Cannabis consumers make more money, spend more time outdoors, volunteer more and are generally more happy about life, according to a study released Thursday. Is smoking marijuana the key to happiness?
According to BDS Analytics, the “well-adjusted lifestyles seen among cannabis consumers serve as a common theme in the findings in the company’s series of reports called ‘Public Attitudes and Actions Towards Legal Cannabis.’ ” The data firm conducted the study in California and Colorado. Research is underway in Oregon and Washington.
“Cannabis Consumers Are Happier Campers” was the first installment of BDS Analytics’ Cannabis Wellness Trends, which examines different aspects of public attitudes and actions toward legal cannabis and the market for legal cannabis. The online survey tallied the results of 2,000 adults in the two states with a quota of 1,200 respondents acknowledging marijuana use in the past six months.
“Every time we embark on a study of wellness or health, we have preconceived ideas on what we will find,” Linda Gilbert, Managing Director of the BDS Consumer Research Division, told The Fresh Toast. “But I was quite surprised by these results. Especially in how the substance is actually used.”
When compared both to people who do not currently use marijuana but are not opposed to using it, and those who are opposed to marijuana, cannabis consumers tend to rank higher on a range of indicators related to personal and social satisfaction.
According to Gilbert’s analysis of the study, most consumption is not social. “The majority of the respondents say they use cannabis for physical, mental and/or emotional wellness. It’s not a group of people getting together and getting high,” she said. “I suspect that will change as legalization becomes more and more prevalent and accepted.”
Gilbert, who has spent 30 years researching health, wellness and nutrition issues, also highlighted the findings that more women are using cannabis than she anticipated.
“In general, women are the gatekeepers of health in most households. 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,” said Gilbert.
Gilbert suggests that “the cannabis consumer cohort should be of interest to many marketers targeting healthy lifestyle consumers, whether food and beverages, exercise and recreation, community service and more.”
The survey also sheds some light on how legalization has altered usage. Form factors such as topicals, beverages, edibles and vaporization are becoming more popular, especially among women.
“All these new forms have drastically changed the landscape,” Gilbert said. “Cannabis consumers want to live a healthy lifestyle. For some, smoking it is a barrier. It’s just not the stereotypical twentysomething toking up in the basement. Today’s marijuana consumer prefers organic produce, sustainable packaging, and, in general, a more mindful lifestyle.”