In a world replete with and overloaded with data and information, how do we harness insights to explain, forecast and advance the cause of the cannabis industry in Canada?
The Buzzword That is Big Data
Big data has long been the buzzword across industries. Businesses capitalize on technology to gather more information about their consumers to target and personalize campaigns. Think Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok algorithms. And, therefore, increasing profits. The public sector has also recognized the impact of these voluminous, high-frequency, real-time data and information to align their policies with social realities. More importantly, lobbyists use data analytics to support their causes and strengthen their cases.
Google Trends is among the most widely used sources of big data across all fields of study, with topics ranging from health to leisure, celebrities to political history. Aside from gathering public sentiments from Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms, Google Trends provides historical data as far back as 2004, making it a rich source for data miners.
Cannabis in the World Wide Web
Using Google Trends in gathering insights about cannabis, one can ask any question under the sun. For instance, if I am new to the topic and I want to understand the use of cannabis in Canada, I can deploy my Google Trends to investigate. Let’s start!
Figure 1: Google Trend – Volume of Searches on “Cannabis” in Canada from 2004-March 2022
Figure 1 shows the consistent interest in the subject of cannabis in Canada via the volume of Google searches since 2004. However, data analysts would easily detect a “data anomaly” in 2018 as it spiked and dwindled afterward. The beauty of data is that it triggers the questions and guides you to unravel and explore. Precisely in October 2018, when the volume of Google searches peaked in the region, the Cannabis Act of Canada was legislated, which intuitively triggered conversations in mass media and on the world wide web.
Google Trends also provides extensive data on cannabis per sub-region in Canada. Consolidating the data from 2004 to March 2022, New Brunswick had the highest volume of searches, followed by Prince Edward Island. Logically, that translates to interest in the topic in these territories. On the other hand, Quebec had the least, followed by Manitoba and Newfoundland & Labrador. For a public sector specialist working on cannabis legislation or for a cannabis business owner, the insights from this geographical spread do say a lot.
Cannabis in Canada: 2022 Insights
If we zoom in to 2022, it would be interesting to get a feel for what the public wants to know about cannabis in Canada using big data. Figure 3 below shows the shift in interest per Canadian sub-region and names Nunavut as the most interested sub-region on the topic. In turn, this prompts further inquiry into the why’s and what’s happening within the cannabis industry in this location.
So far in 2022, “cannabis store near me” has the highest query rate related to “cannabis”, together with topics ranging from packaging and labelling to the state of cannabis in the country, which may signal the developments in the industry. The supply and demand insights that may be derived from these data maximize the profit opportunities for businesses and enable proper and more timely monitoring by the public sector.
Figure 5: Google Trends – Search on the term “420 Celebrations Canada” per Canadian Sub-Region from 2004-Present
All in all, taking advantage of the free information via big data to understand the cannabis industry in the country is definitely a no-brainer! The insights gathered from this plethora of information allow for the gaps to emerge. And, turn those gaps into opportunities to capitalize on. Ultimately, with the end game of advancing the responsible and enjoyable use of cannabis in Canada.
Ready for your first data mining experience? Let us know how it goes in the comments, and follow us @cannalifenet for more big data and cannabis info!