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Survey: Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol, But Avoided Due To Social Stigma

84 percent of respondents feel that cannabis is safer than alcohol; 81 percent think it's safer than prescription medications.

This article was updated on April 24, 2020
This story originally appeared on Benzinga

ICR and Spectacle Strategy have taken an in-depth look at the cannabis industry and reported their findings in a new research paper.

via Benzinga

The 2020 Cannabis Consumer, published Monday, details the results of a survey of more than 1,000 U.S. consumers on their attitudes toward and usage of THC and CBD products.

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“What's fascinating about the cannabis industry is its rapid, dynamic evolution. As the industry continues to mature, we're going to see the landscape get even more competitive: modern cannabis consumers are more diverse and have more choices than ever before. Now is the time to unlock sustainable growth by understanding consumer segments and developing compelling brands that connect on a deeper level,” said Michael Filippi, CEO of Spectacle Strategy. 

Key Points

In addition to user demographics, attitudes and usage data, the research identifies five macro-trends — ranging from social stigma to cannabis’ impact on the alcohol industry — that will influence the future of the industry.

“We recognized the need for more insightful consumer data and were excited to partner with Spectacle on this research to help the industry get a deeper look inside the mind of the cannabis consumer,” said Tim Streeb, senior vice president, ICR. “Many of our findings are eye-opening. For example, 35% of consumers indicate they ‘consume much less alcohol than before cannabis was legal,’ a significant insight for spirits and beer companies already facing a contracting market.”

Key findings from the research paper include:

  • Social stigma remains the number on reason cited by consumers as a barrier to cannabis usage; 73% of cannabis consumers identified stigma as the top barrier.
  • 84% of respondents feel that cannabis is safer than alcohol; 81% think it’s safer than prescription medications.
  •  Brand is currently not a top driver of preference in the category today but represents a major opportunity for strategic advantage.

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  • Cannabis consumption today blurs the lines between strictly recreational or medical – more than half of users report using cannabis for both medical and recreational reasons.
  • Wealthier households are nearly twice as likely to use recreationally (1.8x), as compared to average cannabis consumers, while households earning $35,000 or less per year over-index on use for medical purposes.

The 65-page research report is available for free on Spectacle’s website.

Lead image by Ilona Szentivanyi. Copyright: Benzinga.