The generational divide between baby boomers and millennials is vast when it comes to social attitudes and economics. It’s a blame game that has lasted for the better part of the 21st Century. Boomers have often labeled millennials as “lazy” and “entitled,” while millennials have stereotyped boomers for being “out of touch.”

Aside from the “OK Boomer” and “avocado toast” taglines, we were curious to see how these generational differences play out when it comes to marijuana. We surveyed both baby boomers and millennials who consume marijuana to break down the similarities and differences between both generations.

Medical vs. Recreational Marijuana

One of the biggest differences between how millennials and boomers consume marijuana lies within the reasons why each generation consumes. For millennials, nearly half consume for recreational reasons, which is a stark contrast to boomers who are twice as likely to use marijuana solely for medical reasons.

Reasons boomers and millennials consume marijuana survey graph

Among those who consume for medical reasons, the top health ailments vary between generations. For example, millennials cite chronic pain (27%) and migraines (13%) as their top medical reasons compared to boomers who consume for arthritis (15%) and chronic pain (13%).

For those who use marijuana recreationally, relaxation was the top reason for consuming among both generations.

Another area where both generations can agree is how much they spend on marijuana. According to respondents, both generations spend fairly the same amount of money per month on cannabis and cannabis-related products (such as pipes and vaporizers).

On average, millennials reported spending $78 per month while boomers spend $75, which is an average of $76.50 per month among both generations.

Marijuana Consumption Preferences

how boomers and millennials consume cannabis survey graph

So, which generation is consuming more? According to respondents, millennials are more likely to consider themselves daily consumers. In fact, 1 in 5 millennials said they consume marijuana daily compared to just 12% of boomers.

While millennials might consume more, it’s boomers who are starting their day off with marijuana. Boomers are twice as likely to use marijuana in the morning, according to respondents.

Along with consumption frequency, we also asked each generation their preferred method to consume. The most popular method among both generations is to inhale, either through a pipe, joint, or blunt.

When it comes to cannabis concentrates, only 2% of millenials and 1% of boomers said their preferred dabs. However, boomers are twice as likely to use capsules compared to millennials.

And while most millennials and boomers consume with friends, both generations also reported consuming to ease stress or anxiety during different social situations and environments. For example, 28% of millennials and 26% of boomers said they have consumed marijuana before work.

Millennials are also twice as likely to consume before going to a large event or public gathering in order to ease stress.

Marijuana and Primary Care

how boomers and millennials talk to physicians about cannabis survey graph

Both generations agree that marijuana has medical benefits. In fact, 92% of millennials and 89% of boomers agree that there are medical benefits, and if given the option, 68% of millennials and 61% of boomers would prefer medical marijuana over a prescription medicine to relieve pain.

However, when it comes to discussing marijuana use with medical providers, there is a difference in comfort level. According to respondents, 60% of boomers feel comfortable discussing marijuana with their primary care physician compared to just 46% of millennials. Boomers are also more trustworthy of their medical provider when it comes to getting accurate information on marijuana.

It’s interesting to analyze the differences and similarities when it comes to marijuana use among millennials and boomers. In many areas, there are overlapping commonalities, which shows that despite their differences, millennials and boomers might have finally found something they can both agree on.


From May 29 to June 5, 2020, we surveyed 1,000 millennials between the age of 24 to 39 and 1,000 baby boomers between the age of 56 to 74 who consume marijuana. For millennials, the average age was 31 with 54% male and 46% female respondents. Of this group of people, 63% were employed full-time and 80% completed some type of post-secondary education.

For baby boomers, the average was 59 with 61% male and 39% female respondents. Within this group, 66% were employed full-time and 79% completed some type of post-secondary education.

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