Thailand is removing cannabis, known locally as ganja, from its narcotics list, following a February 2022 announcement by its public health ministry. The move permits all parts of the hemp plant to be used in commercial products, as long as they contain no more than 0.2% of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component in marijuana that produces a “high”.
The delisting follows the legalisation of cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabis compound, in consumer goods from early 2021 – which led to various Thai businesses launching ganja-infused products over the course of the past year.
But how aware are Thai consumers of the current availability of marijuana merchandise, and how interested are Thai consumers in purchasing products containing cannabis over the next 12 months?
Almost three-quarters of Thais aware of cannabis products sold commercially, while nearly half have used such products within the past two years
Latest research from YouGov RealTime Omnibus shows that, as of end February 2022, some 73% of Thai consumers say they know that cannabis products are commercially available. Across various regions of Thailand, most consumers are aware of ganja merchandise: from just under 70% in the south, to just over 75% in Greater Bangkok. Across generations, awareness is also comparable – with 70% of Gen Z, 72% of Gen X and Baby Boomers, and 74% of Millennials saying they are in the know.
Additionally, almost half of Thai consumers (48%) say they have used cannabis products in the past two years. Segmenting by generation, however, reveals that younger Thai consumers contribute most to this figure. Around half of Millennials (55%) and Gen Z (47%) report recent experience with ganja goods, compared to a smaller but still sizeable two-fifths of Gen X consumers (41%) and one-quarter of Baby Boomers (28%).
Significant gender differences are also observed. Thai men are more likely to report having consumed cannabis-based products in the past two years than not (52% Yes). Conversely, Thai women are more likely not to have dabbled with any marijuana merchandise in the last two years (44% Yes).
Most Thai consumers interested in consuming cannabis products in the next 12 months – although males more than females, Gen X and Millennials more than other generations
More than three-fifths of Thai consumers (62%) say they are open to or interested in consuming products containing cannabis in the next 12 months. While Thai men are significantly more likely to be interested than Thai women (70% vs 54%), more than half of each gender express interest. Notably, around one-quarter of Thai men (26%) and one-sixth of Thai women (15%) are very interested in consuming marijuana merchandise over the next year.
A clear majority of Thai consumers, across different generations, are interested in consuming ganja-based goods in the next 12 months. Interestingly, unlike the data on recent consumption of cannabis products, interest in near-future consumption does not straightforwardly decrease with age. While almost two-thirds of Gen X (65%) and Millennials (64%) express interest, compared to three-fifths of Baby Boomers (61%), the youngest Gen Z consumers are least likely to say they are interested (55%) in consuming any marijuana merchandise soon.
What most interests Thai consumers about cannabis products? And what are the top reasons why some are not keen?
The expectation that products containing ganja can help consumers relax and reduce anxiety, sleep better and improve their mood emerged as the top three reasons of interest in marijuana merchandise (among the 62% of Thai consumers who are keen to buy cannabis products in the next 12 months). This was true across different generations of Thai consumers, regardless of region or gender.
On the other hand, the concerns that products containing ganja pose a risk of addiction, cause a possible loss of control over one’s body, and affect memory, learning abilities and mental clarity emerged as the top three reasons why 31% Thai consumers say they are not interested in cannabis products. This was also true across different generations of Thai consumers, regardless of region or gender.
Notably, almost a quarter of Thai consumers (23%) who currently express no interest in cannabis products also say they are not sure or do not know the reason why. This currently hesitant segment may not have ruled out consuming marijuana merchandise in the future, so brands that have or are looking to launch cannabis-based products would do well to promote the benefits of their ganja goods more widely.
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Methodology: YouGov RealTime Omnibus provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on 28 February 2022, with a nationally representative sample of 2044 adults in Thailand (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by gender, age, region and monthly household income to be representative of the adult Thai online population (18 years or older), and reflect the latest National Statistical Office of Thailand (NSO) population estimates. Learn more about YouGov RealTime Omnibus.