Recreational marijuana use is legal in nine states. Medical use is legal in 30.
The fact that marijuana is treated differently from state to state and between the federal government and some of the states reflects the confusion surrounding this drug, its effects and its addiction potential. Knowing some facts and statistics about marijuana can help you balance potential risks and benefits and make your own decisions regarding use, treatment and recovery.
Statistics About Medical Marijuana Use
In 2013, 76% of doctors were in favor of using marijuana for medical purposes.2 And as for patients’ experiences with the drug? 92% say it works.3 Marijuana can relieve symptoms associated with HIV/AIDS, cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy and glaucoma. It’s showing promise when it comes to treating post-traumatic stress disorder.
It may even be a useful alternative to much more addictive and dangerous prescription painkillers. These statistics may contribute to the fact that now 61% of Americans support marijuana legalization.4 So if doctors like it, patients love it and the public is in favor, what’s the problem? It turns out that, as with any medication or recreational substance, the good is balanced by potential side effects.
Statistics About Marijuana Use and Abuse
Marijuana can do good. It can also harm. According to the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), “Approximately 4.0 million people aged 12 or older in 2016 had a marijuana use disorder in the past year, which represents 1.5 percent of people aged 12 or older.”5
The NSDUH is sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). It provides a comprehensive and thorough insight into drug use in America. It not only demonstrates marijuana’s popularity by age group but reveals important trends in its use.
Other statistics revealed in this survey include the following:
- 24 million Americans, or 8.9 percent of the population, were current marijuana users
- There were more users in 2016 than in any year between 2002 and 2015
- Most of the increase in use was among users 26 years or older
As more people use the drug, more people are at risk for addiction. Luckily addiction can be treated.
Statistics About Marijuana Addiction and Treatment
Marijuana isn’t a highly addictive drug, but it is addictive. The Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) explains, “Fewer than 10 percent of those who try marijuana ever end up meeting the clinical criteria for dependence, whereas 32 percent of tobacco users and 15 percent of alcohol users do.”6 While some substances are more addictive, less than 10 percent still reflects a large number of Americans.
And there’s no one “type” of person who becomes addicted.
The DPA explains that, “Marijuana treatment admissions are increasing.” There are several potential reasons for this, but one is that “the removal of criminal barriers and creation of legitimate markets for obtaining marijuana has destigmatized marijuana use. Thus, people who use marijuana are more likely to seek substance abuse treatment, with less concern about the social and criminal consequences of outing themselves.”
The more we know about marijuana statistics and drug addiction, the easier we make it for ourselves and others to get the help we need to live our best, healthiest and sober lives.
If you or a loved one struggles with addiction, you aren’t alone, no matter who you are or where you are in life. And you won’t be alone in recovery either. Call 678-251-3189 now.
1 “Drug Scheduling.” Drug Enforcement Administration. Accessed 3 Jul. 2018.
2 Adler, Jonathan and Colbert, James. “Medical Use of Marijuana--Polling Results.” New England Journal of Medicine. 30 May 2013.
3 Ingraham, Christopher. “92% of patients say medical marijuana works.” The Washington Post. 1 Oct. 2014.
4 Geiger, Abigail. “About Six-in-Ten Americans Support Marijuana Legalization.” Pew Research Center. 5 Jan. 2018.
5 “Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States: Results from the 2016 National Survey on Drug Use and Health.” Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. 2017.
6 “Marijuana Facts.” The Drug Policy Alliance. 2017.