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New Report: What Women Want In Cannabis…

Research from Headset reveals some key shopping trends among female cannabis consumers.


4 min read

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If there was an election in cannabis, women would vote for health and wellness products over anything else. They also prefer flower and vape pens to prerolls and capsules. 

These are just some of the findings in Headset’s Cannabis Data Intelligence, which provides insight into the year-over-year differences between the sexes and their cannabis shopping patterns.

While women may not consume as much cannabis as men, they make up an important one-third of the cannabis market. And if businesses want to capture women buyers, it’s worth taking a look at not only what they buy, but why they buy it.

Headset’s Cannabis Market Intelligence confirms what we all know —that men and women have their own motives, preferences, rationales, and considerations when it comes to shopping for cannabis products. 

Related: Women Are Disappearing From the Cannabis Industry. Why?

Here are some trends worth noting. 

It’s all about flower and vapes

At the top of the female “gotta-have-it” list are flower and vapor pens. Interestingly, those are the top two for men, as well, albeit men buy more of these than women. In flower, men hold 56% of the category share. Women hold 44%. Men edge women out by a little more than a percent with vapor pens. Men hold 52% of the category share; women are at 48%.

*Cannabis Categories Market Share – Male and Female

Edibles and topicals are hot

Where women’s tastes start to differ is with edibles, topicals, and tinctures, and sublinguals. They’ll fill their carts with these before concentrates (which men love, by the way). Women account for 58 percent of the edible category share while men make up 42 percent. For tinctures and sublinguals, women make up 64 percent of the category. Moreover, topical numbers —while a small percentage of overall sales— skew the most female, making up 68 percent of sales.

Experts think women are increasingly gravitating to the edibles, topicals, and tinctures, and sublinguals because they are becoming more concerned about their health and wellness. It’s not about getting high. Women — especially those in their 40s and 50s—are using lower-dose cannabis to address concerns such as sleep, anxiety and sexual pleasure.

Related: Mary Jane: How the Cannabis Industry Can Win Women Over

This theory is backed up by spending data. From 2017 to 2018 the amount of money spent on concentrates dropped 15% for women. Pre-roll spending dropped 18 percent during the same time period. Vapor pens spending increased19%, but the real increase came with tinctures and sublinguals and topicals. From 2017 to 2018, tinctures and sublinguals spending skyrocketed 42 perfect. Topical sales were even better than that, increasing 47%.

Wellness reigns supreme

If you look at specific products women bought in 2018, the eye toward wellness is evident. Women over-indexed for the popular Humboldt Apothecary 3:1 Calm CBD Tincture, which contains 3 mg of CBD for every 1 mg of THC. Women also purchased Papa and Barkley’s 3:1 Releaf Balm, meant to target areas of muscle pain and inflammation. It’s notable that these two products are marketed for their healing and calming effects.

Related: Cannabis Offers Battered Pro Athletes Both Hope and Healing

But women also over-indexed for Milk Chocolate Blueberry Terra Bites by Kiva, which contain 5 mg of THC per bite. Despite the stereotype, there’s no real science proving women crave chocolate more than men. They just admit to it more.

Cannabusinesses are already taking notice of women shoppers. A perfect example is Colorado-based become. The company offers a line of vapor pens scientifically formulated for women, by women. There are three options — Elevated for those needing energy, Mellow for relaxation and Balanced for focusing on what matters. Females have already over-indexed with become products in 2019.

In the end, while no single product or category is exclusive to one sex, it seems more women are engaging in some of the more nuanced methods of cannabis consumption, especially with low-dose cannabis products.


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