Study: More Americans Smoke Marijuana and Say It’s Harmless
The number of Americans using marijuana is constantly increasing, while that of people thinking regular use of the drug is harmful, keeps dropping every day.
According to a latest study, the number of American adults who used the drug has raised by 10 million in the period between 2002 and 2016.
In the same period, the number of those who took it on a regular basis has raised by over 4 million. Also, more Americans have been reported to have used the drug for the first time. However, there wasn’t a rise in reported marijuana dependence or abuse.
The Lancet Psychiatry has published the study which included more than 50,000 adults in the period between 2002 and 2014. Another interesting fact is that the number of people thinking that smoking the drug once or twice weekly is harmful, marked a 33-55% drop.
As researchers explain, it was in 2007 that people’s perception about marijuana started to change. At that point, twelve U.S. states have legalized marijuana for medical purpose. The researchers argue that policy changes might have affected the number of marijuana users, and the general public opinion about it.
Dr. Wilson Compton of the National Institute on Drug Abuse is the study author who thinks his colleagues should begin inquiring of their adult patients whether they use marijuana, as it can interact with other treatments or medications. He says the public health community should pay more attention since the drug is now used regularly.
The study researchers believe that the reduction in perceived harm of using the drug should be targeted. According to them, the heavy use of marijuana is linked to lower-than-average income, unemployment, criminal behavior and diminished life satisfaction, but it wasn’t proven that marijuana is the cause of these problems.
Other researchers believe that marijuana use is safe with a lot of potential for medical uses, such as treating anxiety, pain, Alzheimer’s disease, etc.