No two cannabis users are alike. From the occasional puff-puff-pass type to the everyday toker, consumption habits are as varied as they are personal. And that’s especially true during the holidays when stress can be at an all-time high. Whether it’s shopping for gifts, RSVPing to parties, travel-planning, hosting family, or any number of items that are likely on your to-do list, the holiday season can be a lot to get through.
And yet, more stress doesn’t necessarily mean more cannabis. While many people do, in fact, increase how much they consume around the holidays, others actually use less. And in some cases, habits remain relatively unaffected. It all comes down to your needs and priorities, which can evolve and shift quite a bit during this hectic season.
According to a custom Branded Research poll created for this story, nearly one-third of cannabis users expect to increase their consumption during the holidays. Breaking those figures down by gender, about 39 percent of men say they plan to use cannabis more during the holiday season compared to 26 percent of women. And younger cannabis users are more likely than older cannabis users to increase consumption, with about 41 percent of users ages 18-24 planning to use more during the holidays, compared to only 13 percent of users who are over 55-years-old.
“I am definitely partaking more, but not in the typical, ‘Oh my goodness, the holidays are so stressful, let me smoke a joint’ type of way,” Samantha Edwardes, a public relations manager in California, tells High Times. “As my focus is mostly on getting gifts for others and thinking about what others would want, at the end of the day, I need to focus on me. Cannabis helps me do that.”
Edwardes likes variety and uses cannabis to unwind and regroup. “Whether it’s a CBD bath bomb or Indica before yoga in the living room, I am indulging in more self-care this time of year,” she says.
On the other side of the spectrum is Jagger Blaec, a writer in Oregon, who doesn’t notice much of a difference in her consumption habits during the holidays. She typically smokes at least twice a week, and takes edibles and tinctures whenever she practices yoga and meditates, which averages out to roughly four times a week.
“I use it to manage my anxiety, but there’s also a recreational aspect to my consumption,” Blaec says. “I will smoke more with friends and family to destress from holiday anxiety, but nothing out of the ordinary.”
However, Blaec does divulge that using cannabis during the most wonderful time of the year can come with its ups and downs. “I love being high with friends and watching classic Christmas movies like Trading Places,” Blaec says. “But it’s hard to smoke with family because you run the risk of more conservative relatives judging you.”
Dane Chandra, co-founder of High End Creatives, says that her cannabis consumption generally goes up during the holidays. She also reaches for certain products more so than usual.
“During the holiday season, I tend to consume and purchase more cannabis in all its forms,” Chandra says. “I usually don’t take a lot of edibles, but around this time of year, I find myself purchasing and self-indulging in all kinds of THC and CBD goodies.”
But those extra treats aren’t just for her. “Cannabis, to me, has become the ultimate holiday and hosting gift,” Chandra explains. “What’s better than a scented candle or another bottle of Veuve Clicquot? I’d argue that a white chocolate infused candy bar with a beautiful pack of packaged pre-rolls is.”
Of course, getting all your loved ones on the cannabis train can be a challenge. But that’s precisely why the holiday season is the perfect opportunity to educate and inform.
“To help open and ease the minds of my southern family members, I have been purchasing many of these products as Christmas gifts,” Edwardes shares. “CBD soaking salts for my mother-in-law, an infused massage oil for my sister-in-law, a CBD tincture for my epileptic brother, cannabis tea for my grandmother, the list goes on. Gifts they wouldn’t buy themselves — or even think of buying themselves — are, to me, the best kind.”
And suppliers take notice. The Green Solution, a Colorado-based cannabis company, sees a bump in sales because people are wanting to treat friends and family just as much as they’re looking to treat themselves.
“Consumer shopping frequency changes with busier holiday schedules,” says Steve Lopez, chief operating officer at The Green Solution. “Buying habits also change because they are buying items that aren’t part of their normal purchases, often for gifts and party favorites. Examples of those products include unique pre-rolls and edibles, like our celebration cones, chocolates, drinks, and baking tinctures.”
Unsurprisingly, holiday themed products are hot ticket items that don’t stay on shelves for very long.
“At our dispensary during the holidays, we find that bundles, gift baskets, and themed novelty items sell exceptionally well,” says Anders Mintz, marketing coordinator at Oasis Dispensariesin Arizona. “Patients are more likely to try new products, strains, or limited edition flavors. They might try a peppermint patty-flavored distillate cartridge or a peppermint brownie instead of their normal cartridge strain or regular chocolate brownie.”
Plus, people can take advantage of rare sales and deals that they don’t get year-round. “Patients seem to buy more, but are extra vigilant for sales, discounts, and bundles to make their money go further,” Mintz explains. “They seem to know that the Thanksgiving to New Year holiday season is filled with BOGOs and crazy discounts, and many patients will stock up and buy in bulk during these sale days.”
In some markets, though, the holidays can actually translate to a dip in sales—but not for the reasons you might think.
“Historically, we’ve seen sales fluctuate quite a bit in California, but during the holiday season they tend to go down,” says Will Htun, co-founder and CEO at Sherbinskis. “Many residents are transplants, especially in areas like San Francisco and Los Angeles. Those customers buy product beforehand, and then during the holidays it gets extremely quiet.”
That said, this year, the luxury cannabis label is launching several new products, and people are loading up to share the latest goods with loved ones. “We’re seeing sales increase due to our launch timing,” Htun explains. “People like Sherbinskis, and they want to gift it.”
While consumer habits can be notoriously unpredictable, the overall consensus is that the holiday season makes everyone a little more adventurous and indulgent.
“People are feeling the holiday spirit and tend to be apt to spend a bit more,” says David Farris, director of marketing at Planet 13 in Las Vegas. “What we’ve noticed is cannabis is mirroring other, more traditional industries. So if consumers buy more wine over the holidays, they may do the same with cannabis.”
Though for what it’s worth, some folks do rely on cannabis to help them get through certain family functions, says cannabis researcher and former budtender Mitchell Colbert. “People with families where cannabis use wasn’t the norm were generally looking for edibles, tinctures, or maybe disposable pens to take to the East Coast or the Midwest,” he says. “In general, everyone was buying in bulk, either to share with their families or to keep themselves so medicated that they wouldn’t be tempted to talk politics with their conservative relatives.”