In addition to surveying public perception of alcohol and marijuana use, this research also aimed to find out why people turn to each substance.
Times are changing and as more states legalize both recreational and medical marijuana, it is obvious that public opinion about the two is changing, too. At face value, it appears that more people are accepting of marijuana, both as a recreational substance and plant-based medicinal product.
What if we take a closer look? A recent survey performed by the American Addiction Center aimed to do just that and shed some light on the public opinion on weed and booze. Their results confirm what we suspected from the start — the way Americans feel about weed and booze is pretty complicated.
More People Believe Marijuana Should Be Illegal
In the survey of 1,000 people, the American Addiction Center found that 17% of those surveyed believed marijuana should be an illegal substance. This is compared to only 10% of respondents stating that they would prefer alcohol be illegal.
Interestingly enough, when the results of the survey were adjusted based on the respondents’ own use of these two substances, the overall opinion was different. Among those who don’t drink alcohol at all, 38% want it to be illegal. When the same questioned was asked about marijuana among those who don’t use it, only 30% said they would like it to be illegal.
Is marijuana or alcohol more dangerous?
We know that alcohol use is significantly more dangerous than marijuana use, with an estimated 88,000 alcohol-related deaths occurring in the United States each year. How does public perception line up with the facts? When asked questions about the dangers of each substance, the researchers found that most people seemed to understand that alcohol is more dangerous but still many felt that marijuana was dangerous, as well.
The average response to the survey was that alcohol is somewhat dangerous or very dangerous. For marijuana, the average response was that it was not very dangerous or somewhat dangerous.
When looking asked for more specific concerns about using marijuana or drinking alcohol, the biggest concern for both substances was how they behave in public. However, respondents were significantly more concerned about their public behavior when drinking alcohol than when using marijuana.
Why do people use marijuana and alcohol?
In addition to surveying public perception of alcohol and marijuana use, this research also aimed to find out why people turn to each substance. According to the results, a much higher number of people use alcohol to celebrate than they do marijuana.
A surveyed 14% of alcohol users admitted they felt they are addicted, while only 8.2% felt that was the reason behind their marijuana use. Interestingly, when asked if they use alcohol or marijuana to cope with stress, the results were nearly identical — 42% said they turn to alcohol while 41% turn to marijuana as a way of dealing with the stress in their life.