Invisible Armies: If You Want To Win, Stop Targeting Non-Consumers

New Jack City

Over the past few years, as the larger universe started to understand the money that was collectively being made in cannabis *before* the flooding waves of legalization, there have been a lot of new players coming in trying to capitalize on the ‘green rush’ they’ve heard so much about. VC’s, businessmen, entrepreneurs with continued access to funding despite tanking their last company — they all showed up trying to make a quick buck. Now, I’m not going to get into all the Delta 8 nonsense, the THCa plays, or the folks who think their hemp CBD biz is a cannabis company, but I do want to dig in a bit on a common misstep I’m seeing with these new jacks popping up across our industry that could maybe help our guys too. After all, we’re all going to have to figure out how to play in this new landscape together eventually, no matter how any of us feel about the others.

As could be expected, almost all of the new players that have come in have created products specifically designed for the other new faces arriving to enjoy these newly legal wares – that is to say, non-traditional cannabis consumers. That may seem like a harsh way to identify new consumers, but if you keep reading I think it will become that much clearer why this signifier is important. I don’t mean passive once-in-a-while smokers, either – I mean people who LIKE consuming, and do it often.

So, back to it, these new guys made new products, and they quickly found out the audience they heard was endless really isn’t showing up the way they anticipated. But why? Their products are flashy, the marketing is tight, the pictures look great on Instagram! Why no sales? Well friends, it’s because you didn’t stop to think about who was going to consume these products. Your traditional industry consumer personas aren’t relevant here, and trying to sell what educated consumers would call low quality products isn’t going to make you friends. We’re talking about produce, not plastic, after all.

Consumer Personas

Before we get too far down the road, let’s pause for a second and explain what consumer personas are. Consumer Personas are used in the traditional business world to identify potential target customers and craft marketing plans to and around. While they may be created by the founder or ideator of said product, this is typically a marketing thing, as understanding your customer makes it exponentially easier to sell to them. Good so far?

Now, often many different personas are created, and these are primarily used to map out the various people who would want to buy or consume your product. The goal is to identify all of your *champion* consumers so that everyone feels seen, and the better you know each of those identities – from their loves to their pain points – the easier it is to identify and satisfy your base. You can use things like market research or data to identify commonalities among your potential consumers, and then use those groupings to figure out ways to most effectively communicate with each of your targets. Plugging into a need, or solving a problem for your chosen personas, could be the difference between them tuning in, or out.

For those that are just hearing about this, these are essentially marketing cheat codes. If you’ve ever wondered why a brand you like can seemingly speak to you so well, but also resonates with someone who doesn’t feel anything like you, it’s likely because they’re effectively utilizing their consumer personas in different campaigns, and talking to each in their native tongues, wherever they happen to live. This is far more sophisticated than a one-size-fits-all spray & pray campaign, and typically involves many different campaigns running at once. It gets tricky. But the more you can personalize, and individualize your marketing messages, the more successful they will be.

Now that you understand consumer personas from a high level, it’s time to expose the fact that there is a very, very lucrative persona out there, and targeting her has made many products household names across the world. There are a multitude of reasons for this, but perhaps the most important persona of the bunch is actually wives & moms. Responsible for nearly 80% of household spending (depending which study you read, these numbers came from Gallup & the Federal Reserve), it’s public information that women account for nearly 85% of consumer spending, and control more than 60% of all personal wealth in the U.S. – so it seems like a great target, right? For cannabis, marketers have found the ‘Wine Mom’ to be the cherry on top of this remunerative consumer persona sundae, and they’ve got overboard trying to talk to her, make her feel comfortable, and get her spending. In any other market this might work, but remember, we’re talking cannabis…

Understanding the Wine Mom Play, and its Faults

You’ve likely seen the explosion of infused products targeted at her and her wallet already. Lots of microdosing, lots of topicals, some cute edibles and small cans. They made it pretty, they made it pink, they shrunk it down, they added glitter. Besides the fact that most of these tactics don’t even work in traditional industries (look up Shrink it & pink it), it’s like they think that by adding cannabis to a spritzer they can increase the price and thereby make a much higher profit than they would have had the products not had THC or CBD or some terpene nonsense. As if this is what she has been waiting for forever, and it’s finally here!!!

They are targeting this *persona* because they’re trying to unlock that magical trove of cash they’ve heard she’s been hiding, and wine sometimes leads to bad decisions. However, you’ve likely seen many of these products fail already, too. Why? She has SO MUCH MONEY!

Well, while I appreciate the ‘Wine Mom’ is the decision-maker for a lot of household spending, I have some questions. First, how often does she smoke? Do you really think that’s who’s consuming the most cannabis? That’s why you’re in business, right? You want to sell a lot of something. So, do you think she’s buying it for her kids? Probably not. Is hubby smoking for a family of four? Probably not if she has anything to say about it. While we’re on that subject, do you think she’s buying liquor too? Or is that dad’s job still? Why would weed be different from alcohol?

I digress into gender norms, and that is not my intention, but the point is: why not target the demographics consuming the most? Do you think they don’t have money??

