Gen Z Loves Weed More Than Alcohol

Stephen Andrews
02 Jun 2022

Those currently aged 18 to 24 have grown up in a world of high-tech, social media, social justice movements, and unprecedented access to legal cannabis. Perhaps it is no surprise that a vast majority of Generation Z (or those born between 1997 and 2012) prefer cannabis over booze, according to a new study carried out by New Frontier Data.

The study, published at the end of May, revealed that 69% of interviewed individuals aged 18-24 would opt for cannabis rather than alcohol. The figure resonates with the subsequent two cohorts, where 70% of those aged 25-34 and 68% of those between the ages of 35 and 44 say they also prefer pot. 

New Frontier Data's study reportedly bases its findings on the answers of 4,170 individuals who currently use cannabis and 1,250 who don't. The preference for cannabis fades with age, the results show. Those aged 45-54 have a 55% preference rate for cannabis over alcohol, and it's 52% in the 55-64 age group. Lastly, only 44% of respondents aged 65 to 74 opted for pot over booze.

While the research suggests cannabis is the preferred drug of choice among young people, it also shows that they are less inclined to use alcohol and tobacco than their older peers. 

alcohol use between the different age cohorts of cannabis consumers.
Alcohol use between the different age cohorts of cannabis consumers. Source: New Frontier Data

More than half (56%) of those aged 18-24 reported replacing some of their alcohol habits with cannabis. Among those 25-34, this percentage climbs to 60%, and it's over 60% in the 35-44 age cohort, according to the study. These rates decline among the older cohorts, to 44% in those aged 45-54, to roughly 43% in the 55-64 age group, and almost 30% in the 65-74 cohort. 

It all points out that the "younger generation may indeed be making more considered choices about their consumption patterns," the researchers note.

They say that Gen Zers "were between or age 15 when the first states legalized cannabis" and that "a decade later, we have a fair sense of how things turned out."

tobacco use between the different age cohorts of cannabis consumers.
Tobacco habits among cannabis users. Source: New Frontier Data

"The numbers suggest that young people are learning to navigate the legal cannabis landscape without adopting compulsive, increased use, and may also be less likely to consume either alcohol or tobacco, thereby making cannabis their drug of choice," the researchers write.

Cannabis users between 18 and 24 years old were most likely to say they never drink alcohol (almost 20%) and the least likely to say they have a habit of drinking every day (just 5.9%). They were also the most likely age cohort of those under 55 to say they have never used tobacco (almost 40%) and the least likely to use tobacco daily. 

As the researchers sum up, the kids are alright!

Stephen Andrews