Despite being more popular than ever before and research showing cannabis health benefits, cannabis still carries the hapless caricature of the “stoner” stereotype in the media.
You know the one.
Lazy, unsuccessful, apathetic, somewhat unhealthy, and living in a world of hazy delusion that never strays too far from the couch except for compulsive trips to a convenience store for candy bars.
Sort of like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
As it turns out, this seems to be a delusion of those not smoking cannabis.
According to a groundbreaking new study by BDS Analytics, the truth is practically the opposite.
The study divided groups of people from California and Colorado into three categories:
Consumers are (obviously) those who consume cannabis. Acceptors are those who do not consume but aren’t necessarily opposed to it. Rejectors are those opposed to cannabis.
They looked at a variety of qualities, including self-evaluation statements, income, education, employment, family situation, social life, activities, and exercise habits.
And the findings completely shatter the stoner stereotype on every level.
Across the board, cannabis users came out ahead compared to both the acceptors and rejectors.
It was found that cannabis users:
- Have a higher median income
- Have a higher employment rate
- Are more highly educated
- Spend more time outside
- Exercise more frequently
- Are more social
- Are more satisfied with life
- Volunteer their time to help others more often
That’s a pretty glowing endorsement of cannabis’ health benefits and users as model citizens. Now, without getting too carried away, there could be some real sample size issues and biases in where they were finding participants.
That said, the data is still very compelling.
A Major Step for Normalization of Cannabis
One of the most important takeaways from this study is the normalization of cannabis. It’s been a long, long road for cannabis activists who have gotten us to this point of finally recognizing the benefits from this remarkable plant.
Decades of propaganda primarily built on lies, fear, and racism are deep in our culture’s memory, and it will take a lot of exposure to get people to recognize the absurdity of their views of cannabis. Now with some actual data paving the way, we open up the possibility for a larger conversation.
We open up the possibility for a deeper reexamination of our assumptions about cannabis and cannabis users. This study gives us something to work with, something to point to counter uninformed claims and prejudices. Something that may be able to help steer policy decisions and greater, national conversations towards more compassionate and sane conclusions.
What Does This Say About the Rejectors?
One other curious trend in the study was not just how surprising cannabis users measured up, but on the flip side, how Rejectors tended to be on the low end of everything. They were the least social, least healthy, least happy, least educated, and least employed, and least creative.
What is going on here?
If this demographic represents the majority of American society, then what does that say about our culture as a whole?
Biochemically, cannabis’ health benefits and general effect on the nervous system can be described as “balancing,” bringing us back to a healthy homeostasis. In a society that is pretty far out of balance, the cannabis consumers seem to be the most balanced ones here.