This piece first appeared in Cannabis Now.
Data shows Americans are interested in trying cannabis for a variety of physical and mental conditions.
We are not sure when it happened, but somewhere along the 20-some years of statewide marijuana legalization in the United States, the goal of the smoke for the average user has shifted. While cannabis legalization started with a serious tone surrounding its medicinal effects it also was once a deal where recreational cannabis use was a kind of comic relief, a way to put the absurdity of the day in the rearview and just laugh it up and appreciate the good times to be had.
Today, in light of recreational legalization, there are advocacy groups still out there on a mission to get the government or whoever will listen to understand that the therapeutic benefits of this plant are vast and should be respected as a legitimate medicine and this message seems to be working. Over half the nation has now legalized the leaf for medicinal use in some form or fashion. It’s a trend that has apparently given people all across the country a new reason to join the American cannabis clique.
Some of the latest data from the American research firm Nielson shows that 34% of adults 21 and over are now intrigued about using marijuana. But rather than explore the head change that the herb is famous for providing, many of these people are more interested in checking out the weed scene as a way to improve their overall health. The new survey shows that the majority of the country’s cannabis curious are eager to try pot as a combative measure against a variety of physical and mental conditions ranging from chronic pain to a relaxation aid.
Statistics show that the biggest reason Americans want legal weed is to control pain (85%). This response is likely the result of several studies published over the past few years showing that pot could be an effective alternative to some prescription painkillers. It is just one of the reasons that cannabis components like hemp-derived CBD, which has been shown to have anti-inflammatory properties, has become such a huge household name as of late.
The next reason America gave for wanting legal weed is improving their overall mental health (82%). It seems that more people are starting to realize that the tragedies of life are a little less soul-slashing with a head full of THC.
And they’re not wrong.
Some folks would like to try marijuana as a remedy for minor injuries (81%), and others simply want it to relax (74%). There are those, as well, who want it for a non-pain-related medical issue (63%), preventative medicine (60%), and two or three hippies said they would like it to enhance their spirituality. In the end, all everyone wants is the freedom to be high.
Although the mainstream media might size up all of this chatter to a society that has progressed from burn-outs and stoners to the wellness-minded, we’ve got to tell you, it is a fine line. All of the reasons America has given for wanting legal marijuana are just an elaborate dissection of what it actually means to be high. The improved mental state and the relaxation is precisely why people have been using marijuana for thousands of years. We hate to break it to you America, but being stoned is the same as being medicated.
The Nielsen survey shows that nearly 50% of the respondents said they would consume marijuana as a way to have fun with friends. Translated, this means that half of the nation wants to get high with their buddies and relish in life, love and laughter. This is what is often referred to as recreational use. So far, 11 states have legalized cannabis for this purpose, and it is the direction the United States is going with respect to changing the cannabis laws nationwide.
You may have heard this concept articulated as “sold in a manner similar to alcohol,” which is how legalization was pitched years ago during the campaign phase of the initiatives to establish taxed and regulated pot markets in Colorado and Washington. Now, most of the nation dig this idea. Some of the latest public opinion polls indicate that more than 60% of the population would like to see cannabis legalized like alcohol and tobacco.
So, what did we really learn from the study? Well, while it might show that America is mostly interested in weed for its medicinal benefits, the cipher buried deep within the edges of the verbiage really just drives it home how much people want marijuana as a muse to all highness. And to that we say, cool!