YouGov Study: 25% of Americans Consumed Cannabis During Pandemic


A new study conducted by market research firm YouGov found that one in four Americans over the age of 21 used cannabis during the last 12 months.

Commissioned by Illinois-based cannabis firm Cresco Labs, the study asked 5,000 Americans about their cannabis use and purchasing behaviors. 25% of respondents said they had tried cannabis in the past year, while 23% of those used it for the first time.

That’s a noticeable uptick (56%) from the 16% of Americans (18+) who reported using cannabis in 2018, according to National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

While the COVID-19 pandemic may have contributed to an increase of cannabis use, a continuous wave of state-level legalization efforts has also provided greater consumer access to the plant.

Since NSDUH collected its data in 2018, several states — including Michigan, Illinois, Vermont, Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, South Dakota, New York, Virginia, and New Mexico — have legalized adult-use cannabis.

18 states (and Washington D.C.) have now legalized adult-use cannabis, while 36 states have established medical marijuana laws. The substance is legal in some form (including CBD) in 47 states.

“Whether it’s the stressors of a global pandemic or increased accessibility due to expanded state decriminalization, cannabis has become the leading CPG category for exploration as people flock to dispensaries to discover the range of novel formats and modern products available to them,” said Cris Rivera, Cresco’s senior vice president of retail marketing.

The YouGov survey commissioned by Cresco also looked at attitudes around 420, the country’s unofficial marijuana holiday.

Nearly one-third of Americans who tried cannabis in the last year plan to celebrate 420 in 2021. And while only 11% of all respondents said they would participate in the high holiday, 45% believe that it should be a “national holiday.”

Additionally, roughly three-quarters of celebrators between the ages of 35 and 54 believe that “if more people embraced cannabis, the world would be a better place.”

Meanwhile, over half of the women who plan to celebrate 420 said they would consume a cannabis-infused edible or beverage.

A separate YouGov/Economist poll of 1,500 U.S. citizens conducted earlier this month found that 33% had smoked cannabis, while 23% had tried edibles. Only 8% had consumed an infused beverage, however.

The YouGov/Economist survey also found that 61% of Americans believe cannabis should be made legal in the U.S., a figure that is consistent with recent Gallup polling indicating that 68% of Americans are in favor of legalizing cannabis at the federal level.

Other findings from the YouGov/Cresco Survey:

  • 44% of parents with children under the age of 18 tried cannabis for the first time this past year
  • 43% of seniors (65+) tried cannabis for the first time this past year
  • 56% of respondents use cannabis to relieve anxiety or stress
  • 48% use cannabis to aid sleep and enhance mood
  • 62% of parents who consume cannabis believe celebrating 420 has become more acceptable
  • 47% of male 420 celebrators plan to try a new form factor this year

Additional details and findings can be found in Cresco’s news release.

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