Forty-two percent of American adults have used cannabis—and will likely continue

Woman lighting a joint 42% americans use cannabis

The number of people using cannabis in the US has risen yet again, according to a recent report from New Frontier Data. Titled “Cannabis Consumers in America 2023: Part 1,” the study examined survey results from 5,534 participants across a range of ages and locations, getting a bird’s eye view of the modern cannabis landscape.

The survey, taken in Q1 of 2023, focused on “demographics, product preferences, purchasing habits, motivations for use, and attitudes towards cannabis consumption.”

Of those surveyed, 4,358 were identified as cannabis consumers, while 1,176 were non-cannabis consumers. 

More Americans consuming cannabis—or are willing to try it

The report revealed that 42% of American adults had consumed cannabis and will likely use it again. That number is an increase over last year when only 39% of adults admitted consuming.

Over a third of adults (around 37%) are “current consumers,” meaning they consume cannabis at least once a year and plan to continue. Around 13% of those surveyed were consumers at one time but no longer imbibe.

Around 30% of respondents said they had not consumed cannabis and likely never will, which is a four percent decrease since 2022. Furthermore, 15% of adults have never tried cannabis but stated they would consider it. These numbers demonstrate a continued acceptance of cannabis within society.

Report finds most cannabis consumption has a purpose

Cannabis consumers overwhelmingly report they use the plant for a specific reason. A whopping 83% said they consume cannabis to relax and unwind, while 61% use the plant to improve their sleep.

Most people may assume that consumption numbers are higher in legal states, but the report begs to differ. While 74% of Americans live in a place where cannabis is legal in medical and/or recreational form, the consumption habits of survey respondents remained the same regardless of location. This includes states where the plant is still illegal.

Respondents were also fairly split when asked if they considered their cannabis consumption to be recreational or medical. While a slight majority said they were recreational consumers (around 58% compared to 42% who identified as medical), around 53% reported they consume for both purposes. 

Of the medical consumers in this group, 46% use cannabis to help treat chronic pain, by far the largest use case. Migraines, PTSD, arthritis, and neuropathy were also fairly common conditions on the list.

Consumption transcends demographics, showcases growing acceptance

Flower remained the most popular cannabis product, with 63% of participants saying they exclusively or mostly smoke or vape bud. However, 44% of consumers are interested in trying new products. Of people who do use cannabis, 37% said they’ve increased their consumption over the last year.

Another interesting finding? Cannabis consumption is prevalent on all sides of the political spectrum. The numbers were fairly even across the board, with 36% of respondents identifying as liberal, 29% as conservative, and 28% as independent.

The New Frontier Data report illustrates the widening acceptance of cannabis across the country and shifting attitudes around its consumption. It also reinforces the notion that all types of people enjoy the plant for one reason or another and that the stereotypical consumer simply doesn’t exist.


Rachelle Gordon

Rachelle Gordon is a cannabis journalist and Editor of She began her weed writing journey in 2015 and has been featured in High Times, CannabisNow, Beard Bros, MG, Skunk, Cannabis and Tech Today, and many others. Rachelle currently splits her time between Minneapolis and Oakland; her favorite cannabis cultivars include Silver Haze and Tangie. Follow Rachelle on Instagram @rachellethewriter