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Table 4 Summary of findings from non-Marijuana Purchase Task studies

From: Characteristics that influence purchase choice for cannabis products: a systematic review

Reference Method Category Summary of findings
Aston, 2019 Qualitative interviews Route of administration Route: Vaporizing was noted to be a common method of consumption for medical users. Reasons identified for this preferred route included flexibility in dosing and timing, and the device being portable and discreet
Ben Lakhdar, 2016 Secondary analysis if survey data Price Quantity discount: Significant negative correlation between price/gram and quantity purchased. Larger cities had lower prices/gram. Potency (real or perceived) had little impact on discount
Price elasticity: The short-term price point elasticity for the sample was − 2.06 (range − 1.7 to − 2.1 when controlled for individual characteristics)
Boehnke, 2019 Primary analysis of survey data Quality Potency: THC to CBD ratio relevant to ~ 70%. Most preferred ratios were high THC to high CBD (37%) and low THC to high CBD (33.7%). < 5% preferred low THC: low CBD, only THC, or only CBD, respectively. Female and medicinal users preferred low THC to high CBD ratios significantly more than their counterparts
Cannabis strain: Preference for specific strain: indica/sativa blend (59.6%); indica (28.7%); and sativa (11.8%). More important to male, dual users, and experienced users
Described effects: Relevant to 52% of the sample
Smell: Relevant to 25.6% of sample. More important to male, dual users, and experienced users
Visual properties: Relevant to 26.3% of the sample. More important to male, dual users, and experienced users
Route of administration Route: Female, medicinal only, and novice users were less likely to smoke or vaporize (all P < .0001), but more likely to rank edibles, tinctures, and topicals as a first-choice route of administration
Recommendation Recommendation: 54.9% relied on advice from dispensary employees, 2.6% consulted a medical professional
Other Product name: Relevant to 14.2% of sample
Capler, 2017 Secondary analysis if survey data Price Cost: Grower, self-produce, Health Canada, friend, dispensary, street Note: Each parameter of quality, safety, availability, efficacy, cost, and feeling respected were rated based on the medicinal source, in order of best to worst
Quality Quality: Dispensary, grower, self-produce, friend, street, Health Canada
Other Safety: Grower, dispensary, self-produce, Health Canada, friend, street
Availability: Dispensary, grower, self-produce, Health Canada, friend, street
Efficiency: Dispensary, self-produce, grower, Health Canada, friend, street
Feeling respected: Dispensary, grower, friend, self-produce, Health Canada, street
Route of administration Route: 59% preferred smoking; 25% preferred oral method of consumption
Caulkins, 2006 Secondary analysis if survey data Price Quantity discount: The average price paid per gram drops as quantities purchased increases from $7.84/g for purchases < 5 g to $0.49/g for purchases > a pound
Chait, 1994 Cannabis choice trial Quality Potency: In 21 out of 24 trials, participants chose the high potency over the low potency product
Davis, 2016 Analysis of crowdsourced data Price Price elasticity: Price elasticity of demand estimates ranges between − 0.67 and − 0.79 (using ordinary least squares)
Price by quality: People were paying more for higher quality cannabis with high-quality at an average of $13.77 per gram and low-quality at $5.63 a gram
Desimone, 2003 Secondary analysis if survey data Price Price point elasticity: 18–39 years old: 0.018 for base model (− 0.287 to − 0.0292 for 5 different models accounting for different law enforcement variables); 12–17 years old: − 0.002 for the base model (− 0.169 to − 0.014 for 5 accounting for law enforcement variables)
Gilbert, 2018 Sensory evaluation Quality Aroma: Study showed that users perceive differences among strains, and that there are strain clusters based on odor similarity. Aroma profiles were linked to perceptions of potency, price, and smoking interest
The citrus cluster (citrus, lemon, sweet, and pungent) was perceived as more potent and were associated with higher interest and estimated price compared to the earthy cluster (earthy, herbal, and woody)
Goodman, 2019 Experimental choice task Packaging Packaging: Fully branded packages were more appealing and more likely to be to considered youth oriented (p < 0.001) compared to plain packaging/brand logo only. Compared to pre-rolled joints and oils, packages for edible gummies were rated as more likely to be youth-oriented (p < 0.001).
Warnings: Compared to no warnings, packages with health warnings were less appealing (p < 0.001)
Halcoussis, 2017 Analysis of crowdsourced data Price Price point elasticity: − 0.418 (controlled for quality, total number of arrests for possession or sale of cannabis in each county, median household income in each county, and quality)
Quality Quality elasticity: Both low quality and high quality cannabis were bought in higher quantities than medium quality, when all other variables are held constant (note: quality was self-reported)
Hansen, 2017 Analysis of admin data Price Price elasticity: Measured over a 4-month time frame (2 months before and 2 months after a tax reform). Short-term price point elasticity = − 0.43, but closer to − 1.0 within 2 weeks of tax reform, i.e., demand is price point inelastic in the short-run, but price point elastic close to a price increase
Reed, 2020 Qualitative interviews Price Price by source: A respondent reported shopping around based on deals for new patients
Other Delivery: Most people interviewed preferred to visit dispensaries in person, though some valued the convenience of delivery
Source: One person indicated they avoided intermediaries and preferred to buy directly from the source
Note: Data reported from this study represents opinions of individuals or small numbers
Reinarman, 2009 Primary survey analysis and interviews in Amsterdam and San Francisco Price Price elasticity: Regardless of source, most found prices reasonable. Very few would increase consumption if price dropped (Amsterdam 5%; San Francisco 13%), but slightly more would reduce consumption if price became “much more expensive” (Amsterdam 37%; San Francisco 39%). Suggests price is somewhat elastic but appears to be price-inelastic for experienced users
Quality Potency: Majority of participants had a preference for strength (91% Amsterdam; 99% San Francisco), Amsterdam sample mostly preferred lower potency; San Francisco sample mostly preferred higher potency
Other Source: Half of San Francisco sample obtained cannabis through friends who knew dealers; majority of Amsterdam sample (7 out of 8) purchased from regulated shops
Accessibility: San Francisco had longer average search times
Riley, 2020 Primary survey analysis Price Price point elasticity: − 0.501. The price for medium and high quality cannabis appears to be more elastic than low quality
Quantity discount: A 1% increase in quantity had a 0.436% decrease in the price
Quality Quality: If price is held constant across qualities the demand for medium quality increases by 35.5% and high quality by 81.3%
Shi, 2019 Discrete choice experiment Price Price (WTP): Price was the most important attribute measured for non-medicinal and dual users. Medical users had higher WTP for more potent CBD products. Non-medicinal and medicinal dual users had the greatest WTP for higher THC potency products
Note: There are preference heterogeneities identified by reason of use. THC potency was not as important for medical users as it was for non-medicinal cannabis users or dual users
Quality Potency: There was a preference for higher concentrations of THC and CBD. CBD potency was the most important attribute measured for medicinal users
Packaging Warning message: Both graphic warnings on drugged driving and text warning messages were positively received by users and nonusers, while FDA disapproval disclaimers were negatively received
Shukla, 2003 Interviews Price Cost: Some participants indicated that insufficient disposable income would lead them to use less or none at all
Note: This was a large dissertation in illegal drug desistance, portions that are relevant to this study were limited to some qualitative interviews
Other Safety: There are risks associated with purchasing from the illicit market including dealing with strangers or going in drug houses, risk of being caught/arrested, associated with going to drug houses, risks with product uncertainty
Availability: Individuals were generally not interested/willing to go to extreme measures to purchase cannabis when it was easily available
Smart, 2017 Analysis of admin data Price Quantity discount: For each 10% increase in quantity, there was a 0.62% reduction in unit price. Note purchases of < 5 g accounted for ~ 75% of all transactions
Wadsworth, 2019 Primary survey analysis Price Quantity discount: For each 10% increase in quantity, there was a 2.0% reduction in unit price
Price: Compared to purchasing from a family member or friend, purchasing from an illicit dealer, licensed producer, and online/mail order was associated with a higher price per gram, at a rate of 16.1%, 33.5%, and 23.7% respectively
Other Source: Most common sources were family member/friends (53.0%); illicit street dealers (51.7%)
Williams, 2004 Secondary analysis if survey data Price Price elasticity: Both the demand and prevalence of use is responsive to change in price. Heterogeneity exists between age groups with youth participation being more price sensitive than older age groups. There was no significant difference found for the demand of cannabis between genders for those aged below 25 years old. However, females aged 25 years or older were more sensitive to price changes compared to males of the same age
Other Legal status: Decriminalization is associated with a higher prevalence of use among males over 25 years of age. No indication that decriminalization significantly increases prevalence of use by either young persons (male or female), or increases the frequency of use among cannabis users