Recreational cannabis has been legalized in 11 states and Washington DC in the US. However, little is known about individual preferences for legal cannabis products. This study estimated the impacts of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), cannabidiol (CBD), warning messages, and price on preferences for cannabis flowers.
A cross-sectional online survey with discrete choice experiments was implemented in October 2017. A sample of 2400 adults aged 21 years or older were recruited from 6 US states with recreational cannabis legalization, consisting of 1200 past-year nonusers and 1200 past-year users. Each respondent was randomly assigned to 12 discrete choice scenarios, each asking them to choose from an opt-out option and 3 cannabis flower products with varying levels in THC, CBD, warning messages, and price. The impacts of product attributes on individual choices were analyzed with nested logit regressions.
Both cannabis nonusers and users preferred higher CBD and lower price. Users also preferred higher THC. The results on warning messages were mixed: graphic warning on drugged driving and text warning message had positive impacts on nonusers’ and users’ preferences for cannabis flowers, respectively, whereas FDA disapproval disclaimer had negative impacts on nonusers’ preferences. Heterogeneities in preferences were revealed among nonusers by former use status and among users by reason of use. Particularly, medical cannabis users were not as responsive to THC as recreational cannabis users or dual users were. Regarding relative importance of the attributes, all respondents but medical cannabis users perceived price as the most important attribute (relative importance 51-64%), whereas medical cannabis users perceived CBD as the most important attribute (relative importance 47%).
The findings indicated that product characteristics may have influences on US adults’ choices of legal cannabis flower products and may deserve consideration for cannabis regulatory framework.
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