A recent study reveals that marijuana use has reached record levels for young adults and it may soon be used by the majority.
According to a recently released Monitoring the Future study at the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research, the use of hallucinogens and marijuana has been steadily rising for young adults aged between 19 and 30, compared to 10 years ago.
Past-year, past-month and daily marijuana use (use on 20 or more occasions in the past 30 days) reached the highest levels ever recorded since these trends were first monitored in 1988. Marijuana use in the past month was reported by 29% of young adults in 2021, compared to 21% five years ago (2016) and 17% 10 years ago (2011). Daily marijuana use also significantly increased during these time periods, reported by 11% of young adults in 2021, a significant increase from 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2011.
Past-year hallucinogen use had been relatively stable over the past few decades until 2020, when reports of use started to increase dramatically. In 2021, 8% of young adults reported past-year hallucinogen use, representing an all-time high since the category was first surveyed in 1988. By comparison, in 2016, 5% of young adults reported past-year hallucinogen use, and in 2011, only 3% reported use.
Alcohol remains the preferred drug of choice for young adults, whereas excessive drinking and binge drinking has increased following the pandemic.
Megan Patrick, ISR research professor and principal investigator for the MTF panel study, explained that the MTF pandemic was an opportunity to look into the reason why certain drugs have become popular with a particular population:
One of the best ways we can learn more about drug use and its impact on people is to observe which drugs are appearing, in which populations, for how long and under which contexts. Monitoring the Future and similar large-scale surveys on a consistent sample population allow us to assess the effects of ‘natural experiments’ like the pandemic. We can examine how and why drugs are used and highlight critical areas to guide where the research should go next and to inform public health interventions.
The study was conducted a few months after a UK study that was published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry that showed people who utilize cannabis that has a THC concentration of between 5 and 10 milligrams per gram are at an increased risk of becoming addicted and having mental health issues. Co-author of the study Tom Freeman, director of the mental health and addiction group located at U.K.'s University of Bath, informed CNN via email that was sent at the time that users of high-potency cannabis are at risk of the “four-fold increased risk of addiction” over low-potency cannabis users.
“A report by the United Nations found that in the past two decades, the proportion of people seeking treatment for cannabis addiction has risen in all world regions apart from Africa,” he explained.
In the present, about three out of 10 people living within the United States have been diagnosed with a dependence on marijuana according to data of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Additionally, the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction discovered an increase of 76 percent in the treatment of marijuana addiction in the last decade.