Marijuana UseThere were an estimated 2.6 million new marijuana users in 2001. This number is similar to the numbers of new users each year since 1995, but above the number in 1990 (1.6 million). In 2002, over 14 million Americans age 12 and older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, and 12.2 percent of past year marijuana users used marijuana on 300 or more days in the past 12 months. This translates into 3.1 million people using marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis over a 12-month period(1).
The percentage of youth age 12 to 17 who had ever used marijuana declined slightly from 2001 to 2002 (21.9 to 20.6 percent). Among adults age 18 to 25, the rate increased slightly from 53.0 percent to 53.8 percent in 2002. The percentage of young adults age 18 to 25 who had ever used marijuana was 5.1 percent in 1965, but increased steadily to 54.4 percent in 1982. Although the rate for young adults declined somewhat from 1982 to 1993, it did not drop below 43 percent and actually increased to 53.8 percent by 2002(1).
Forty-two percent of youth age 12 or 13 and 24.1 percent age 16 or 17 perceived smoking marijuana once a month as a great risk. Slightly more than half of youth age 12 to 17 indicated that it would be fairly or very easy to obtain marijuana, but only 26.0 percent of 12- or 13-year-olds indicated the same thing. However, 79.0 percent of those age 16 or 17 indicated that it would be fairly or very easy to obtain marijuana(1).
Prevalence of lifetime, past year, and past month marijuana use declined among students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades in 2003. However, the declines in 12-month prevalence reached statistical significance only in 8th-graders; past year use has declined by nearly one-third since 1996(2). All three grades showed an increase in perceived risk for regular marijuana use. This finding represents a welcome turnaround in this perception, which has been in decline in all grades over the past 1 or 2 years(3).
In 2002, marijuana was the third most commonly abused drug mentioned in drug-related hospital emergency department (ED) visits in the continental United States. Marijuana mentions rose significantly (24%) from 2000 to 2002, but showed no significant increase since 2001. Taking changes in population into account, marijuana mentions increased 139 percent from 1995 to 2002(4).
1 NSDUH (formerly known as the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse) is an annual survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Copies of the latest survey are available from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 1-800-729-6686.
2 These data are from the 2003 Monitoring the Future Survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, and conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research. The survey has tracked 12th-graders’ illicit drug use and related attitudes since 1975; in 1991, 8th- and 10th-graders were added to the study. The latest data are online at www.drugabuse.gov.
3 These data are from the 2003 Monitoring the Future Survey.
4 These data are from the annual Drug Abuse Warning Network, funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, DHHS. The survey provides information about emergency department visits that are induced by or related to the use of an illicit drug or the nonmedical use of a legal drug. The latest data (2002) are available at 1-800-729-6686 or online at www.samhsa.gov.
*This text came from NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse)