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Canadian cannabis consumer and patient trends right now

The CCSI was assessed at C$5.17 per gram this week, up 0.7% from last week’s C$5.13 per gram. This week’s price equates to US$1,844 per pound at the current exchange rate.

cannabis industry trends in canada

Each week, Business of Cannabis delivers a series of insights from our partners at Cannabis Benchmarks®.

This week Cannabis Benchmarks analyzes data collected by Health Canada regarding trends in cannabis usage in the country. The agency conducts an annual Canadian Cannabis Survey to obtain “detailed information about the habits of people who use cannabis and behaviors relative to cannabis use.” While there is a plethora of data collected, in this week’s report we focus on a few high-level trends in cannabis usage and sources of cannabis.

Cannabis Benchmarks begin by looking at the trends in Canada’s cannabis usage rate since 2018. In all categories, cannabis usage rose from 2018 through 2020, with a small drop in 2021. The drop-off in usage for 2021 can likely be explained by anomalously elevated usage in 2020, when stay-at-home orders during the initial surge of the COVID pandemic were in place, resulting in more free time and disposable income for consumers. At the national level, approximately 25% of the population used cannabis in 2021, down from 27% the year prior.

The next trends examined are the factors that influenced where consumers sourced their cannabis over the past three years. What is apparent from the data, shown in the accompanying chart, is that cannabis users are most sensitive to price and safe supply, followed by quality and convenience.

Lastly, Cannabis Benchmarks looked at some trends in the medical cannabis market. While survey respondents could choose more than one source, the data clearly indicates that legal outlets – including licensed recreational storefronts and online options, as well as Health Canada licensed medical cannabis producers – are preferred to unlicensed sources. As seen over the past three years, there is an increasing trend to purchase cannabis from a legal, recreational source (online or storefront) and a negative trend to acquiring it from a dealer, friend, or illegal online source. 

The increasing preference for legal recreational sources also came at the expense of cultivators licensed in the country’s medical cannabis program, which saw the proportion of survey respondents selecting that category as a preferred source wane from 2020 to 2021. It appears medical cannabis users increasingly prefer the convenience and product variety found in the legal recreational markets. Our modeling of demand for recreational versus medical cannabis affirms the survey findings, with total kilograms sold in the medical market consistently constituting only a small fraction of the volume sold in the recreational market.

Source: Canada Cannabis Spot IndexCannabis Benchmarks

See previous weekly updates from Cannabis Benchmarks:

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