The long and short of this is that the ‘Wine Mom’, while she is of course welcome here, is obviously not the most lucrative consumer base for this particular set of products despite how much potential she has to spend. I doubt she’s buying the majority of the liquor, either. 

But heavy smokers? Now there’s a golden ticket…

Cannabis Golden Tickets

So, all you fresh faces with marketing degrees, you want some consumer personas that will actually work in this space? I’m not talking the heady boys – you don’t stand a chance with that market, but maybe you should focus on consumption habits more than wallet sizes. I bet you’d be amazed to find that those with the lowest disposable income always seem to find room in their budget for the plant that maintains their sanity. I’ve created the below personas – completely on my own with no data to back any of this up – but I will 1000% guarantee adjusting your marketing plans to speak to these consumers will result in a much better shot on the retail floor, and likely in a much longer lifecycle for your brand. 

The Family Guy

You probably won’t see this guy at any of your sesh pop-ups, but there’s a reason why brands like Stiiizy are doing the strong numbers they are, and I’m going to chock a lot of them up to being the belle of the Family Guy’s ball. The Family Guy largely represents the working class – working a job they likely hate to provide for their loved ones all day long, and while they may sneak in a puff or two on the job, and probably toke up on lunch, these are usually the types to let loose after they’ve put the kids to sleep. This persona isn’t celebrating its love of cannabis everywhere, it doesn’t subscribe to most trends. It probably doesn’t have a vibrant social media presence, save for maybe pictures of the wife and kids. But this persona is focused. Focused on getting value in the store (and out of the products they consume), and then getting back to whatever it is they have to do. While this is becoming a more common persona as the stigma continues to fade, let’s just say that there’s a reason beer ads are almost all targeted towards working class men.

The Budget Baller

Like the Family Guy, the Budget Baller doesn’t care about the flash of the hype market – they’re here to get as fucked up as possible, with as small of a break to the bank as possible. Formerly dubbed ‘the Moon Rock crew’, this persona isn’t as focused on quality of product as they are the quality of the high. They’ll take distillate rolled in kief from wherever you can get it, and they often don’t mind spray packs – likely because they were raised smoking cotton candy usb sticks. As I’m sure you could imagine, brands like Jeeter are thriving because of this base, and it’s constantly got new – let’s call them inexperienced – consumers coming to the table all the time. Some of these consumers are in this category situationally, like college students for example, and others are just frugal, but providing a significant bang for a not insignificant buck is the way to win these hearts and minds, and they can be a loyal bunch. It’s worth noting that this isn’t a gender specific category – both men and women find themselves here – it’s more about consumption habits than it is what they’ve got between their legs.

Retirement Ruff Riders

Grandpa’s off the clock, his joints hurt, and moving around sucks – what do you think he’s doing? As Lauren Yoshiko pointed out in her Sticky Bits newsletter (formerly the Broccoli Report) a few weeks back, there is a surprising lack of products currently focused on a demographic that has nothing if not time to chill. In addition to the brands Lauren mentioned, a company like Old Pal stands out to me as one that seems to have a good infrastructure to capitalize on a lucrative market, with seemingly minimal risk attached, but there are far more ways for people to consume than just flower, and I would imagine this market can be won over with a good selection of edibles. Maybe some sugar cookies, or crumpets. I might have said Grandpa up front, but this goes for Grandma, too. I doubt the old folks frequent the 3.5g blunts, but best believe they’re smoking. Among other things… have you seen the STD rates at retirement homes? That’s probably best left for another time.

Bad Decision Bachelor’s

Finally, the category I’ve created to self-identify with. The Bad Decision Bachelor (or Bachelorette, where necessary) is the type of no-real-responsibility-having arrested-development-ass fool who can afford to spend far too much of his disposable income on toys and drugs because he doesn’t have any alimony or child support payments, or any real responsibilities – or supervision. This guy makes bad decisions regularly, spends way too much time online, and is way over-indexing spending on cannabis, especially when compared to all the other things he should be budgeting in. While similar to the heady boy in the pursuit of quality, this persona also has a love of new formats, and regularly wastes money on new product categories just to try them. They typically have a very specific way to consume, and even in the face of all other options will revert back to their comfort zone. Also known as the ‘Stoned At Home’ bunch, this base consumes almost compulsively. 

Alright – this should be enough to get you started – each of these personas is its own invisible army, waiting to propel your brand to Valhalla. There’s obviously an endless amount of people consuming from all different walks of life, and I just chose a few at random to represent as many as possible, but do these not make more sense? There’s of course more nuance, and sub personas within each of these, sure, but this is a 101 course. Feel free to keep the conversation going in the comments, or pitch some other consumers you’d like to explain to all the people that seem to think that the lady passively consuming on weekends is their meal ticket. I’ll be betting on the kids that actually smoke.

And before I go, I want to be clear here that I’m not mad at the Wine Moms – in fact, I love you all – I just don’t think you’re the best target market for pot. You’ve got responsibilities and shit – brands can focus on those that don’t, as they probably consume a lot more. They’ve got way more time to get lost in the products, and while we don’t want to breed addiction, we do want people to consume like, a lot, right?

The post Invisible Armies: If You Want To Win, Stop Targeting Non-Consumers appeared first on High Times.

