Thursday, June 13, 2024

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Half of All Americans Have Smoked Marijuana, Cannabis Smoking Outpacing Cigarette Use

In a groundbreaking Gallup poll, it has been revealed that over half of American adults have experimented with marijuana, with current cannabis smoking surpassing cigarette usage. The survey, conducted between July 3-27, showed that 17 percent of U.S. adults currently smoke cannabis, compared to only 11 percent who smoke cigarettes.

While the question inquired specifically about “smoking” marijuana, it is acknowledged that the diversity of consumption methods, such as edibles, vapes, and tinctures, may not be fully represented. Nevertheless, the data unmistakably indicates a shift towards marijuana over cigarettes.

Analyzing the data across age groups, a significant generational trend emerges. Notably, 29 percent of individuals aged 18-34 reported current cannabis consumption. This contrasts starkly with the 12 percent from the same age group who smoked cigarettes according to a previous Gallup survey from the previous year.

With the legalization of marijuana spreading across almost half of the states in the nation, the Gallup poll reveals a record high lifetime usage of 50 percent. This marks a slight increase from 2022 and a notable shift from 2019 when only 45 percent had tried cannabis.

The historical evolution of attitudes towards marijuana is clear. In 1969, a mere 4 percent reported experimenting with it, which surged to 33 percent by 1985. While the rate remained under 40 percent until 2015, it progressively climbed, reaching 49 percent in 2021.

Nonetheless, the study’s language is considered limiting, as a 2019 American Medical Association study highlighted various consumption methods beyond smoking. Edibles (9 percent), vapes (9 percent), concentrates (3 percent), and even drinks (0.4 percent) were found to be popular among consumers.

The demographic breakdown of marijuana use does not display substantial differences. Across age groups, education levels, and gender, the consistency in lifetime consumption remains pronounced. However, political party affiliation emerged as a significant factor. Democrats were most likely to have experimented with marijuana (57 percent), compared to 52 percent of independents and 39 percent of Republicans.

Despite this growing acceptance of cannabis, concerns about its effects persist. For adults, 55 percent reported being either “not at all concerned” or “not too concerned,” while 45 percent were “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned.” The apprehension increased when the focus shifted to the impact on young adults and teens, with 75 percent expressing concern.

Gallup’s conclusion reflects the changing landscape, noting, “Experimentation with marijuana among most subgroups is on par with the national average, but the rate of current use varies more—and is highest among young adults.” The poll’s margin of error stands at ±4 percentage points, and it aligns with a broader trend of growing public support for marijuana legalization across party lines.

Read the full article here

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