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Recent federal studies have shown that while teen marijuana use is staying relatively stable across the country, consistent adult use is rising rapidly. Adults who use marijuana once a year only made up 10.4% of the population in 2002, but as of 2016 they now make up 14.1% of the American populous.
The most concerning statistic to come out of this study, however, was the number of people who now count themselves as heavy users. As of 2016, almost 19% of all Americans who use marijuana count themselves as heavy users, meaning that they use marijuana at least 300 days out of the year. This is up by nearly 50% from 2002, when that number sat at just 12% of marijuana users.
Why is this concerning? In the same study, federal statistics show that daily marijuana use is rising far above the rate of daily alcohol use in Americans. Compared to the 18.6% of marijuana users who use on an almost daily basis, only 6.6% of alcohol users use on an almost daily basis. Marijuana users are three times as likely as alcohol users to consume their drug on a daily basis. Carnegie Mellon University researcher Jonathan Caulkins put it succinctly when he stated “While alcohol is more dangerous in terms of acute overdose risk, and also in terms of promoting violence and chronic organ failure, marijuana — at least as now used in the United States — creates higher rates of behavioral problems, including dependence, among all its users.” In addition to behavioral problems, issues such as extreme nausea vomiting, anxiety, and others are still being discovered as researchers do more studies into the long term effects of marijuana use.