US Inhalables vs Edibles Market Report 2021
[{"name":"Cannabis and CBD","url":"https:\/\/store.mintel.com\/industries\/health-wellbeing\/cannabis-cbd"}]
“Inhalable cannabis is what most people think of when they think of THC products, and it’s what most users reach for as their primary format. However, edibles are gaining popularity…

US Inhalables vs Edibles Market Report 2021

£ 3,695 (Excl.Tax)


Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the US inhalables and edibles market including the behaviors, preferences, and habits of the consumer.

Current Market Landscape

Despite being the most popular format among current users, flower is the least popular format among interested non-users (11% are interested), meaning people who do not use flower probably are not going to start any time soon. Flower is the classic cannabis format and the one many consumers started their cannabis journeys with. Nostalgia, however, is not enough to maintain flower’s top spot, especially as major life changes, like parenthood, enter the mix and make inhaling less appealing. COVID-19 also soured consumer perspectives on inhaling as lung health became top of mind for almost everyone.

Despite the challenges that many industries suffered in the height of the pandemic and again as variants emerge, cannabis benefitted more than it was harmed by lockdowns. Instead, regulations and restrictions continue to constrain the cannabis market, providing the most significant challenges to cannabis brands and adjacent brands alike. A specific concern includes the unique challenge of planning for a future when the roads diverge into vastly different worlds: one where cannabis is federally legalized, and countless others where states continue to enact unique restrictions down to municipal levels.

Future Market Trends in US Inhalables vs Edibles

Overall, edibles are one of the biggest opportunities to the market given their appeal to men and women equally, new users, and older consumers. They pose less of a threat to lung health, making them a COVID-19-friendly option. They’re also the most likely secondary format for flower users, who, even if they do not abandon inhaling, are still prime candidates for increasing edible use with the right products for the right occasion.

Read on to discover more about the US Inhalables vs Edibles consumer market, read our US Cannabis in Food and Drink Market Report 2021, or take a look at our other Cannabis market research.

Quickly understand

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior pertaining to inhalable and edible cannabis.
  • What cannabis formats have the most opportunity to attract interested non-users.
  • Motivations for using different formats, and reasons for lack of use.
  • What qualities consumers look for in inhalables vs edibles.

Covered in this report

Brands include: PuffCo Peak Smart Rig, DaVinci MIQRO, Sunday Goods, Stigma & Style, Kanha Nano, Wana Brands, My Green Solution, WYLD, Midnight Roots, Vert Unlimited.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

This report, written by Michele Scott, a leading analyst in the Cannabis sector, delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

Inhalable cannabis is what most people think of when they think of THC products, and it’s what most users reach for as their primary format. However, edibles are gaining popularity as an additional format for current users and as a primary format among new users. Expect edibles to continue to grow, but inhalables to remain the star of the show. Consumers use both options for very similar use cases, making the experience the main point of differentiation, whether that means incorporating a specific strain, a favorite flavor or safer and BFY options.
Michele Scott, Senior Analyst
Michele Scott
Senior Analyst

Table of Contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
    • This Report looks at the following areas
    • Definition
    • Market context
    • Economic and other assumptions
    • COVID-19: US context
  2. Executive Summary

    • Top takeaways
    • Market overview
    • Impact of COVID-19 on inhalables and edibles
      • Figure 1: Short-, medium- and long-term impact of COVID-19 on cannabis and inhalables and edibles, 2021
    • Opportunities and challenges
    • Opportunity with edibles
      • Figure 2: Reasons for cannabis use, 2021
    • Deliver key messages: health and recreation
      • Figure 3: Reasons for cannabis use, 2021
    • New markets on the horizon
  3. The Market – Key Takeaways

    • The market is growing; how much, is somewhat unpredictable
    • Edibles are the key to interested non-users
  4. Market Value Indicators

    • Both inhalables and edibles are affected by legislation, regulation
    • Vapes can rebound from bad press, potential for growth over flower
    • Markets vary by state, making prediction tricky to understand and apply
  5. Target Audience by the Numbers

    • Interested non-users represent opportunity
      • Figure 4: Use and interest in cannabis, 2021
    • Edibles are the primary opportunity for interested groups
      • Figure 5: Interest in cannabis formats, 2021
  6. Market Factors

    • Inhalables and edibles taxation are not created equal
    • Edibles have their own regulation structures
    • Pandemic inspires attention to lung health
    • The CDC has an opinion on vaping
    • Consider future potentials
    • Consumer confidence drops due to Delta; can cannabis offer hope?
    • Women are more concerned about lung health
      • Figure 6: Reasons for not using inhalable cannabis, by gender, 2021
    • Innovate towards safety with inhalables
  7. Companies and Brands – Key Takeaways

