Cannabis use up; meth, coke down: study

Posted on September 9th, 2011 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

cannabisCannabis is increasingly the drug of choice among young adults in the US, while methamphetamine use  is dropping, according to a national survey released Sept. 8 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Overall, 8.9% of the US population or 22.6 million people aged 12 and older used illicit drugs in 2010, up from 8.7% in 2009 and 8% in 2008, the study finds according to Reuters. Cannabis use appears to be driving the increase, with some 17.4 million—or 6.9% of the population—saying they used marijuana in 2010, up from 14.4 million or 5.8% of the population in 2007.

Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske—officially director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy—said increases are especially prominent in states in which medical marijuana use is legal. "Emerging research reveals potential links between state laws permitting access to smoked medical marijuana and higher rates of marijuana use," Kerlikowske said in a statement.

According to the survey, 21.5% of young adults aged 18 to 25 used illicit drugs in 2010, up from 19.6% in 2008 to 21.2 percent in 2009. "This increase was also driven in large part by a rise in the rate of current marijuana use among this population," Kerlikowske said.

Use of methamphetamines, meanwhile, has decreased, the study found. The number of current meth users fell by about half between 2006 and 2010, with the number of people aged 12 and older who used meth dropping to 353,000 last year, down from 731,000 in 2006. Cocaine use also fell, dropping to 1.5 million users in 2010, from 2.4 million in 2006, the survey found. And among youths aged 12 to 17, drinking rates fell to 13.6% in 2010 from 14.7% in 2009; and "smoking use" (which presumably means tobacco) fell to 10.7% in 2010, from 11.6% in 2009.

OK, for starters, we are not told whether these figures just refer to those surveyed—obviously, a very small cross-section of the total populace—or if the percentages have been extrapolated from those surveyed to arrive an estimate for the national population. (The actual study on SAMHSA's website suggests this is the case.)

More to the point, Kerlikowske acts as if rising cannabis use were necessarily a bad thing—seemingly blind to the possibility that use of truly dangerous meth and coke is down because use of cannabis is up. Maybe a more intelligent attitude about drug use is starting to take hold in popular and youth culture as a result of the medical marijuana movement, emphasizing the therapeutic value of the plant rather than just viewing its use as a "kick," and conversely recognizing the inherent dangers of refined powders. We would be interested to know if meth and coke use is especially down in medical marijuana states—but the study appears not to give a state-by-state breakdown.

Photo by prensa420



Medical marijuana laws reduce suicide in men under 40

Global Ganja Report's picture

Researchers D. Mark Anderson, Daniel I. Rees, and Joseph J. Sabia have updated their groundbreaking work from 2012 showing that the passage of medical marijuana laws reduces the incidence of suicide in those states. Their latest brief, “High on Life? Medical Marijuana Laws and Suicide” published by the Cato Institute, finds that while “the association between legalizing medical marijuana and suicides was not statistically significant” for the entire population, among men aged 20-39, the risk dropped an astounding 10.8%. Exactly how this is happening will be the subject of future research. (High Times, Jan. 14)

Comment by Global Ganja Report on Jan 18th, 2015 at 9:16 pm

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