Senior Citizens Lead the Charge in Cannabis Consumption

Summary: Senior citizens have emerged as the fastest-growing demographic of cannabis users, reflecting a broader societal acceptance of marijuana and the aging of the baby boomer generation.

Cannabis: Not Just for the Young, Seniors Citizens Join the Trend

Seniors are rapidly becoming the leading demographic in cannabis consumption. From 2009 to 2019, the percentage of Americans over 65 who have used marijuana almost tripled, rising from 11% to 32%. In 2019, over half of those aged 60-64 reported using cannabis, marking a significant increase. By 2021, cannabis consumption among older adults reached 35%, although the pandemic might have influenced these figures.

This trend not only indicates a wider societal acceptance of marijuana, with 23 states now allowing its recreational use, but also highlights the generational shift with the aging baby boomers. For many older Americans, cannabis is less about recreation and more about therapeutic benefits such as sleep, pain relief, and relaxation. Daniel Uthe, a 61-year-old Wisconsin farmer, emphasized the importance of cannabis in managing pain, noting that without it, many activities would be too painful to undertake.

For sleep, relaxation and calming down

Despite the growing numbers, senior citizens still lag behind younger demographics in regular cannabis use. Only 5% of those over 65 and 10% of the 60-64 age group reported using marijuana in the past month in 2021, compared to 24% of adults aged 25 and under. However, the actual numbers might be higher, as some older users might be hesitant to admit their consumption in surveys.

The increasing acceptance of cannabis among senior citizens aligns them with the national trend. Recent data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that half or more adults in every age group have tried marijuana at least once. The Gallup poll also found that for the first time, half of Americans have tried marijuana.

Young adults, having grown up in a more cannabis-friendly environment, are at the forefront of this trend. Meanwhile, older generations, especially the silent generation (born between 1928 and 1945), have been more resistant to cannabis, having grown up before its widespread recreational use.

Even one month is enough…

The senior citizens generation, however, has a different perspective. Many of them were young adults in the 1970s, a period marked by high marijuana use. With the advent of recreational dispensaries offering a more mainstream and accessible way to purchase cannabis, many baby boomers have returned to or started using cannabis. Dispensaries now cater to this older demographic, offering products that are more aligned with their needs, such as edibles, tinctures, and salves.

The cannabis industry has noticed that older users have distinct preferences. They tend to opt for set doses, prefer lower doses, and prioritize safety and potency. Despite economic challenges, seniors have remained consistent cannabis consumers, with their spending on cannabis products only dipping slightly compared to younger users.

Source: 420 Intel

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AI Disclaimer: This news update was created using a AI tools. PsychePen is an AI author who is constantly improving. We appreciate your kindness and understanding as PsychePen continues to learn and develop. Please note that the provided information is derived from various sources and should not be considered as legal, financial, or medical advice.

Should you avoid taking these pain killers?

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Duluth, Minnesota Bans Pot Smoking in Public Parks

Officials in Duluth, Minnesota this week approved an ordinance that will ban smoking marijuana in all city parks.

The passage of the measure came about two weeks after a new state law allowing recreational cannabis use for adults aged 21 and older took effect on August 1.

Minnesota Public Radio reports that the newly passed ordinance “also bans vaping marijuana, and extends a ban on smoking tobacco to all city parks,” although consuming “cannabis in other forms, such as gummies, is still allowed.”

Previously, according to MPR, smoking pot “was only forbidden in select parks.”

The ordinance was approved by the Duluth City Council on Monday by a vote of 8-1.

“I want to protect clean air for folks in our public spaces and our parks,” said Duluth City Council Vice President Roz Randorf, as quoted by Minnesota Public Radio. “When you’re smoking in public and in parks and in buildings, we really have to think of those folks that are around us that could have health conditions, pre-existing conditions, our youth.”

The lone councilmember to vote against the proposal was Azrin Awal.

“We’ve heard [from] constituents, that they’re worried about smoking taking place in sidewalks. But if they’re not able to go into a public facility, if they can’t smoke in their multifamily or public building, and they can’t go into a public park, what’s left is our sidewalks and streets … where there’s more traffic,” Awal said at Monday’s meeting, according to Minnesota Public Radio.

According to MPR, the city council “tabled an amendment to reduce the maximum $300 fine for violating the ban, but appeared close to agreeing to a new fee structure.”

Minnesota became the 23rd state to legalize adult-use cannabis in May, when Democratic Gov. Tim Walz signed a bill into law. 

“We’ve known for too long that prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked. By legalizing adult-use cannabis, we’re expanding our economy, creating jobs, and regulating the industry to keep Minnesotans safe,” Walz said after signing the legislation. “Legalizing adult-use cannabis and expunging or resentencing cannabis convictions will strengthen communities. This is the right move for Minnesota.”

Walz’s lieutenant governor, Peggy Flanagan, echoed those sentiments.

“Legalizing adult-use cannabis is about keeping our communities safe, advancing justice for Minnesotans, and investing in a strong economic future,” said Flanagan. “Prohibiting the use of cannabis hasn’t worked and has disproportionately harmed communities of color across the state. By expunging nonviolent cannabis convictions, we are removing the barriers that prevent thousands of Minnesotans from fully returning to work, to their communities, and to their lives. This is how we make safer communities.”

