More and more states are legalizing cannabis, and more members of Gen Z are becoming old enough to buy cannabis. Seniors are also the fastest-growing legal cannabis consumer demographic, and they often have different preferences than younger generations.
With that comes a constantly-evolving market, and what consumers are looking for in a pre-roll is evolving right along with it.
More and more consumers are entering the cannabis market, and they all come with different preferences. Pre-rolls, however, remain a consistent staple in every dispensary for their convenience and typically low price points.
Countless pre-roll brands are vying for spots on the shelves, and it’s pertinent for growers to keep up with the market and the latest consumer preferences to stock what’s popular if they want to keep up with the competition on the shelf.
Here at Custom Cones USA, we want to help your brand succeed and keep on top of the market. So, we surveyed a group of stoners to help you see what consumers are looking for in a preroll in 2022. Let’s take a look at the results!
Joints, bongs, and dabs, oh my! Despite the growing popularity of high-THC concentrates, our survey pool overwhelmingly prefers pre-rolls over bongs, pipes, and dabs. Approximately 78% of respondents in our survey go for joints or pre-rolls, about 9% go for bongs and pipes, and roughly 4% go for dabs.
There’s a big push right now for high-THC cannabis products, but many consumers are going for flower more than dabs. A recent survey found 77.5% of respondents who consume both cannabis flower and concentrates prefer consuming flower. You won’t see a lot of cannabis flower with over 30% THC, and many consumers prefer to stay around 15-20% THC. The THC content in dabs can be up to 80% THC, which is a lot for most consumers to ingest daily.
When it comes to smoking cannabis flower, pre-rolls are obviously the most convenient method. Consumers love the convenience and ease; no need to fumble with glass or load a bowl, pre-rolled joints are ready to go. They’re also a lot cheaper than buying whole flower for consumers who just want to smoke a little bit of weed or experiment with new strains and brands.
Pre-rolls often come in multi-packs, so consumers often like to buy them before heading out to social gatherings with friends. Multi-packs are also a great way to avoid spreading germs by smoking the same joint, making them especially popular since the COVID-19 pandemic. If you aren’t offering a variety of multi-packs with different quantities or sizes of pre-roll like dogwalkers or reefers, your company is missing out on a huge portion of the market!
Top Three Pre-Roll Priorities
When a buyer walks into a dispensary, they each have different priorities when it comes to picking which product they’re going to take home and toke. Some look at the THC percentages, while others decide based on the packaging and branding. Here are the top three priorities our survey group takes into consideration when purchasing their weed.
- Price is undoubtedly the most important factor for the consumers we surveyed. Approximately 26% of our respondents said price is the #1 most important factor when it comes to their pre-roll purchase. And our findings are nearly identical to others; BDSA found that 27% out of their thousands of responses said price consistently plays a key factor in their cannabis purchasing decisions, right behind THC content and the product’s flavor.
In one of our recent data compilations gauging the U.S. market, we found the most affordable cannabis is on the West Coast. Washington, in particular, had the most inexpensive pre-rolled joint of the entire legal U.S. market. Wildfire’s pre-roll costs $1.50 in Washington at the time of us gathering price data.
- After price, our respondents care the most about the flower’s quality. Almost 22% of our survey participants said the pre-rolled joint’s flower quality is the most important factor in their purchasing decision. Some brands use pre-rolls as an opportunity to get rid of trim or lower quality flower, and many consumers don’t buy pre-rolled joints for that reason. Many brands are starting to get the hint and only include ground bud from their most premium selection of cannabis.
- The third most important factor to consumers is the type of flower in the pre-rolled joint. 17% of our respondents said Indica, Sativa, and hybrid specifiers are the most important factor in their pre-roll purchasing decision, while almost 22% of respondents said it’s the second most important factor in their final choice.
This makes sense, as different varieties produce different effects. We expect the cannabis industry to lead the charge on moving away from just these identifiers, though, and lead consumers to also care about other cannabinoids, terpene profiles, and the best method of administration and dose for their body.
Full Flower vs Infused Pre-Rolls
There’s a nearly-equal love for full-flower pre-rolls and infused pre-rolls, according to our poll, but infused pre-rolls won this round. 52.2% of our stoner participants prefer infused pre-rolls over full flower, while 47.8% prefer full-flower preroll joints.
