Industry Insight By Crystal Lan & Jacqueline Fang|09 November 2023

The General Analysis of Gen Z Cannabis Vape Consumers in North America

Topics in this article:
Gen Z Cannabis Vape Consumers Cannabis Market


When it comes to discussing the new trend of cannabis vape consumers in North America, it’s crucial to shine a spotlight on Gen Z, the generation born between 1997 and 2012. While the current representation of Gen Z in the user percentage of users may not eclipse that of the Millennials and Gen X, the growth rate of Gen Z cannabis consumers is nothing short of remarkable.



As these young people gradually approaches the lawful age of cannabis product usage, cannabis vape hardware become a new Gen z fashion. Recent data reveals that within the cannabis market, Gen Z and Millennials make up 62.8% of all cannabis sales and 70.8% of all vape pen sales. In order to form a comprehensive understanding of Gen Z cannabis users in North America, we should learn about their lifestyles, economic choices, mental health needs, and group identity, which will help to clarify the reasons for the increasing cannabis vaping consumption trend.




Cannabis Gen Z Group

Photo by Mr flame from Pexels




1. Lifestyle of Gen Z Cannabis Vape Consumers in North America



From a lifestyle and habits perspective, cannabis vape consumers engage in heavy use of social media and digital devices, giving them multiple ways to get information, making it easier for them to accept cannabis use and vape unconsciously. Whether sharing with friends outdoors or using at home, Gen Z shows a higher preference for cannabis vaping compared to Gen X and Millennials. As they age, their potential for future cannabis use may be greater.




1.1 Heavy Social and Digital Engagement



Gen Z is a generation deeply rooted in the digital realm, and the widespread communication of cannabis in the internet age has boosted its normalization. As avid internet and social media users, this population is increasingly accepting of cannabis use. According to Civic Science’s findings, 90% of 18-24-year-olds in Gen Z report using social media, while 88% of Millennials aged 25-34 report the same. In many ways, the Gen Z generation seems to have grown up with smartphones as extensions of their hands. Their distinct attitude toward social media and the digital landscape sets them apart from other generations. They turn to these platforms not only for casual browsing, but also for inspiration, product research, and meaningful engagement with their favorite brands.Integrating into this group requires paying more attention to their interests, such as Gen Z humor and memes on social media



Unlike their older counterparts, Gen Z shoppers tend to harbor more skepticism toward companies. Instead, they are drawn to the authenticity and relatability of influencers on Instagram and YouTube, individuals whose words carry weight with their dedicated followers. Notably, approximately 60% of Gen Z individuals in the United States leverage Instagram as a tool for discovering new brands, products, and services. Moreover, insights from a Google study highlight that 70% of teenagers are active subscribers to a variety of YouTube channels, finding resonance with the personalities found on this platform more than with traditional celebrities.




Cannabis vape consumers Gen-Z Group Artrix

Photo by Kampus Production from Pexel




It’s crucial to recognize the impact of these online spaces in shaping their perceptions and purchase decisions. This digital engagement also extends to their cannabis experiences as well. It’s common for them to follow cannabis influencers on social media, seek out recommendations and allow these influencers to influence their purchasing decisions. Based on this trait of Gen Z, combining marijuana vape promotion with influencer marketing on digital platforms can be extremely effective. Due to the sensitivity surrounding marijuana products and the limitations imposed by policies and marketing platform regulations, many marijuana brands choose influencer marketing as a means to promote their products. By utilizing influencer marketing, marijuana becomes a representation of personal identity and a desirable item or life accessory in the lives of those influencers. The endorsement of marijuana products by influencers effectively appeals to this specific demographic and enhances their willingness to use marijuana vaporizers.




1.2 Portable Cannabis Vape Hardware Better Fit for Gen Z’s Outdoor Enthusiasm



Gen Z is renowned for their active lifestyle, with many of them being avid outdoor enthusiasts who actively engage in a variety of physical activities and sports. The statistic indicates that 74% of cannabis consumers within the Gen Z demographic prefer spending time outdoors. When smoking outdoors, it is important to choose a convenient and easily accessible method. Compact and portable vaporizers have become a popular choice among Gen Z, as they offer a convenient way to consume cannabis. Actually, 25% of Gen Z respondents are spending around $270 a month on vaping. That’s a whopping approximate of $3,321 a year (LADbible). This penchant for an active lifestyle naturally aligns with their preference for portable and user-friendly vaping products.




GenZ Cannabis vape consumers Artrix

Photo by RDNE Stock project from Pexel




1.3 Gen Z’s Openness Towards Multiculturalism Drives the Personalization of Current Cannabis Vape Hardware



Furthermore, the preferences of other prominent Gen Z cannabis users encompass a wide range of interests. These include a love for TV series, shows and movies, sports events, gaming, eSports, sneaker culture, slang, beauty trends, fashionable apparel (ranging from fast fashion to sustainable fashion), cultural diversity and social justice (such as advocating for racial diversity and LGBTQ+ rights), technology trends (like VR, AI, NFTs, and smart devices), popular music and music streaming, personal finance management and investment, mental health and self-care, and diet and fitness (including regular workouts and outdoor activities). These hobbies and lifestyles are interwoven and don’t follow a specific order of importance, in order to cater to the preferences of Gen Z, many cannabis brands have made changes to various aspects of their product design.



