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High Times! We researched Cannabis in Canada and found this.

Updated: Sep 18


Source: Unsplash


How would brands and people talk about cannabis where you’re at? Depending on where you are in the world and what laws there are (or aren’t), the tone will vary. A quick search on Google for ‘cannabis’ presents us with a news feed with headlines occupying the whole spectrum from supportive to strongly against cannabis use:

Last month, we researched Recreational Cannabis in Canada- a country where it’s legal to use cannabis both recreationally and medicinally. 


Our cultural researchers studied over 4.4 million consumer searches from Canada over the past year, analysing it for key themes in cannabis conversations, and over 7500 unique social media data points. 


Here’s what we found: 


The Cannabis Consumer Profile


If we were to pigeon-hole these consumers into a persona type, it might be that of a dreamy, calm idealist. Analysis from our Cultural AI revealed that the dominant characteristics of self-identified cannabis users were introspection (32%); ambivalence (indecisive, non-committal) (24%); idealism (24%); and sereneness (20%).



Sentiment analysis of social data

These guys also like keeping things sunny and optimistic. We saw that the social media posts of self-identified cannabis users were overwhelmingly positive: positive posts made up 73.5% of all posts. Posts with a neutral tone comprised 13.4% of the total; and only 13.1% of posts were negative.


What are the top post categories of Cannabis Consumers?


The most popular categories among self-identified cannabis users were health and fitness (32.6%); society (18.9%); and art and entertainment (17.6%). This was followed by food and drink (13.7%); style and fashion (9.0%); and sports (8.2%). 


This low score on style and fashion related posts stood out as particularly interesting. On social media platforms such as Instagram where there lies a strong undercurrent of posting for validation, posts showing style and fashion are surefire ways to get likes and comments. Due to the high social capital this post genre possesses,  such posts would ordinarily be staples for social media users. 


Yet, it seems like the Cannabis community thinks otherwise. 


As the second lowest category, this possibly suggests to us that cannabis consumers hold a different approach to social media, with a different use case for the platforms. There seems to be a focus on holistic wellness instead - with health and fitness as the top category. 

What are Cannabis Consumers’ favourite topics of discussion?


Examining the top topics discussed by Cannabis consumers, we see that there is no shying away from more ‘private’ topics, nor the touchy ones: The topmost discussed topics were sexuality (23.2%), racism (23.2%), smoking addictions (9.5%), and disorders (9.5%). 


These suggest a consumer that is socially aware and open to engaging in a wide range of topics, whether they’re difficult chats to have  or not. 


We also see that these consumers have a wide range of interests - Cannabis consumers aren’t homogeneously stay-at-home couch potatoes in line with the ‘stoner’ trope. We see that following the top 4 topics were conversations on thrillers (6.3%), mountain bikes (6.3%), and baked goods (also 6.3%) - a range of topics from entertainment, to sport, to domestic activities. 

What does this mean for brands?

Photo by Pharma Hemp Complex on Unsplash


Our analysis of the personality profiles, sentiment levels, topics and categories of Cannabis Consumers show us some key ways brands could follow to better communicate with customers. 


First of all, the Cannabis consumers like upbeat content. Brands need to employ a positive tone and also an aesthetic that signals this lightheartedness in order to cater to consumers in this group.


They are also a socially conscious bunch, and are open to ‘woke’ topics. Key topics for brands to engage in would be that of mental health, self-care and wellness - exploring how they may weave their products into such narratives may enable them to build greater rapport with the cannabis consumer. 


For the full report, or to find out more about what research we do, email anurag.banerjee@quilt.ai!


If you liked this, check out:

Food for Thought: Looking differently at food photography

Walking down the High-street: Streetwear in the 2020s

How did Crocs become cool?


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