Does The Term Recreational Cannabis Need To Be Changed? 👋🏼

An analysis of why people are choosing to consume cannabis.

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Is the adult-use market for cannabis better described as a category of wellness products or should it remain recreational? What is Recreational Cannabis, anyway?

It's time to stop using the word "recreational" when we talk about cannabis.

84% of cannabis consumers use cannabis to sleep, relieve pain, or reduce anxiety and depression. But they are referred to as "recreational" users if they don't buy with a prescription. That's not right.

"Recreational" implies that cannabis is frivolous, occasional, and fun. Cannabis can be all those things, of course. But for most consumers, it is usually not.

When talking about non-doctor-prescribed cannabis, what should we call it?

Adult-use? Liberated? De-prohibited? - Jeffrey Graham, CEO @Pistil Data

(📸 / From Jeffrey Graham)

As we can see from the data, recreational cannabis is very clearly a misnomer and a misrepresentation of why a majority of people around the 🌍 are choosing to consume cannabis. So what’s the replacement?

How should we position cannabis?

The way we communicate the effects cannabis can produce is an area I personally think the entire industry needs to completely rethink. The current approach leaves a lot to be desired.

If I as a consumer were to walk into a cannabis store today and pretend that I knew nothing, there’s a very good chance that I would be asked whether I would like an Indica, Sativa, or a Hybrid. 

The use of these terms creates unrealistic expectations that can’t be met, and more often than not leaves consumers disappointed when the cannabis products they purchased didn't produce the intended effects.

Moving forward, information on labels needs to be more comprehensive and better communicated by the cannabis industry to potential consumers—starting with cannabis brands.

What needs to change?

As a starting point, the regulations.

Currently, there are significant constraints on how cannabis companies can name their products, which in turn constrains the conversation between cannabis producers and consumers.

Dosist, however, seems to have figured something out from a regulatory standpoint a way to name products based on the effects they’re designed to facilitate.

If Dosist can market Calm, Sleep, Arouse, Passion, and Bliss, then what’s preventing other cannabis companies from following suit?

(📸 / Dosist)

Out with the old…

The rate of change across the cannabis industry is pretty incredible.

As we move away from terms like an Indica and Sativa, why not once again follow the data on why people are choosing to consume cannabis?

With 84% of consumers purchasing cannabis to sleep, relieve pain, or reduce anxiety and depression, I’m personally advocating for the term wellness to gain more mainstream adoption across the industry.

Looking ahead 🔭

The terms we use to describe cannabis products will have a significant impact on how the industry is viewed moving forward. 

That’s why we need to ensure that all consumer-facing information comes across as accurately as possible which means saying goodbye to Indica and Sativa, and perhaps even the term recreational cannabis itself.

With a data-driven model in place, I’m personally betting on the term wellness to become the most commonly used framework to describe the consumption of cannabinoids in the years to come.


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