Medical marijuana patients and recreational consumers rave about cannabis as a way to alleviate anxiety, pain, stress, and other ailments, but will smoking weed actually make you a happier person?
According to a new study, people who smoke cannabis also make more money, volunteer more, spend more time outdoors, and are generally happier with their lives. While correlation does not equal causation, all this information could still point to a connection between weed and happiness.
“Well-adjusted lifestyles seen among cannabis consumers serve as a common theme in the findings in the series of reports called ‘Public Attitudes and Actions Towards Legal Cannabis,'” according to BDS Analytics. The study itself was conducted in California and Colorado, while more research is in the works in Oregon and Washington.
BDS Analytics’ first data set from Cannabis Wellness Trends, entitled “Cannabis Consumers are Happier Campers,” analyzed public attitudes toward weed among 2,000 adults, 1,200 of whom used weed in the past six months. In contrast to people who don’t smoke weed, whether or not they’re opposed to the idea of it, cannabis consumers still ranked higher with regard to personal and social satisfaction.
The study also found that most of the respondents’ cannabis consumption wasn’t social, but for the sake of physical, mental, and emotional wellness. “It’s not a group of people getting together and getting high,” says Linda Gilbert, managing director of the BDS Consumer Research Division. “I suspect that will change as legalization becomes more and more prevalent and accepted.”
The study also indicated that women were using cannabis more than the researchers had expected. “In general, women are the gatekeepers of health in most households,” says Gilbert. “And this study suggests that women are embracing cannabis for self-care. Instead of Advil or aleve, women are turning to cannabis for menstrual cramps.” Legalization has also allowed more varied forms of cannabis to occupy greater roles in the industry. Topicals, edibles, beverages, and vaporizable oils are becoming more popular, as opposed to smoking old school joints or bongs, as way for people, and especially women, to get high or medicate on their own.
“Cannabis consumers want to live a healthy lifestyle,” says Gilbert. “For some, smoking it is a barrier. It’s just not the stereotypical twentysomething toking up in a basement. Today’s marijuana consumer prefers organic produce, sustainable packaging, and, in general, a more mindful lifestyle.”
For those reasons, in addition to the character traits that define today’s cannabis consumer, those who choose to smoke weed might make other decisions overall that support a happier lifestyle – hence why there’s such a strong correlation between weed and happiness.