25 Million Americans Used Cannabis in the Last 6 Months Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

MRI-Simmons’ National Cannabis Study reveals ‘COVID Cannabis Consumers’ turning to Marijuana, CBD, or both for mental and physical benefits

NEW YORK, October 28, 2020 -- MRI-Simmons, the essential consumer truth set, today announced findings from its National Cannabis Study, which captures the full spectrum of cannabis use across the US. Among its many findings, the study revealed that 10% of all US adults – 25 million people – reported that they used cannabis in the past six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also revealed that these Americans turn to cannabis in a variety of forms, with 55% consuming only marijuana, 34% consuming only CBD, and 11% consuming both.


Profiling the COVID Cannabis Consumer

These ‘COVID Cannabis Consumers’ skew heavily male (64%), have a median age of 35, and are 75% more likely than the average adult to be parents with children in the household. In addition, they are educated and more likely to be multicultural.

Demographics

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2020

Total US Adults 18+

General
 Cannabis Consumers

COVID Cannabis Consumers

Median Age

47

37

35

Male

48%

59%

64%

Female

52%

41%

36%

Parents with children in household

29%

41%

50%

Median Household Income

$76k

$85k

$101k

African-American

13%

14%

16%

Asian

4%

5%

6%

Hispanic

16%

21%

23%

Bachelor’s Degree

20%

24%

31%

Post Graduate Degree

12%

15%

22%


Why They Consume

The top mental and physical benefits of cannabis for these COVID cannabis consumers are much like those of the general consumers, however, they are more likely to seek physical effects around sports recovery and medical benefits like anti-seizure & anti-spasmodic relief. 

Which of the following feelings do you seek when you consume / use cannabis? (Vertical %)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2020

General
 Cannabis Consumers

COVID Cannabis Consumers

Relaxed / Calming

65%

53%

Creative

41%

45%

Focused

40%

44%

Meditative

39%

42%

Confident

31%

40%

Sensual / Sexual

31%

38%

Energized

30%

36%

Talkative / Social

32%

35%

Heightened Senses

32%

34%

Temporary Escape

33%

33%

Euphoric

31%

31%

Athletic / Active

22%

30%

Out Of It

18%

25%

 

Which of the following effects or benefits do you personally seek out when you consume / use cannabis?
(Vertical %)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2020

General
Cannabis Consumers

COVID Cannabis Consumers

Stress Relieving

62%

53%

Pain Relieving

59%

52%

Sleep Inducing

55%

51%

Anxiety Reducing

56%

50%

Antidepressant

46%

45%

Anti-Inflammatory

37%

40%

Appetite Enhancement

33%

36%

Anti-Nausea

32%

35%

Anti-Seizure

22%

32%

Anti-Spasmodic

20%

29%

Consumption Trends

Cannabis consumption has increased 50% over the past two years, from 16% (38M) in 2018, to 24% (61M) in 2020. Of consumers today, 33% consume both, 43% consume Marijuana only, and 25% consume CBD only, a segment that has grown 14% in the past two years.

To understand cannabis in the context of other behaviors, respondents were asked how often they use caffeine, vitamins, herbal supplements, and cannabis. Between 2018 and 2020, consumption of cannabis, herbal supplements and vitamins grew, while consumption of caffeine and alcohol continue to decline.                             

Which of the following forms of cannabis have you personally consumed or used in the last 12 months? (Vertical %)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2019-2020

2019

2020

% Change YoY

CBD Only

22%

25%

+14%

Marijuana Only

42%

43%

+2%

Both CBD and Marijuana

36%

33%

-8%

 

Products Consumed Last 12 Months
(Vertical %)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2018-2020

2018

2019

2020

2 year
% Change

Cannabis

16%

22%

24%

+50%

Herbal Supplements

36%

43%

43%

+19%

Vitamins

74%

76%

77%

+4%

Alcohol

67%

65%

61%

-9%

Caffeine

90%

87%

85%

-6%

Attitudes on Legalization

Six in 10 Americans believe cannabis should be legal, holding steady from 2019. Supporters skew younger, with a median age of 44. Thirty-four percent fall into the 18-34 age group. Non-supporters are older, with a median age of 54, and over half (56%) fall into the 50+ age group. Over the past two years, there seems to be less uncertainty on the issue, with the number of people who reported they ‘don’t know’ decreasing by 16%.

Should cannabis / marijuana be legal or not?
(Vertical %)


Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2018-2020

2018

2019

2020

2 year
% Change

Legal

56%

58%

58%

+4%

Not legal

25%

24%

26%

+4%

I don’t know

19%

18%

16%

-16%

“Cannabis consumption is edging ever upward and the COVID pandemic has led Americans to seek cannabis as one of the new ways to relax and reduce stress.” said Karen Ramspacher, SVP of Innovation and Insights at MRI-Simmons. “As growth rises and legalization steadies, the question companies should be asking themselves is, how does my company play into the growing cannabis wave.”

About The National Cannabis Study

The MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study cuts through the hype to provide a clear, unbiased view of cannabis as a cultural force and marketplace juggernaut. It provides insights that can directly guide both marketing actions and public policy, capturing the full range of opinions and desires on this potentially polarizing topic. The 2020 study was conducted using a nationally representative online sample of over 5,000 respondents. The resulting dataset was fused to MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer for deep profiling purposes and nationwide universe estimates. To learn more visit: mrisimmons.com/solutions/focus-studies/national-cannabis-study/

About MRI-Simmons

MRI-Simmons is the leading provider of insights on the American consumer. With thousands of attitudinal and behavioral data points, gathered through ongoing surveys and passive measurement, MRI-Simmons empowers advertisers, agencies and media companies with deeper insights into the “why” behind consumer behavior.

MRI-Simmons combines best-practice survey methodologies with an innovative technology platform and advanced data visualizations. MRI’s Survey of the American Consumer® is the industry standard for magazine audience ratings. In parallel, the company has been at the forefront of innovation, significantly accelerating the time to insights for brand builders, strategists, planners and sales regardless of their data acumen.

Launched as a joint venture in 2019, MRI-Simmons is co-owned by GfK and SymphonyAI Group, with GfK as the majority partner. To learn more, visit mrisimmons.com, or follow @MRISimmons on Twitter.


Media Contact

Matt Cumello
Senior Director, Marketing
press.ms@mrisimmons.com