Nielsen: One in three Americans want to try cannabis, mostly for health reasons
Nielsen has just released the results of a big survey around cannabis and its consumers, and there’s some interesting information in there about why Americans want to use cannabis — it’s not just to get high, as you might think. Nielsen says that 34% of adults 21+ are interested in consuming legalized cannabis, and with an estimated 327 million adults in the US as of 2018, that’s about 111 million potential cannabis consumers. No wonder the industry is spinning up as quickly as it is!
And the reason most of those folks want to use cannabis is health-related, rather than just the pure joy of mind expansion. Nielsen unfortunately doesn’t share how many people it polled (it would make a big difference if it’s 200, 2000, or 20,000), but of the people they asked, 85% wanted to use cannabis for treatment of chronic pain, 82% wanted to use it to improve their mental health, and 81% wanted to use it for treatment of minor injuries. Adults polled also wanted to use it for sleep or relaxation, and the biggest percentage of a non-health reason is 48% — that’s how many people said they wanted to use cannabis to “have a good time with friends and family.” That will certainly improve your health, but it’s not quite as practical as the other cited reasons.
Now, this is self-reported data rather than actual usage data, so while people may say they would use cannabis for health reasons, once it’s legalized and available, usage itself may be very different. There’s also a very big problem in the US right now with opioids, and it certainly seems like a lot of people are seeing cannabis as a safer and healthier alternative to pain relief than that drug. As Nielsen says, this data suggests strongly that cannabis will likely be more disruptive in the health care space than in other verticals. While there’s lots of benefits from and uses for cannabis, many people who are interested in trying it are doing so because they want a chance in how they manage their pain and health.