It’s not unusual to see films and TV series showcase typical cannabis stereotypes. Think of “The Big Lebowski” or “Pineapple Express.” The caricatured marijuana smoker is inherently unmotivated — preferring to drown between the couch seats surrounded by snacks than to build anything meaningful in their life.
Such a picture portrayed in popular media often leads to wrong conclusions about who cannabis users are, which can be very harmful to society. Misinformation about cannabis users fuels inaccurate public anti-drug initiatives, such as Australia’s “stoner sloth” campaign in New South Wales (NSW). Moreover, many marijuana users face stigmatization — reporting workplace discrimination, rejection from their loved ones, and more.
Therefore, if you’ve ever had a friend or family member disapprove of your choice to consume cannabis, know you’re not alone. But this article will break the most common marijuana stereotypes, so you have an answer ready at hand next time you hear a snide remark about your cannabis use.
The 7 Most Common Cannabis Stereotypes
You’ve probably heard one or all of the following stereotypes mentioned in a conversation about cannabis. Here’s what makes them unsustainable and inaccurate.
Using Cannabis Transforms You Into a Lazy Stoner
They don’t say some strains give you “couch lock” for no reason. But wanting to get a little high, heavy, and cozy before watching a movie isn’t the same as being able-bodied but choosing to stay sedentary all the time. The “lazy stoner” stereotype is probably the most common out there, and it doesn’t do cannabis smokers any justice.
In a 2021 study published in the Harm Reduction Journal, researchers surveyed 2,092 U.S. adults and found that frequent cannabis users engaged in more physical activity than non-users. Some prohibitionists would have you believe cannabis imposes a burden on hospitals. But this data suggests cannabis use may instead have a net positive effect on public health.
Cannabis Is a Gateway Drug
An idea lingers in many circles that cannabis acts as a gateway drug. That suggests people smoke weed for a while and then inevitably progress to taking “harder” drugs. However, other research indicates that most cannabis consumers use no other substances.
It’s also essential to note that labeling cannabis as a gateway drug is a one-dimensional opinion that fails to acknowledge the socio-economic factors leading to drug misuse. Moreover, it’s particularly harmful to put such a tag on medical marijuana patients who aren’t consuming cannabis solely for the high.
Cannabis Users Are Hemp-Wearing Hippies
If you ask many people what a cannabis smoker dresses like, several images will spark up in their minds. Some see the unwashed hippie, while others picture a petty criminal dressed in streetwear. If you look around at the people you know who use marijuana, do they all fit one of these two styles?
While we may all have a bit of hippie spirit running in our veins, remember some of the biggest weed smokers are CEOs at successful companies. Squeezing cannabis culture into such a tiny box prevents us from relating to and educating one another about weed.
You Are More Likely to See Men Use Cannabis
Cannabis has had a male-dominated image for a very long time. But if you think it’s mainly men lighting up, you are mistaken. Female pop culture icons are publicizing their marijuana use, often to promote their brands. Every day female weed smokers have taken to social media to share images and break the cliche that only men use cannabis.
Conversations about women’s health are expanding to consider marijuana for relief from menstrual pain and other issues. Women also hold power in the industry, with more and more of them taking executive positions relating to cannabis.
Cannabis Users Are Always High
Maybe you know someone who always seems to be toking on a joint. Certainly, many people use cannabis regularly and daily, but to assume every cannabis user is permanently high is wildly inaccurate.
Many people use marijuana for important medicinal reasons — to treat the symptoms of a broad range of conditions, including cancer, epilepsy, depression, fibromyalgia, chronic pain, arthritis, and many more. People use cannabis, either recreationally or medically, in a whole range of different quantities and frequencies.
Cannabis Users Are Unproductive
This classic cannabis stereotype portrays marijuana users as unmotivated slackers, living in their mom’s basement until “things work out.” Thankfully, this ridiculous idea seems to be on its way out the door.
In 2021, cannabis tech company dutchie conducted a study of 5,000 adult marijuana consumers from Canada and the U.S. It concluded the modern cannabis user is “successful, motivated, and health-conscious.”
The study found cannabis consumers are highly educated — 54% have a college degree or higher. It also outlined that cannabis users are more likely to participate in the workforce than non-users.
Cannabis users have successful careers in just about every field imaginable. You probably work with someone who likes to light up at the end of a hectic workweek — you just don’t realize it.
Marijuana Is Only for Young Partygoers
Substances with recreational potential are only for the young to enjoy on a night out, right? Wrong. This thinking can lead older generations to assume their ship has sailed to try marijuana. But that is not true — weed can offer spellbinding mental and physical benefits for users of all ages and from all walks of life.
Cannabis stereotypes around age and interests obscure the plant’s potential for healing. The truth is that marijuana users are our parents, siblings, grandparents, military veterans, blue-collar workers, professionals, and everyone in between. People use cannabis to relax and as a central element in a winning wellness formula. When weed use finally gets normalized, people will freely (and more widely) share the benefits of the plant.
Challenging Marijuana Stereotypes
We’re confronted with stoner stereotypes so often that we might not stop to double-check whether they accurately represent people who consume weed. But stereotypes become stigmas, and those only create an “us and them” mentality.
Placing barriers to this therapeutic drug prevents access for people who might significantly benefit from cannabis. That’s why it’s essential to break cannabis stereotypes — and with accurate, well-supported information. Fortunately, there’s plenty of accessible data about cannabis online, and the provider industry is growing.
If you’re a Florida MMJ card holder and seeking a high-quality curation of medical marijuana products, check out one of VidaCann dispensaries. We are one of the largest and most sustainable providers of medical cannabis in Florida, and our mission is to help our customers live healthier lives.