From 4.1 percent of Americans admitting to marijuana use in 2001-2002, the number has more than doubled after 11 years.
This was revealed by a study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, based on personal interviews with respondents in two national surveys in the U.S. The percentage of people who use marijuana has since ballooned to 9.5 percent by 2012-2013. In addition, those who admitted to engage in marijuana abuse or dependence has also risen in number, from 1.5 percent in 2001-2002 to 2.9 percent by 2012-2013.
The research team led by Dr. Bridget F. Grant believe that regulations and continual education should be implemented. “While many in the US think prohibition of recreational marijuana should be ended, this study and others suggest caution and the need for public education about the potential harms in marijuana use, including the risk for addiction,” the researchers stated via a news item.
One potential reason behind this rise in use is the public’s updated perspective on marijuana, saying that cannabis is not risky to use. Another reason is that more U.S. states — now pegged at 23 and still growing — are legalizing medical marijuana, with four of them also legalizing recreational pot use.
Researchers emphasized the importance of regulating marijuana, saying that it does not come without health hazards. “As is the case with alcohol, many individuals can use marijuana without becoming addicted. However, the clear risk for marijuana use disorders among users (approximately 30%) suggests that as the number of US users grows, so will the numbers of those experiencing problems related to such use,” they added.