AMERICANS’ VIEWS ON CBD PRODUCTS & MARIJUANA FOR RECREATIONAL USE

This report examines the public’s views on two issues being debated in the U.S. today. The first issue is regulation of CBD (cannabidiol) products. CBD is a substance produced by the cannabis family of plants, but is not psychoactive, meaning it does not cause the “high” associated with marijuana. The second issue is regulation of marijuana for recreational use.

A new poll by POLITICO and the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health finds that slightly more than half of American adults (54%) are familiar with CBD products, and one in seven adults (15%) say they personally use CBD products.

Few U.S. adults who are familiar with CBD products believe they are very harmful to the people who use them (5%), and those familiar with CBD generally think such products should be available widely.

The poll asked what the future role of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) should be in regulating the safety and effectiveness of CBD products. When it comes to safety, just over half (51%) of those familiar with such products believe that CBD products should be allowed to be sold to the public only if they have been shown to be safe by the FDA, like prescription drugs are; 45% believe consumers should be able to buy CBD products in the same way they can buy vitamins and dietary supplements – without being shown by the FDA to be safe.

When asked about the FDA’s role in monitoring effectiveness, a majority (55%) of those familiar with CBD products say consumers should be able to buy such products in the same way they can buy vitamins and dietary supplements – if they think they are effective for them, without first being shown to be effective by the FDA. In contrast, 43% think CBD products should be allowed to be sold to the public only if they have been shown to be effective by the FDA, like prescription drugs are.

The poll also asked U.S. adults their views about regulation of marijuana for recreational use. A majority (62%) favors legalizing marijuana for recreational use by adults nationally. However, they also favor a number of regulations on the sale and use of recreational marijuana. In contrast to CBD products, where most adults familiar with such products favor their sale widely, about two-thirds (69%) favor limiting sales of marijuana for recreational use only to licensed stores in their state. Only 32% favor allowing use in public spaces in their neighborhood. About half (53%) favor allowing licensed stores selling marijuana for recreational use to open in their neighborhood.

Of importance, CBD products and marijuana for recreational use are seen as less harmful to the people who use them than tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes, and alcohol.