Although the law officially took effect on August 1, empowering adults to use and possess cannabis, sales are not expected to begin until sometime next year. 

An analysis prepared by the nationally recognized cannabis firm Vicente LLP suggested that recreational cannabis sales in Minnesota could generate as much as $1.5 billion annually by 2029.

“Minnesota stands to attract a significant amount of tourist traffic from neighboring states like Iowa and North Dakota, as consumers venture to purchase Minnesota’s cannabis products,” said Brian Vicente, a founding partner at the firm.

New York, which legalized recreational cannabis for adults in 2022, also adopted a measure banning the smoking of pot in state-owned parks and beaches.

“Smoking is a dangerous habit that affects not only the smoker but everyone around them, including families and children enjoying our state’s great public places,” New York Gov. Kathy Hochul said after signing the legislation into law last summer. “I’m proud to sign this legislation that will protect New Yorkers’ health and help reduce litter in public parks and beaches across the state.”

The post Duluth, Minnesota Bans Pot Smoking in Public Parks appeared first on High Times.

50% of Americans Have Experienced Cannabis Says Gallup Poll

Summary: A recent Gallup poll reveals that half of the Americans have tried cannabis at some point in their lives. This number has seen an increase from the previous years, with more people now consuming cannabis than cigarettes. The poll also highlighted concerns about the effects of cannabis on young adults and teenagers.

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Half of Americans Admit to Trying Cannabis, Says Gallup Poll

According to the latest Gallup poll, 50% of Americans have admitted to trying cannabis. This number surpasses those who smoke cigarettes, with 17% of Americans being regular cannabis consumers. However, there is a significant concern among three-quarters of the population about the effects of cannabis on young adults and teenagers.

The recent data shows an increase from the past years. Between 2017 and 2019, only 45% of Americans had tried cannabis. The number of regular cannabis consumers has also seen a slight increase from the 16% recorded a year ago. This poll is a part of Gallup’s annual Consumption Habits survey, which was conducted from July 3 to 27.

Gallup began asking Americans about their cannabis consumption habits in 2013, with 7% admitting to it. However, they have been tracking these trends since 1969. From 1969 to 1977, the number of Americans consuming cannabis jumped from 4% to 24%. By 1985, this number rose to 33% and remained around 40% until 2015, peaking at 44%. From 2015 to 2021, the consumption rate has stayed between 45-49%. During this period, several states have legalized cannabis.

Public support for cannabis legalization has also seen a significant rise. From a mere 12% in favor in 1969, the support has grown to 68% today. However, the poll primarily focuses on smoking, not considering other forms of consumption like edibles, vapes, or concentrates. The consumption rates across different age groups, education levels, and genders are relatively similar, hovering around 50%. Men (54%) are more likely to have tried cannabis than women (44%). Political affiliations also play a role, with Democrats (57%) and Independents (52%) more likely to consume than Republicans (39%).

A majority of Americans are not overly concerned about cannabis’s effects on adults, with only 19% being “very” concerned. However, 75% of Americans express concern about its effects on young adults or teenagers who are regular users. This concern may stem from warnings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about potential negative effects on developing brains.

The poll’s results are significant, indicating a shift in public perception and acceptance of cannabis. With 50% of Americans admitting to trying it, federal legalization might be on the horizon. Some speculate that the Democrats might campaign for full-scale legalization in the 2024 elections, following a pattern similar to Canada’s legalization process.

Source: Cannabis Life Network

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Study Suggests Cannabis Users Have Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes

Researchers at the Tabriz University of Medical Sciences in Iran performed the analysis on “seven studies, containing 11 surveys and 4 cohorts.” According to NORML, which aggregated the analysis, the four cohorts consisted of more than 478,000 subjects.

The meta-analysis revealed that “the odds of developing [type 2 diabetes mellitus] in individuals exposed to cannabis was 0.48 times (95% CI: 0.39 to 0.59) lower than in those without cannabis exposure,” according to the researchers.

The researchers noted that “protective effect of cannabis consumption on the odds of diabetes mellitus type 2 development has been suggested,” although they added that “given the considerable interstudy heterogeneity, the upward trend of cannabis consumption and cannabis legalization is recommended to conduct studies with higher levels of evidence.”

“To our knowledge, our meta-analysis presents the … most up-to-date evidence on the association between cannabis consumption and T2DM,” they wrote, as quoted by NORML. “Given the rising trend of cannabis consumption, and legalization of cannabis consumption there is an increasing need to design prospective longitudinal randomized studies investigating the honest effects of cannabis consumption and providing practical guidelines to manage cannabis usage.” 

Type 2 diabetes, also called type 2 diabetes mellitus and adult-onset diabetes, is a chronic disease “characterized by high levels of sugar in the blood” and is far more common than type 1 diabetes, according to Harvard Medical School. While the disease “used to start almost always in middle- and late-adulthood,” Harvard noted that “more and more children and teens are developing this condition.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 37 million Americans have diabetes, and between 90-95% have type 2 diabetes.

“Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas that acts like a key to let blood sugar into the cells in your body for use as energy. If you have type 2 diabetes, cells don’t respond normally to insulin; this is called insulin resistance,” the CDC explained. “Your pancreas makes more insulin to try to get cells to respond. Eventually your pancreas can’t keep up, and your blood sugar rises, setting the stage for prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar is damaging to the body and can cause other serious health problems, such as heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease.”

A study in 2020 examined how cannabis could help those with hepatitis C steer clear of diabetes. 

“Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a risk factor of insulin resistance, and HCV-infected patients are at a high risk of developing diabetes. In the general population, research has shown the potential benefit of cannabis use for the prevention of diabetes and related metabolic disorders,” the authors of that study explained. “We aimed to test whether cannabis use is associated with a lower risk of diabetes in chronic HCV-infected patients. Chronic HCV-infected patients were selected from the French national, multicenter, observational ANRS CO22 Hepather cohort. Cross-sectional data collected at cohort enrolment were used to assess the association between patients’ clinical and behavioral characteristics and the risk of diabetes.”

Moreover, NORML noted that several “prior observational studies have identified a correlation between cannabis use and lower odds of obesity and adult-onset diabetes, while clinical trial data has shown that the administration of THCV is associated with improved glycemic control in type 2 diabetics,” and that “placebo-controlled trial data published earlier this year reported that the use of plant-derived cannabinoid extracts significantly improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels in diabetic subjects.”

The placebo study, published in February, demonstrated how the two puffs, twice daily of a CBD “sublingual spray…could effectively improve the patient’s lipid profile and glucose tolerance” through an eight-week treatment period.

The post Study Suggests Cannabis Users Have Lower Risk of Type 2 Diabetes appeared first on High Times.

Taking a Break

Many long-term consumers of cannabis develop higher tolerance over time. And with the array of higher potency products on the market today, higher tolerance can also indicate that a person’s endocannabinoid system, a regulatory system that helps control functions like mood, appetite, sleep, sex drive, and more, has gotten a bit lazy. After all, when we are consistently hitting our endocannabinoid receptors with phytocannabinoids (cannabinoids found in the cannabis plant) it may not work as effectively or efficiently. Taking a break from cannabis completely, or reducing the amount of THC one is consuming by changing up products and/or consumption methods, can ensure that the endocannabinoid system is working at its best.

Thinking about taking a break? You’re not alone. According to the Cannabis Consumer Survey from New Frontier Data, 56% of consumers report taking at least sporadic yet intentional breaks from cannabis consumption. And nearly half (49%) have taken a break for a year or longer since they first started consuming. So, let’s dive a little deeper into t-breaks (i.e. tolerance breaks), why they are important, and what to expect if you decide to try it out.

Cannabis is an amazing plant that has so many benefits, from helping with sleep, anxiety, and treating a myriad of health issues, to making everyday life a little more interesting. Our bodies have endocannabinoid receptors that send signals in response to the binding of endocannabinoids. Cannabinoids that come from the cannabis plant, or phytocannabinoids, mimic these chemicals and also bind to our body’s endocannabinoid receptors.

However, when we constantly bombard our receptors with phytocannabinoids through frequent consumption, our tolerance increases, and our own production and functioning of endocannabinoids may be affected. When regular consumers stop using cannabis, they may experience withdrawals. Withdrawal symptoms like trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, and irritability occur because the endocannabinoid system is rebalancing. Symptoms usually last for anywhere between a few days to a few weeks, until the endocannabinoid system can rev up and start working effectively and efficiently again. 

According to the Cannabis Consumer Survey, lowering tolerance was the number one reason that consumers reported taking breaks (34%) but it’s not the only reason. Even infrequent consumers may need to take breaks because of social or environmental reasons. Twenty-five percent of consumers reported taking a break because they were subject to drug testing, and 24% did so due to social obligations. Only 16% reported taking a break because of health concerns. And, if you think pressuring someone in your life to take a break will work, it likely won’t, as only 10% said their break was the result of peer pressure.

The act of taking a break also varies by age and gender. Younger people ages 18-34 were more likely to report taking regular breaks compared to those 55+ (23% vs. 19%), while older people were more likely to report taking sporadic breaks than younger people (40% vs. 36%). This could be because older people are more likely to be using for medical purposes, where complete breaks are not possible. Luckily, even reducing the amount of cannabis you consume can help get your endocannabinoid system back in the game. Women were more likely to say they never take a break compared to men (23% vs. 18%) but this could be because, overall, men consume cannabis more frequently than women, so women may not feel as much need to stop consuming.

Interestingly, those who identify as medical-only consumers were much more likely to report regular breaks compared to those who identify as only recreational consumers (35% vs. 19%). This could be because those who only use cannabis as medicine may only be using when symptoms occur and not otherwise, making their use more sporadic than those who consume for recreational purposes. Indeed, looking at the most common reasons that people report using cannabis (such as relaxation, stress, sleep, anxiety, and pain), 27% of people who use cannabis for sleep more regularly take breaks, and 15% of them do not. However, only 12% of those who shared that they use cannabis for relaxation say that they take breaks, and 26% reported that they never take a break.

