It’s official, and it’s been official. We know that more and more Americans are consuming cannabis, simply because of its high annual approval ratings and the way it keeps going to state government in the form of legalization bills month after month. Now, the United States’ most trust pollster has confirmed that over 33 million Americans currently consume cannabis. This number is almost double what it was in 2013, when 7% of Americans admitted to consuming cannabis regularly via pipes, bongs, rolling papers, and probably a few apples. It’s possible that cannabis may become the new smokeable of choice, and soon, since there are 40 million cigarette smokers in the United States right now (16 million of whom have a smoking-tobacco-related disease like COPD or lung disease).
What Did the U.S. Cannabis Gallup Poll Find?
Besides the finding that 13% of Americans are currently cannabis consumers, the Gallup poll found that 43% of American adults say they have tried cannabis. In 2013, 93% of Americans reported that they did not currently consume cannabis, and in 2015 that number dropped to 88% — that’s a 5% increase in cannabis consumers, or at least a 5% increase in admitting to cannabis consumption. In 2016, the number of cannabis consumers continued to rise, and it is expected to rise more in the future, since many states have cannabis votes on the ballot for November.
Why is Cannabis Consumption Rising in the United States?
Since obtaining cannabis became as easy as buying alcohol in Colorado, Washington state, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, D.C., it’s likely than many more people are trying cannabis without the need for a medical cannabis card or a doctor’s prescription. The immense success of the first recreational cannabis market in Colorado has blazed a trail for other states and organizations who want to cash in, smoke up, and enjoy the benefits of what cannabis and its extracts have to offer. The reduced stigma associated with cannabis is also causing more and more people to try it for its health and mental health benefits. More aging baby boomers are trying natural cannabis remedies for their aches, pains, and mental health issues, with extremely positive results. As the medical community continues to back cannabis through research and new medications, more and more cannabis prescriptions are replacing traditional pharmaceuticals. Even the FDA is getting in on the new cannabis wave – it approved synthetic liquid cannabis (known as Syndros) for patients at the beginning of August.
Although the federal Drug Enforcement Administration continues to put off its decision on rescheduling cannabis, the American people are not waiting, and shouldn’t wait, for their decision to begin treating their illnesses and disorders with medicinal cannabis; after all – they’ve already been waiting for decades. As cannabis becomes more and more accepted in American and international society, there is a fantastic possibility that the dialogue about cannabis will continue to grow. Increased research funding and relaxed and rewritten cannabis policies in federal government are the best way to encourage this conversation on a plant that has been healing helping humans and animals for thousands of years.
This post was originally published on August 8, 2016, it was updated on March 15, 2017.