The number of Americans using marijuana daily is on the rise – and sharply so.

According to the most recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health (“Survey”), 5.4 million people aged 12 or older used marijuana on a daily or almost daily basis in the previous 12 months.

This number reflects a 74-percent increase from the 3.1 million daily or almost daily marijuana users in 2006, and includes only those users who reported marijuana use on 300 or more days in the previous year. This frequency of use translates to using, and presumably being “high,” four out of every five days for an entire year.

The Survey further found a 50-percent increase, between 2007 and 2012, in the number of individuals who used marijuana on 20 or more days in the past month – meaning 7.6 million Americans used, and were “high,” two out of every three days in the previous month at the time of the study.

The results may not be surprising, however, considering the perception of harm from smoking marijuana once a month has fallen almost 30 percent since 2007.

Ultimately, the Survey found that marijuana boasted the highest number of first-time users, with nearly 6,600 new users per day in 2012, and that an increase in marijuana use continues to drive the overall rising rate of current illicit drug use among young adults.

With more-and-more Americans finding less-and-less “harm” in using marijuana on a regular basis, one can only imagine – and lament – the effect that legalization of “recreational” marijuana, and the broadening availability of “medical” marijuana, will have on these statistics in the years to come.
Mark A. de Bernardo