New Study Uncovers Key Psychological and Emotional Links Between Cannabis and Happiness

A new study exploring the connection between cannabis and happiness uncovered hidden influences driving consumer behavior on a psychological level. 

Researchers at Zenzi sought to identify what aspects of cannabis usage contribute the most to people’s happiness. They asked 520 cannabis users in the U.S. to rate 36 motivations and 24 emotions.  

Key findings of the study included: 

  • Happiness from cannabis was derived from deeper, more personal motivations such as spirituality and living one’s values rather than short lived pleasures such as escaping your problems or getting a temporary high.
  • Happiness from cannabis use was not predicted by age, gender or political views. The happiness producing benefits of cannabis are better predicted by a person’s psychological and emotional profile, as well as their reasons for using it. 
  • The five most commonly elicited emotions associated with cannabis include: Joy, Optimism, Love, Calm and Inspiration.  
  • The five most common motivations for consuming cannabis are to: Release stress, Relax, Feel better in the long term, Improve mental health and Have fun. 
  • Heavy users (4-7 times per week) derive more happiness than light users (1-3 times per week). 
  • People who use cannabis both recreationally and medicinally derive the most happiness.
  • When asked how happy cannabis makes them overall, the average score was 7.9. 

The researchers also compared the amount of happiness derived from the motivators to the degree that people rated them as part of their experience. This allowed them to identify motivations for using cannabis that are not as popular, but bring more long-term happiness than people might expect. 

  • The five motivations that produced more happiness than expected include:  Deepen my spirituality, Feel safe/secure, Express my core values, Improve my focus and Feel better in the long term. 
  •   The five motivations that produce less happiness than expected include: Stop      my mind from turning, Feel better temporarily, Escape my problems, Decrease boredom, Relieve physical pain

“These findings line up with broader theories from the field of positive psychology,” said Graham Hill, Director of Research at Zenzi. “Motivations that are more central to your identity, such as spirituality and living your values, produce deeper and longer lasting happiness than short lived pleasures such as escaping your problems or getting a temporary high.”

Both marketers and consumers can benefit from the insights uncovered in the study. Marketers can better target the aspects of cannabis that provide true, long-lasting happiness, thus creating more satisfied, long-term customers. And cannabis consumers can now enhance their experience by exploring some of the emotions and motivations that lead to truer and longer lasting happiness and fulfillment.

To download a complete infographic on Cannabis + Happiness, click here. 

About Zenzi 

Zenzi is a psychology-based marketing agency based in San Diego that specializes in uncovering the deeper motivations behind consumer behavior. We have done extensive research into cannabis users, and uncovered valuable information about how their personal values affect all aspects of their cannabis experience. Please visit or for more information.