Cannabis made Gallup poll records in July, with adults clocking in more than ever as cannabis users. The number of adults who’ve used marijuana before, 45 percent, was higher than it’s been in the history of Gallup.
Enjoying marijuana is on the rise among adults (it’s at a stasis with teens/adolescents) and according to several separate surveys, adult use is only going to continue to rise. Though eight out of 29 states are legal for recreational and the rest are medical use, it’s recreational imbibing that’s coming up in the numbers.
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The Gallup poll’s 45 percent applies to everyone who has ever tried pot, so there’s many who’ve simply tried it and didn’t get the bug. Active smokers are on the rise as well, though, with 12% of adults saying they are simply “users” of the herb.
Two large federal surveys were also conducted, but they were face to face meetings. Being that pot is illegal federally, it’s likely these numbers are lower than reality, but one of the surveys published in JAMA Psychiatry in 2015 saw marijuana use in adults had doubled in the span of a decade. Males and those 18-29 were growing at a quicker pace, but not by much.
So what are the causes for these increases in adult use? There are many reasons why adults smoke pot, from relaxation to appetite enhancement, but why are there more of us out there now enjoying the plant?
One good reason is that the reefer madness stigma is melting away. Knowledge about the plant is on the rise as well and people know that, despite those D.A.R.E. decades, marijuana is not a gateway drug to heroin and it does not make your brain a fried egg.
Another example of why the increase in popularity is the legalization wave sweeping across the country. As cannabis becomes more normalized, people see it as safer and also see that there are no deaths as a result of use. Never has there been a reported death by pot.
Data from California and Colorado show that when there’s more availability of weed, it’s more easily accepted and normalized, making the plant seem even safer to the yet uninitiated. Basically, it’s safety and efficacy are being recognized by a growing number of folks out there.
Then there’s the most obvious reason: pot’s fun. It feels good and it rewards us with dopamine. THC binds to the receptors throughout the human system, especially the brain, and shuts out some unpleasantness and gives pleasantness back in its place. It seems a safe bet that in another decade these polls will either show another giant leap in usage or just won’t be necessary at all, as cannabis will likely be as innocuous to our psyches as a cup of coffee sooner than later.