For years, anti-cannabis advocates have warned that legalization and regulation of the herb would lead to a dramatic increase among teens. But a massive report released earlier this week by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests that is simply not the case.
The CDC study is chockfull of fascinating data, but the key takeaway shows that more Americans are consuming marijuana and that fewer are abusing the substance, still considered a Schedule I drug by the federal government.
Almost 900,000 respondents to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual federal survey of substance use.
A closer look at the CDC data shows:
- Marijuana use (described as consumption in the past month) is up 35 percent since 2002.
- Americans 12 and older reporting cannabis abuse is 1.6 percent, down from 1.8 percent in 2002.
- For teens, the percentage of abuse is down 37 percent.
- For young adults, the percentage of abuse is down 18 percent.
- Teen report that “easy access” to marijuana is down 13 percent.
- Consumption among 12-to-17 year olds fell from 2.4 percent in 2002 to 1.6 percent in 2014.
- Americans seeing “no risk” of using marijuana monthly doubled, from 10 percent in 2002 to 19.9 percent in 2014 .
- Since 2002, marijuana use among Americans age 45 to 54 has jumped by nearly 50 percent.
- Among those ages 55 to 64, it’s jumped by a whopping 455 percent.
For more on this week’s data, read these two stories from Christopher Ingraham of The Washington Post: