Comparative Study on Cannabis: US and Canada
A recent study published in the Journal of Cannabis Research has shed light on the perceptions and usage of cannabis in the United States and Canada. Despite differing national policies, with Canada having federal cannabis legalization and the U.S. not, the study reveals striking similarities in both countries' attitudes and consumption rates.
Key Themes of the Study
The research, encompassing surveys from 1,047 Canadians and 1,037 U.S. residents, focused on four main themes: acceptance and consumption, normalization, edibles, and education. It provides a comprehensive look at how cannabis is viewed and used in North America.
Similar Usage Rates in Both Countries
One of the study's notable findings is the similarity in cannabis usage rates between the two countries. Approximately 45% of Canadians and 42% of Americans reported consuming cannabis. The study also highlighted that a significant portion of these users consume cannabis daily.
Legal Sources and Consumer Preferences
Interestingly, the study found that U.S. consumers are less likely to purchase cannabis from legal sources compared to their Canadian counterparts. This difference is attributed to the varied legal status of cannabis in the U.S., where many states still prohibit adult-use cannabis, leading some consumers to illicit sources.
Support for Legalization
Attitudes toward cannabis legalization showed strong parallels, with 78% of Canadian respondents and 75% of Americans expressing support for legalizing cannabis. This finding indicates a broad consensus in favor of cannabis legalization across North America.
Local Regulation and Municipal Authority
The study also delved into opinions on local regulation. A majority of Canadians believe that municipal governments should not have the authority to ban retail cannabis within their jurisdictions. In contrast, a smaller percentage of U.S. respondents opposed local bans on retail cannabis.
Normalization and Education Needs
The authors concluded that cannabis is increasingly perceived as a normalized substance in North America. However, they also identified a significant need for education about cannabis, its properties, and potential benefits for physical and mental health.
Public Acknowledgment of Cannabis Consumption
Canadian responses indicated a more relaxed attitude towards public acknowledgment of cannabis consumption compared to their American counterparts. This change in attitude is more pronounced than when cannabis was first legalized in Canada in October 2018.
Product Preferences and Pandemic Impact
Cured cannabis flower emerged as the most popular product in both countries. The study also noted an increase in cannabis use during the COVID-19 pandemic, with a notable percentage of consumers in both countries reporting increased consumption.
Academic Interest in Cannabis Research
The growing body of academic literature on cannabis, including over 4,000 studies published in 2023 alone, underscores the increasing interest and importance of cannabis research in understanding its social, health, and economic impacts.