2021 Preference Report

Veriheal's Annual Medical Cannabis
Preference Report

Introduction: All about the study

There are a variety of products available for consumption on the legal cannabis market. From concentrates to edibles, there are an increasing number of consumption methods to choose from.

At Veriheal we surveyed patients that used our services to better understand the relationship between gender and consumption methods.

Responses from a nationwide cohort of cannabis patients are used to draw connections between cannabis use in self-identified women and their preference for edibles. Supporting research is also assessed in order to evaluate the validity of these claims.

*This study was conducted using patient survey data from the Veriheal platform, which operates via electronic health records that mirror those used in the traditional medical industry—which generally does not include separate fields for birth sex and self-identified gender identity in its electronic health records. Future Veriheal reporting aims to be more inclusive of transgender and gender-nonconforming people.

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Cannabis Preference
  • Men significantly prefer cannabis flower (80%) to edibles (63%)
  • Women don’t have a significant preference between edibles (71%) and cannabis flower (70%)
  • However, 31% of women would like to see more edibles on the market, and only 18% of women would like to see more flower.
  • 30% of male respondents would like to see more edibles and 25% of men would like to see more flower.
While both genders would like to see more edibles in dispensaries, the data shows female respondents were more heavily stratified towards the preference for edibles over flower.


Why do women prefer to purchase and use edibles more than flower?

To understand this preference we asked male and female respondents about the following:

  • What conditions do you have?
  • How do you want to feel?
  • Are there any CBD to THC ratios that you look for in your cannabis products?

Similarities Revealed:

Data regarding patients' desired feelings when using cannabis revealed similarities between genders.

Patients of both genders signaled a desire for feelings of relaxation and pain relief when using cannabis.

Men were slightly more likely to desire pain relief (69%) to relaxation (67%).

Women were slightly more likely to desire feeling relaxed (72%) to feeling relief from pain (69%).

Common Medical Conditions

The top two conditions both genders use cannabis for (trouble sleeping and chronic pain) are seen on this graph, as well as a condition where men and women significantly differ (nausea)

The survey revealed women use cannabis to treat nausea (14%) at significantly higher rates than men (8%).

Women are more likely to prefer a specific CBD:THC ratio (32.5%) than men (26.2%)

Now that we’ve seen the results from the survey, let’s analyze this data with what we already know about gender and cannabis consumption.

  • Women are more likely to replace their pharmaceuticals with cannabis products.
  • There is a prevailing stigma around women and substance use for a variety of reasons which causes them to seek out edibles – a more discrete method of consumption.

Women More Commonly Replace Pharmaceuticals with Cannabis than their Male Counterparts

Edibles—as opposed to smoking or vaping—are beneficial for reasons mainly based upon therapeutic benefit. They also prove to be beneficial because they are tested and labeled meticulously.

  • Cannabis patients who consume edibles or tinctures report longer-lasting highs, which can mean longer-lasting relief from uncomfortable symptoms.
  • Users of edibles report better pain relief and sleep when consuming cannabis edibles than when smoking or vaping cannabis.
  • Products are labeled with precise cannabinoid content, serving size, and dosing instructions.
  • Tested for state compliance (upheld to strict standards regarding labeled dosage)
  • Consuming edible cannabis is also more familiar to those replacing their pharmaceuticals with cannabis products.

Gendered Stigma of
Cannabis use

It has been found that the predominant reason that women
choose edibles is for their discrete nature.
  • Substance use in women is generally perceived as less frequent than in men, and the desire to conceal cannabis use in women may be a byproduct of this stigma.
  • This stigma can be especially harsh toward women that have children, who use cannabis.
  • Women who wish to avoid negative associations related to their cannabis use are more likely to seek out edibles as a more discrete means of obtaining the therapeutic effects of cannabis.


Increased use of cannabis as medicine is likely to lead to more oral formulations as a parallel to or part of the pharmaceutical industry. While oral consumption may have stark differences from smoking, its popularity seems to be increasing, and women are apt to support their growth in the adult use market.
*Although this survey is limited – in that it does not explicitly take into account trans and non-binary persons’ experiences – we hope that this study serves as a starting point to understanding cannabis use and its relationship to gender.


  • 1. Maha Haq; Report Analyst and Author; Advisor at Veriheal; University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy ‘21; Director of Education, NORML Los Angeles; Chairperson, Cannabis Chamber of Commerce.

  • 2. Alexandra Harris; Report Analyst and Author; University of Maryland, School of Pharmacy ‘23; Education Manager, NORML Los Angeles.

  • 3. Rahul Lalmalani; Report Analyst; Duke University, BSE; Biostatician & Engineer, Greenlit.LA.

  • 4. Dr. Thomas Henke, DO, Osteopathic Medicine; Medical Review and Diligence; Advisor at Veriheal; Nova Southeastern University College of Osteopathic Medicine; Member, American Heart Association; Registered Physician, Marijuana Regulatory Agency; Member, Society of Cannabis Clinicians; Member, Cannabis Care Certification Program; Member, Minority Cannabis Business Association, Member, National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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