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25 Million Americans Used Cannabis in the Last 6 Months Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Table 1 -- cannabis demographics -- 10-28-20

MRI-S -- Tables 2 and 3 -- 10-28-20

Tables 4 and 5 -- cannabis -- 10-28-20

MRI-Simmons’ National Cannabis Study reveals ‘COVID Cannabis Consumers’ turning to Marijuana, CBD, or both for mental and physical benefits

NEW YORK, NY, UNITED STATES, October 28, 2020 / -- 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 revealed that 10% of all US adults – 25 million people – reported that they used cannabis in the past six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The study also revealed that these Americans turn to cannabis in a variety of forms, with 55% consuming only marijuana, 34% consuming only CBD, and 11% consuming both.

Profiling the COVID Cannabis Consumer

These ‘COVID Cannabis Consumers’ skew heavily male (64%), have a median age of 35, and are 75% more likely than the average adult to be parents with children in the household. In addition, they are educated and more likely to be multicultural. (See Table 1.)

Why They Consume

The top mental and physical benefits of cannabis for these COVID cannabis consumers are much like that of the general consumers, however, they are more likely to seek feelings of confidence, sensuality, and energy. They are also more likely to seek physical effects around sports recovery and medical benefits like anti-seizure & anti-spasmodic relief. (See Tables 2 and 3.)

Consumption Trends

Cannabis consumption has increased 50% over the past two years, from 16% (38M) in 2018, to 24% (61M) in 2020. Of consumers today, 33% consume both, 43% consume Marijuana only, and 25% consume CBD only, a segment that has grown 14% in the past two years.
To understand cannabis in the context of other behaviors, respondents were asked how often they use caffeine, vitamins, herbal supplements, and cannabis. Between 2018 and 2020, consumption of cannabis, herbal supplements and vitamins grew, while consumption of caffeine and alcohol continue to decline. (See Table 4.)

Attitudes on Legalization

Six in 10 Americans believe cannabis should be legal, holding steady from 2019. Supporters skew younger, with a median age of 44. Thirty-four percent fall into the 18-34 age group. Non-supporters are older, with a median age of 54, and over half (56%) fall into the 50+ age group. Over the past two years, there seems to be less uncertainty on the issue, with the number of people who reported they ‘don’t know’ decreasing by 16%. (See Table 5.)

“Cannabis consumption is edging ever upward and the COVID pandemic has led Americans to seek cannabis as one of the new ways to relax and reduce stress.” said Karen Ramspacher, SVP of Innovation and Insights at MRI-Simmons. “As growth rises and legalization steadies, the question companies should be asking themselves is, how does my company play into the growing cannabis wave.”

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 2020 study was conducted using a nationally representative online sample of over 5,000 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:

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, or follow @MRI-Simmons on Twitter.

Matt Cumello
+1 908-906-9958

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