Recreational Cannabis Consumers Use Less Alcohol, Pain Meds, Sleep Aids: Report

(ANTIMEDIA) — A recent report on consumer habits suggests recreational cannabis users rely less on alcohol, over the counter pain medications, and sleep aids.

According to the Recreational Cannabis Consumer report conducted by High Yield Insights, a consumer analysis firm, “Recreational consumers report using cannabis products for a variety of reasons, from relaxation to pain relief to sleep assistance, putting cannabis in direct competition with alcohol and pharmaceuticals.” The firm’s press release adds that “[c]onsumers also express greater demand for convenient cannabis product formats such as edibles and “pre-rolls” (premade marijuana cigarettes). 

The specific statistics are not insignificant. As the release notes, “[o]ver 20% of recreational consumers report using lower amounts of over-the-counter pain medications (-27%), sleep aids (-22%) and alcoholic beverages, including spirits (-21%) and beer (-20%).

Mike Luce, co-founder of High Yield Insights, said:

We are just starting to grasp how legalization has impacted consumer behavior, be it spending, usage occasions, or shopping habits. Understanding these changes will lead to new growth opportunities for cannabis and further disruption for other categories.

He cited the emergence of niche markets, including consumers over the age of 55 who used cannabis at a younger age and are now returning to it.

Though the findings are based on consumer research, more academic inquiries have found similar preferences among consumers. Studies have concluded the consumption of alcohol decreases in states where cannabis is legal in some form, as do opioid prescriptions, though these findings amount to correlation rather than causation. Recent research has also suggested that cannabidiol (CBD), a nonpsychoactive cannabinoid, may be useful in reducing dependency on alcohol and cocaine.

Further, many patients have expressed their preference for cannabis over prescription pills to treat pain.

Because of these preferences, cannabis could serve as a disruptive force against the pervasive power of the pharmaceutical industry, and alcohol industry, both of which lobby against the plant’s legalization.

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