Headset found that 7 of the 10 best-selling joints in California are infused, so it’s safe to say stoners tend to prefer infused pre-rolls over full-flower joints if given the option. For Canadian consumers, we should see infused pre-rolls grow in popularity even more because infused pre-rolls were just recently made allowed under Canadian law.
As infused joints continue to gain popularity in the market, the ability to efficiently produce infused products becomes more important than ever.
Our Automated Pre-Roll Infusion Machine takes your preroll production to another level! Up to 20 pre-rolls at a time are loaded into a circular cartridge, which rotates under the needle, where a rod of oil is perfectly placed in the center of the pre-roll. To learn more about this beast of a machine, check out our video or schedule a demo!
Good Supply, Canaca, Qwest, and Dab Bods are among some of the most common infused pre-rolls brands you’ll find in Canada. Jeeter, Stiizy, and Packwoods are three of California’s top-performing infused pre-rolled joint brands. In Washington, you’ll see Juicy Joints, Phat Panda, and Stingers. Some of these brands are in other locations, too.
When it comes to prices, we found that Oregon has the cheapest infused pre-roll by Avitas at $4.17. This pre-roll is infused with premium live resin and of course, stored in a glass child-resistant pre-roll tube.
Hemp and cannabis are sisters (some might call them cousins), and interestingly enough, hemp fibers are one of the best plants to roll a joint with. Hemp fibers are thinner & sturdier than other plant papers, making it easier to roll great joints with them. Hemp plants also tend to be less genetically modified than other plant papers, so they’re the perfect option for many cannabis consumers who are also health conscious.
Refined white paper is often referred to in the cannabis industry as rice paper. It’s what you think of when you think of a joint; it’s the classic white joint we see everywhere. This kind of paper provides a clean and tasteless smoke experience, too. Unrefined brown paper is simply the unrefined version of white paper. It’s often used by all-natural or environmental brands who want to give off a holistic vibe because it’s a natural, woodsy brown shade.
Custom Cones’ pre-rolled cones are FSC Certified, which means our ingredients come from sustainable forests being actively protected and managed to continue thriving, including the local people and workers. Our paper cones are manufactured under FDA standards for food-grade paper.
Blunts vs. Joints
Almost 67% of our respondents said classic paper cones are the go-to purchase. 19% said they’ll first go for hemp wraps and 14% prefer botanical blunts. There’s just something about the classics that stoners don’t want to stray away from!
There’s also the taste of botanical blunts like cocoa. Cocoa blunt cones add a hint of sweetness and a smokier burn to the joint, whereas classic paper cones are tasteless.
Some people prefer that (14% of our respondents do), but it seems like most people enjoy the classic paper cone. Goji berry blunts also provide a sweet and smoky experience, but the taste is much different from cocoa; it gives hints of tangerine and citrus.
Custom Cones’ cocoa and goji berry blunt cones are made without pesticides or foreign materials, so the rich cocoa and goji berry tastes can be fully experienced without overpowering the flower’s taste. If you pair the right botanical blunt with the right terpene profile: you can create a tasty & unique experience every single time.
Blunts have a hazy history, but one theory suggests blunts became popular in the Caribbean because there weren’t any other options. Another belief is that Jamaicans used cigar wrappers because they helped cover the smell of weed and make it less noticeable. The blunt made its way from the Caribbean into New York City by way of immigrants.
The blunt entered rap culture through Big Daddy Kane’s song Raw in 1988, and the rest is history. The blunt is part of cannabis culture, but stoners still love their classic paper cone.
If our data is telling us anything, it’s that stoners love the classics. Why fix what isn’t broken? Almost half (45.5%) of our consumers prefer the classic w joint filter tip over any other. 27.3% of respondents prefer a glass tip on their pre-rolled joints, and about 14% prefer spiral or wood tips.
Filter tips act like screens on your bowl. They can block debris from going into your mouth and create a much more pleasant experience overall. Filters are thought to also reduce toxins as you smoke. Filter tips can also improve airflow for a better burn. All of this lends to a premium smoking experience that consumers are usually willing to spend a little more money on.
The classic W tip takes the cake, but premium glass tips are creeping up there in popularity. Glass tips are cool on the lips and add distance to cool the smoke, whereas wooden tips have a very premium and holistic feel. Custom Cones sells two different main styles of glass tips: cylinder-shaped and cone-shaped, but we also carry a bullet-shaped filter tip and a few flat mouth tips.
Our cylinder-shaped glass tips are best suited for joint rollers or our cigar rolling machines. The cone-shaped glass tips are perfect for adding to the end of a pre-roll.
