Marijuana legalization’s impact across America

Health & Fitness

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American’s attitudes towards recreational marijuana usage are changing. The recent legalization of marijuana in 18 states and the District of Columbia has a direct impact on the way in which individuals view and use the popular plant. As more and more states continue to legalize marijuana, from medical to personal use and everything in-between, CouponCabin commissioned The Harris Poll to field a new online survey that delves into American’s evolving views on marijuana.

 

To start, more than 2 in 5 Americans believe there is less of a stigma against those who use recreational marijuana. Forty-three percent of Americans believe there is less of a stigma, while 22% believe the stigma is the same. Fifteen percent of Americans believe there is more of a stigma.

 

Among those who live in a state where recreational marijuana has not been legalized, more than half of Americans (61%) would use recreational marijuana. Thirty-six percent would travel to do so, with 18% willing to travel to a neighboring state where marijuana has been legalized.

 

But would Americans be willing to travel even further? The answer is yes. Six percent of Americans are willing to travel across the country to a state where marijuana has been legalized and 5% are willing to travel to another country where marijuana has been legalized in order to safely enjoy the substance.

 

Interestingly, a U.S. National Library of Medicine survey conducted in 2016 (here) showed that, among cannabis users, 57.7% are men and 43.3% are women. According to the CouponCabin survey, among those who live in a state where marijuana is not legal, men (68%) are more likely than women (57%) to say they would use recreational marijuana. Forty-one percent of men are willing to travel to use recreational marijuana legally compared to just 33% of women.

 

Not only have American’s attitudes towards recreational marijuana changed, but their behavior has been impacted as well. According to the survey, Americans would be more likely to do the following when located in a state where recreational marijuana use is legal:

  • 36% would be more likely to go shopping in person.
  • 34% would be more likely to attend a concert or music festival.
  • 26% would be more likely to gamble.
  • 17% would be less likely to see a movie in theaters.
  • 16% would be less likely to attend a sporting event.
  • 15% would be less likely to make a reservation at an upscale restaurant.

Marijuana Survey 2021

Survey Method:

This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of CouponCabin from July 13-15, 2021 among 2,076 adults, of whom 1,241 live in a state where recreational marijuana is not legal. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Andrew Gretchko, VP of Communications, at agretchko@couponcabin.com.

Related: These states have the biggest drug problem

 

This article originally appeared on CouponCabin.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

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How to sleep your way to a better brain

 

Having trouble thinking creatively? Not able to focus on tasks that need to get done? Poor sleep could potentially be to blame. It turns out sleep deprivation can do a number on your brain — and not just in the short term. Sleep is crucial for keeping your brain healthy.

 

Research suggests that not getting enough quality sleep can have serious permanent negative consequences. On the other hand, good sleep habits can have lasting benefits.

 

Here are five research-backed benefits of sleep, from the proven ways sleep enhances brain function to what’s really going on in your noggin while you snooze.

 

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Thinking in new, imaginative ways requires a well-rested brain. Conversely, a sleep-deprived brain is unable to think creatively.

 

A study reported in the journal Nature bears this out. For the study, participants learned a task in which they had to recognize a hidden pattern in the questions they were asked. Their initial training was followed by eight hours of nighttime sleep or wakefulness or daytime wakefulness.

 

More than twice as many participants gained insight into the hidden rule after sleep as those who did after wakefulness, regardless of the time of day. The researchers concluded that “sleep, by restructuring new memory representations, facilitates extraction of explicit knowledge and insightful behavior.”

 

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One of sleep’s main functions is to help consolidate memory. It does this by enabling the brain to strengthen some neural pathways while reducing those it doesn’t need.

 

For example, your brain doesn’t need to retain every sensory impression accumulated during your waking hours. You might say that sleep helps the brain separate the wheat from the chaff of your everyday life.

 

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Beta-amyloid and tau are two proteins in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These proteins build up in the brain daily but are typically flushed out during deep sleep.

 

People who have certain sleep disorders, like insomnia and sleep apnea, are more likely to develop dementia symptoms. This makes sense, given that the brain’s ability to clear out the toxic waste buildup only operates during sleep.

 

It’s important to note researchers can’t say for certain poor sleep causes Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. But what they do know is getting quality sleep each night is essential for removing harmful beta-amyloid and tau proteins from the brain.

 

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Anyone who’s ever stayed up all night knows even one night without sleep affects your ability to think clearly, focus your attention or make decisions. Studies show sleep deprivation can impair your mental function as much as being intoxicated.

 

On the flip side, getting quality sleep goes a long way toward boosting your brain. For a study published in the journal Sleep, researchers looked at the effects of sleep on cognitive function. They noted the optimal amount of sleep for cognitive function is seven to eight hours. They also suggested even one night of good sleep could improve it.

 

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Depression is often influenced by chemical imbalances in the brain, and depression and sleep problems go hand-in-hand. People with depression may either have a hard time sleeping or else get too much sleep.

 

While it’s not clear if sleep deprivation causes depression, it can worsen it. Studies show people who sleep fewer than six or more than nine hours a night are more likely to be depressed than those in between.

 

Those who have insomnia also are much more likely to have depression and anxiety than those who sleep well. This may be due to the disruption of the body’s circadian rhythm, the daily sleep-wake cycle, in people with depression.

 

Making lifestyle changes like limiting food, caffeine and alcohol too close to bedtime, practicing meditation and trying cognitive behavioral therapy can make it easier to get a good night’s sleep and, in turn, reduce depression symptoms.

 

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There are two main types of sleep: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. There are five stages of sleep total, made up of four NREM sleep stages and one REM sleep stage, all of which you cycle through multiple times during the night. Each stage is linked to specific brain waves and activity.

 

Here’s what happens to your brain during each stage of sleep.

 

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During this short, several-minute period of light NREM sleep, your heartbeat, breathing and eye movements slow. Your muscles relax and may twitch, and your brain waves start to slow down from their daytime wakefulness patterns.

 

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In this light NREM sleep period, your heartbeat and breathing slow down and your muscles relax even more. Your body temperature drops and your eye movements stop. Brain wave activity is slow, but there are brief bursts of electrical activity. Stage 2 sleep accounts for the biggest share of your repeated sleep cycles.

 

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These so-called deep sleep stages, which are also part of NREM sleep, are what allow you to feel refreshed in the morning. Deep sleep lasts longer during the first half of the night. In these stages, your heartbeat and breathing slow to their lowest levels. Your muscles are relaxed and you may be hard to wake up. Brain waves in this stage are even slower.

 

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During this lively period, first occurring about 90 minutes after you fall asleep, your eyes move rapidly from side to side behind closed eyelids. Brain wave activity is closer to what it is during wakefulness. Your breathing becomes faster and irregular, and your heart rate and blood pressure increase to near waking levels.

 

Most dreaming occurs during REM sleep, though you can also dream during NREM sleep. Your arm and leg muscles become temporarily paralyzed, which is believed to be the body’s means of protecting you from acting out your dreams. As you age, less of your sleep time is spent in REM sleep.

 

The bottom line: While scientists continue to figure out how sleep and the brain affect each other, the important thing is to make sure you get enough of the good quality sleep you need to function at your best.

 

Related:

This article originally appeared on Saatva.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

 

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