Will the seedy stigma of cannabis continue?

In a Caddle survey of approximately 10,000 Canadian non-cannabis users earlier this year, our team found that 77% of respondents had no intention of trying cannabis once legalized in Canada. When asked about potential reasons why they might potentially try cannabis, 49% of respondents maintained that they simply would never try it. 43% were against legalization of recreational cannabis in Canada, 53% either disagreed or strongly disagreed that cannabis legalization would be good for society, and 54% of respondents felt there is a negative stigma still associated with cannabis use.

What are the stigmas?

Last year, the Government of Canada commissioned an official Canadian cannabis survey, including both users and non-users from 16 years and up. In the survey of 9,215 Canadians, 77% of respondents felt that cannabis could be habit forming, and while nearly half indicated positive effects on mood, anxiety, sleep and creativity, the majority of respondents felt that cannabis can negatively affect motivation (57%), memory (58%), concentration (59%), attention (60%) and decision making (62%). Interestingly, while alcohol was widely considered the most socially acceptable substance, more respondents felt cannabis was socially acceptable (28%) than tobacco (19%).

Is legalization driving the stoner stereotype away?

In a 2017 study performed by U.S.-based cannabis research firm BDS Analytics, the researchers found that the average household income among Californian consumers is $93,800 compared to $74,350 for non-users. Californian users are more likely to hold master’s degrees, and Colorado users are more likely to be employed full-time compared to non-users. In the same study, BDS Analytics found that users from California and Colorado (two of the nine United States where cannabis is currently legal) are more likely to consider themselves very social, and are more likely to enjoy the outdoors and volunteer their time compared to non-users from the same states.

How will the cannabis stigma turn a corner?

For the non-users surveyed by Caddle, the leading reasons why they might try recreational cannabis once legalized included pain relief and relaxation (14%), curiosity (12%), and reduced stress and anxiety (10%). Wellness is a constant reason for interest and usage according to most research available so far. In a report by Deloitte, the top two reasons for using recreational cannabis include relaxation and sleep (66%), and to reduce stress or anxiety (62%).