Shattering the stereotype of the lazy pothead, new research suggests cannabis users are actually more satisfied, more successful, and even more likely to volunteer in their communities than their nonsmoking counterparts.
Last week, the Independent described to its readers how the research was carried out:
“The study, conducted by market researchers BDS Analytics, surveyed consumers and abstainers across a wide variety of mental, social and financial factors. These included life satisfaction levels, attitudes towards parenting and employment data.
"The survey analysed extensive data from two US states that have voted to legalise the sale of cannabis — California and Colorado.”
Among other surprising findings, researchers discovered that weed consumers make significantly more money than those who abstain, with Californians who use the plant earning nearly $24,000 more a year. This could be related to the fact that 20 percent of California pot consumers hold a master’s degree while only 12 percent of non-smokers in the state can say the same.
Researchers found a similar situation in Colorado, where 64 percent of cannabis users have full-time jobs versus 54 percent of abstainers. Given those numbers, perhaps it’s not surprising that weed consumers in the state generally feel better about their personal lives than non-smokers.
Marijuana consumption is also associated with healthier habits and a more active social life, researchers for BDS Analytics found. In Colorado, for instance, 36 percent of smokers described themselves as “very social people,” compared to 28 percent for those who avoid the plant. Additionally, in both Colorado and California, those who consume cannabis enjoy outdoor recreation at significantly higher rates.
Perhaps the most surprising discovery, however — given the cliched image of the slacker on the couch eating Cheetos and watching reruns of Family Guy — is that users tend to be more generous with their time. Nearly 40 percent of California’s weed enthusiasts volunteer in their communities, researchers found, whereas only 25 percent of abstainers have decided to do the same.
In a press release, head of consumer research for BDS, Linda Gilbert, says all these data points lead to a very real and increasingly apparent conclusion:
“Cannabis consumers are far removed from the caricatures historically used to describe them.”