APA Poll Finds Americans Think Marijuana is Less Addictive Than Technology and Alcohol

In a new national poll commissioned by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) and conducted by Morning Consult, most Americans said they believe marijuana is less addictive than technology and is safer than alcohol and cigarettes.

“People were less likely to believe cannabis was addictive compared to the other substances and behaviors polled”, according to an APA press release. Their poll was conducted between April 20 and April 22, 2023, among a sample of 2,201 adults. Results have a margin of error of plus or minus 2 percentage points.

When asked about addiction, those polled reported on how often they used a particular substance or engaged in a certain behavior, and whether they thought it was safe and/or addictive. 87% of respondents said cigarettes are addicting, while 84% said the same of alcohol, 81% said the same of vaping and 75% said the same of technology. When it comes to marijuana, the number is noticeably lower at 64%.

When asked whether these are unsafe, 84% said yes in regards to cigarettes, compared to 76% for vapes, 64% for alcohol, 23% for technology and 38% for marijuana.

Participants were also asked about prescribed and unprescribed opioids, with 83% saying prescribed opioids are addictive and 66% unsafe. For unprescribed opioids the numbers were 74% finding it addictive and 75% unsafe.

When they were asked about their perceptions, U.S. adults were divided on whether addictions are a result of personal weakness (47% say yes, and 53% say no), but a strong majority (93%) agreed that substance use disorders can be treated. 76% agree that addictions are medical disorders, and 76% agree that they are preventable.

A majority of adults (71%) say if they or someone they knew was struggling with addiction, they would feel knowledgeable about ways to help. That said, as it pertains to opioid addiction and safety, there’s a gap between adults who have heard of naloxone or Narcan, a life-saving medicine now available over the counter, and those who know where to find it. Three-in-five (58%) adults said they have seen, read, or heard about Narcan and/or naloxone before, but only one-third (35%) of adults said in the case of an opioid overdose, they would know where to find it.

“In 2022, opioids killed more than 100,000 people,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “While it is encouraging that most Americans see substance use disorder as a treatable medical condition, we can do more to ensure that more of us in our communities are aware of and can access naloxone, which saves lives.”

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