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More Americans Now Use Marijuana Each Day Than Alcohol
  • Posted May 22, 2024

More Americans Now Use Marijuana Each Day Than Alcohol

Reflecting changing times and legislation, Americans are now more apt to light up a joint or pop a weed gummy on a daily basis than they are to raise a glass of wine or beer, new research shows.

Among folks who said they used either marijuana or alcohol each day, marijuana became the preferred choice as of 2022, according to study author Jonathan Caulkins.

In terms of the sheer number of people who drink or use pot or alcohol at least occasionally, alcohol remains in the lead.

However, "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,” Caulkins told the Associated Press. He's a cannabis policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa.

The new study, published May 22 in the journal Addiction, was based on an analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health which, among other behaviors, tracks tobacco, alcohol and drug use in the United States.

For years, alcohol topped marijuana as the substance of choice among "daily users." But in 2022, 17.7 million people told the survey they ingested marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, compared to 14.7 million who did so with alcohol.

That's not overly surprising, since rates of daily or near-daily marijuana use rose 15-fold among Americans between 1992 and 2022, Caulkins noted.

It also reflects big changes in public policy, with most states relaxing laws against the use of marijuana, although it's still illegal at the federal level.

The federal government announced earlier this month that it has moved to reclassify marijuana as a less hazardous drug.

Still, having more Americans using marijuana each day isn't necessarily a good thing, one expert said.

Speaking to the AP, Dr. David Gorelick, a psychiatry professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, believes far too many people are now reaching problematic levels of weed use.

"High frequency use also increases the risk of developing cannabis-associated psychosis,” a severe condition where a person loses touch with reality, he added.

One study published earlier this week in the journal Psychological Medicine, found that teens are at especially high risk for psychosis, with risks rising 11-fold if they regularly use marijuana.

More information

Find out more about the health hazards of frequent marijuana use at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

SOURCE: Addiction, May 22, 2024; Associated Press, May 22, 2024

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