Marijuana 'Less Addictive' Than Technology

Stephen Andrews
24 Jun 2023

Marijuana or cannabis is safer than alcohol and cigarettes and also less addictive than technology, concludes a new survey from the American Psychiatric Association (APA). The survey involved interviews with 2,201 Americans between April 20-22.

It's not much of a surprise that marijuana is reported to be safer than alcohol and tobacco products in a new survey from APA. Other similar surveys have already come to the same conclusion. For example, a New York-specific survey released earlier this year found that 77% of respondents consider alcohol use a somewhat or very serious public health issue. In comparison, 46% said the same about cannabis. 

The poll from APA claims that Americans consider cannabis to be less dangerous than other everyday vices. The interviews looked at people's opinions on the dangers of the addictiveness of six different substances, plus technology. The APA released the survey together with Morning Consult. 

The survey results reveal that 38 percent of the interviewed Americans said that they view marijuana as "very or somewhat unsafe." Compared to other substances, it's the least addictive item on the list. A whopping 84% regard cigarettes to be unsafe; for alcohol, the percentage is 64%; prescription opioids - 66%; non-prescription opioids - 75%; and vapes - 76%. 

The only thing that people said was safer than marijuana was technology. Only 23% of the survey participants described technology as very or somewhat unsafe. 

In another set of questions, 64 percent said that marijuana could be addictive, which is a lower figure than each of the other items. Cigarettes are said to be the most addictive, with 87% answering affirmatively; alcohol - 84%; prescribed opioids, 83%; non-prescribed opioids - 74%; vapes, 81% and technology, 75%. 

"It is clear that we have gotten the message through that cigarettes are dangerous and addictive," APA President Petros Levonis said in a statement. "We can help prevent more Americans from other potentially addictive behaviors, like drinking alcohol and technology use." 

"For instance, vaping is just as, if not more addictive than cigarette smoking," Levonis added. "We can also make sure that people know about our current safe and effective treatments for both substance use disorders and behavioral addictions. Addiction treatment works." 

The survey also asked participants about the causes of addiction. Forty-seven percent said that addictions result from "personal weakness," while 76% answered that it is a medical condition. The majority, or more than 90 percent, said that addictions can be treated. 

Finally, more than two-thirds of the participants, or 71%, said they would know how to help someone in their life if they were struggling with addiction. Still, while 58 percent said they are aware of the opioid anti-overdose drug naloxone, only 35% answered affirmatively that they would know what to do in case of an overdose. 

Stephen Andrews