Trends in Canadian Cannabis Since Legalization in 2018

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2018 brought Canadians something we though would be prolonged forever, legalization of cannabis. With legalization comes interest from those we would probably never expect. Join us as we take a look at Google Trends and other software platforms that will help us learn about 2018, with a year in review by Google search engine data.

If you don’t know, Google is basically a massive database of information and businesses, categorizations and users navigating the information. Google builds a profile on all people and businesses using their search engine. This information helps them understand trends of the past based on demographics, interests, and find correlations between a number of different statistics.

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Google’s Trends don’t tell us consumer behavior as a whole, but they give insight into when and where popular terms were searched through the Google search engine.

So we took a look into a bunch of terms people might be searching in Canada over the last 3 months  since legalization.

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We compared the popularity of terms “where to buy weed” “where to buy cannabis” and “where to buy marijuana”.  All 3 display a variable volume with similar search trends.  All 3 peaked in October 17, 2018, followed by a significant decrease until today.

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We compared the popularity of cannabis related terms including the word dispensary. “cannabis dispensary” “weed dispensary” and “marijuana dispensary”.

Once again, all 3 terms follow similar patterns of growth and decline,  but peaking out on October 1, 2018.  Since then, a quick decline and consistently low searches for all 3 marijuana descriptors.

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We also noticed that “weed” is used far more than cannabis, or marijuana in these searches.   The volume of “weed” terms seems to be far greater in all the top 5 “dispensary” searching provinces.   No to mention, the “weed” terminology searches are far greater than “cannabis” and “marijuana” combined.

Unfortunately we were not able to distinguish age groups for each term, but Google permits the break down of regional searches.

As you can see below, the Yukon Territories have the highest concentration of “dispensary” search terms in general, “weed” terminology making up nearly 100% of those queries entered into Google.

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Let’s remove the cannabis descriptive terms and look at dispensary terms.

“Dispensaries” “dispensary” and “open dispensary” terms were put into a chart for comparison, and the same results appeared.

Around October 17, 2018, a massive spike in similar searches, followed by a significant drop and severely reduced searches moving forwards.

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This gets less exciting as move down the list to notice that on October 17, 2018; basically, all search queries we ventured into regarding cannabis related concepts spiked significantly in Canada.  Significantly describes a roughly 400% increase across the board on the day Canada legalized cannabis.

“Weed” and “cannabis” terms are nearly on par when searched alone, and “marijuana” terms come in last at less that 50% of the other two.


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Employment in the cannabis industry is where we start to see a difference in trends.

We put “cannabis jobs” “marijuana jobs” and “weed jobs” against each other on a graph and the results were quite different than previously.

The “cannabis jobs” term heavily outweighs both “weed jobs” and “marijuana” jobs.  Unfortunately without more information, that is about all we can draw from this data.  It would be interesting to compare occupational terms to occupational qualifications and age groups, I think we would find some interesting correlations.

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Regionally, New Brunswick is clearly in highest demand of cannabis related occupation seeking.

NB is followed closely by Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Nova Scotia and British Columbia.  New Brunswick has a population of just over 753,000 residence.

Google does not accommodate for population density, so we have to assume that NB is on the same playing field as Ontario, and other heavily density areas.  This tells us there is a far higher percentage of New Brunswick citizens looking for employment in cannabis than anywhere else across Canada.

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Are Canadians more interested in growing their own cannabis, or buying it?  We put grow vs buy terms in the context of both “weed” and “cannabis”, two popular Canadian terms for the flower we love.

It’s interesting to note that “buy” terms far exceed that of “grow” terms.  We added “purchase” into the equation,  but those didn’t qualify.

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In terms of regions, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Saskatchewan are the top contributors to search results for “grow cannabis” and “grow weed”.

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