Canadians are turning to cannabis not just for fun but to reduce anxiety, beat insomnia, and relieve stress, finds a new study conducted by Insights West for Resonance Consultancy in partnership with Valens GroWorks Corp (CSE:VGW) (OTCMKTS:VGWCF).
"Our study found that almost 80% of Canadians are turning to cannabis for relaxation and well-being even though the majority of users don't have medical prescriptions,” said Everett Knight, executive vice president, strategy and investments for Valens GroWorks. “Clearly, even without clinical research, Canadians believe cannabis has a positive impact on their health."
A number of research findings by US universities have backed the common claim that cannabis reduces stress, tension and anxiety at low doses.
Although most users don’t have a medical prescription for cannabis, their reasons for using it are often health-related. About 55% of cannabis users regularly or occasionally use marijuana to reduce anxiety, while others use it for pain management and other medical conditions, noted the study.
Top four reasons for cannabis use
The Future of Cannabis in Canada study drills down into cannabis use and finds the top four reasons are to relax, have fun, relieve stress and beat insomnia. “Almost one in six Canadian residents have consumed cannabis for medicinal reasons, with 10% stating they do so weekly,” noted the study.
"One of the big insights from the survey was the obvious market potential for cannabis-infused wellness products, especially once 'the second legalization' of edible cannabis products arrives in Canada in the fall," says Resonance Consultancy President Chris Fair, one of the authors of the report. "The market for women-focused cannabis wellness products is also poised for growth, given that current cannabis use among our respondents skewed much more male (55%) than female (44%)."
Nearly eight in 10 Canadians feel that marijuana has long been used to treat illnesses, and legalization will help more people reap the health benefits, while the marijuana industry itself will create badly needed new jobs. At least 70% of Canadians believe that "taxing the adult use of marijuana will generate revenues that can be used to benefit all residents."
However, over six in 10 Canadian residents disagree with the idea that "legalizing marijuana for adults will make it harder for children to have access to the drug," with 35% strongly disagreeing and 29% somewhat disagreeing.
Alcohol versus cannabis
Not surprisingly, the study shows that cannabis has “a much better reputation” than alcohol among cannabis users.
“More than six in ten cannabis users think cannabis is healthier than alcohol and has fewer side effects, while 57% believe cannabis is less addictive than alcohol,” reported the study.
The Insights West and Valens GroWorks study says that when considering which substance is “superior” at making them feel better, 54% of cannabis users go with cannabis. “Cannabis users aged 35 to 54 are more likely to think cannabis is less addictive than alcohol (62%), while those aged 55+ are more likely to think cannabis makes you feel better than alcohol,” noted the study.
Industry analysts say marijuana will affect, and then disrupt the alcohol, beverages, over-the-counter medicines and branded pharmaceuticals industry. A recent report by Melius Research suggests the cannabis market can grow to US$100 billion in the Americas and Europe without further progress on legalization, which nonetheless remains likely.
Contact Uttara Choudhury at [email protected]