Daily Marijuana Use Now Exceeds Alcohol in the U.S.

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Daily and near-daily marijuana use has now surpassed similar levels of alcohol consumption in the United States, according to a comprehensive analysis of national survey data spanning four decades.

Marijuana use overtakes drinking.

While alcohol remains more widely consumed overall, 2022 marked a significant shift. For the first time, high-frequency marijuana use eclipsed high-frequency drinking, as noted by the study’s author, Jonathan Caulkins, a cannabis policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University. Caulkins highlighted that “a good 40% of current cannabis users are using it daily or near daily, a pattern that is more associated with tobacco use than typical alcohol use.”

Survey data insights

This research, which utilizes data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, was published in the journal Addiction. The survey, recognized for its accuracy in estimating tobacco, alcohol, and drug use in the U.S., revealed that in 2022, approximately 17.7 million people used marijuana daily or near-daily. In comparison, there were about 14.7 million daily, or near-daily, drinkers. The per capita rate of daily or near-daily marijuana use has increased 15-fold from 1992 to 2022, reflecting shifts in public policy towards marijuana.

Policy Changes and Implications

Changes in public policy have significantly influenced these trends. Most states now permit medical or recreational marijuana use, even though it remains illegal at the federal level. Upcoming decisions, such as the November vote in Florida on a constitutional amendment for recreational cannabis and the potential federal reclassification of marijuana, could further impact these patterns. Dr. David A. Gorelick, a psychiatry professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, pointed out that “high-frequency users are more likely to become addicted to marijuana.”

Health Risks

The increase in daily marijuana users indicates a higher risk of developing problematic cannabis use or addiction, as noted by experts. Dr. Gorelick also warned that “high-frequency use increases the risk of developing cannabis-associated psychosis,” a severe mental health condition. As marijuana use continues to rise, understanding its health impacts and policy implications will be crucial for addressing potential public health concerns.

Image by jcomp on Freepik


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