Spiral tips provide a tighter pull and more filtration. Custom Cones’ bio-degradable spiral design maximizes airflow but prevents flower from getting through to your mouth. The spiral tip is longer than the classic W tip, which also makes it firmer. All of our spiral tips are biodegradable over cotton materials.
Blunt Cones vs Blunt Tubes
Like pre-rolled joints, over half of our respondents prefer pre-rolled blunt cones over tubes. Classic blunts are reminiscent of a cigar, but the modern-day stoner is opting for cones every chance they get.
Blunt cones also have more room at the top than straight blunts or tubes do, so you can hold more flower and smoke more of them in one sitting. The burn is also evenly distributed, enhancing your smoking experience.
Custom Cones carries four different sizes of blunt cones. The 84-millimeter cone holds a ½ gram of herb, the lean 98 millimeter reefer holds a ½ gram, the standard 98 millimeter holds 3/4ths of a gram, and the 109-millimeter king-size cone holds a full gram of cannabis.
Cones are also great for dosing cannabis, unlike rolling straight joints. Consumers know the 84-millimeter cone will only hold a half-gram of weed, the standard 98-millimeter cone holds 3/4ths of a gram, and so on. This can help consumers to better dose cannabis flower and understand just how much they’re smoking.
We found consumers love the premium look and feel of cork-topped glass tubes, even though producers mostly use plastic pop-top tubes. There’s something about the cork against the glass that screams ‘luxury experience,’ and over 50% of our respondents agree.
Even though most producers opt for the plastic pop-top tube, just 13% of our respondents said it was the most appealing choice for a single pre-rolled joint. Significantly more of our respondents (30.4%) preferred the glass with child-resistant caps over the pop-top, interestingly enough. Just 4% of respondents said super seal pre-roll packaging is the most appealing option for them.
The glass tube with a cork top is the most appealing option aesthetically, but the glass tube with the child-resistant cap is the most practical option because many markets are requiring child-resistant pre-roll packaging in their compliance regulations. The cork top is not certified child-resistant, making these a harder option to use in strict markets.
You can find both glass tubes with certified child-resistant caps and glass tubes with cork tops at Custom Cones USA. Our glass is recyclable, so opting for glass is the right choice for environmentally focused cannabis brands. 79% of American cannabis consumers support establishing environmental standards in the products they buy, and glass packaging can play a major part in that.
We also carry labeling machines to label tubes and jars, so you can see for yourself how your logo and colors look on a glass tube.
Classy pre-roll tins are the winner here, and we can’t say we disagree with this sleek and classy choice! Custom Cones USA has pre-roll tins available in various sizes and styles. Find retro-flip tins and slider tins on our website! All of our tins are certified child-resistant, so they are compliant even in strict markets. We also carry inserts to organize your pre-rolls and get a more put-together look. Find our tins in black, silver, and white
Multi-packs can also be stored in push packs, snap packs, or even wide pop-top doob tubes. Slider tins came in second place for our respondents, with approximately 30% of survey participants preferring slider tins for multi-pack packaging. Slider tins are easier to open than snap packs, which take a little more effort, dexterity, and strength.
The multi-pack plastic doob tubes are perfect for convenient smoking and an on-the-go sesh. No worries about shattered glass if it’s dropped and it can be stored somewhere safe without the worry of it breaking.
The cheapest pre-roll multi-pack in the United States is from Flight 9 Cannabis Co. in Washington State and it costs $6 for a four-pack of half-gram joints in a small slider tin with Flight 9’s aviation-themed custom branding.
Our data suggests that while the cannabis industry is continuing to innovate, many stoners are stuck on the classics. Classic cones are preferred over botanical blunts. Consumers go for the classic W-shaped filter tip over some of the fancier options, too. It’s important for retailers to have options, though, because there are still plenty of consumers who prefer the more modern selections.
We asked dispensary buyers what they look for in a pre-roll, and their answers are pretty consistent with consumers. It makes sense considering the job of a dispensary buyer is to put the consumer’s preferences on the shelves so they will buy products. Price, flower quality, and THC percentage matter most to dispensary buyers when looking for pre-rolled joints.
At the end of the day, retailers and dispensary buyers follow consumer preferences. Consumers dictate the market and stores are going to stock what customers want to buy. Staying up to date with the latest preferences and trends keeps you ahead of the curve and prepared to pivot if needed.