Taking a break or reducing cannabis consumption is important for developing a balanced, long-term relationship with the cannabis plant. Cannabis is usually most valuable in older age as medical conditions become more prevalent, and maintaining a healthy and active endocannabinoid system is vital for maintaining good health. Our relationship with cannabis should be a marathon and not a sprint. Regular breaks or reductions in use can stave off mindless habits and contribute to healthier consumption long term.

This article was originally published in the May 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

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Study Finds No Link Between Off-Hours Pot Smoking, Workplace Accidents

Who says stoners are sloppy? 

A new study out of Canada found there was “no difference in workplace injury risk” between those who used cannabis outside the workplace and those who don’t use marijuana at all.

The longitudinal study, conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto and published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health, examined Canadian workers over a two-year period from 2018 until 2020.

“In this longitudinal study, we evaluated the relationship between past-year cannabis use and the risk of workplace injury, differentiating workers who used cannabis before and/or at work (workplace use) from those using outside of work only (non-workplace use),” the authors wrote.

Although “no statistically elevated relationship existed between non-workplace use and workplace injury,” the researchers noted that cannabis use at the workplace “was associated with an almost two-fold increase in the risk of workplace injury.”

“This pattern of findings was seen among workers in both safety-sensitive and non-safety-sensitive jobs,” they wrote.

“Study results bring greater clarity to the question of whether cannabis use increases the risk of experiencing a workplace injury, an issue that the conflicting findings of previous studies have hampered. Findings suggest that, when thinking about the potential occupational safety impacts of a worker’s cannabis use, it is important to consider when that use is taking place,” the authors continued. “More specifically, only use in close temporal proximity to work appears to be a risk factor for workplace injuries, not use away from work. Our findings support Frone’s conceptual model of worker substance use and workplace productivity. Our results are also consistent with at least one previous study of employed adolescents that found workplace substance use (alcohol and cannabis combined) was associated with greater odds of workplace injury, but not general substance use. Another study found workplace cannabis use to be associated with poor work performance, while no relationship was seen for after-work use.”

Additionally, the authors said that their findings “may also explain the source of inconsistencies in prior research on cannabis use and workplace injury.” 

“Whether or not cannabis use was associated with workplace injury in past research was likely a function of the proportion of the sample engaging in workplace use,” they said. “A study including a small proportion of workers engaging in workplace use may have null findings, and a larger proportion may result in a significant positive association. Therefore, assessments of general cannabis use may not lead to appropriate conclusions.”

Whether they’re toking on the job or not, more workers are using cannabis than ever before. A study released in May found positive drug tests for cannabis in the United States had soared to an all-time high.

The Quest Diagnostics Drug Testing Index Analysis showed that a little more than 7% of drug urine samples in 2022 contained cannabis, up from 6.7% the year before.

Keith Ward, Quest Diagnostics General Manager and Vice President for Employer Solutions said, “Our 2022 Quest Diagnostics analysis shows that the overall U.S. workforce positivity rate continued to be at a historically elevated level in 2022, even as much of the nation’s workforce returned to the office post-pandemic,” said Keith Ward, general manager and vice president for employer solutions at Quest Diagnostics. “This historic rise seems to correspond with sharp increases in positivity for marijuana in both pre-employment and post-accident drug tests, suggesting that changing societal attitudes about marijuana may be impacting workplace behaviors and putting colleagues at risk. The increase in amphetamines positivity is also notable, given the addictive potential and health risks associated with this class of drugs.”

The post Study Finds No Link Between Off-Hours Pot Smoking, Workplace Accidents appeared first on High Times.

Colorado’s Cannabis Party Buses Keep Chugging Along

Meet Colorado’s latest cannabis entrepreneurs: bus drivers. 

Earlier this year, the state began doling out licenses to businesses providing 4/20-friendly bus tours. 

The first business to receive such a business, Cannabis Experience, hit the road in early March in Denver.

Local news station Denver7 reported at the time that the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, which issued the license, “believes it may be the first and only licensed mobile marijuana hospitality establishment in the nation.”

The company’s CEO, Sarah Woodson, explained to the station how the business would operate:

“There are several rules guests must follow. Woodson says IDs will be checked, and safe consumption information will be shared before the tour begins. Guests will be allowed to smoke on the bus, but marijuana won’t be sold during the ride. Non-alcoholic beverages and food will also be available for guests to enjoy. As far as tours go, Woodson says there will be a variety of options, including airport pickup and drop-off.”

Riders have to bring their own weed to Cannabis Experience, but if they’re dry, the drivers will bring them to local dispensaries. 

According to the Denver Post, cannabis bus tour companies must comply with a bevy of local regulations.

“Denver requires marijuana buses have a GPS tracking system and ventilation that prevents second-hand smoke from reaching the driver. They are also required to submit pre-planned driving routes as well as timely updates if the routes change. That’s one reason The Cannabis Experience will start by picking up and dropping off airport travelers, as well as two of its tours, at Union Station,” the newspaper reported.

“Because we’re first, there’s going to be a learning curve on how everything is going to work as smoothly as possible,” Woodson told the Denver Post.

Other entrepreneurs have gotten in on the act, seeking licenses from local retailers. 

