MRI-Simmons Study Reveals Over One Quarter of Cannabis Consumers in the US are aged 50+

Nearly 17 million ‘CannaBoomers’ turning to Cannabis for physical and mental health benefits

NEW YORK, April 20, 2021 -- 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 showed that 26% of Americans consume cannabis in some form, representing an overall growth of 15% since 2019. Among all adults 61% said they support legalization of marijuana. The study also revealed that 26% of cannabis consumers (nearly 17 million Americans) are age 50 or older, and these ‘CannaBoomers’ consume cannabis for a variety of physical and mental health benefits.

Cannabis Consumers at a Glance

While they still skew young, cannabis consumers are looking more and more like the rest of America. They are evenly split in gender, have a median age of 39, and have a median household income that is slightly higher than the average American ($80K). Over one quarter of cannabis consumers are aged 50 or higher. These ‘CannaBoomers’ span portions of Gen X and the Baby Boomers.


Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2021
(Vertical %)

 

Age

Cannabis Consumers

18-24

12%

25-34

28%

35-44

25%

45-49

9%

50-54

9%

55-64

8%

65+

9%

Cannabis Consumption by Type

While the majority of the ‘CannaBoomers’ segment reported consuming marijuana in the past year, when compared to the average cannabis consumer they are 48% more likely to only be using CBD products.

Which [forms of Cannabis] have you consumed or used in the last 12 months?
Vertical % (Index to avg cannabis consumer)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2021

Cannabis
Consumers
Age 50+

Marijuana Only

42% (114)

CBD Only

31% (148)

Both Marijuana and CBD

27% (64)

Reasons for Consumption

When it comes to consumption, ‘CannaBoomers’ use cannabis to feel relaxed and meditative, and to release both stress and pain. Marijuana consumers age 50+ seek creativity and anxiety reduction, while CBD consumers age 50+ want to feel focused and use cannabis as an anti-inflammatory.


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

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2021

Marijuana
Consumers
Age 50+

CBD
Consumers
Age 50+

Relaxed/Calming

82%

63%

Meditative

35%

22%

Creative

33%

13%

Heightened Senses

30%

10%

Focused

30%

21%


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

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2021

Marijuana
Consumers
Age 50+

CBD
Consumers
Age 50+

Stress Relieving

68%

48%

Pain Relieving

60%

67%

Anxiety Reducing

55%

38%

Sleep Inducing

53%

41%

Antidepressant

39%

24%

Anti-inflammatory

28%

42%

Consumption Attitudes

‘CannaBoomers’ have positive feelings towards cannabis use and its benefits. This segment considers cannabis a wellness tool, and a favorite way to relax. They also consider cannabis to be a healthier option than alcohol and reported cutting back on alcohol in favor of cannabis.


How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?
(% Any agree)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2021

Cannabis
Consumers
Age 50+

I feel cannabis is a healthier option than alcohol

94%

I trust the quality of the cannabis products I consume

93%

When it comes to cannabis, I understand the differences between THC and CBD

91%

I feel safe purchasing cannabis

89%

For me, the benefits of cannabis outweigh any negative health concerns

89%

I use cannabis as a wellness tool

85%

Cannabis usage is widely accepted in my friend group

80%

Consuming cannabis is one of my favorite ways to relax

77%

Using cannabis is part of my healthy lifestyle

72%

I’ve cut back on prescription / over-the-counter medication in favor of cannabis

65%

I’ve cut back on alcohol in favor of cannabis

63%

Product Use and Interest

The ‘CannaBoomers’ segment is actively trying or interested in trying a variety of cannabis/CBD infused products. In fact, 42% of this segment reported having tried cannabis/CBD infused foods like chocolates or gummies, while 38% are interested in trying them. Other popular cannabis/CBD infused product interests include tea (52%), coffee (48%), soft drinks (45%), and skin care products (42%).

Which of the following cannabis / CBD infused products have you tried, and which would you be interested in trying?
(Vertical %)

Source: MRI-Simmons National Cannabis Study, 2021

Cannabis
Consumers
Age 50+

(have tried)

Cannabis
Consumers
Age 50+

(want to try)

Cannabis/CBD infused tea

12%

52%

Cannabis/CBD infused coffee

8%

48%

Cannabis/CBD infused soft drinks

12%

45%

CBD infused skin care products (lotions, body wash/bath bombs, face masks, etc.)

19%

42%

Cannabis/CBD infused food (chocolates, gummies, ice cream, honey, etc.)

42%

38%

Cannabis/CBD infused beer or cocktails

7%

36%

Cannabis/CBD infused alcohol/liquor (vodka, tequila, etc.)

9%

36%

CBD infused bedding (sheets, pillowcases, blankets, etc.)

6%

35%

CBD infused beauty products (make-up, lip-gloss, hair care, etc.)

11%

34%

Cannabis/CBD infused dog treats

8%

28%

“The appeal of cannabis is broad and growing,” said Karen Ramspacher, MRI’s SVP of Innovation and Insights. “When we think cannabis consumers, we think young and hip. While this is true, there is an over-50 segment that has more buying power than their younger counterparts and have a clear interest in a wide array of current and new cannabis products. Product creators and marketers need to cater to these ‘CannaBoomers’ to drive revenue today.”

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 2021 study was conducted using a nationally representative online sample of 4,752 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/our-data/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