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Erowid Visitor Micro-Surveys
by Fire and Earth Erowid
Jun 2008
Citation:   Erowid F, Erowid E. "Erowid Visitor Micro-Surveys". Erowid Extracts. Jun 2008;14:16-17.
Following the launch of Erowid Center in January 2008 we began conducting a series of "micro-surveys" on with two purposes in mind: first, to help determine the current demographics of our visitors and second, to begin to quantify their opinions about certain psychoactive-related issues. Each survey consisted of three to six questions displayed just under the header on a large number of pages on the site.

Because of the amount of traffic that Erowid receives, we get a large number of responses to such micro-surveys. Each survey remained live until it received approximately 20,000 responses, which took between 7 and 14 days.

We welcome proposals for future surveys to conduct, as well as help from those who have experience analyzing survey data, to assist in identifying the most interesting results.

Country of Residence
One survey asked visitors where they live. As expected, the vast majority of visitors come from countries that have English as its first language. 71.1% of visitors are from the United States and 29.9% from other countries.

Visitor Age
Six recent surveys asked visitors their age and all received consistent results. With a total of more than 120,000 responses, 45.3% of all respondents reported they were 18-22 years old. This is similar to responses received in late 2005 (42%) and 2002 (36%).

Education Level
The highest levels of education reported by visitors were similar to previous surveys and consistent with the ages reported by survey respondents. Over 55% of respondents have attended or completed college. This corresponds to the percentage of Erowid visitors who have reported in other surveys that they are college students.

Cannabis Use
Of those visitors who responded to three surveys about cannabis, approximately 93% said that they had tried cannabis at least once in their life, with between 1% and 2.5% saying they preferred not to answer the question. Those under 15 and those over 40 years old reported lower rates of having tried cannabis. Of survey respondents who said they were 15-17 years old, 93% reported having tried cannabis, compared to Monitoring the Future's 2007 estimate that 42% of U.S. high school seniors (ages 17-18) have tried cannabis. As expected, Erowid visitors who complete cannabis-related surveys report a significantly higher rate of cannabis use than those who fill out an in-school national survey.

Cannabis Regulation
One survey asked visitors their preference for the legal status of cannabis. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of respondents preferred regulatory schema very different from what currently exists in most countries. Less than 4.5% preferred either of the two "prohibited" options. There was, however, a large disparity between the opinions of those who reported having ever tried cannabis and those who said they had not.

Age of Cannabis Initiation
Two surveys asked how old respondents were when they first tried cannabis. The median age range given for initiating cannabis use was 15-16. Perhaps the most surprising result was that 35% of respondents said they first tried cannabis before they were 15 years old.

One question asked whether respondents wished they had first tried cannabis at a different age. Overall, 63% reported that they would keep the age when they first tried it the same; 30% said they would change when they first used cannabis, with 14% wishing they'd tried it later and 16% wishing they'd tried it earlier.

Perhaps most interesting, correlating age of initiation with whether the person wished they could change that age: those who first tried cannabis when they were younger than 15 were twice as likely to wish they had tried it later than earlier, those 15-16 were evenly split between wishing they had tried it later and earlier, and those older than 17 were four to five times more likely to wish they'd tried it earlier than later.