We have looked at the mental well-being of the people living in all states, as well as DC, where medical marijuana is legal, to determine whether there’s a link between the two. We also took a look at the number of people who believe that psychedelics should be legal, and how many people in the survey have used psychedelics before.
To do this we analyzed the number of medical marijuana patients per state, the number of mental health facilities, emotional well-being, workplace happiness, and the number of people who use cannabis recreationally, even in states where this is still illegal. We also conducted a survey to learn about people’s attitudes towards psychedelics, and how many of them have used them.
We have also added data on the market share of the legal cannabis industry per state to see which one comes out on top.
How We Worked This Out
To work this out, we have looked at the following things and came up with an index to use for scoring:
- Which states marijuana is legal for medical and recreational use
- The number of medical marijuana patients
- The number of recreational marijuana users per capita
- Emotional wellbeing
- Workplace happiness
- Access to mental health care
Which States Allow Marijuana for Recreational Use?
Around half of all US states (and DC) allow for marijuana to be used medically and recreationally. These states are as follows:
21. Rhode Island
Medical Marijuana Use Only
Below are the states that only permit marijuana for medical rather than recreational use:
15. North Carolina
16. North Dakota
|19. South Carolina
20. South Dakota
24. West Virginia
How Many People Take Psychedelics to Manage Their Mental Health?
Our survey of 2,000 people found that there are vast differences between states when we asked if people take psychedelics to help manage their mental health. Only a handful of states gave us answers that indicate that they do not. These states include Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Nebraska, New Mexico, and North Dakota.
However, the top five states that use psychedelics to help manage their mental health are below. Here, the percentage refers to the number of people who states that they do use psychedelics for mental health reasons.
- California (88.89%)
- Colorado (57.14%)
- Florida (57.14%)
- New York (30.77%
- Washington (28.59%)
This closely reflects the number of people from the survey who admitted to taking psychedelics in the past year, with California (91.50%), Florida (86.67%), Colorado (86.36%), New York (78.95%), and New Jersey (78.95%) being at the top of that list.
Which US States Have the Best Mental Health
Based on the various factors we have looked at, the top 10 most mentally healthy states by their index are as follows:
- DC – 1.00
- Massachusetts – 0.85
- Maine – 0.78
- Connecticut – 0.77
- Illinois – 0.76
- Maryland – 0.75
- New Jersey – 0.74
- California – 0.74
- New York – 0.72
- Delaware – 0.71
It’s interesting to point out here that all the most mentally healthy states with the exception of Delaware and Maryland are states where marijuana is legal for recreational use.
States With the Worst Mental Health
Based on numerous factors, these are the 5 least mentally well states:
- Mississippi – 0.28
- Nevada – 0.25
- Missouri – 0.22
- Louisiana – 0.22
- Arkansas – 0.18
Three of the states with the lowest mental health are states where marijuana is not legal for recreational purposes – Arkansas, Louisiana, and Mississippi. Only Nevada and Missouri find themselves at the bottom of the list due to poor access to mental health care, low workplace happiness, and low emotional well-being.
Is It Related to Cannabis Use?
There does seem to be a link between recreational marijuana use and overall mental health per state. The top five states (with DC included) are all areas where marijuana is legal for both medical and recreational use (DC, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and Illinois). However, it is very likely that other factors play a crucial role in this, such as access to mental health care.
As you go further down the list to the least happy states, there are fewer cases of marijuana being legal for recreational use. The two states with the least happy citizens are Louisiana and Arkansas, both with indexes below 0.23.
Which States Believe That Psychedelics Should Be Legalized?
Since many people who answered the survey stated that they had used psychedelics for mental health reasons (with California scoring the highest), we also looked at which states believe that psychedelics should be legalized. We asked about the legalization of psychedelics for both recreational and medical use.
