Monday morning the Washington Post published an article titled “Here’s One Marijuana Trend You Should Actually be Worried About.” The Post cites data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) that was just released recently. The results show that while teen use is down, daily adult use has gone up from 12.2 percent to 18.6 percent in 2016. That’s hardly what I would call a crisis. More people are using cannabis daily than before? This is supposed to be a bad thing. Why?
There are a lot of things to consider when looking at the reasons for using cannabis daily. First of all, it’s important to note that for the purposes of the NSDUH survey “daily use” means 300 or more days out of the year. If you are using cannabis only 300 days out of the year, that leaves roughly two months out of a given year when you are not using cannabis. That is hardly what I would consider using cannabis daily. Also, even if you are using cannabis daily (again, this is not a bad thing) this doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re smoking fifty joints a day. Some people smoke a bowl right before going to bed and that’s it. Again this is hardly a national crisis.
Something else that the Post article doesn’t consider is that people who are using cannabis daily are not always using it for recreational reasons. People who are using cannabis medicinally are often using it daily. That’s because it’s medicine. You are supposed to take medicine everyday, otherwise this defeats the purpose of taking it in the first place. Recent surveys have shown that opiate use has gone down in legal states, meaning people are swapping pot in place of their pills. Hence one of the reasons why daily use is going up.
Compare these results to the rate of daily alcohol use, which has remained relatively stable since 2002 (6.2-6.6 percent). It is possible that with the legalization of cannabis, less people want to drink everyday. Forbes estimated last March that the beer industry could lose up to 2 billion in alcohol sales because of legal cannabis sales. Knowing this, it certainly seems like there would be a correlation. Why else would alcohol companies be spending money to fight legalization? Unlike cannabis, there is no reason to use alcohol daily. It’s not medicine.
We should be celebrating that more people are using cannabis daily, not be afraid of it.
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Is the rise in the number of adults using cannabis daily a good thing, or something to be concerned about? Share in the comments!