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Daily Marijuana Use Greater than Daily Alcohol Use in US

FILE - Marijuana plants are displayed at a shop in San Francisco, on March 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
FILE - Marijuana plants are displayed at a shop in San Francisco, on March 20, 2023. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File)
Daily Marijuana Use Greater than Daily Alcohol Use in U.S.
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For the first time, the number of Americans who use marijuana almost every day has grown greater than the number who drink alcohol almost every day.

This change, some 40 years in the making, comes as marijuana use has become more common and legal in nearly half of U.S. states.

In 2022, an estimated 17.7 million people reported using marijuana daily or near-daily. In comparison, 14.7 million people reported being daily or near-daily drinkers, an examination of national survey data shows.

In 1992, when daily pot use hit a low point, less than 1 million people said they used marijuana nearly every day.

Alcohol is still more widely used. But 2022 was the first time this high level of marijuana use overtook daily and near-daily drinking, said the study’s writer, Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University.

“A good 40 percent 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.

The research, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, appeared recently in the publication Addiction.

The survey is a highly regarded source of self-reported estimates of tobacco, alcohol and drug use in the United States.

From 1992 to 2022, the per capita rate of those reporting daily or near-daily marijuana use increased by 15 times. Caulkins suggested in the study that people may be more willing to report marijuana use as public acceptance grows.

Most states now permit medical or recreational marijuana, though it remains illegal at the federal level. In November, Florida voters will decide on a constitutional change permitting recreational cannabis.

And the federal government is moving to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

Research shows that high-frequency users are more likely to become addicted to marijuana, said Dr. David A. Gorelick of the University of Maryland School of Medicine. Gorelick was not involved in the study.

The number of daily users suggests that more people are at risk for developing problematic cannabis use or addiction, Gorelick said.

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

I’m John Russell.

Carla K. Johnson reported on this story for the Associated Press. John Russell adapted it for VOA Learning English.


Words in This Story

marijuana – n. the dried leaves and flowers of the hemp plant that are smoked as a drug

cannabis – n. a drug (such as marijuana) that comes from the hemp plant

pattern – n. the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done

recreational adj. done for pleasure or enjoyment

frequency – n. the number of times something happens