The demographics of cannabis: how product use varies with age

Cannabis flower reigns supreme among products preferred across various age groups

Cannabis flower reigns supreme among products preferred across various age groups. Photo by Freepik.


As with food, cannabis users get to choose from many products.

And just like with eats, the older a person gets, the more the individual sticks with familiar choices.

For example, cannabis flower or bud remains a popular choice.

Conversely, a younger enthusiast tends to use more novel items like concentrates.

A new study demonstrates that the use of different cannabis products varies across age groups.

A team led by Luna Ueno of the University at Albany of the State University of New York (SUNY) did the investigation.

Ueno broke down the results of the study for CannCentral.

“Overall, the most popular products across ages were loose flower, edibles, and pre-rolls,” Ueno noted.

Further, Ueno pointed out that the use of pre-rolls, vape pens, and edibles went down as age went up.

“Loose flower and dry vaporizer also decreased with age, but less consistently,” she stated.

Younger people dab more

The study noted the biggest difference in terms of age group for concentrates.

Concentrates come with different names like shatter or butane hash oil. Users consume the product, which features higher potency than flower, through vaporization or dabbing.

Ueno told CannCentral that the youngest group (21 to 24 years old) reported a high rate of use of concentrates. Specifically, it’s 17 times more than the oldest group (65 years old and over).

“These findings are consistent with literature on age-related differences in trying novel foods,” Ueno and her team wrote.

The paper titled “Age-Related Differences in Cannabis Product Use” utilized data from six American states that allow recreational use of cannabis. These are California, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Nevada, and Michigan.

The Journal of Psychoactive Drugs published the document online on January 12, 2021.

Ueno’s team included colleagues at SUNY’s University at Albany, and researchers at the High Yield Insights, a Chicago company.

“Studies show that as people become older, they are more likely to avoid novel foods,” the authors reported.

Moreover, a “similar paradigm might be at play regarding cannabis product choices”.

“That is, rather than trying more novel devices or formulations, older users might prefer products they are accustomed to,” the authors wrote.

Cannabis product choices

As the study noted, younger people in the 21 to 24, 25 to 34, and 35 to 44 groups were more likely to use pre-rolled joints or blunts.

Also, younger participants in the 21 to 24 and 25 to 34 groups were more likely to use dry vaporizers.

Moreover, younger people in the 21 to 24, 25 to 34, and 35 to 44 age groups were “significantly more likely to vape”.

For concentrates, the study noted that between 25 and 29 percent of the youngest age groups (aged 21 to 24, 25 to 34, and 35 to 44) reported use of the potent product.

However, but concentrate use occurred in less than 10 percent of the older age groups (45 to 54, 55 to 65, and 65+).

Based on their findings, the authors noted that their work “confirms age-related differences in some products”.

The results suggest differences in choice of cannabis products “might parallel models of food choice”.

Follow Carlito Pablo on Twitter at @carlitopablo

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