Data from two public surveys came out this year to see how Americans currently perceive specific stigmas often associated with cannabis use. Three questions in particular that were addressed were:
Is cannabis addictive?
Is cannabis safe?
Is cannabis a serious public health problem?
Surveying questions of the like provide insight to public perception, allowing one to see how support for pro-cannabis legislation has been increasing consistently for the past twenty years. The first spike we saw was in 2013 where for the first time the majority of Americans supported legalization; this was the same year Realm of Caring was founded and Charlotte Figi’s story aired on CNN with Dr. Sanjay Gupta.
The New York State Department of Health’s Division of Chronic Disease Prevention (DCDP) releases a chronic disease survey annually in partnership with the Siena College Research Institute (SCRI) to examine adult resident public opinion across a wide range of issues to include: obesity, drug policy, and general health among Americans.
The most recent report, which was released in early 2023, summarizes results of surveys conducted from January 3 through January 20, 2022.
The survey question on perceived seriousness of several topics was: For each of the following, tell me if you think it is a very serious public health problem, a somewhat serious public health problem, a not very serious public health problem, or that it is not at all a serious public health problem.
Here are categories individuals were asked about and the percentages who viewed these issues as a very serious public health problem:
Childhood obesity: 54%
Tobacco use: 52%
Alcohol consumption: 42%
Access to healthy food and beverages: 39%
Heroin use: 70%
Opioid misuse and abuse: 69%
Access to healthcare: 53%
The amount of exercise Americans get: 39%
E-cigarettes and vaping: 50%
Marijuana or cannabis use: 23%
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) with Morning Consult conducted their annual survey April 20-22, 2023, which was distributed on a national level. When looking at addiction, those polled were asked how often they used a particular substance and if they thought it was safe or addictive.
When compared to technology, cigarettes, vapes, alcohol, and Opioids, cannabis was regarded the least addictive of them all.
APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A., said “It is clear that we have gotten the message through that cigarettes are dangerous and addictive. We can help prevent more Americans from other potentially addictive behaviors, like drinking alcohol and technology use.” The APA is launching public awareness initiatives on addiction and substance use disorders throughout 2023 and early 2024 to first focus on vaping, then Opioids, alcohol, and technology. Cannabis is not a planned focus for addiction awareness.
While these numbers are likened to public perception, researchers do not yet know the full extent of high concentrations of intoxicating cannabinoids that are often linked to dependence. This is where guided support for responsible use is an important part of one’s cannabis journey.
What is promising, is that research shows that compounds found naturally in cannabis plants have been linked to improving addictive behaviors, for example with human experimental models of tobacco withdrawal. The study, published in the National Library of Medicine, shows that treatment with cannabidiol (CBD), a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found naturally in cannabis, may be a promising novel smoking cessation treatment due to its anxiolytic properties, minimal side effects and research showing that it may modify drug cue salience.
When looking to cannabis for medical conditions, we always recommend speaking with a healthcare professional. However, if you are in need of support while on your journey we are here to help. From product selection to dosing guidance – we are here every step of the way. Send as an email to email@example.com, call us at 719-347-5400 or chat with us at realmcaring.org.