Do Millennials think Marijuana is Healthier than Alcohol?

As marijuana is legalized in an increasing number of states, the conversation continues around how it will affect the alcohol industry, and whether it will serve as a complement or substitute. How consumer attitudes towards health and wellness evolve will be an important determinant of its impact on the industry. 

It seems with each passing month a new state is legalizing marijuana. So how do individuals across generations feel about this? We explore this as part of our broader wellness initiative, with insights into food, beauty, and digital behaviors.

We asked respondents about their perceptions of marijuana (despite its legality) relative to alcohol. The answer gives us an early indication of how it may be positioned against the incumbent alcohol in the coming years.

A Healthy Alternative?

To uncover perceptions of health and not allow respondents any wiggle room – they had to choose whether marijuana is healthier than alcohol, or alcohol is healthier than marijuana.

Marijuana is healthier than alcohol graph

Across 21+ age segments, 71% of consumers believe marijuana is healthier than alcohol.

Percentage of population by generation that finds marijuana healthier than alcohol

By generation, we see that millennials are the most likely to believe marijuana is healthier, at 79%.

When we go deeper into the millennial segment, there aren’t stark differences between the 5-year cohorts.

However, it’s interesting that these numbers are higher than the percentage of those who believe it should be legalized.

Implications for Messaging

This implies that if marijuana were legal nationwide, it would have the leg up on health messaging. Though this is only a part of the equation on whether it will be a complement or substitute, it’s important.

It will be interesting to see how it plays out for gen-z , a generation growing up in an era of modern health-consciousness and a more lax culture surrounding marijuana.

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