We are all aware of the played out “lazy stoner” trope that has tarnished the cannabis community for the best part of a century. The cartoon image of an unemployed drop-out getting stoned and watching Family Guy reruns while the Cheeto dust piles up on their ill-fitting tie-dye shirt. And in fairness, this cliché does ring true for some individuals. However, a recent survey of over 5,000 Americans and Canadians has disproven numerous prohibition-based myths, replacing many decades of propaganda with evidence-based statistics. The results validate what many cannabis consumers have believed (read: known) for years and also provided a moment of pause for their detractors. Below are the top three take-aways of the Dutchie study.
Highly Educated & Employed
Perhaps the most common of all the negative stereotypes cannabis consumers are tarred with is having a lack of ambition. This is amplified by the assumption that the plant (specifically high THC strains) extinguishes the ability to for even the most motivated consumer to get off the couch and get busy. Conversely, the study showed that over 54% of respondents had a Bachelor’s degree at a minimum, with many having achieved Masters or PhD levels of tertiary education.
Unsurprisingly, there is also a knock-on effect with survey respondents reporting above-average rates of employment, as shown below.
Moreover, many participants had gainful employment across traditionally respected and ambitious sectors such as lawyers and doctors right through to teachers, writers and even athletes.
Health & Fitness Enthusiasts
The reality is that many of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen consumer cannabis. From the recent Sha'Carri Richardson controversy through to the NFL offering million-dollar research grants, cannabis and its rich array of cannabinoids is a staple of high-profile athlete dietary plans, all supported by the best doctors, nutritionists and dietitians money can buy.
It is little wonder then, as respected athletes openly discuss their consumptions (Michael Phelps, the Diaz brother, Liz Carmouche), major organisations cease testing for cannabis (NBA, NFL, UFC) and cannabis companies are headline sponsors of CrossFit, surf and MMA events, that amateur athletes are also turning to the plant to enhance recovery. In fact, the Dutchie study indicated that 58% of respondents described themselves as “active,” with over 75% agreeing that they care about their general health and wellbeing. And while cannabis is certainly not seen as a “performance enhancer”, it is known that certain terpenes can enhance the workout experience while the plants cannabinoids interaction with the human endocannabinoid system is crucial for recovery and inflammation management.
It’s Not a ‘Boys Club’
Perhaps one of the strangest perceptions is that cannabis consumption is dominated by men. Conversely, the study respondents suggested that 55% of the consumers are actually female. This statics is supported domestically, at least in the legal medical space where the relevant data is available. This is an encourage statistic as it is resulting in an equitable playing field for those looking to enter the legal market, an important step in fully unlocking the potential for medicinal cannabis to treat elements such as endometritis, period pain and even menopause.
It is difficult to blame a disengaged public for having negative perceptions about cannabis consumers. Western society has been subjugated to multi-generational anti-cannabis propaganda campaigns spreading untold falsehoods and straight up lies. Moreover, until (relatively) recently, cannabis consumers were by definition breaking the law, essentially proving their detractor’s perception. What we are seeing as a global community is fact base awakening that is being supported by credible advocates who are now able to come out from the shadows of prohibition to tell their stories. Stories of health, wealth and success that either involve or center around the cannabis use that was once demonised by man. We are not at the finish line yet, but as a community there is plenty of reason to raise our heads… high.