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Ohio adults' knowledge of marijuana use and perception of its harm

Jan 10, 2020


The Ohio Health Issues Poll is conducted every year to learn more about the health opinions, behaviors and status of Ohio adults. In 2016 Ohio legalized medical marijuana. It became available in early 2019. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an estimated 44 million Americans ages 12 or older in 2018 had used marijuana in the past year. Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit substance in the United States.1

OHIP in 2019 asked Ohio adults about their knowledge of marijuana use among friends and family members, their perception of harm and their participation in the medical marijuana program.

What OHIP found

Half know someone who regularly uses marijuana

OHIP asked "Do you have a friend or family member who regularly uses marijuana?" About half of Ohio adults said yes (46%).

OHIP also asked, "How much do you think people risk harming themselves by regularly using marijuana?" About half of Ohio adults (47%) said they think regularly using marijuana is a great deal or somewhat harmful. Responses varied the person knows someone who regularly uses marijuana. Three in 10 Ohio adults (30%) who have a friend or family member who regularly uses marijuana perceive marijuana as harmful. That compares with 6 in 10 Ohio adults (61%) who do not know someone who regularly uses marijuana.

Most Ohio adults have not sought medical marijuana information

OHIP asked several questions to learn how many Ohioans had explored the new medical marijuana options.

OHIP asked, "Have you ever sought information about whether you have a medical condition that can be treated with medical marijuana in the state of Ohio?" About 8 in 10 Ohio adults (83%) have not sought medical marijuana information. Ohio adults who do not perceive marijuana as harmful are more likely (26%) than those who perceive marijuana as harmful (8%) to seek information.

OHIP then asked, "Has your doctor written you a recommendation for the use of medical marijuana?" Very few Ohio adults (2%) reported this.  Among those who did, OHIP asked "Have you completed your registration with the Ohio Medical Marijuana Patient and Caregiver Registry?" Very few Ohio adults did. For more information about the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, see the "What's Happening Now" section below.

Why we ask these questions

As of October 2019, nearly 46,000 Ohioans had bought marijuana through the new medical marijuana program.2 It is important to ask questions about marijuana use and perception of harm in Ohio and monitor how these change over time. This will help Ohio track the impact of the program.

What's Happening Now

Since January 2019, Ohioans with a qualifying medical condition have been able to buy medical marijuana. In order to obtain medical marijuana in Ohio, a patient must 1) visit a physician who is certified to prescribe medical marijuana 2) complete registration and pay a fee, and 3) visit a dispensary.3 Currently 47 dispensaries operate in Ohio. For more information about the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, please visit

1. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019). Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. (Report No. PEP19-5068) Retrieved from
2. Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. (2019). Program update: by the numbers. Retrieved from
3. Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program. (2019). Ohio's official resource for the medical marijuana control program — how to obtain medical marijuana. Retrieved from

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