Cannabis Industry

Exploring the US Cannabis Market With Search Trends

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Greetings, fellow potheads! Today we’re going to whisk aside the show curtain to give you a behind-the-scenes peek at the background of online marketing and its core science, SEO. “SEO” actually just means “search engine optimization,” and it gets dreadfully technical (and in some places, mystical) so we won’t bore you with the mechanics.

But Google Trends makes it easy to show some simple graphs for search terms, and this is useful information we’d like to point out for cannabis businesses everywhere. Sit back, this will be easy, fun, and interesting! We’re just going to play with some search terms and look at pretty charts here, for quick shoot-from-the-hip market trend data.

Vape Cartridges Down, Stabilized

Over the past five years, “vape cartridge” starts out with rising interest, peaks in about April 2019, then plunges to half-volume by November of that year. This coincides with the original black market vape wave

as we reported it from that point. Since the beginning of 2020, the vape cartridge market appears to have stabilized, so we may get an idea that its market is steady, but still not as hot an item as it once was.

Cannabis Dispensaries Still Growing!

Comparing “vape cartridge” to the overall market for “cannabis dispensary,” we see a steady, healthy growth in the market. Naturally, as more states legalize, interest grows. We do see that, from this data, we might expect that vapes aren’t as commonly asked for. That concurs with other market reports. Those reports show that dry herb has the most demand.

Elections Show True Demand!

Guess when the search for “marijuana legal” peaked in the past five years? That’s right, election 2018, which saw a huge spike in interest, nearly infinite as high as Google measures! In fact, there are regular spikes in legalization interest right around each election, as one would expect. This is the most important metric here. Just to emphasize it, here’s the above 2 searches compared:

Obviously, the potential US market is being under-served! The “legal” searches are people trying to find out news about legalization, while “cannabis dispensary” is more the thing you type in when you can expect to buy (A “high intent” search for us SEO nerds). Takeaway from this: The more we push for a FULL end to prohibition, the bigger this market is going to get!

Cannabis is running $12 billion volume per year as of now, by our previously mentioned review, expected to grow to $25 b. by 2026. In that chart, we see a 10-to-100, or 1-to-10 search volume between the two terms. This is a non-scientific number, admittedly, and assuming this reflects the ratio of demand to availability, cannabis could be 10x the market in the future?

Almost Zero Interest in Home Grown vs. Market

In case you were wondering, consumer interest in growing appears to be pretty low compared to buying it at a dispensary. We may someday see a dawning interest in more consumers testing their green thumb at some point. (Speaking as somebody with zero plant-nurturing ability, a one-stop home grow kit would be welcome.) For now, overwhelmingly, cannabis users seem to want to buy, not cultivate.

Medical Outnumbers Recreational?

Comparing “medical marijuana” to “recreational marijuana,” there appears to be a { 3-to-1 / 5-to-1 } interest in medical over recreational. That rate holds steady over the past five years, with again, spikes every election or just after, as consumers search for results. This isn’t surprising, as more new medical findings come in almost daily about cannabis research and the attendant cannabinoids, terpenes, isomers, and applications of same. On the other term, actual recreational users aren’t so likely to specify “recreational marijuana,” so this is a bent measure.

Trying “medical marijuana” vs just the unspecified plant, we still see a gap:

..but it is closing! Amazingly enough, the dominance of “medical” searches still outranked just plain “marijuana” search, but that gap is closing over the past year.

Take all this with a grain of salt – with some insight

Of course, simple searches on Google Trends doesn’t get very scientific. We’d be better off with market analytics in here with clipboards, spreadsheets, and SEMRush. We content meerkats do all that too. This is a little breeze through some search insights, just offering a peek into the growing cannabis market crystal ball.

Tell us about any exciting market statistics or trends you see, in the comments below or in our hip-hop hemppenin’ forum!

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