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Marijuana use more prevalent in U.S. adults than teens

Marijuana use more prevalent in U.S. adults than teens

03-11 | CDAH Team

The percentage of Americans using marijuana between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013 doubled, enhancing the marijuana use disorder during the period. In 2014, cannabis use rose from 4.1 percent to 9.5 percent among the adults, while the prevalence of marijuana use disorder rose from 1.5 percent to 2.9 percent, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) survey.

Around 23 states in the United States have legalized some form of marijuana. This new legislation has somehow affected marijuana use in the country. A team of scientists led by Dr. Jane Maxwell from the University of Texas at Austin and Bruce Mendelson, Denver Office of Drug Strategy, reviewed data looking at how marijuana laws have affected rate of use of the drug. The study was published in the January-February 2016 edition of the Journal of Addiction Medicine, brought out by the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM).

Though some states have legalized the possession and use of small amounts of marijuana, several others, on the other hand, have “decriminalized” it. Most states, however, permit some types of “medical marijuana” use now.

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health suggests that, over the past decade, marijuana use has increased significantly among adults aged 18 to 25 and those aged 26 or more. This statistics have been highlighted by sciencedaily.com on February 3, 2016. The increase in the usage trend has been observed to have begun before 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana.

It has been observed that the usage of marijuana among the youths aged 12 to 17 has decreased. However, there is no certainty that they might not start again in the future. The influence of marijuana is also increasing among current and potential users. In fact, in states like California marijuana is widely available and is being used by a large chunk of drivers across the state. In Denver, on the other hand, marijuana related hospitalization, emergency cure, call to poison control centers have all increased significantly. But, surprisingly arrests related to marijuana abuse have comparatively decreased.

Furthermore, data shows reduced rates in treatment admissions and police involvement in Seattle. However, there is an increased prevalence of marijuana use. “As more states enact laws allowing the medicinal use of marijuana and relax penalties for the personal use of marijuana, attention should be paid to the experiences of the states to date, and changes in their laws to handle unanticipated problems,” the ASAM journal says.

More research is needed to have pertinent knowledge about the medical use of marijuana, pattern of its usage, and its influence in certain medical conditions. There should be enough data to understand the co-relationship between patterns of usage and amounts used as well as the effect that marijuana causes on the health of those who are using marijuana as medicine.

However, there is always a confusion – when to draw the line in its usage – so that a person does not get addicted to it. Because, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, after alcohol, it is marijuana which has the highest rate of dependence or abuse among all drugs. In 2013, around 4.2 million Americans met clinical criteria for dependence or abuse of marijuana, which is more than twice the number for dependence/abuse of prescription pain relievers (1.9 million) and nearly five times the number for dependence/abuse of cocaine (855,000).

If you or your loved one wants to know about the medicinal use of marijuana or has become addicted to it, contact the Colorado Drug Addiction Helpline to get an effective treatment plan. Our experts can guide you through the entire recovery process. Chat online or call at 866-218-7546 for more information.


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