18% of US adults (21+) consider themselves cannabis users, Says Findings of Study

18% of US adults (21+) consider themselves cannabis users

  • Of those, 48% use Cannabis to relieve anxiety
  • 40% use as a sleeping aid or for pain relief
  • 1/5 use cannabis as a substitute for prescription medicine

London, 13th September: A new study conducted by Kadence International reveals insights into the changing landscape of the cannabis category in the US.

Adult cannabis usage has historically been perceived as a recreational tool for a small subset of society.  With changing attitudes, softening of legal restrictions and a greater understanding of benefits of the plant itself, we are witnessing an accelerated de-stigmatization of legal adult usage and a trend towards adult cannabis usage as part of an overall wellness regimen.

This self-funded research was conducted among a representative sample of the US general population, ages 21+, to better understand all aspects of the American cannabis consumer. The study found that 1 in 5 adult Americans have used cannabis within the past 12 months, with 32% of them using cannabis daily.

Medical/health-related reasons are often cited when adult cannabis users are asked why they consume cannabis.  (table one). Anxiety and pain relief are two of the most common reasons, and, significantly, the older generation (aged 50-65) are the most likely to supplement and replace existing medicines with cannabis.

Cannabis is also changing many attitudes towards alcohol (table two). Almost half of adult cannabis users (47%) are lowering their alcohol intake, with over 50% of them feeling cannabis is less harmful to them than alcohol. This attitude is especially prevalent in adults between 21 and 40 years old.

Interestingly, the study has found that the legalization of cannabis is also driving a change in attitudes. 70% of those surveyed stated that if cannabis were legal in the area they lived, they would be likely to try it. Only 4% of Americans refuse to try cannabis.

Table one – Reasons for Cannabis usage


Table two – Cannabis vs alcohol


Miriam Konz, managing director at Kadence International, commented: “While now recreationally legalized in a number of US states, discussing cannabis and its benefits is often done in hushed tones. The study we have conducted tries to demonstrate the role that cannabis has in modern society. We aimed to understand the reasons why people were using it and how often.  Most interestingly, there is no defined and clear specific demographic for cannabis users, it is used across all adult age groups, socio-economic backgrounds, and locations.

“For many, cannabis is increasingly a substitute for both alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs, but what does this mean? This research study is trying to understand the drivers of cannabis use in the United States, and while there is still a stigma attached to usage, most of the adult population is either using cannabis or strongly considering it in the coming year.  Given the anticipated growth in this category, there are implications for both the alc bev and the pharmaceutical industries, which explains their rush to invest and get involved.”

The study found that smoking cannabis is still the most common method of consumption. 83% of adult users smoked cannabis, compared to only 8% ingesting oils.

About Emily Watkins 158 Articles
Emily Watkins is a PhD student majoring in public policy. Emily has been a freelance editor for multiple websites, and has spent hundreds of hours volunteering to help legalize marijuana. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, and can be reached at Watkins.MarijuanaHerald@gmail.com