With increasingly more states getting on board with cannabis legalization and weed becoming more mainstream and less stigmatized, getting high or medicating might not feel like such a big deal. No longer the “devil’s lettuce,” the majority of those who use cannabis do so not to get high, but for therapeutic benefits.
New research from New Frontier Data’s 2017 Cannabis Perceptions Survey looks at the reasons people say they use cannabis. With the popularity of medical marijuana, having been legalized in 28 states, it’s no surprise that most respondents — 55 percent — said that they use cannabis medicinally, and within that frame, specifically for relaxation. The second biggest group, 40 percent, said they use cannabis to relieve stress or to better enjoy socializing, the latter reason lining up more with adult use purposes. The third largest group, 39 percent, said they use cannabis to relieve anxiety. That makes sense, given that 40 million American adults, or 18 percent of the population, suffer from anxiety.
Less widespread, but other significant reasons people said they used cannabis include stimulating creativity (16 percent), treating a medical condition (15 percent), increasing focus and attention (nine percent), enhancing meditation, religion, or spirituality (seven percent), and improving exercise, athletic performance, or training (five percent).
What more, the study found that women are more likely to use cannabis for popular medicinal benefits, such as stress relief (seven percent more women than men), anxiety reduction (13 percent more women than men), pain management (eight percent more women than men), and sleep enhancement (10 percent more women than men). Given that cannabis can be excellent relief for women’s menstrual cramps and other female oriented discomforts, it makes sense that the reasons listed above would be more popular among women than men.
These results also provide evidence that a market segment just for women could, and to an extent, is already flourishing within the cannabis industry, what with a variety of creams, tinctures, bath salts, PMS targeted products, and even smell-proof purses with stash compartments, all targeted toward a female audience.
And because most respondents listed medicinal uses of cannabis as their main reason for getting high or medicating, that dispels the old stereotype of the stoner dude getting high out of boredom or laziness. Whether you want to unwind with a joint, instead of a glass of wine, after work, or would rather smoke weed than take Advil or painkillers, the face of the cannabis consumer is becoming more sophisticated and nuanced, as their reasons for using cannabis are also more intentional and specific to treat particular needs.