According to new data from Vivintel, around one in nine Canadians with a mental health condition say they use cannabis to help treat it. After collaborating with cannabis consumer research firm Strainprint and using its medical user tracking app to survey over 5,000 Canadians, Vivintel found that treating a mental health condition is one of the top two drivers for folks interested in trying cannabis, second only to treating physical pain.
Mental Health Conditions Going Up
Between the pandemic-that-never-ends, economic insecurity, and doom-scrolling through our newsfeeds, it’s no surprise that reported mental health conditions have increased since 2019, especially among those under 35. This demographic reported a 40% increase in their mental distress and now more than 31% of Canadians say they have some form of mental health condition.
Vivintel says, “While the number of Canadians using cannabis for health and wellness reasons ticked up slightly from 2019 to 2021 compared to all cannabis users, the increase is being driven by Canadians using cannabis to treat a mental health condition.”
The firm found that all groups of cannabis users believed that cannabis was effective to treat their mental health. Nearly 100% of folks that have been using cannabis for more than six years (96%), 89% of novices, and 86% of folks that have been using it for one to five years, all agree that cannabis has positive benefits.
Men, who have traditionally been less likely to seek medical help for mental health, were found to be slightly more frequent users for mental health. Similarly, young people, BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour), and LGBTQ+ people are also 30% more likely than white, straight Canadians to use cannabis for mental health. Only 20% of them, however, reported using designated medical cannabis, instead deciding to purchase from legal recreational sources.
Regionally, users for mental health in BC are usually women under 50 with a high household income, and in Ontario, they skew between 35 and 49, but Quebec has less frequent users with lower incomes than the national average. According to Vivintel, both Ontario and the Prairie provinces over-index when it comes to potential mental health cannabis users.
While it may be prohibited to discuss potential health benefits with customers, those that use cannabis to help with their mental health represent a growing segment of consumers that are looking to the cannabis industry for comfort. How can your store provide that to them?