While the legal cannabis market took off in the U.S. over the past decade, a large number of millennials were in the midst of, or just entering, their young adulthood. As such, this generation offers a number of insights into cannabis consumption as it stands today. With this in mind, New Frontier Data have shared a new study, “Millennials as Cannabis Consumers: Attitudes & Behaviors of America’s Largest Generation,” looking to identify distinct characteristics and life-stage-identities distinguishing this generation from other age groups.
Millennials are the generation born between 1981 and 1996, and New Frontier Data notes the number of “rapid technological advancements,” along with major social and economic changes, the generation have lived through.
“Millennials came of age when cannabis-related social attitudes and policies were changing rapidly,” said Gary Allen, New Frontier Data’s CEO, in a press release. “As young adults, they watched the normalization of cannabis use mitigate negative stereotypes, and they have played a leading role in the emergence of the legal cannabis economy, both as participants in the market and as champions for change.”
The report broadly found that what distinguishes Millennials as cannabis consumers relates to their collective identity as parents of young kids, their specific stages in their careers and the evolving normalization of cannabis since some were just teenagers.
The report explores a number of findings, notably that 39% of millennial cannabis users report consuming multiple times a day, but with greater disparity between men and women as daily consumers than other groups. In addition, almost half of millennial cannabis users (49%) spend between $50 and $200 per transaction.
Other key findings note that 77% of millennials substitute cannabis for sleep medications, and more Millennials recognize other cannabinoids that assist with sleep, like CBN (15%) and THCP (22%) than members of other generations.
Sixty-six percent of millennials also said they believe that the strain is an important consideration when purchasing cannabis. The study also found that, as many become parents for the first time, consuming cannabis away from their home is more important to Millennials than other generations.
Recently, New Frontier Data shared a separate study of Generation Z, the generation following Millennials, with older members in or approaching their mid-20s. The study analyzed the cannabis habits of consumers as they relate to other substances and broke down the surveyed results for older age groups as well.
The recent survey found that 69% of individuals 18-24 prefer cannabis over alcohol, compared to 70% of those between the ages of 25 and 34 saying they also prefer weed and 68% of those aged 35-44 reporting the same. These numbers, like the findings in the millennial-focused report, ultimately point to similar trends of young adults coming to age while a growing number of states and cities throughout the U.S. have legalized cannabis for adult use.
“Cannabis consumers aged 18-24 were most likely to say they never drank alcohol (19.7%), and the least likely to say that they drank every day (5.9%). They were also the most likely (among those under age 55) to say that they never used tobacco (39.3%), and the least likely (among those under 65) to say that they used it every day (26.3%),” the researchers said.
Interestingly enough, 56% of those aged 18-24 reported replacing some of their alcohol use with cannabis, compared to a slightly larger figure, 60%, in those aged 25-34. That number jumps even higher among 33-44-year-olds, though the rates decline further among older cohorts.
“The numbers suggest that young people are learning to navigate the legal cannabis landscape without adopting compulsive, increased use, and may also be less likely to consume either alcohol or tobacco, thereby making cannabis their drug of choice,” the researchers wrote in their concluding analysis.