Americans believe cannabis is safer than tobacco, alcohol, opioids, and vapes

Americans think cannabis safe: Illustration of person smoking a joint in a chair surrounded by plants

In the latest move toward normalization, Americans believe cannabis is safer and less addictive than tobacco, vaping, alcohol, and opioids. The annual American Psychiatric Association (APA) survey, supported by Morning Consult, shared this data.

Researchers polled 2,201 American adults between April 20 and 22 of this year.. The results have a margin of error of about two percentage points. The survey results kick off a year-long awareness initiative to inform the public about the risks of addiction associated with vaping, opioids, alcohol, and technology.

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“It is clear that we have gotten the message through that cigarettes are dangerous and addictive,” said APA President Petros Levounis, M.D., M.A. in a press release obtained by GreenState. “We can help prevent more Americans from other potentially addictive behaviors, like drinking alcohol and technology use.”

Of those polled, over 80% believe cigarettes are unsafe and addictive, but 21% smoke them daily. On the other hand, 13% of those surveyed consume cannabis daily, 38% believe the plant is unsafe, and 64% consider it addictive.

This data comes a few weeks after pre-proof research posits that cannabis consumption creates an exponentially lower risk to lung health than cigarettes. Those polled agreed that cannabis was the safest thing on the list after technology.

However, interacting with technology was considered more addictive than consuming cannabis. 75% of people find video games, social media, and other tech addictive, and 64% believe the plant is addictive.

What do Americans think about addiction?

The survey also gauged understanding and perception of addiction. It was close whether people believed addiction resulted from personal weakness. But the majority of surveyed adults believe that addiction is a treatable medical disorder.

Respondents considered opioids, both non-prescribed and prescribed, safer than cigarettes and vapes.

“In 2022, opioids killed more than 100,000 people,” said APA CEO and Medical Director Saul Levin, M.D., M.P.A. “While it is encouraging that most Americans see substance use disorder as a treatable medical condition, we can do more to ensure that more of us in our communities are aware of and can access naloxone, which saves lives.”

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Though 71% of adults stated they would know how to help a person struggling with addiction, survey results shed light on the knowledge gap for handling an overdose. Only 58% of those polled had heard of Narcan (generically known as naloxone), and only 35% knew where to find it in the event of an overdose.

These survey results indicate that the stigma is dying, as consumers consider cannabis safer than vaping, tobacco, and opioids. The plant isn’t even included in anti-addiction programming for the year.

As more Americans trust science over propaganda, the stigma on the plant lifts. These steps toward normalization shift political tides as well. Small steps like this poll create ripples that inspire voter-backed legalization initiatives and other actions that open more doors of access for regulated consumption.

Cara Wietstock is Senior Content Producer of and has been working in the cannabis space since 2011. She has covered the cannabis business beat for Ganjapreneur and The Spokesman Review. You can find her living in Bellingham, Washington with her husband, son, and a small zoo of pets.