Gen Z is celebrated for its open-mindedness, valuing diversity, and inclusivity. They gravitate towards brands and products that embody these values. Cannabis brands championing diversity, equity, and inclusion are likely to resonate strongly with this generation. Gen Z confidently recognizes and values the cultural attributes of product brands, and they are also more inclined to support businesses that align with their values.




cannabis vape consumers GenZ LGBTQ group Artrix

Image by frimufilms from Freepik




1.4 Versatile Consumption Scenarios: Cannabis Vape Is Part of Their Life



These lifestyle keywords significantly influence how Gen Z incorporates vaping into their daily routines. Cannabis hardware have become a consumable accessory that seamlessly integrates into their lives. For instance, they may use their cannabis vaping products while watching TV shows or sporting events at home. People can also find these vape users on the streets, in nightclubs, at music festivals, and at parties (we don’t encourage vaping in inappropriate public settings). Their versatile consumption scenarios reflect their adaptability and the seamless integration of cannabis vaping into their social and recreational activities.




1.5 Gen Z: Tech-Driven Generation Prefers the Way of Cannabis Vape Consumers



Gen Z is a generation characterized by their immersion in a tech-driven, entertainment-centric lifestyle. They exist in an era of information overload, making them easily susceptible to the influence of the latest tech products and entertainment content. Their daily lives are intertwined with a highly advanced technological environment, where digital technology shapes their perceptions and experiences. This may explain why seasoned cannabis users often prefer traditional methods such as smoking flowers, using prerolls, and dabbing, whereas younger individuals are generally more open to embracing cannabis vape.





2. Cannabis Vape Preferences Among Gen Z in North America



The acceptance of cannabis products and the mention of a diverse lifestyle make it somewhat certain that the Gen Z generation will use cannabis products. However, Gen Z users certainly have their unique avenues for accessing these products. Young people are more willing to seek out and explore diverse purchasing channels, in order to gain access to more cost-effective new products. The following will introduce several preferences of Gen Z consumers when it comes to cannabis vape hardware.




2.1 Affordability and Milder Potency Drive Gen Z to D8 Products



Gen Z users are often drawn to distillates and Delta-8 mixed cannabis extracts due to their affordability and diverse range of flavors. Per data findings, a significant 50% of Gen Z cannabis vape consumers exhibit a preference for D8, particularly when purchasing through official and legal channels, with an even greater inclination apparent within the gray market. Compared to D9 or other cannabis concentrates, D8 is the most easily accessible to Gen Z through multiple distribution channels and is offered at competitive prices.





Digram by Artrix




In addition, for cannabis beginners, D8 could provide a smoother and milder experience compared to D9, offering a similarly potent effect. This aligns perfectly with the budget-friendly inclinations of Gen Z, who are drawn to vaping options that boast unique and rich flavor profiles.




2.2 Transition to D9 Products as Gen Z Is Maturering



As Gen Z consumers mature, many Gen Z individuals find themselves gravitating towards D9 (delta-9) vaping products. This transition often reflects their evolving tastes and preferences as they mature. With prolonged use of D8 cannabinoids, users’ tolerance increases, thereby driving continued demand for more potent and pure D9 products. Meanwhile, as the number of Gen Zers individuals entering the workforce increases, so does their economic strength and purchasing power. This creates the economic base for them to interact with D9 (delta-9) products.




Artrix 510 Carts Drillor




2.3 Disposable Cannabis Vape: Ideal for On-the-Go Lifestyles



Disposable cannabis vapes certainly top the list of frequently purchased cannabis vaping items among Gen Z users. According to Headset cannabis vape consumers research, in California, a leading state for cannabis sales, the proportion of Gen Z purchases for rechargeable disposable all-in-one products reached a remarkable 52.7% in 2023.



Vape Cartridge Disposable consumed by cannabis vape consumers

Segment/Package Size Sales in CA state, 2023




Gen Z’s attraction to disposables is also tied to the convenience of use and disposal. Years ago and even today, Gen Zers had access to disposable D8 products through vape shops that sell nicotine vapes. These disposable devices require no daily maintenance or extra operation, making them ideal for their on-the-go lifestyles.




2.4 Cannabis Product Source: Online Retailers and Local Plugs



For those fortunate enough to have access to affordable local “plug” contacts (informal suppliers), these are often among the primary channels for Gen Z users to make purchases. These underground sources often offer competitive pricing and rapid access to products. In addition, online retailers play a significant role in meeting their needs. The convenience of online shopping aligns perfectly with Gen Z’s digital-first approach to purchasing.




