Drugs

How Californians Consume Marijuana: The 4 Most Common Methods of Getting High

The traditional method remains the favorite, but alternatives are gaining market share.

Even though legal recreational marijuana sales won't officially begin until next year, California is already the largest pot market in the country, generating more than $680 million in sales in three months this spring, according to a new report from industry watchers BDS Analytics.

That's on pace to make 2017 a $2.5 billion year for the Golden State pot industry, a number that will only increase next year as even the tiny obstacles to purchase imposed by the state's extremely relaxed medical marijuana system vanish and the floodgates for retail sales open.

But what will Californians be buying at the pot shop? There is an ever-increasing variety of ways to consume marijuana—and an endless supply of eager entrepreneurs seeking to find a niche—but if the BDS Analytics report is correct, the traditional form of consuming marijuana is still preferred.

Here, according to BDS, are the four most common forms in which pot is purchased in California, along with each method's market share.

1. Dried flowers, 55%. Also known as buds, this form of marijuana can be rolled into a joint or smoked in a pipe, bong, or one-hitter. This is how people traditionally consumed marijuana, and while it is slowly declining in popularity in the face of health concerns about smoking and access to alternative pot products, smoking pot remains the number-one way Californians get high—to the tune of more than a billion dollars' worth a year. 

2. Concentrates, 25%.This is a surprisingly rapidly growing sector. It includes not only super-potent products such as shatter and wax, with THC levels above 90%, but also distillate cannabis consumed in vaporizers. In California, vaping drives the concentrates market, accounting for 61% of all concentrate sales. We're talking about more than half a billion in annual concentrates sales here. 

3. Edibles, 15%.These products include everything from pot beverages to ganja gummies and other candies to a whole panoply of baked goods. Given all the attention edibles get, it's a bit of a surprise that they rank below concentrates. As with concentrates, edibles purchasers avoid having to—cough, cough—smoke their marijuana, but concentrates have the advantage of producing a high quickly, like smoked marijuana, but unlike edibles.

4. Pre-rolls, 5%.For the lazy or unskilled pot smoker. Pre-rolled joints are made with buds (one hopes!), so they should theoretically be included in the dried flowers sector, but they're not. For every $20 Californians spend on weed, $1 is for pre-rolls. 

 

Phillip Smith is editor of the AlterNet Drug Reporter and author of the Drug War Chronicle.

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