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Brief Published: 9 Oct 2020

Women Drive the Cannabis Boom During the Pandemic


New data released by German-based supplier CBD Ecke shows that women are driving sales growth in cannabis at double the rate of male consumers (CBD Ecke, 2020). We look at how cannabis’ cultural pivot to wellness, coupled with the mental health impacts of lockdown, is attracting a new cohort to recreational use of the drug. 

CBD Ecke’s figures – sourced from StatistaWorld Drug Survey and Marijuana Business Daily – show that the recreational use of cannabis has increased significantly during the pandemic. Sales in California alone topped $320m in March – up $40m from January – as the state went into lockdown. Oregon and Washington also saw spending on weed ramp up; see The Brief for more on cannabis stockpiling.

Women largely drove this uptick, representing 31.7% of the sales growth rate versus 15.6% for men (CBD Ecke, 2020). It reflects the emergence of femme-focused marijuana brands and women entrepreneurs shaping weed culture – a trend we began tracking back in Women Embrace Weed.

Cannabis use as a form of wellness is also on the rise following the sweeping legalisation of the drug in North America and beyond, explored in A Budding Opportunity. Millennials especially are seeking altered states of consciousness as a stress-alleviating strategy (see Beyond Burnout for more). Showing how this attitude is increasingly hitting the mainstream, Gwyneth Paltrow’s January-aired Netflix series The Goop Lab dedicated an episode, The Healing Trip, to psychedelic psychotherapy.

Recreational drugs used for wellbeing as opposed to partying has been accelerated by lockdown and the ensuing mental health impacts. In an open survey of 40,000 respondents cited by CBD Ecke, 19% of cocaine users and 28.9% of MDMA users say they are taking these drugs less during the pandemic, whereas 19% of cannabis consumers report that their usage has increased. 

Also see The Brief on the best brand activations around weed as wellness.