Gen Z Cannabis Consumptions

Image by jcomp from Freepik



2.5 Gen Z Requests More Stimulation from Cannabis Vape



Gen Z’s preferences for cannabis vape revolve around affordability, convenience in terms of purchase location and channel, portability, and discretion. Beyond these practical aspects, they are looking for products that provide a stimulating experience. Here, the term “stimulating” refers to Gen Z’s desire of Gen Z for adventurous and interesting experiences. The variations in the flavor and terpene profiles of cannabis products can provide different sensations, giving Gen Z the opportunity to enjoy different levels of freshness and the chance to try something distinctive. Gen Z users want their cannabis vaping sessions to be an adventure, an exploration of flavors and sensations. The diverse flavors and fresh sensory stimulation align with their quest for excitement and new experiences.




2.6 Aesthetic-Oriented: Visual Appeal Plays an Important Role



Aesthetic considerations also play a significant role in their product choices. Gen Z is a visually oriented generation that seeks products that not only deliver a great experience but also look stylish and appealing. They highly value products that can serve as identity recognition while delivering a satisfying hit.




2.7 Environmental Consciousness



There is a growing movement among those users to advocate for the reduction of these challenging-to-disassemble and recycle plastic and battery components, even though disposables are their preferred products. Many of them are environmentally conscious and are pushing for more sustainable ways to consume cannabis products. This indicates that environmental issues are also a concern for Gen Z.




GenZ environmentally friendly

Image by from Freepik





3. The Major Factors for Gen Z’s Consumption Decisions: Price and Mental Health Needs



3.1 Economic Factors



Gen Z’s consumption patterns exhibit lower brand loyalty and greater sensitivity to high-priced products. At present, they are typically students or new entrants to the workforce and may be engaged in freelance work. Most have not yet achieved the financial stability enjoyed by the Millennials and Gen Xers. As a result, Gen Z’s approach to cannabis products has evolved to be more pragmatic and price-sensitive.



As economic uncertainty looms, cannabis vaping users have become increasingly conscious of their spending habits, and that includes their choices within the cannabis market. Unlike previous generations, Gen Z shows less brand loyalty and is more inclined to make purchasing decisions based on their individual research and online community interactions. They tend to prefer innovative or trendy products over traditional options.



This shift towards a value-conscious mindset has been particularly pronounced, as they navigate financial challenges, such as student loan debt and a competitive job market. This economic pragmatism extends to their cannabis consumption habits, where they seek products that provide the best value for their hard-earned money. This demographic’s ability to adapt and evolve their preferences in response to changing economic conditions demonstrating their flexibility and resourcefulness as consumers.




Cannabis Workers

Image by wirestock from Freepik



3.2 Mental Health Needs



For many cannabis vape consumers in particular Gen Z users , the appeal of cannabis vaping products extends beyond recreational enjoyment. A significant portion of this demographic believes that cannabis vaping products can help alleviate anxiety and psychological stress, leading to a sense of mental relaxation. Additionally, they’ve found relief from various physical ailments through cannabis consumption.



The motivations behind their cannabis vaping habits often revolve around the search for euphoria and pain relief. According to the data, 79% of cannabis users in this group believe that cannabis products can alleviate pain, mental anxiety, and depression, while 78% of them believe in their medical benefits. These attitudes contribute to Gen Z’s greater openness to the idea of using cannabis for healing purposes. The accessible and discreet nature of vaping allows them to comfortably meet these needs.



As mental health continues to be a focus point for this generation, it’s essential to recognize that cannabis vaping has become an accessible tool for managing their overall well-being. Gen Z cannabis vaping users view cannabis products as a means to relax and escape the pressures of modern life, with an emphasis on seeking holistic balance and relief. They are also open to exploring the potential mental health benefits of cannabis demonstrates their forward-thinking approach to self-care and wellness. This nuanced perspective underscores the need for comprehensive discussions about the intersections of cannabis, mental health, and overall lifestyle choices within this generation.




Gen Z Cannabis Pod systems




4. The Huge Potential of Gen Z in the Cannabis Vape Market



Understanding Gen Z cannabis vaping users in North America requires delving into a complex world where adaptability, values, and lifestyle are intertwined with their evolving preferences.



As this generation continues to drive innovation and challenge convention, the cannabis industry must remain attuned to their nuanced demands and ever-changing landscape. The future purchasing potential of Gen Z should not be overlooked. Professionals can proactively prepare to meet the needs of this new generation of users and capitalize on their purchasing power. Ultimately, the story of Gen Z and cannabis vaping is one of adaptation, empowerment, and holistic well-being, emblematic of a generation forging its unique path in the modern world.



Further Reading 



Study Reveals: Gen Z Viewed Vapes as “Trendy” “Cool” and a “Fashion Accessory”

Author: Crystal Lan
Crystal Lan, an Artrix content contributor, works with a keen interest in delving into the cultural and business aspects of the cannabis vaping industry. She closely follows industry news and trends, providing a compelling mix of research and practical insights to illuminate and engage.