Half of Americans have tried marijuana and most say their experiences were positive

Taylor OrthDirector of Survey Data Journalism
April 07, 2022, 12:11 PM GMT+0

A recent YouGov poll shows that a little over half of Americans (52%) have tried marijuana. Among those who have tried marijuana, 43% have used it in the past year, and among those, 72% have used it in the past month.

Which groups of Americans are most likely to have tried marijuana? Among the groups examined, adults between the ages of 45 and 64 are most likely to say they’ve tried marijuana (63%), followed by liberals (60%), Americans who live in the Western U.S. (56%), and white Americans (56%). Groups that were least likely to report having used marijuana include 18- to 29-year-olds (37%), Black Americans (44%), conservatives (45%), and Americans living in the Northeast (48%).

Americans who live in one of the 18 states where recreational marijuana is currently legal are no more likely to have ever tried marijuana than Americans in states where marijuana isn’t recreationally legalized.

How frequently do Americans use marijuana? About half of those who have ever used marijuana say they typically use it less than once a year. The next most commonly selected response was the available option with the highest frequency of marijuana use: 12% say they use marijuana several times a day. Another 15% say they use it about once a week.

Younger Americans who have tried marijuana are more likely than older adults who have done so to say they use it at least once a week. Among 18- to 29-year-olds who have tried marijuana, 44% say they use it at least once a week.

We also asked Americans who said they hadn’t ever tried marijuana whether they would consider trying it if it were legalized at the federal level. Only one in 10 say they would consider trying it if it were legalized, while 62% say they probably or definitely would not try it.

How do Americans consume marijuana? According to our most recent poll (which allowed people to select all forms of marijuana they’ve used), the most common method is smoking it. Two in three (66%) American adults who say they’ve ever tried marijuana say they’ve smoked it. The next most common modes of consumption include edibles (40%), concentrates or extracts for vaping or dabbing (27%), ingestible concentrates or extracts (18%), and topical body products (17%). Younger Americans who have used marijuana are more likely than older Americans to have consumed edibles, infused beverages, and concentrates or extracts for vaping or dabbing.

Have Americans’ experiences using marijuana generally been positive or negative? Two-thirds (66%) of Americans who have used marijuana say their experiences have been very or somewhat positive, while 27% say their experiences have been very or somewhat negative. Younger Americans were more likely to report positive experiences than older Americans were. People who say they consume marijuana at least once a week are much more likely to say they have had very positive experiences than are marijuana users who consume it less frequently.

How often are American workers tested for marijuana? According to our poll, 39% of people who are employed have been tested for marijuana by their current employer, including 21% who were tested when they were hired and 18% who have been tested on other occasions. About one in 10 say they haven’t been tested yet but their employer has indicated they might test them at some point. About half of employed Americans say they don’t expect their employer to test them at all.

Are American marijuana users more likely to be employed in jobs that don’t test for marijuana? Our findings suggest no. Employed adults who say they use marijuana at least once a month are just as likely to work in a job that tests as are workers who have never tried marijuana.

See the toplines and crosstabs from this U.S. News Poll

Methodology: This U.S. News survey was conducted by YouGov using a nationally representative sample of 1,000 U.S. adult citizens interviewed online between April 1 - 5, 2022. This sample was weighted according to gender, age, race, and education based on the 2018 American Community Survey, conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, as well as news interest and 2020 Presidential votes (or non-votes). Respondents were selected from YouGov’s opt-in panel to be representative of all U.S. citizens. The margin of error is approximately 4% for the entire sample.

Image: Getty