Marijuana’s increasing popularity and changing perceptions are driven by various factors. Unlike alcohol, which lacks medical benefits, cannabis offers therapeutic advantages. With 23 states legalizing recreational use and 40 permitting medical use, the stigma around marijuana is fading, and mainstream companies are embracing it as another consumer product. Major medical groups recognize the medical benefits of cannabis, allowing its use for patients. So, what motivates people to buy marijuana?
In some states, marijuana legalization begins with medical use, where consumers need a valid reason and often a card for purchase. When these states transition to full recreational legalization, buying habits change, but the reasons remain a topic of interest.
BDSA, a leading cannabis data firm, shared insights on this. Patients using cannabis for medical purposes may experience changes when a state goes fully recreational, such as variations in taxes, regulations on edibles, and potency. For those using it to enhance their “quality of life,” like managing anxiety, the impact of these changes is typically less significant. Quality of life consumers generally benefit from increased retail availability and lower prices that often follow recreational legalization.
According to Brendan-Mitchel Chesebro, a BDSA analyst, “Cannabis offers medical benefits that are increasingly recognized by mainstream society.” While some old stigmas persist, the majority of states have embraced its use. People buy marijuana for a range of reasons, from health-related to recreational enjoyment.
One major motivation is pure enjoyment and fun, similar to alcohol and food. However, cannabis goes beyond this. Unlike alcohol, consumers also see a medical reason to engage with cannabis, whether it’s for overcoming shyness, reducing anxiety, or managing conditions like PTSD.
Alcohol, which is the third most common lifestyle-related cause of death in the United States, lacks the medical benefits that cannabis offers. People consume alcohol for its ability to alter emotional states, inducing euphoria, relaxation, and disinhibition while reducing stress and anxiety. However, alcohol can also lead to aggression and belligerence, with no proven medical benefits. In contrast, marijuana is increasingly seen as offering both recreational and therapeutic value.