Author: Robert L. DuPont, M.D.
It comes as no surprise that the prevalence of marijuana use has significantly increased over the last decade. With marijuana legal for recreational use in four states and the District of Columbia and for medical use in an additional 31 states, the public perception about marijuana has shifted, with more people reporting that they support legalization. However, there is little public awareness, and close to zero media attention, to the near-doubling of past year marijuana use nationally among adults age 18 and older and the corresponding increase in problems related to its use. Because the addiction rate for marijuana remains stable—with about one in three past year marijuana users experiencing a marijuana use disorder—the total number of Americans with marijuana use disorders also has significantly increased.
It is particularly disturbing that the public is unaware of the fact that of all Americans with substance use disorders due to drugs other than alcohol, nearly 60 percent are due to marijuana. That means that more Americans are addicted to marijuana than any other drug, including heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, and the nonmedical use of prescription drugs.