Medical Marijuana

Grandmas, Execs, Athletes: BDS Analytics Consumer Research Upends Pot Stereotypes

A sweeping new report by BDS Analytics finally illustrates who is buying marijuana and for what reasons, with immense implications for topics like women’s health and wide range of industries. These findings come at time where lifting the canna-stigma and continuing to hold the line on cannabis policy reform might be more critical than ever.

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  • May 10, 2017
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A sweeping new report by BDS Analytics finally illustrates who is buying marijuana and for what reasons, with immense implications for topics like women’s health and wide range of industries. These findings come at time where lifting the canna-stigma and continuing to hold the line on cannabis policy reform might be more critical than ever.

Some of the biggest take-aways from the report include:

The cannabis market is a consumer driven market. Consumers in CA and CO are already starting to leave behind the stigmas and acceptance is on the rise:
80% of Rejectors (those who say they would never consider using marijuana themselves) in CO and 70% in CA believe there should be some form of legal marijuana
85% of Rejectors in CO and 81% in CA say they would want an ill loved one to use marijuana if it eased their suffering
Past 6 month consumers are most likely to share information about their consumption with their doctor vs their employer
CA: 38% don’t want employer to know; 59% want doctor to know
CO: 49% don’t want employer to know; 52% want doctor to know

Head of the Consumer Research Division at BDS Analytics Linda Gilbert explained, “Stereotypes of cannabis consumers have historically been largely derogatory, creating social and other stigmas. The changing marketplace today demands strong data illustrating precisely who is consuming cannabis, and for what reasons; who is not and why not. The data shows clearly that the universe of cannabis users defies long-held stereotypes. As this ongoing study moves forward, we believe the data will continue to establish accurate depictions of cannabis users.”


Here are the findings and conclusions of the report:
She is in her 60s, still working as an executive at a tech company, and manages hip pain with a cannabis-infused cookie every morning. He is a 34-year-old urban business owner who uses cannabis to unwind after work, and to help cut back on his nightly drinking. Video-game-obsessed, stoner bros? Hardly. The universe of pot enthusiasts is as diverse as the nation, and in the largest scientific study ever of cannabis consumers, BDS Analytics has finally illustrated the wide range of people who use cannabis, and their reasons for munching cannabis brownies, smoking Blue Dream or applying a THC-infused cream to an aching elbow.

“Everybody in this fast-moving industry is essentially flying blind — developing products and marketing them without truly understanding their customers. And `Know Thy Customer’ is one of the foundations of business,” said BDS Analytics founder and CEO Roy Bingham. “Now, everybody interested in the cannabis consumer can finally know their customers due to this groundbreaking research. The value of these enormous insights is not limited to the cannabis industry. Companies in adjacent industries like alcohol, pharmaceuticals and tobacco also seek to understand how shifting behavior by consumers may impact their businesses.”

Among the findings:

Health Matters  

  • 46 percent of Colorado adults ages 21+ years  have used cannabis during the past six months for health or medical purposes
  • 1 in 5 adults in Colorado and California used cannabis during the past six months specifically to avoid prescription medicines and/or over-the-counter medications

Quality of Life Matters


  • 67 percent of adults ages 21+ who used cannabis in the past six months did so for recreational and social reasons, including alcohol substitution

Tourism Matters

  • Close to half of cannabis consumers in Colorado and California are more likely to choose cannabis-friendly locations for vacations

Sex Matters

  • 36 percent of women who have used cannabis in the past 6 months say it improved sexual experiences

Brand Trust Matters

  • Local, responsible and small are the most important attributes for brands

“After more than six months of work, including focus groups and in-depth surveys, we are beginning to understand the flourishing diversity of ways in which consumers engage with cannabis,” said Linda Gilbert, a Fortune 500 consumer research veteran who leads BDS Analytics’ Consumer Research division. “Many consumers are using cannabis for health and quality of life purposes, from pain relief to better sleep, and for some, better sex.”

Linda Gilbert added, “Everyone seeking to understand the impact of legal cannabis — and that includes policymakers — needs reliable data to inform decision-making. Its important to get these decisions right because it affects public health and safety. The BDS Analytics consumer research is invaluable not just for industry stakeholders; it is vital, too, for lawmakers and regulators at all levels of government who wrestle with issues related to cannabis legalization.”
About BDS Analytics

Relying upon powerful technologies, partnerships with cannabis companies and a team of data veterans, BDS Analytics provides the cannabis industry with the most precise, reliable and sweeping data analysis in the marketplace. For most companies competing in the blossoming world of commercial cannabis, BDS Analytics’ GreenEdge™ service offers vital business information — essential intelligence for marketplace success.

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