Local station 9NEWS reported last month that three other businesses “have applied for the city’s new marijuana mobile hospitality license, which allows people to legally smoke weed while riding a bus.”

The station noted that Denver has made such licenses available only to “social equity” applicants who must meet one of the following requirements: “The applicant resided for at least 15 years between 1980 and 2010 in certain neighborhoods”; “The applicant or applicant’s family member was arrested for a marijuana offense, convicted of a marijuana offense, or was subject to a civil asset forfeiture related to a marijuana investigation”; “The applicant’s household income in the previous year was less than 50% of the state median income for that household size.”

While businesses like Cannabis Experience represent the first state-licensed companies of their kind, there have been other unregulated weed-friendly bus tours in Colorado before.

As the Denver Post noted, such businesses began to surface when recreational pot sales began a decade ago.

“In 2018, for example, undercover cops raided local marijuana tour buses and cited many customers and employees for participating in unlawful activities. At the time, ironically, city regulators were considering legalizing the business model,” the Post said. “The conundrum highlighted a gap in Colorado’s then-newly minted marijuana market: Locals and visitors had a plethora of places where they could legally buy products, but nowhere except a private residence they could legally consume.”

The newspaper continued: “That’s why, in 2019, state regulators developed the marijuana hospitality license, which allowed for a new type of business where patrons could smoke, eat or vape cannabis onsite. Hospitality establishments have been slow to get off the ground, however, as municipalities need to opt in to allow them. The first chance cities had to do so was Jan. 1, 2020, but because of the COVID-19 pandemic, few did so immediately. Denver didn’t open applications until November 2021.”

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Study Ranks New York City as Top Cannabis-Consuming City in the World

According to a new study, New York City consumes more cannabis out of any city in the world, at 62.3 metric tons (approximately 137,000 pounds) per year. The study, compiled as the “2023 Cannabis Global Price Index,” was conducted by health information resource CFAH, which collected data on cannabis prices from 140 cities worldwide.

In addition to exploring the highest cannabis-consuming cities in the world, the research explored the cities with the most and least expensive cannabis and the price trajectory for cannabis in the U.S.

Which Cities Consume the Most Cannabis?

CFAH examined the top and bottom cannabis-consuming nations in order to hone in on the study cities, noting the legal status of cannabis in each region. Researchers then chose the final list of 140 cities to display the “best comparison of the global cannabis price.” Prices per gram were obtained through crowdsourced, city-level polls adjusted to the PriceOfWeed dashboard and UNODC World Drug Report.

To track total consumption, CFAH used figures collected from the World Health Organization (WHO), and the U.S. price trajectory figures were calculated through Seasonal AutoRegressive Integrated Moving Average (SARIMA), a model used to account for patterns in data.

New York City has a pretty major lead on other cities when it comes to cannabis consumption. Sydney, Australia ranked second, despite the illegal status of cannabis in the country, at 45.8 metric tons per year, about 17 metric tons less than the Big Apple. Los Angeles ranked third, at 35 metric tons per year, followed by Chicago at 24.9 metric tons and Rome, Italy at 21.9 metric tons per year.

The list ranks the top 20 cities. From sixth to 20th, it includes (in order): Houston, Texas; Toronto, Canada; Tokyo, Japan; Prague, Czech Republic; Vienna, Austria; Hamburg, Germany; Phoenix, Arizona; Montreal, Canada; Melbourne, Australia; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Vancouver, Canada; Uskudar, Turkey; Dublin, Ireland; Denver, Colorado and Annapolis, Canada.

Which Cities Have the Most and Least Expensive Cannabis?

Cannabis is illegal and highly criminalized in Japan, but for people looking to toke up anyway, they’ll have to pay a pretty penny. Tokyo ranked as the city with the most expensive cannabis, at $33.8 per gram. Dublin, Ireland and Tallinn, Estonia followed at $22.50 and $22.10 per gram, respectively. 

Montreal, Canada had the least expensive cannabis according to the study, at just $5.90 per gram. Bangalore, India and Notre Dame, Canada followed, at $6 and $6.20 per gram, respectively.

While it’s a common assumption that legality may mean wider availability, ultimately leading to lower prices, both the most and least expensive cannabis cities were well-balanced when it came to legal or illegal status. The top 10 most expensive cannabis cities include six cities where cannabis is illegal and four where it’s legal. The least expensive cannabis cities vary only slightly, with six cities where cannabis is legal and four where it’s illegal.

Forecasting Future Cannabis Prices in the U.S.

Researchers used SARIMA to project future trends for cannabis prices in the U.S. The time-series forecasting model takes both the trend and seasonality of the data into account — “It combines the autoregressive, integrated, and moving average models with seasonal components to capture the trend, seasonality, and random fluctuations in a time series,” according to the study.

Looking at a CFAH graph of prices over the past 30 years, namely the erratic zigzagging through the decades, it may feel like a shot in the dark to truly predict the price of cannabis in the future. Still, CFAH predicts that the price of cannabis per gram in America could fall to an average of $5.61 per gram by 2030.

Given the trends of several legal cannabis states in the U.S. as of late, it’s perhaps not surprising to expect a continued price drop, especially as the market continues to grow and with the potential of federal legalization to come. 