For Medical Use
The only states where the majority did not want psychedelics to be legalized for medical use were Hawaii, Wyoming, North Dakota, Montana, Alaska, Idaho, Utah, Vermont, and South Dakota. All other states either hit or surpassed the 50% mark for psychedelics to be legalized.
The states with the highest ‘yes’ rates for psychedelics to be legalized for medical use were as follows:
- California (91.84%)
- Colorado (83.26%)
- New York (81.63%)
- Florida (81.01%)
- New Jersey (80.98%)
As you can see, four of the five top states who want psychedelics to be legalized for medical use are the same states where the highest number of survey participants use it for their mental health.
For Recreational Use
This follows a similar pattern, with many of the same names popping up for psychedelics to be legalized for recreational use. The top states are as follows:
- California (92.00%)
- Colorado (87.47%)
- Florida (85.71%)
- Washington (80.00%)
- Oregon (73.33%)
Thirteen states did not reach the 50% mark for psychedelics to be legalized, with the top five being the following:
- Hawaii (21.05%)
- Alaska (26.67%)
- Arkansas (37.04%)
- Vermont (37.50%)
- Alabama (39.39%)
State’s Access to Mental Health Care
Having access to mental health care is crucial. Unfortunately, many states have very poor access to this critical resource, which does influence the overall mental well-being and happiness of a state as a whole.
Going back to the top five mentally healthy states and districts (DC, Massachusetts, Maine, Connecticut, and Illinois) and looking at their access to mental health care is interesting. The states with the best mental health care are Vermont, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, and New Hampshire. DC comes in 9th place in terms of mental health access, with Connecticut in 8th, and Illinois in 12th.
On the other end of the spectrum, the states with the worst access to mental health care are Missouri, Arizona, Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida. Three of those states (Mississippi, Georgia, and Florida) do not permit marijuana for recreational use.
However, looking at the emotional well-being levels for these states, Florida is in 4th place overall – which is impressive considering its poor access to mental health care. Of the lowest-scoring states in this area, Mississippi is the worst in 43rd place.
Number of Medical Marijuana Patients
There is not too much to say about the number of medical marijuana patients across the board. Some states, like Louisiana, have very low numbers of these patients (less than 4.5k in total despite a population of 4.6 million). On the other hand, Mississippi has a population of 2.9 million and has 139k medical marijuana patients.
Back at the top of the list, DC (with a population of 689k) has just over 9k medical marijuana patients. Both Massachusetts and Maine have under 70k patients, but it’s worth noting the huge discrepancy in population, with Massachusetts with 7 million and Maine with just 1.3 million.
A Quick Note on State Market Shares in the Industry
Unsurprisingly, California has the largest market share in the cannabis industry, with 20%. Tied for second place are Illinois and Florida – both with 8% market shares. States such as Mississippi, Georgia, and Oregon, however, have no share in the legal cannabis industry.
The majority of states have between 0.1 and 2.5% shares in the legal cannabis industry, even where cannabis is not legal for recreational use.
On average, it seems that the more medical marijuana patients a state has, the higher they score on emotional well-being. This figure can be impacted by the number of mental health facilities in the state, however, showing that perhaps more support is needed alongside the use of medical marijuana.
It also seems that on average the lower the number of medical and recreational users, the lower their workplace happiness is, perhaps suggesting that people with stressful jobs have no real way to calm down after a long day. If you need to unwind after a long day, check out 420DC.com.
- Marijuana Legality By State. DSA. https://disa.com/maps/marijuana-legality-by-state
- (2021, August 6). This Is the State With the Most Marijuana Users, According to Data. Yahoo. https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/state-most-marijuana-users-according-110318886.html
- (2022). Number of legal medical marijuana patients in the U.S. As of 2021, by state. Statista. https://www.statista.com/statistics/585154/us-legal-medical-marijuana-patients-state/
- (2022). The State of Mental Health in America 2022. Mental Health America. https://mhanational.org/sites/default/files/2022%20State%20of%20Mental%20Health%20in%20America.pdf