeing may not be as notable in 2021, it will definitely continue, proving that the industry is certainly booming and will be for some time.

Image Credit: Mohamed Hassan

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  1. Brightfield Group. “Changes in Cannabis Consumer Behavior Due to COVID-19.” November 2020.
  2. Brightfield Group. “Buying CBD During a Pandemic: Channel and Consumer Trends.” November 2020.

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Paul James

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