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Cannabis Consumer Research and Defining a Target Market: What You Need to Know

Consumer research is vital to marketing in literally any industry. You name the industry, we can all but prove that the more you know about your target market, the better you will be positioned for long-term success.

The cannabis industry is no different. Every year, it seems, another state is loosening penalties for the use or possession of cannabis. Others are flat-out legalizing adult use.

This equates to more and more users entering the market, which in turn creates opportunities for investors to open up dispensaries – and so much more.

Of course, for them, customer segmentation, defining buyer personas, and more are all central to targeting and success, as well.

Here’s what we learned about cannabis users from cannabis consumer research along the way – maybe you can put it to use for your business.

The Six Persona Model

Extensive cannabis consumer research has enabled us to more or less define a six persona model. That is, all cannabis users fall mostly within the bounds of one of six different buyer “types” or personas.

Does it mean that all buyers are alike, or that all members of a specific “persona” are unequivocally the same?

It most certainly does not. However, the similarities between them are significant enough that likenesses and trends in purchasing behavior can still be drawn.

What Each of Them “Means”

  • Everyday Enhancers: Everyday Enhancers are cannabis users that believe that everything is just a little bit “better” using cannabis as a lubricant. They use it to heighten the senses and fully immerse themselves in their preferred activities. Many of them are male, they tend to use cannabis throughout the day, and they also typically rely on their own experience – and not a budtender’s – to make purchasing decisions.
  • Escape Artists: Escape Artists, like everyday enhancers, also tend to be recreational cannabis consumers and consume for the enjoyment of the experience, but they don’t do so throughout the day. Instead, they enjoy the experience at the end of the day to unwind from a grueling day’s hard work. They typically use cannabis with friends, after work, for stress relief and relaxation, but they may also consume alone.

cannabis consumer research

  • Trendy Tokers: Trendy Tokers tend to be female, often young, high-income earners, who like to try new things. These are among the most social users and this segment of the market has grown substantially in response to the recent state-level legalizations of cannabis.
  • Self-Care Seekers: Self-Care Seekers tend to be young; they also tend to be less experienced with and less knowledgeable of cannabis products than most other buyer personas. These are the types of users that are potentially interested in cannabis products as self-care treatments, such as topical products to use in their skincare or de-stressing rituals. These users might also, for example, seem to try cannabis beverages as an alternative to alcohol. This buyer persona is more likely to consume alone than among company.
  • Practical Partakers: Practical Partakers typically fall between the ages of 24 and 34 and, like Escape Artists, are likely to consume later in the evening, after work, or before bed. They typically consume alone, and, as the name might suggest, for a practical purpose, such as for pain or stress relief. They tend to be experienced and knowledgeable but are more willing to defer to authorities on cannabis than Everday Enhancers or Escape Artists.
  • Mature Medicators: Mature medicators tend to be older users that are fairly inexperienced and who have come to the scene only in response to recent regional legalizations. They tend not to be knowledgeable, not to consume for the purposes of enjoying a buzz, and are highly willing to defer to authorities that know better, as well as to comply with the law. Most of them are willing to experiment with cannabis for the purposes of managing pain, often as a potential alternative to prescription medications; as such, they are likely to be medical cannabis users.

cannabis consumer research

What Are the Implications for Your Business?

There are seven main criteria we used to determine these catchall personas: Usage occasions, lifestyle habits, relationship with the law, previous experience comfort shopping, usage habits (social vs. solitary), and the seeking of subtractive or additive benefits.

In the latter case, subtractive users seek cannabis for stress or pain relief or some other practical purpose. Users who consume for the additive benefits do so for the pleasure of the buzz.

Again, it is vital to reiterate that while all users are different, being able to establish rational, consistent likenesses within market segments is vital to product positioning and marketing messaging.

Being able to identify who your users are, why they consume, and what their interests tend to be can make your marketing efforts not only more successful but more sustainable.

Sign up for Cannabis Consumer Research and Prepare for a Growing, Changing Market with Actionable Data

Cannabis consumer research gave us the ability to help define the cannabis market more or less according to six different personas. Market research studies can help you understand your users better, too, whether they are recreational or medical users.

Our Cannabis Personas Segmentation Analysis helped us derive this model; we also offer a wide range of other cannabis consumer research panels including our CANNApinion Poll, which follows the use of 1,000 users across the United States, as well as The Green Time Poll, the world’s first cannabis consumer panel.

Wondering how a market research company can help you understand your target market better? Get in touch with us at to learn more about our cannabis consumer research programs and how they can help you position your cannabis business for success.