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May 22, 2024

More Americans now use marijuana every day than alcohol, study finds

Nearly 18 million people say they use pot daily, survey data from 2022 show. About 15 million drink every day.

Addiction Marijuana

For the first time, more people report using marijuana on a daily basis than those who say they drink alcohol daily, according to a new study.

The number of people who report using marijuana daily or nearly every day now outpaces the number of people who say they are daily drinkers, according to a new analysis.

Research based on the National Survey on Drug Use and Health shows that among people who drink or use pot on occasion, alcohol is still in the lead. But intensive marijuana use has overtaken daily drinking for the first time.

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In the report, published Wednesday in the journal Addiction, 17.7 million people in 2022 said they used some form of marijuana on a daily or near-daily basis, compared to 14.7 million who said they did so with alcohol.

"A good 40% of current cannabis users are using it daily or near daily, a pattern that is more associated with tobacco use than typical alcohol use," the study’s author, Jonathan Caulkins, a cannabis policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, told the Associated Press.

In the United States, rates of daily or near-daily marijuana use rose 15-fold between 1992 and 2022, Caulkins said, which follows a relaxation in legislation barring its use.

Twenty-four states, including New Jersey, allow recreational marijuana use. Pennsylvania, like many other states, only allows medical marijuana, but Gov. Josh Shapiro is pushing for recreational use. 

Marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, but the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is moving toward reclassifying it from a "Schedule I" drug to the less stringently regulated "Schedule III" drug category. Ketamine, anabolic steroids and some acetaminophen-codeine combinations are schedule III drugs.

Another study published Wednesday in the journal Psychological Medicine found that there was a strong association between cannabis use and psychotic disorder in adolescents.

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