The Business of Cannabis

Using social media conversations to map the leading players in this growing industry

For thousands of years, people have used marijuana for a wide range of reasons, from pain relief to relaxation. However, the regulatory environment in North America has, in the past few decades, been hostile at best.

But that’s changing. Policies are becoming more friendly to marijuana users. With the legalization of recreational marijuana in more states and soon Canada, marijuana looks like its becoming big business, and it is time for marijuana businesses to understand the emerging industry landscape.

We looked at the social conversation about the top companies in the marijuana industry to get a better picture of the competitive landscape. By using social media analysis, we are able to understand the following:

  • Which companies are leading the space
  • What consumers look for in a marijuana company
  • The demographic makeup of consumers

The Big Players

In the last two years, Canadian marijuana company Canopy Growth leads the other top marijuana companies, with 26 percent share of voice. Priding itself on “highest quality cannabis” and “state of the art growing techniques,” the medical marijuana company is favored among consumers for its wide variety of products. In second place is Aphria, also a Canadian medical marijuana company. Consumers discuss Aphria’s oils; the company first released their Cannabis Oil in August 2016. Known as a top-tier producer, consumers discuss Aurora Cannabis’ potent strains.

The positive sentiment for the top marijuana companies varies greatly. While the Green Organic Dutchman has 78 percent positive sentiment, GW Pharmaceuticals is on the other end of the spectrum with just 31 percent positive sentiment. The Green Organic Dutchman is praised for its variety of products and potential to create new jobs. The company recently received a Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations cultivation license.

Meanwhile, consumers have remarked on GW Pharmaceuticals’ unsavory practices and their drug failing a Phlla study on seizures.

What matters to consumers?

When evaluating marijuana companies, consumers mainly care about price, then quality, then variety. For medical patients who need marijuana to treat conditions, price is especially important.

The Cannabis Audience

We looked at the gender distribution for the top five most-discussed companies. The conversation for the companies are dominated by men, ranging from 69 percent men to 80 percent men.

In North America, Toronto dominates the discussion of the top 10 marijuana companies, followed by New York, Los Angeles, Vancouver, and Calgary. It is clear that Canada is a leader in the marijuana industry.


It is clear that within the top 10 marijuana companies, there is plenty of room for differentiation. The top 10 of today may not be the top 10 in a few years. Looking at social data helps brands understand how they stack up to their competitors, how consumers feel about them, what marijuana consumers are looking for overall, and their audience.

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