After the emergence of vaping illnesses linked to mostly bootleg THC vape cartridges hit the news a few months ago, many speculated that the legal cannabis industry would take a big hit. But while there have been reports of a decline in legal cannabis vape sales, a new poll from Politico and Harvard seems to indicate that marijuana itself is still considered relatively safe by the public.
Only 20% of respondents said they believed recreational marijuana use to be “very harmful”. When asked about alcohol, that number rose to 41%, and it clocked in at 80% when it came to tobacco products.
E-cigarettes didn’t fare well either, with 52% believing that their use is very harmful. What this seems to indicate is that people are more concerned about what chemicals are in their vape rather than marijuana. They realize that if people are getting sick – and they are, with more than 3 dozen deaths now reported – then what is making them sick is not cannabis, but something else.
What data we have backs this up as well. While most deaths have been linked back to bootleg cartridges, vitamin E acetate and a pesticide called myclobutanil have been found in many tested samples; the latter, when heated, becomes deadly hydrogen cyanide.
The poll also shows that many of the myths that surrounded marijuana over the last 80 years have been thoroughly debunked. Most people are now comfortable with the fact that they know cannabis to be a relatively harmless substance that can help with a myriad of problems and ailments.
Interestingly enough, when asked about CBD, nearly half of respondents said they didn’t know anything about it, showing just how divergent interests are in this age of instant information. Of those who have learned something about CBD, only 5% think it is “very harmful” and the vast majority believe it should be sold everywhere, especially large chain stores like CVS and Walgreens.
As I always point out, what adults can buy at stores and ingest on their own time without infringing on the rights of anyone else is no one’s business and we shouldn’t care what “the public” thinks. But mass opinion has obvious political implications; beyond that, it’s also interesting to see what shapes public opinion and to see how people react to events.
And I would be lying if I didn’t say that cannabis’ ability to withstand the return of the stigmas of old makes me proud of the fractional part I’ve played in that over the last 10 years.