How to Educate Cannabis Consumers Through Marketing

A content marketing strategy can be used to dispel myths and make cannabis brands more approachable and mainstream.

Marijuana is becoming more socially and legally accepted throughout the U.S. This is a good thing for cannabis brands because they now have to focus on marketing their product. However, the stigma that surrounds marijuana makes this difficult.

Not only do companies have to grow brand awareness within this restricted market, but they also must focus on educating customers about the legalities of their product, all while providing simplified botany, biology and chemistry lessons. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

It may seem like a difficult task to some, but many companies in the cannabis industry have proven they are capable of handling the challenge.

Cannabis marketing regulations

Cannabis is still considered a drug that is against the law by the Drug Enforcement Administration. This means that even though it might be legal to use cannabis for medical reasons or for adults in some states, the federal government can shut it down anytime they want.

Products made from agricultural hemp that have a THC content of 0.3% or less are federally legal. This includes products like CBD oil, as long as the producers meet the federally mandated requirements.

But don't get too excited just yet. States are allowed to decide how they want to handle CBD, which leaves it in a bit of a grey area. On top of this legal confusion, there is a lengthy list of regulations on the advertising of cannabis and derivatives like CBD. This means that advertising on platforms that have a nationwide reach is often not an option. Some national newspapers and print magazines, along with platforms like Facebook and Instagram, also prohibit cannabis marketing because of these regulations.

Products range 

The cannabis market has a lot of different products, like edibles, flowers, topicals, capsules, oils and CBD. This means that brands need to be aware of the legal requirements and advertising regulations for each of the markets they are in. For example, CBD brands need to educate customers about whether their products contain THC. In states where cannabis is legalized for recreational or medical use, CBD products can legally contain THC, but these products cannot be sold or transported across state lines.

Brands need to focus on educating the audience about all things cannabis so that people will not be confused and so that the brands stay within the law.

Misconceptions about cannabis

There are a lot of misconceptions about the cannabis industry that marketers need to address. This is because of the decades of prohibition that have left a cloud over the industry.

Cannabis is a gateway drug

People think that using cannabis leads to using other, much harder drugs. But this isn't always true. In 2010, Time magazine published an article that said there is a correlation between cannabis use and hard drug use. But this doesn't mean that cannabis causes people to use hard drugs. Several studies have found that there isn't a clear connection specifically regarding the drug effects of cannabis and harder drug use later in life. This may be because cannabis is often the first drug encountered by people. In fact, while users of dangerous narcotics are also likely to use cannabis, the majority of cannabis consumers do not go on to use "harder" substances. However, more research is needed in this area.

Cannabis might make you feel tired and lazy

You may know the stereotype of a lazy person who spends all day on the couch playing video games and eating everything in sight. But this is not true for everyone who uses cannabis. Marketers need to show that many people use cannabis to celebrate, meditate, reduce creative blocks, manage stress levels, and go about their normal lives. As the industry becomes more legitimate, more and more people will likely be open about their cannabis consumption and dispel this myth.

All cannabis products have the potential to make you feel high

All golden retrievers are dogs, but not all dogs are golden retrievers. CBD is a kind of dog, but it is not a golden retriever. Just like all dogs are animals, but not all animals are dogs, all cannabis products come from the cannabis plant family. But just like there are different types of dogs, there are different types of cannabis products. Some will make you feel high or "intoxicated", but CBD does not always have this effect. In fact, for most people it has more of a caffeine-like impact on the brain that can change mood but doesn't always impair functioning. THC is the component in cannabis that causes a person to feel high or "intoxicated".

Marketing can be used to educate people about cannabis

Some people have misconceptions about cannabis. This means that we need a customer education program to help people understand the reality and safety of cannabis. A content marketing strategy can help dispel myths and establish a brand as an industry leader. Content can also be created for longtime cannabis enthusiasts. Talk about terpenes, lesser-known cannabinoids like CBG, the differences between isolate and a full-spectrum product, and recent scientific developments or discoveries.

Here are two examples of effective cannabis marketing

Even though the industry faces some challenges, some brands have succeeded by focusing on dispelling misconceptions. Here are a few examples of our favorites:

How to use mystic to engage customers

Four20 is a Canadian cannabis company. It has successfully navigated the online landscape across the globe by relying on brand building and audience engagement with its "It's Four20 somewhere" campaign. Without having to mention cannabis, the brand was able to give a nod to cannabis culture and generate a little mystery and excitement, pulling people to its Instagram profile and, eventually, its website.

Breaking down old stereotypes

MedMen wanted to break down old stereotypes about cannabis with its 2018 "Forget Stoner" campaign. The campaign aimed to remove the stigma attached to cannabis use by showing the "real" face of cannabis consumers.

This campaign created a feeling of inclusiveness while changing the conversation about who uses cannabis. MedMen used the truth to its advantage. Marijuana consumers are everywhere, and there is nothing wrong with that.

Whenever an underground culture goes mainstream, it requires a significant period of adjustment and social change before it becomes a part of the norm. By providing educational content around cannabis, cannabis culture and dispelling negative stereotypes, cannabis brands can grow and normalize the cannabis market while also becoming industry leaders.

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