Cannabis consumption continues to attract new proponents and users as more states make the herb legal to use and sell and develop consumer products which exploit its many properties. We now have thirty-four U.S. states and the District of Columbia legalizing medicinal marijuana use. Perhaps more significantly, 10 states including Oregon and Washington State and the District of Columbia have now legalized recreational use. It will not be too long before others sign up given the number of sponsored proposals around the states.
In December 2018, hemp became a legalized product under the farm bill. Naturally there is great interest for product developers and economists on how the market is developing, especially in the USA. It is illegal to take cannabis across the USA-Canada border because of Federal laws. Past consumption of cannabis can also produce a permanent ban for entry to the USA.
Reports Into Cannabis Consumption
A report from Radius Global Market Research is stating that in the USA, over 44 million adults which is nearly 57 per cent of the population who are older than 55 used cannabis to manage their pain in 2018. The figures seems quite staggering under the circumstances but their study surveyed 2,020 adults over 18 across the USA and found a significant increase in hemp and cannabis product use to replace their prescription medicines.
One of the outcomes is the sudden rise across a number of demographic groups testing the efficacy of the herb against their current prescription for managing pain of all sorts. The outcome of the bill has been to see greater use of cannabis and hemp and this is reflected in the explosion of product shops in certain key states. A number of mainstream products use it.
The main findings in this report are:-
- 43 per cent of adults used cannabis for managing their mental health.
- 58 per cent of those over 55 years old use it for managing their pain.
- 51 per cent of adults over 18 use hemp for helping their sleep
- 29 per cent of adults over 18 use it to reduce their use of prescription medicines.
The survey was conducted online within the US from January 24th to the 26th. It used an online panel of respondents. They completed a survey method upon request.
Other useful findings were that married people were trying cannabis a bit more and were interested in the level of research being conducted. It seems married people (32 per cent) were more likely to consume cannabis/hemp products than singletons (25 per cent). Likewise, married people were more likely to use cannabis (44 per cent) compared to those who were not (37 per cent).
Nielsen have also conducted a survey on cannabis use. In their survey, one in three US adults over 21 are interested in using legalized cannabis but not to get high or stoned. They too want to manage pain and other aspects of health or wellness. In their case the reasons given for use were the following:-
- treatment of chronic pain (85%),
- mental-health improvement (82%),
- treatment of minor injuries (81%),
- sleep aid (77%)
- relaxation (74%).
The other reasons for interest in cannabis consumption were:-
- treatment of a non-pain medical condition (63%),
- disease or ailment prevention (60%),
- improvement of physical health (58%)
- having a good time with friends and family (48%).
- enhancement of spirituality (28%).
Improving spirituality was the last item on the list.
The legal cannabis market continues to grow. It was worth $8.3 billion in 2017 and is set to achieve the heady heights of $25 billion by 2025. This data comes from the analytics firm New Frontier Data.
We also note that there is considerable clinical research being conducted at prestigious universities such as MIT (Massachussets Inst. of Technology) and Harvard. One entrepreneur Charles Broderick has donated $9M to his alumnus MIT for marijuana research. Their interest is in the psychological and cognitive consequences of consumption. It is the largest private donation known so far in marijuana research. We know of studies for example into the idea of managing tremor.
Cannabis And The Law: Current State
Back in 2018, a Pew Research survey found that there was increasing support for legalizing marijuana amongst Americans. Now, 62 per cent of USA citizens believe it should be legal which is twice as high (31 per cent) as the number who thought it should be in 2000 and only 16 per cent in 1990. A recent Gallup poll found 65% of Americans consider smoking marijuana to be morally acceptable.
In New Jersey and New York, lawyers are assessing ways to legalize recreational use although efforts to do so have stalled because of misgivings about the herb. Whilst there are proposal sponsors in both states, there are a number of opponents of any bill. Parent-teacher associations and law enforcement officials are unhappy with the lack of examination of the public safety consequences, It is apparent that the number of car accidents for example has risen in all the states which is attributed to the smoking of cannabis.