Daily Marijuana Use Surpasses High-Frequency Drinking in the US, Study Finds

Increasing Daily Cannabis Use
jIncreasing Daily Cannabis Use . Credit | Shutterstock

United States: Daily and near-daily marijuana use is now more prevalent than similar levels of drinking in the U.S., assessment of national surveys for forty years have shown.

Intensive Marijuana Use on the Rise

Alcohol is consumed more frequently; however, 2022 was the first instance when this intensive level of marijuana use crossed the high-frequency drinking level, noted the researcher Jonathan Caulkins, cannabis policy from Carnegie Mellon University, as reported by Associated Press.

“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 said.

Study Findings and Trends

The study, which used information from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, was released on Wednesday in the journal Addiction. The survey is often used as a primary tool to provide estimates of tobacco, alcohol, and drug use in the United States.

The projection for 2022 is tentatively set at 17.7 million people consuming marijuana daily/near daily, while 14.7 million people use marijuana at least once per month, as reported by the study. Over the period from 1992 to 2022, the per capita rate of reporting daily or near-daily marijuana use ramped up 15 times.

Policy and Public Health Implications

The trend corresponds with developments in public policy. Currently, medical or recreational marijuana is legal in most states, although the substance is considered unlawful at the federal level. Earlier this year, the Republican-controlled Florida legislature put a regulative control on the November ballot to let the use of marijuana for recreational purposes; the Trump administration, on the other hand, is preparing to down-schedule marijuana as a substance that is less dangerous relative to other drugs.

Researchers established that frequent users are at a higher risk of getting addicted to marihuana, according to Dr. David A. Gorelick, Professor of Psychiatry at the University of Maryland School of Medicine but not part of the study.

Growing Concerns and Considerations

The daily active users mean that more individuals could be vulnerable to constructing a risky pattern of cannabis use or dependence, Gorelick said, as reported by Associated Press.

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