- Mood enhancement is seen as the next big driver of cannabis demand
- Consumers see cannabis as a safe option for relaxation, stress/anxiety relief, greater creativity, greater enjoyment of activities, and simply “fun with friends”
- Different cannabis strains also offer the potential to improve employee productivity, in multiple ways
An article published last week on Green Entrepreneur offered an interesting investment theme for the cannabis industry.
Why Mood-Based Cannabis Products Are About to Blowup
The author of the article, John Gorst, did more than just merely point to what he saw as a new trend. He took the time to define this vision.
He frames his investment theme:
As consumption becomes more normalized, the average consumer skews farther and farther away from preconceived stereotypes. Studies are revealing that today’s consumers have very high household incomes and are more likely to have master’s degrees. This means that some of the most successful professionals around us are a part of a “shadow market” of cannabis consumers. But why are America’s executives switching over to the plant?
The Seed Investor has already partially answered that question – from several different angles.
First, cannabis is very safe. This is true in comparison to not only illegal narcotics. It’s especially true in relation to the legal (but dangerous) drugs: alcohol and nicotine. Alcohol in particular is suddenly losing appeal to consumers due to its toxicity and numerous health risks.
TSI has previously reported on research in Canada by Cowen Equity Research (in a May 20, 2019 report). It showed a strong inclination among consumers to move away from alcohol and toward cannabis as their recreational drug-of-choice.
- 70% of Canadians who consume both alcohol and cannabis report reducing their alcohol consumption as a result
- In their “reasons for consuming cannabis”, 41% of cannabis consumers said this was “as an alternative to alcohol”
However, this exodus from alcohol to cannabis is more than just health-related. Cowen also reported these other “reasons” for cannabis use:
1) To help relax or sleep (66%)
2) To reduce stress of anxiety (62%)
3) To have fun with friends (58%)
4) To improve mood (48%)
5) To increase creativity or expressiveness (26%)
6) To make activities more interesting (24%)
Note that in addition to the large number of consumers who identified “improved mood” as a general reason for consuming cannabis, that all of the other reasons above reflect (to a greater or lesser degree) mood enhancement.
Cannabis is a safe way for consumers to “feel better” in different ways and different contexts. This leads back to Gorst’s own list of mood-based reasons that will drive future cannabis demand.
Whether grabbing drinks with coworkers or going to a friend’s housewarming, consumers are looking for [how] cannabis can help bring out their social butterfly.
…When aiming to socialize, less is more. Microdosing is essential to finding that perfect balance that can bring you a positive and insightful outlook. Next is looking for the perfect strain. When headed out for the evening, the best option may be a hybrid combining Indica with Sativa. This means you’ll reap the benefits of Sativa’s anti-depression and creativity inducing qualities along with Indica’s unmatched mental relaxation.
Two points here for investors.
“Microdosing” is something that is much easier to engage in with cannabis than alcohol. Metabolic differences, fatigue, and simply whether one has food in their stomachs can radically alter the effects of alcohol.
Cannabis delivery systems (simple inhalation or more complex tech) provide a much greater degree of consistency of effect – recreational or medicinal.
Then there is the cannabis plant itself. Cannabis “master growers” cultivate two significantly different strains of the marijuana sub-species: “Indicas” and “Sativas”.
Indica-based strains are more naturally oriented toward relaxation and anxiety relief. Sativas are the more stimulative strain, and more likely to be associated with heightened creativity, greater interest/attention, or simply more “fun with friends”.
As Gorst notes, these strains can be combined into hybrids. This means virtually infinite potential to design customized hybrids that can address any “mood” that a cannabis consumer wishes to generate – safely.
This leads to Gorst’s second category.
Here Gorst wades into what (for many) will be controversial territory.
While most people don’t commonly consider consuming cannabis to drive their productivity, certain strains can help with motivation. Whether doing some spring cleaning or finishing up a big project, cannabis can provide a unique boost of energy paired with increased creativity and attention to detail.
Cannabis to boost productivity? Greater attention to detail?
It’s not as radical as it sounds. Unlike alcohol, cannabis is not an intoxicant. There is no motor skill impairment from consuming cannabis. There is no mental impairment from consuming cannabis.
Ironically, many public and private employers strictly prohibit cannabis consumption by employees – even outside working hours. This is due to residual anti-cannabis prejudice and ignorance, derived from 100 years of cannabis Prohibition and (utterly absurd) anti-cannabis propaganda.
Such prohibitions appear especially ridiculous in light of Gorst’s thesis and the Cowen consumer research.
(photo by Budi Adnan)
For many investors (or cannabis consumers), this reason may seem to be the one that should have topped the list. Gorst acknowledges this.
Cannabis is certainly best known for its relaxing properties. Because of this, cannabis consumers have been stereotyped “couch potatoes” time and time again.
In fact, Gorst focuses more narrowly here, on sleep. More specifically, the rising insomnia epidemic.
The CDC estimates that upwards of seventy million people in the U.S. suffer from some type of sleep disorder.
Gorst not only points out the potential health benefit, he ties this back to productivity.
Sleeping longer improves your overall health, workplace productivity and quality of life. Those who use cannabis to improve the quality of their rest are doing their bodies and brains a favor.
Many sleep aids are physically addictive. Some can generate other health issues from long-term use. Cannabis is not physically addictive. In pharmaceutical testing, cannabis consistently demonstrates an amazing safety/tolerance profile.
As understanding replaces ignorance about cannabis, consumers are awakening to a world of possibilities with respect to this completely safe recreational drug.
As cannabis consumers “improve their mood”, cannabis investors can improve their bottom line.