While cannabis was once a taboo subject, it has become more common in conversations, leading to increased awareness and fewer misconceptions. A recent survey by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) shows that the public perception regarding weed is indeed changing for the better, especially in relation to other substances.
What Was the APA’s Cannabis Survey About?
The APA recently released the results of a national poll of over 2,200 participants regarding the use, safety, and addictivity of drugs and technology. Specifically, the poll aimed to gauge people’s perceptions of seven substances and behaviors:
- Prescribed opioids
- Nonprescription opioids
What the Survey Says About Public Perception
Overall, the results of the APA cannabis survey show that the public opinion of drugs has changed, especially regarding cannabis, cigarettes, and alcohol.
More People Believe Cannabis Is Safe
Of the people polled, only 38% indicated they believed cannabis was unsafe — the lowest score of all listed substances. Comparatively, 84% considered cigarettes unsafe, and 75% considered nonprescription opioids unsafe.
Additionally, 64% of those polled believed cannabis to be either somewhat or very addictive. While still a high number, cannabis scored lower than all other substances and behaviors regarding addictivity. These contrasting numbers further show that cannabis is at its best when used responsibly.
Cigarettes May Still Be More Popular Than Cannabis — For Now
Of the 2,201 participants, 21% said they smoked cigarettes daily, 13% said they used cannabis daily, and 8% said they vaped daily. These numbers indicate that, though cigarettes are still more popular, cannabis use may be increasing. These numbers are consistent with previous Gallup polls, though these polls focused on in-general cannabis use rather than daily use.
Interestingly, these results contradict estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that indicated only 11.5% of US adults actively smoke cigarettes — down from 15.5% in 2016. This differentiation can be credited to the APA’s smaller participant pool, though it could indicate that a higher percentage of people favor cannabis than those polled.
Cannabis Is Seen Much More Favorably Than Alcohol
64% of the people polled believed alcohol to be unsafe, while 84% believed it to be addictive, and only 7% indicated that they used it daily. This is a stark contrast to cannabis’s numbers. Nearly twice as many people use cannabis daily as opposed to alcohol, despite both being recreational intoxicants. Cannabis’s popularity over alcohol will hopefully lead to fewer alcohol-related health problems as more people learn to use weed responsibly.
Using Cannabis Responsibly
Whereas weed stigma once clouded cannabis culture, today’s new, more positive perception allows more people to learn about cannabis, including its benefits and applications. Cannabis has helped parents balance stress, creatives unlock their wild sides, and hardworking professionals find high-reward jobs.
When using cannabis, it’s always important to be aware of your limits, not take risks, and comply with local laws, such as following possession limits and never driving high. At Harbor House Collective, we aim to promote a healthy and informed cannabis culture that allows everyone to enjoy their highs safely.