Vape Pens and Edibles Are Trendy Ways to Consume Pot, But Good Old Rolled-Up Joints Are Still #1

One of the fringe benefits of marijuana legalization is the availability of actual hard data about what is being grown, smoked or otherwise consumed. Marijuana industry companies like BDS Analytics and Headset are busily gobbling up and aggregating point-of-sale data from pot shops to allow industry participants to see what is being bought, how much and at what price, and we're seeing some interesting things.

New reports from Headset on data from Washington state support suggestions that marijuana consumers are increasingly turning to non-smoked marijuana products, such as edibles, vaping, tinctures, and oils. According to the Headset data, total marijuana sales grew from just under $40 million in April to just over $50 million in May, with increased bud sales accounting for 22% of the increase, but with increased sales of vapor pens and concentrates accounting for 42%.

By product category, bud sales grew by the smallest percentage at about 5%, while sales of vape pens were up 30%, tinctures and creams were up more than 50%, and topicals were up about 70%. Pre-rolled joints, edibles, concentrates, beverages, and capsules also were all up by double-digit percentages.

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So, why the switch from smoking? The increasing acceptance of marijuana use (as witnessed by spreading legalization) is changing the demographics of the market, bringing new consumers into the game. Many of them don't want to smoke anything or have to deal with smoke smell or associated problems, such as burn holes in their clothes. For these consumers, eating or drinking a pot product is just cleaner and more desirable than smoking it.

Also, the fact that the marijuana industry is now operating in an increasingly legal environment means that entrepreneurs are more willing to experiment with innovative products and have channels to bring them to market. As the Headset data shows, the newer product categories have higher profit margins, making them more attractive for entrepreneurs. With more options before them, consumers find it easier to look for and find non-smoked pot products.

But contrary to Quartz, which headlined an article on the phenomenon "Nobody Smokes Their Weed Anymore," lots of people still smoke their weed. Buds for smoking make a declining percentage of total marijuana sales, but still account for more than half of all marijuana sales. That's down from about 80% at the beginning of Washington's legal era, but the decline seems to be slowing, with bud sales making up 60.9% of all sales in January and dropping only slightly to 56.7% in May.

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Who still smokes their weed? Most marijuana consumers, that's who. But clearly, there is growing demand for pot products that don't require rolling papers, a pipe or a lighter. 

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