Chart: Coronavirus prompts shift in US adult-use marijuana product sales

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Not only has the coronavirus pandemic altered how U.S. adult-use cannabis consumers shop, it’s also changed what they’re buying.

Edibles sales have surged around coronavirus concerns, coming largely at the expense of pre-rolled joints, and – to a lesser extent – concentrates and topicals.

The shift in consumer preferences was both rapid and significant.

But given that it’s the early days of this developing situation, it’s unclear if more change is coming or if sales will eventually revert to precrisis levels.

In either case, marijuana businesses throughout the supply chain must remain agile and capable of adapting to the ever-evolving market, especially as recreational cannabis sales have shown sharp declines in recent days.

According to point-of-sale data provided by Seattle-based Headset, the market share for edibles in California, Colorado and Washington state’s adult-use markets have all increased since March 13 – which was the Friday before the first weekend that concerns about coronavirus in the U.S. began to seep into the mainstream.

In terms of marijuana consumption methods, edibles are not harmful to the lungs and individual servings of these types of products typically are not shared between users, making them a more attractive option given government officials’ calls for social distancing.

At the same time, shares of pre-rolls sales dropped by roughly two percentage points across all three recreational markets shown in the chart.

High-potency concentrates – such as shatter and wax – saw share declines in both California and Washington, while topicals – a much smaller category – lost market share in all three states.

Key takeaways from the trends include:

  • The market share for edibles in California’s recreational cannabis market March 13-21 increased 3.3 percentage points over January and February. Edibles now account for 14.9% of all adult-use cannabis sales in California.
  • Flower gained share in Colorado and Washington state, while vapor pens’ share of the market increased in California and Washington state. Flower and vapor pens are both inhalable forms of cannabis, showing that consumers aren’t eschewing those segments of the market amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Eli McVey can be reached at

For more of Marijuana Business Daily’s ongoing coverage of the coronavirus pandemic and its effects on the cannabis industry, click here.