Poll: Americans View Pot As Less Harmful To Health Than Tobacco, Alcohol, Or Sugar

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 12, 2014

    Americans believe that consuming cannabis poses less harm to health than does the consumption of tobacco, alcohol, or sugar, according to the findings of a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released today.

    Respondents were asked which of the four substances they believed to be “most harmful to a person’s overall health.” Most respondents said tobacco (49 percent), followed by alcohol (24 percent) and sugar (15 percent).

    Only eight percent of those surveyed said that they believed that marijuana was most harmful to health.

    The poll possesses a margin of error of +/- 3.10 percent.

    Commenting on the poll results, NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said: “These results once again reaffirm that an overwhelming majority of the American public understands that any potential risks associated with the use or abuse of cannabis are relatively minor to those associated with many other legal and regulated substances. Criminalizing cannabis and those who consume it responsibly is a disproportionate public policy response to what is, at worst, a public health issue but not a criminal justice concern.”

    Under federal law, marijuana is classified as a schedule I controlled substance, meaning that its alleged harms are equal to those of heroin.

    29 responses to “Poll: Americans View Pot As Less Harmful To Health Than Tobacco, Alcohol, Or Sugar”

    1. bongstar420 says:

      Interesting. But public opinion is retarded- a majority believe in supernatural phenomena for example. Plus, sugar is essential in moderate dosages while Tobacco, Alcohol, and Cannabis are not.

      I care only about objective facts. Sure, they are finally getting close to correct on this particular issue, but it is not different from the rest in general. These people’s opinion is the result of propaganda, not of their own truth quest. They are still not capable of being objective.

    2. Brad says:

      Give me a damn joint.

    3. mexweed says:


      yes, essential in moderate dosages, the issue is overdose, over the last decades a monstrous sugar overdosage conspiracy has been perpetrated resulting in obesity, diabetes etc. almost up there with tobacco for most harm, and this poll shows citizens are wising up.

      Sugar (especially famous beloved High Fructose Gulpsugar) is dangerous today because children live in a world full of advertising (hatefearteasing) and sneaky trick cues to scare them into OVERDOSING on it. A kind of GULP reflex is built into the population, and 24-ounce dosages of HFCS pop are marketed in non-resealable containers (“drink it fast, it’ll go flat then it’s no good”)– with actual brand names like “Big Gulp” to cue youngsters what to do with the drink.

      Further deceit: a harsh but tolerable carbonation “impact” may add to a certain “feeling” [delusion!] that they’re taking a kind of medicine that will cure them (temporarily?) of the blues, anxiety or whatever, “oh but it has to hurt you in some way first, in order to help you.”

      HURRIED INGESTION: every molecule that gets past the SALIVA unchecked (i.e. too hurriedly swallowed without chewing, swishing, tasting) is potential sabotage to probiota in your gut, and results in rogue bacteria creating alcohol waste products which dumb down your entire organism and make you Depressive. Then one profitable form of MANIA which afflicts Depressives when pressure builds up is– to burst out and spend MONEY recklessly! Just what “they” want you to do, that’s that Depressifier drugs like $igarettes, alcohol and gulppop lead to.

      Cannabis can inspire i.e. “teach” some users how to learn handwork, do more things, spend less money, the reverse of those three profit drugs. One 25-mg toke provides enough cannabinoid to imagine, sketch, draw important inventions for hours; similarly imagine, think, hum, sing, dance to, conduct, play energizing tunes; make or repair products, tools and equipment INSTEAD OF BUYING. Entire neighborhoods will save money and build up local equity to fund improvements such as landscape repair and reforestation.

      Servile “it’s about the money” “jobs” (to maintain a Depressive spending lifestyle) will be lost in the economy but REPLACED by interesting challenging productive work individuals and families do without having to get paid as much because they don’t spend as much.

      Once it is demonstrated sufficiently that cannabis can be used to cure the number one disease of modern history, DEPRESSION, that 8% (“more dangerous than tob, alc, sug”) will shrink to 0.

      “Jettison the Joint”: the key to eliminating the fear of cannabis harm everywhere is to remove from use permanently the main cause of harm, the “habit” (who taught you that?) of rolling up 500-mg or more of cannabis in paper (like a tobacco $igarette, hm…) and burn it all away in minutes– unless you’re not afraid to carry a stinky halfjoint around and risk getting arrested for “possession”. Thus there is built in situational fear urging users to binge-overdose hurriedly now on the product to protect against later problems (compare with the Gulp pop– drink it now or it’ll go flat).

      The joint is a drug cocktail of heat shock, carbon monoxide and 4221 combustion toxins, with the harmful effects getting blamed mostly on the cannabis.


      An article now underway at “wikiHow,.com/Make Pipes from Everyday Objects” describes how to make two forms of Long-Drawtube One-Hitter which can eliminate the harms of “joint smoking” and convert that final 8% who still believe cannabis is dangerous. Sign in, revise, improve the article, add pictures, diagrams, contribute to worldwide health reform #1 for this century. Yes you CAN VAPE with a one-hitter.

    4. Dave says:

      Not only is it less harmful- I fully believe marijuana negated much of the damage alcohol and tobacco did to my body. I began partying at the typical age- and gradually became a problem. 5 years ago my organs were failing, I was bleeding internally all the time, I was classified as “hyper-obese”, and I had the lung function of an 83 year old. At that time I was 30 and I could tell I was dying. I quit drinking and smoking on my own- and neither was pretty or easy. I found cannibis in that time: mostly because it was the only option that took the edge of coming off these terrible products off completely without the side effects that the meds that were not only offered but more or less forced on me would most likely have. I’m certain that simply quitting alone would have had positive results- but in 5 years my organs are functioning as they should (some were given a “death sentence” by my doctor), I’ve lost 1/3 of my body weight (I’m at an average weight for my height/age), and my lung function is now that of a 38 year old. My once lengthy medication collection is now just an as needed allergy pill. I medicate once a day- in the evening, after all the day’s duties are finished. My doctor doesn’t understand what I’ve done to make such a 180 in overall well being. I’m still thinking about how open he’d be to the truth. I am, after all participating in criminal activity in my state in the eyes of the law and practices that threaten pharmaceutical companies. I have no intention of quitting my newfound once daily medicine, nor do I intend to go back to my career participating in the prohibition of something so positive and life-changing. I’m sorry I ever bought in to it in the first place. There’s a billion stories more inspiring than mine and as public opinion starts to sway in favor of cannibis I hope the terrible alternatives that social norms and the feds have declared “safe” are tolerated like “pot” has been in the past. Many thanks and keep up the great work norml!

    5. Happy Cat says:

      I wish they would say M&M’s are good for me!

    6. Legalize Cannabis Freedom !

      And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree,
      – Genesis 1:29

      He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man:
      – Psalm 104:14

      We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp more for our own consumption.
      – John Adams

      The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.
      – Thomas Jefferson

      Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.
      – Thomas Jefferson

    7. @Mexweed

      Dude; Nice Article.

    8. Miles says:

      Anyone doing even basic research should quickly conclude that alcohol is much more detrimental to one’s health than marijuana. For that reason (alone) I believe that marijuana has helped me tremendously since it helps ro curb my urge to consume alcohol! In my opinion, that property is enough to be considered medicinal. I’m sure the DEA would vigorously disagree…

    9. Galileo Galilei says:

      Back in my back-to-nature hippie commune days we viewed white sugar downright satanic. I still avoid it.

    10. thepotster says:

      well the problem here weed leads to munchies, munchies leads to snacks, most all snacks have sugar ….. it’s an evil conspiracy alright.

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