Regarding New York’s status as the heaviest cannabis consuming state across the globe? Odds are that the city will maintain the title, especially as the recreational market continues to get off the ground. 

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Reclaiming Knowledge with New Rituals

Learning about cannabis for the first time can be daunting. While canna-curious consumers can scour the internet in search of general tips on how to start using cannabis, nothing really beats hands-on guidance from a trusted source. Which is why Lexi Kafkis created New Rituals as an essential resource for new consumers, where she acts as a guide to educate and mentor those who want to try cannabis but aren’t sure where to start.

Kafkis’s experience as a certified cannabis health coach, yoga instructor, as well as freelance creative director and brand strategist, led her to two important realizations. First, that cannabis has been used by ancient cultures across the world for thousands of years, and second, that most of today’s cannabis brands aren’t providing proper guidance that beginners need.

Through offering one-on-one virtual sessions tailored to individual consumers’ needs, as well as occasional in-person wellness classes in Los Angeles, New Rituals helps educate people on how to embrace cannabis and everything the plant has to offer.

Photo credit: Madison Lawler

From Ancient Rituals to Modern Day Wellness

During Kafkis’s yoga teacher training, she was immediately fascinated by evidence of ancient cannabis use. Cannabis is mentioned in sacred Hindu texts known as the Vedas, she says, and cannabis-consuming groups such as Shivites, or holy men who worship Shiva (also sometimes referred to as the Lord of Bhang or Lord of Ganja). Further evidence of cannabis use in places such as Africa, Israel, and China, also opened her mind to its universally praised properties and the long-recognized benefits in plant medicine.

Today we’re seeing the tail end of more than 80 years of prohibition, which Kafkis describes as a “blip” in the grand scheme of human history, compared to the thousands of years that cannabis was once commonly used.

“The plant is everywhere, and it’s been used for thousands and thousands of years, and OK, we had prohibition, [and] a lot of those traditions were erased. We’ve lost a lot of that knowledge,” Kafkis says. “But how do we keep that reverence as we move into commercialization and commodification of this product?”

Kafkis has worked with many brands during the seven years she’s been involved in the industry, but eventually she began to notice a trend. 

“I started to just notice a massive discrepancy between how brands were creating products and speaking to their customers,” she says.

She emphasizes that personally, “THC has been one of my biggest tools and spiritual allies,” but says the advertisement style for high-THC products simply didn’t resonate with her as a consumer.

“There’s still this really like masculine consumer approach to this product that’s very like, you know, high-THC,” she says. “I’d go to conferences and it’s just touting like, the crazy high 30%-plus [THC] concentrates and dabs and hash-infused rolls.”

In response Kafkis shifted her focus to working with CBD brands that align with her passion for plant medicine and wellness instead.

“I really want to see a more feminine approach, and I don’t just mean more women in cannabis, because yes we need that, but  just a softer approach,” she says. “More microdose, more guided experiences, more pairing, like yoga and breathwork that people are already doing behind closed doors.”

Photo credit: Madison Lawler

A New Ritual

Kafkis saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between cannabis of the past and the plant we know today. Her mission is to create a resource for people who are seeing cannabis as accessible for the first time, and provide vital information to consumers who live in states that have recently legalized the plant.

“I feel really passionately about helping people and guiding them to the right product in the right dosage and the right way to use the plant,” she says.

As a certified cannabis health coach, Kafkis assists new consumers on their journey to using cannabis by educating them on the many facets of the herb, such as how cannabis interacts with the human body, determining proper dosage, maintaining their endocannabinoid system, and more, through three different types of sessions.

New Rituals’s “One-Hitter Session” is a one-hour meeting and general introduction to cannabis. It gives Kafkis a chance to assess people’s needs and address any questions or goals they might have, such as recommendations and dosing suggestions.

Second up are the “Sapling Sessions,” which include two 60-minute virtual sessions that lean into a more comprehensive education on plant history and science.

“That [session] really goes into not just finding the right product for you, but really understanding how the cannabis plant works, leaving them with enough resources that they can go and shop for products on their own,” Kafkis explains. “So they’re not always having to rely on recommendations from me or someone else.”

Finally the “Full-Spectrum Sessions” are offered as six one-hour sessions that cover a variety of information. It includes the information shared with previous two session types, but Kafkis takes it a step further by guiding the consumer toward how to maintain their ECS in general, both with cannabis and through other methods.

Photo credit: Madison Lawler

“So we do a whole week on the diet. So what dietary substances help promote the endocannabinoid system,” Kafkis explains. “Breathwork and movement, both [are] things that supplement the endocannabinoid system. So I’ll give them either some breathwork exercises or some movement exercises, whether it be yoga, or just stretching, or maybe they want something a little bit more active.”

For now, consumers can connect with Kafkis through New Rituals’s virtual sessions, with occasional in-person events hosted in Los Angeles. But she is eagerly awaiting what the future holds as more states continue to legalize cannabis, and more consumers begin to see it as a wellness tool.

“I think cannabis is the first step towards a more global acceptance of plant medicine, which I think is so beautiful, and it’s going to only help the society at large,” Kafkis says.

This article was originally published in the May 2023 issue of High Times Magazine.

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