62 percent use marijuana to kick prescription drugs: preliminary survey results
By Mike Plaisance
SPRINGFIELD -- They take pot to avoid prescription drugs. Most still prefer to smoke it. Over half use the weed to ease anxiety.
Such information is part of the preliminary results from a survey about marijuana use and attitudes being done by the Cannabis Community Care and Research Network (C3RN) of Somerville and the University of Massachusetts in Dartmouth.
The survey began in June and is scheduled to last through 2020, said Dr. Marion McNabb, public health doctor and CEO of C3RN.
Most of the 618 survey responses are from Massachusetts residents but the survey is available globally, she said.
"This survey is open for anyone in the world to participate, and honestly that is our goal -- to take this global. We have seen responses from others states popping up, but we are in the process of analyzing the data and will present more" at an event Thursday in Somerville, McNabb said in a text message.
About 62 percent of the over 600 respondents in the ongoing survey said they use marijuana to reduce intake of prescription medication, she said.
In Massachusetts, 17 percent of respondents were concerned about their workplace knowing they use marijuana compared to 24 percent nationally citing that as a concern, according to the early survey numbers.
The survey is anonymous and takes less than 30 minutes, according to the survey website. The survey is available at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C3RNCoE
Preliminary survey results will be updated by the time a presentation is made Aug. 23 from noon to 6 p.m. at Revolutionary Clinics, a medical marijuana facility in Somerville, she said.
"But what's cool about this approach, is if you complete the survey now, you immediately see how your responses compare to the whole: a cool immediate feedback for one who responds and might geek out about what the results will be," she said.
The survey's aim is to understand consumer/patient demographics, attitudes, choices, methods of consumption and knowledge of cannabis products in legal cannabis states, while also reducing the marijuana stigma, she said.
"We are looking forward to how this dynamic cannabis community information system can evolve," she said.
Other results from the survey so far, according to information from McNabb:
- smoking remains the preferred way of ingesting the weed for 50 percent of respondents, followed by edibles, vaping, tinctures, concentrates and others
- 77 percent of respondents were female
- 51 percent use pot to ease anxiety
- 23 percent said they use marijuana only for health issues.
After the survey, a message appears on screen that says the information shared is "100 percent anonymous" and will be used to develop resources to break the stigma of pot use and improve data.
"This information will be used to build an open, fact-based and community-led information resource that promotes the safe and effective use of recreational and medical cannabis," the message said.
C3RN, a marijuana industry consultant and advocate, led a forum in Holyoke May 29 on marijuana's potential to replace opioids for pain relief.
'Cannabis slowly but surely playing role' in pain treatment, says panelist in Holyoke forum (photos)
Marijuana as a gateway to using other drugs? That's a myth, said a Massachusetts General Hospital physician.
Other events C3RN is holding in relation to the survey are scheduled for, McNabb said:
- Aug. 29 from 3 to 8 p.m. at INSA Easthampton, a medical marijuana facility at 122 Pleasant St., Suite 144, in Easthampton. Presentation of survey data will be at 5:30 p.m.
- Sept. 5 from 3 to 7 p.m. at INSA Springfield, 506 Cottage St. in Springfield. Presentation of survey data will be at 5:30 p.m.
- Sept. 22, starting between 10 and 11 a.m. and running to 4 or 5 p.m. in Boston, at a location to be determined: "Cannabis Community-Led Research Symposium: Final Series Event."
Others that C3RN is working with on the survey are BASK Inc., a medical marijuana facility in Fairhaven, and medical doctors Dustin Sulak and Ryan Zaklin.