New study highlights marijuana use and acceptance trends in two neighboring countries
A recent study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research finds overwhelming support for cannabis legalization among respondents in the United States and Canada, with nearly half of people in both countries reporting using cannabis. The trends are overall very similar between the two nations, even though Canada has federal cannabis legalization and the United States does not.
The study, titled “Comparison of Perceptions in Canada and the United States Regarding Cannabis and Edibles,” examines data from surveys of 1 Canadian residents and 047 U.S. residents. The analysis revealed four major themes: “acceptance and consumption”, “normalization”, “edibles” and “education”.
Similarities in usage
The study shows that use rates between U.S. and Canadian respondents were largely similar, with 45% of Canadians and 42% of Americans reporting using cannabis. Among those who currently use, about 1 in 3 in the United States use cannabis daily, while about 1 in 4 of Canadian consumers are daily users. However, the report notes that U.S. consumers “are less likely to purchase from legal sources than Canadians,” which could be explained by the fact that recreational cannabis remains prohibited in most U.S. states.
Attitudes towards legalization
Attitudes toward cannabis legalization were also similar between respondents in the two countries, with 78% of Canadian respondents and 75% of Americans saying they agree or strongly agree with cannabis legalization.
Regarding local regulation, a majority of Canadians (56%) said they completely agreed that municipal institutions cannot prohibit the retail sale of cannabis on their territory, which constitutes “almost a total paradigm shift from before legalization”. In contrast, in the United States a minority of respondents opposed the local authority banning retail trade, with 44% saying they agreed with not allowing such prohibitions.
Normalization of the perception of cannabis
The researchers conclude that consumers in North America now perceive cannabis in a more normalized way. However, one of the barriers to greater success, aside from regulatory restrictions, is the level of knowledge and understanding most people have about cannabis. The report highlights a strong demand (and need) for additional information for cannabis consumers and the “canna-curious” about the plant and how its phytochemicals can benefit their physical and mental health.
Product usage and changes during the pandemic
The study finds that some consumers in both countries have increased their marijuana use during the COVID-19 pandemic, with 14% of Canadian consumers and 16% of U.S. consumers reporting an increase in their use.
Participants were also asked about their intention to increase their consumption of cannabis edible products. The report indicates that 21% of U.S. shoppers plan to purchase more edibles, while 13% of Canadian respondents expressed a similar intention.
Dried cannabis flower was the most popular cannabis product in both countries, with just under half of consumers in the United States (47,4%) and Canada (45,2%) saying they preferred this format. . Edibles and beverages were the second most popular in both countries.
Consumable oils and tinctures were a close third choice in Canada, with 22% of consumers saying they preferred these formats, compared to 8,7% in the United States. American consumers preferred concentrates for vaping, at 8,9% compared to 7,2% in Canada. Concentrates for vaporization, such as hash and shatter, were the least popular among the specified product types, at 1,8% in the United States and 1,4% in Canada.
The study results challenge the idea that a country must legalize cannabis at the federal level to change general social perception, given that Canada legalized cannabis nationally in 2018, while The United States still classifies cannabis in its most restrictive substance category.
The researchers also note that “Canadians’ responses show that they are more relaxed than their American neighbors regarding public recognition of cannabis use,” even more than when legalization began.
In conclusion, the report states that “consumers in North America now perceive cannabis in a more standardized way,” but notes that one of the barriers to greater success is the level of knowledge and understanding among most consumers. people regarding cannabis.
Researchers emphasize the importance of continued cannabis education and information dissemination to meet the growing demand for knowledge among consumers and those interested in cannabis.