When the Farm Bill passed in December 2018, hemp and hemp-derived CBD was removed from the Schedule I controlled substances list, thus opening the door for major U.S. retailers to start selling hemp-based CBD products with no legal risk.

According to the latest data from Nielsen, New York, and Headset, Seattle, Wash., consumer interest in purchasing legal cannabis exists across gender and age groups in the United States. Of adults 21-plus years old surveyed, 34% of consumers indicated that they were interested in consuming cannabis legally vs. 66% who said they were not interested in consuming cannabis at all.

When it comes to gender, 31% of women are likely to purchase legal cannabis, compared with 38% of men. Age wise, consumers who fall within the 21-34 age range, 41% are most likely to purchase legal cannabis, followed by consumers who fall within the 35-44 age range and 55-74 range, both tied at 39%.

Consumers also report they will likely consume cannabis for a variety of reasons outside of recreation, according to Nielsen research. For U.S. adults who report they would likely consume cannabis if it were legally available, the top reasons are all tied to ailment treatment. These include:

  • Treatment of chronic pain (85%)
  • Improvement of mental health (82%)
  • Treatment of minor injuries (81%)
  • To aid sleep (77%)
  • Relaxation (74%)

Nielsen data also shows that many of those consumers who are interested in legally consuming cannabis are ailment sufferers—40% of all headache/migraine pain sufferers, 40% of all arthritic pain sufferers and 41% of all back/neck pain sufferers would all be open to consume cannabis if legally available.