In this report of the CUREsm Study, we discuss:

  • Medical cannabis usage
  • User health conditions
  • Purchasing habits
  • Consumer preferences
  • Consumer uniqueness

Medical Cannabis Consumers Use

The CUREsm Study finds that cannabis is used for medicinal purposes by 60% of people. The majority  use medical cannabis at least two to three times a week, while one-third use it more frequently varying by health condition.

The Yet to Be Legalized states is the segment with the largest growth potential.  Currently, 16% are using cannabis for medicinal purposes, and more than half would be likely to do so if and when it became legalized.

Medicinal Cannabis Use – Health Conditions Suffer From

State legislators authorized about 25 different serious health conditions valid for cannabis treatment among qualified patients. The top six health conditions were:  depression, arthritis, chronic pain, headaches, muscle spasms and nausea.  While the majority is actively treating with prescription or over-the-counter medications, they are also likely to use cannabis, especially those suffering from conditions causing chronic pain.  Often medical cannabis and Rx/OTC drugs are used concurrently to treat health conditions.

Health Conditions and

How They Are Treated

Diagnosed With Medicate with RX/OTC Drugs Use Cannabis to Relieve Symptoms
Depression 29% 70% 79%
Arthritis 26% 83% 79%
Chronic pain (incl. nerve pain) 24% 65% 90%
Headaches (tension/migraine) 18% 82% 84%
Muscle spasms 13% 76% 86%
Nausea 13% 73% 76% 

Purchasing Habits

Over 60% of medical users purchase cannabis at state licensed dispensaries. However, they can also obtain it from caregivers, compassion centers and the grey market. Medical users who purchase cannabis spend an average of $181 monthly.

Consumer Preferences: Strains/Varieties

The Sativa strain of cannabis has the highest awareness. However, Indica, Sativa and Hybrid consumption is comprable. Among those with a preference for how cannabis is grown and prepared, organic is preferred over non-organic, outdoor over hydroponic, and Kosher over non-Kosher. Entrepreneurs in this industry looking to gain a competitive edge would do well to explore vertical markets such as organic and Kosher to learn more about their appeal, and how they might integrate these types of products into their marketing plans.

Consumer Preferences: Methods of Use/Accessories

Medical users’ favorite method of consuming cannabis are smoking (paper or pipe), edibles and vaporizing. Their accessory ownership supports their method preference; smoking paper, pipes, bowls, grinders, water pipes and vaporizers are readily available. Accessory spending averaged $258 in the past year.  Medical users prefer these methods because they are easy to use and highly effective.

What Makes Medical Cannabis Users Unique?

Key points of comparison between medical cannabis and recreational cannabis users reveal the strength of the medical cannabis market by spend on cannabis and accessories, and their upscale demographic.  Medical cannabis users more than double their spending on cannabis and quadruple their spending on accessories each year vs. recreational cannabis users.

Key Points of Comparison  Exclusive Medical Users in Legal States Exclusive Recreational Users in Legal States
Spend on Cannabis per Month $173 $73
Spend on Cannabis Accessories per Year $252 $63
Graduated College or More 68% 52%
Employed 75% 68%
Own Their Residence 73% 58%
Household Income $154,144 $110,987

CUREsm Study Confirms the Strength of the Medical Cannabis Market

Based on the wealth of research and articles on this industry, the growth of the medical cannabis market is unquestionable and unstoppable.  Data from the CUREsm Study offers marketers three distinct state-based segments.

Medical cannabis consumption is frequent, and spending on the product and accessories is significant.  For many, it is the go-to solution to relieve pain associated with health conditions.

Users have a strong preference for healthy varieties, and spending habits support their propensity for high-end, specialty products. These niche markets offer considerable growth potential for companies seeking to distinguish their brand and increase the variety of products available.

This glimpse into the first CUREsm Study identifies a unique, well-educated and upscale medical cannabis user. They lead enthusiastic and energetic lifestyles, and are culturally, socially and technologically in-the-know. Perceptions about this industry are rapidly changing. Marketers who utilize the most current information will be best suited to take full advantage of this emerging industry.

Gail Disimile, Executive Vice President, Beta Research Corporation

Kathleen Schmidt, Vice President, Beta Research Corporation

For more information on the CUREsm Study, including recreational cannabis use as well as medical, contact David March, Vice President Sales & Marketing, Beta Research Corporation


1 Executive Summary: The State of Legal Marijuana Markets: 4th Edition (Arcview Market Research and New Frontier)

2 Medical Marijuana Inc.,,