From bud to bottles, seeds to seltzers, and THC to tea, cannabis companies have been churning out a wave of THC drinks to meet skyrocketing demand. Appealing to both longtime stoners and those who simply want alternatives to alcohol, THC beverages have changed how people consume cannabis.
Although some may wonder if the buzz about buzz-inducing THC drinks is bound to fizzle, informed market watchers don’t think so. In fact…
Seven times larger? Raise a glass to cannabis beverages!
Projecting growth that is unrivaled by other cannabis categories, Expert Market Research forecasts that the cannabis beverage industry will multiply in value from $3.9 billion in 2023 to $27.8 billion in 2032.
Already popular in states where marijuana is legal, THC drinks are also now available in states where marijuana has yet to be legalized.
Made with hemp-derived THC, these THC beverages abide by federal restrictions, which means that adults from coast to coast can legally order them. They’ve revolutionized the THC beverage industry, drastically widening the market’s reach.
Additionally, the appeal of THC beverages as an alcohol alternative is widening the market even further, opening it to individuals who don’t normally consume cannabis.
On days they consume cannabis, individuals drink 29% fewer alcoholic beverages.
Investigating whether using cannabis resulted in lower same-day alcohol use among heavy drinkers trying to cut back, Recovery Research Institute found that, yes, on average, individuals consume 29% fewer drinks on days that they consume cannabis. On days they use cannabis, they are also much less likely to binge-drink.
For Americans trying to cut back on drinking, cannabis beverages are a great alternative to alcohol, providing a delightful buzz without the booze.
Almost half of cannabis users consume less alcohol because of cannabis.
Low-potency cannabis beverages compete directly with alcohol, providing a similar uplifting buzz on a comparable timeline of effects. Unlike edibles, but just like alcohol, THC drinks have fast-acting effects that hit in around 15 minutes.
Cannabis users prefer THC drinks to alcohol because THC drinks enable them to enjoy an uplifting social buzz without having to suffer from a nasty hangover or other unhealthy side effects.
According to Frontier Data, 47% of cannabis users have reduced their use of alcohol in favor of cannabis.
Observing the beverage’s popularity as an alcohol alternative and their own brisk sales to patrons, many bars across the country have embraced THC drinks.
Millennials buy the most cannabis beverages, and millennial women buy almost a third of them.
Although men dominate the general cannabis market, buying cannabis far more often than women, it’s women who dominate the market for cannabis beverages.
A 2022 study found that millennial women bought more cannabis beverages than any comparable group, accounting for 28.3% of sales. Coming in second: millennial men, who account for 17.9% of cannabis beverage sales.
The fact that millennials are responsible for almost half of cannabis beverage sales isn’t surprising considering they also account for over 52% of cannabis sales in general. Due to their purchasing power within the cannabis industry, millennials embracing cannabis beverages bodes well for the future of THC drinks.
Generation Z is also starting to outpace baby boomers when it comes to cannabis consumption.
Although millennials still account for most sales of cannabis beverages, adults aged 21 to 25 – i.e., the members of Generation Z who can legally buy cannabis – aren’t far behind. From 2018 to 2019, Generation Z’s market share doubled from 3% to 6%. And the percentage is continuing to grow as more and more members of this generation become old enough to legally purchase cannabis.
In fact, Gen Z outpaced Baby Boomers in 2021, accounting for 12.7% of sales of cannabis beverages in legal states, slightly more than the Baby Boomer share of 12.2% of those sales.
Generation Z is embracing cannabis: 37% are using cannabis instead of alcohol.
Less fond of alcohol than previous generations, Generation Z is actively seeking alternatives. According to Berenberg Research, members of Generation Z consume 20% less alcohol per capita than millennials, often because they want to avoid the harmful side effects.
A Brightfield Group survey found that 20% of all alcohol consumers who are cutting down on their drinking use cannabis as a substitute. Moreover, 37% of legal-age Generation Z consumers use cannabis instead of alcohol.
This is good news for the cannabis beverage industry, because Generation Z represents the future of cannabis buyers, and they’re already evincing a preference for the plant.
It’s clear, when you take into account current studies and statistics around THC drinks, that they’re the next big thing in cannabis. Approachable, convenient, customizable, and an excellent alternative to alcohol, THC drinks have a ton of potential, for both consumers and cannabis businesses.