Americans Believe Marijuana Is Safer Than Tobacco, Alcohol

Americans Believe Marijuana Is Safer Than Tobacco, Alcohol

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A majority of adults living in the United States think marijuana is safer than tobacco and alcohol, according to the findings of a new survey. Conducted by Harvard University and Politico, the survey found that just one in five Americans think marijuana is “very harmful” to those who use it.

Meanwhile, two in five say alcohol is harmful and 80 percent said tobacco is harmful.

Those findings are especially noteworthy given that not long ago, marijuana wasn’t legal anywhere in the United States. Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard, said in a statement: “Ten years ago, we were jailing people for marijuana. Now people see this as not essentially very harmful.”

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The Numbers On CBD Are Even Better

The survey — which took answers from 1,007 Americans — also asked respondents about cannabidiol, better known as CBD. Found in hemp and marijuana, CBD does not cause the “high” feeling (that’s THC). When the U.S. Congress made hemp legal as part of the 2018 Farm Bill, it opened the door to CBD products reaching the shelves at places such as CVS.

That’s had an impact. More than 54 percent of adults are aware of CBD products, according to the survey. About 15 percent said they are already using a CBD product. What’s more, of those familiar with CBD products, only 5 percent said they think CBD is “very harmful” to those who use them.

There is still disagreement on how CBD should be made available. More than 51 percent said they think that CBD products, if deemed safe by the federal Food and Drug Administration, should be sold to Americans in the same way as prescription drugs. About 45 percent said CBD products should be available over the counter, just like vitamins or dietary supplements, even if they don’t have FDA approval.

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What The Study Found About Recreational Use Of Marijuana

Most polls show what the Harvard-Politico poll shows: A majority of Americans are fine with medical marijuana and CBD products. It also mirrored the findings of a Gallup poll that found 66 percent of American adults support recreational marijuana legalization.

The Harvard-Politico survey, however, found some division on how marijuana should be delivered to the public. Here are findings from the survey that directly related to recreational marijuana.

  • 62 percent said they favor legalizing marijuana for recreational use at the national level
  • 69 percent said they favor only allowing sales of recreational marijuana at licensed stores in their state
  • 53 percent are OK with a licensed marijuana store in their neighborhood
  • 32 percent favor allowing use in public spaces in their neighborhood

Notice how the support numbers drop the closer marijuana sales and use get to where the respondent lives. That shows many still view cannabis differently than alcohol, which is available at every grocery and convenience store — in addition to “liquor stores” — from coast to coast.

The partisan divides remain, as well. About 67 percent of Democrats and 69 percent of independents support federal marijuana legalization. That support falls to 45 percent among Republicans. However, the survey found that members of both parties have similar, positive views on CBD products.

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