A new comprehensive survey found many consumers still need help understanding basic cannabis concepts like THC and alternative delivery methods.
Despite various efforts by numerous companies big and small, education remains the biggest obstacle in the cannabis industry, a new survey conducted by Oasis Intelligence found. The firm’s research showed the majority of legal consumers still lack foundational knowledge about marijuana’s effects, risks, and benefits. One explanation? The number one resource customers use when seeking out information about cannabis and potential products is their friends.
The survey places stark contrast between the conversations occurring inside cannabis spaces and how people discuss marijuana at home.
“We inside the industry have a real advantage when it comes to understanding the plant from a scientific, regulation and usage perspective that is generally a requirement for those in the space,” Oasis Intelligence co-founder Laura Albers told The Fresh Toast. “However, when it comes to the average consumer, we see the needs for education are not about more advanced topics that the industry may prioritize—think terpenes, minor cannabinoids gaining popularity or even the endocannabinoid system.”
According to the Oasis study, over 70% of people are unfamiliar with terms like the “entourage effect” and “endocannabinoid system.” Instead, Albers said, many are still grasping the basics. Subjects that most interest consumers include different available products, CBD:THC ratios, and alternative consumption methods. A significant portion of consumers still seek more understanding around tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC.
Put simply, many customers still require education in Cannabis 101. The good news is that customers prefer to learn while visiting dispensaries and view budtenders as indispensable assets. That isn’t what always happens, though. Most people find the majority of information through Google searches, cannabis websites, and online video platforms like YouTube. But friends remain the biggest marijuana resource, as 43% of people rely on social circles to keep them informed.
“Cannabis is a unique category where previous personal experience counts tremendously,” Albers said. “It’s a relatively new shopping experience for the masses and the stories of taking too much of an edible can make a person less confident about how exactly to engage with cannabis.”
The Oasis Intelligence report surveyed more than 20,000 current and prospective customers across every states, representing one of the most comprehensive profiles of modern cannabis consumers to date. The results indicate that the majority of modern consumers support many social justice initiatives, including legalization, expungement for marijuana-related crimes, and social equity programs that invest in communities disproportionately affected by the War on Drugs.
But the survey shows education is still essential in determining purchasing behavior by consumers. While the industry prides itself on cutting-edge research and deeper knowledge about the cannabis plant, many of the people these businesses serve still need help with the fundamentals.
“Best advice is to begin at the beginning and while messaging can, and should, expand into details for the more curious set, continue to beat the drum of Cannabis 101,” Albers said. “We know that consumers are going to online search and YouTube for video content as the first line of personal research so ensuring strong SEO and creating more video info-tainment will help enormously.”