One in Four Young Adults Consume Cannabis, Poll Finds

The rate of marijuana use among young adults is significantly higher than other age groups.

Findings of a new Gallup poll suggest that millennials partake in cannabis consumption at a significantly higher rate than the rest of American.

The polled found that nearly one in four adults between the ages of 18-29 said they smoked marijuana “regularly” or “occasionally,” almost twice the rate of adults in other age groups.

The survey found:

  • 24 percent of adults aged 18-29 years said they use marijuana
  • 13 percent of adults between the ages of 30-49 years said they use marijuana
  • 11 percent of adults aged 50-64 reported that they use marijuana
  • 6 percent of adults 65 years and older said they use marijuana
  • 15 percent of men said they use marijuana, compared to 11 percent of women

The results also indicate that young Americans are either using marijuana at a slightly higher rate than in previous years, or are more comfortable admitting their consumption habits. Gallup polling from 2015 and 2017 found that an average 22 percent of 13 to 29-year-olds responded “yes” when asked if they used marijuana.

Among all American adults, consuming marijuana is now considerably more popular than smoking cigars (9 percent), chewing tobacco (5 percent), or using a pipe (4 percent).

Not surprisingly, the survey also revealed that the rate of marijuana use is about twice as high in the Western United States, where 20 percent of adults said they use marijuana. This makes sense, considering four Western states – California, Oregon, Washington, and Nevada – have legalized recreational marijuana.

Twelve percent of adults in Eastern states said they smoked cannabis. In Southern states, 11 percent of adults reported cannabis use, while 10 percent of adults of Midwest states said yes to whether they use marijuana.

The Gallup poll surveyed 1,033 American adults aged 18 years and older between July 1-11. The poll’s margin of error is plus-or-minus 4 percentage points.

adult using marijuana

Millennials Embracing Cannabis

Previous surveys have also revealed a stronger acceptance of cannabis among millennials. More than 80 percent of the nation’s young adult demographic supports marijuana legalization, with more than half believing public consumption should be allowed.

Millennials appear to also be substituting marijuana for alcohol, with young adults citing safety, cost, and health as reasons for their switch. About a third of young adults say they choose cannabis over beer, while 18 percent substitute cannabis for wine, and 14 percent replace spirits with cannabis.

Separately, data suggests that almost all young adults use cannabis as part of their wellness regimen rather than to get “stoned.”

Widespread Shift in Cannabis Acceptance

The growing acceptance of marijuana is not limited to young adults. Across nearly all demographics in the U.S., support for marijuana is at an all-time high and nearly two-thirds consider smoking marijuana as a “morally acceptable” activity.

With strongest support coming from millennials, the nation’s cannabis industry appears to have a bright future ahead. Learn more about the basics of cannabis through our Cannabis 101 page, or stay up-to-date with the latest updates on the cannabis industry through our news feed.