    • Innovation should springboard over barriers
    • Interact online with consumers
    • Create value creatively
  8. Competitive Strategies

    • New-user friendly
    • Elevated value
    • Let consumers play along at home
    • Play with color
    • Innovate around consumer complaints
    • Get involved with COVID-19 efforts
    • Introducing CBN
    • Bring out the foodie in edible consumers
    • Get creative with giveaways
  9. Market Opportunities

    • Safer inhalables are an opportunity
    • Edibles should follow foodie trends
    • Low-dose products have multiple marketing opportunities
    • Premium edibles fight stigma
    • Education is a must, for edibles especially
  10. The Consumer – Key Takeaways

    • Secondary formats spark growth opportunity
    • Strain is classic concern
    • Edibles beat out inhalables on interest
    • Occasion and lifestyle go hand in hand
    • Trust the process for inhalables
    • Although edibles are enjoyable, awareness and education matter
  11. Cannabis Format Use and Strains

    • Convenience wins for secondary formats
      • Figure 7: Cannabis format use, 2021
    • Women take a less traditional approach
      • Figure 8: Top cannabis formats – Any use, by gender, 2021
    • Edibles win for health-conscious consumers
      • Figure 9: Top cannabis formats – Any use, by reasons for use, 2021
    • Strain hits home for inhalables
      • Figure 10: Strain use, by top cannabis formats – Any use, 2021
  12. Interest in Cannabis Formats

    • Potential users won’t inhale
      • Figure 11: Interest in cannabis formats, 2021
    • No gender gap for interest in edibles
      • Figure 12: Interest in cannabis formats, by gender, 2021
    • Consider older consumers when creating edibles
      • Figure 13: Interest in cannabis formats, by age, 2021
    • Gummies solve edible problems
      • Figure 14: Interest in edible cannabis formats, 2021
  13. Use Occasions for Edibles and Inhalables

    • Inhalable cannabis hits with multi-use consumers
      • Figure 15: Cannabis use occasions of interest, by format, 2021
    • Cannabis offers women sweet dreams
      • Figure 16: Cannabis use occasions of interest, by gender and format, 2021
    • Homelife dictates opportunities
      • Figure 17: Edible and inhalable cannabis use occasions of interest, by marital status, 2021
  14. Reasons for Not Using Inhalable Cannabis

    • Lung health is a serious concern
      • Figure 18: Reasons for not using inhalable cannabis, 2021
    • Ease women’s fears about safety
      • Figure 19: Reasons for not using inhalable cannabis – Concerned with lung health, by gender, 2021
  15. Reasons for Using Inhalable Cannabis

    • Experience, first experiences matter
      • Figure 20: Reasons for using inhalable cannabis, 2021
    • Smell, taste make the experience for men
      • Figure 21: Reasons for using inhalable cannabis, by gender, 2021
    • Major life events can trigger need for new formats
      • Figure 22: Reasons for using inhalable cannabis, by parental status, 2021
  16. Reasons for Not Using Edible Cannabis

    • The edible experience is a challenge
      • Figure 23: Reasons for not using edible cannabis, 2021
    • Edible experiences leave a gap for women
      • Figure 24: Reasons for not using edible cannabis, by gender, 2021
  17. Reasons for Using Edibles Cannabis

    • Ease makes the edibles experience
      • Figure 25: Reasons for using edible cannabis, 2021
    • Consider pricing for reaching women with edibles
      • Figure 26: Reasons for using edible cannabis, by gender, 2021
  18. Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

    • Consumer survey data
    • Abbreviations and terms
    • Abbreviations
    • Terms

About the report

This market report provides in-depth analysis and insight supported by a range of data. At the same time, introductory and top-level content is provided to give you an overview of the issues covered.


Mintel provides a range of market information, frequently through the category level, including market size and forecasting, complete with market drivers that illustrate the forces that shape a category or market.


Mintel’s proprietary consumer research provides our analysts with the attitudinal and behavioral data used to provide valuable insight to topical issues.


Mintel provides overviews of the top brands and manufacturers, and uses consumer research to explore attitudes and reactions to brands, as well as insight into what will resonate with consumers.


Market reports provide appendices of data to support the research and insight produced. Our databooks* are easily manipulated and downloadable to support your research needs and covers factors from consumer attitudes to market forecasts.

*databooks not available with UK B2B Industry reports.

Below is a sample report, understand what you are buying.

Click to show report
2024 Sample Consumer Cover

Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted. Our reports are available to download in PDF and PPT formats.

Trusted by companies. Big and small.

Want to speak to us directly?

Contact us with your enquiry and our expert global team can help.

Get in touch