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Daily Marijuana Use Passes Drinking, Study Finds

A youth smokes marijuana during the Open Plaza festival organized by the Granjamadre marijuana farm and the "Mama Cultiva" organization for medical marijuana in Asuncion, Paraguay, Sunday, April 23, 2023. (AP Photo/Jorge Saenz)

Millions of people in the U.S. report using marijuana daily or nearly every day, according to an analysis of national survey data, and those people now outnumber those who say they are daily or nearly-daily drinkers of alcohol.

Alcohol is still more widely used, but 2022 was the first time this intensive level of marijuana use overtook daily and near-daily drinking, said the study’s author, Jonathan Caulkins, a cannabis policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.

“A good 40% of current cannabis users are using it daily or near daily, a pattern that is more associated with tobacco use than typical alcohol use,” Caulkins said.

The research, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, was published Wednesday in the journal Addiction. The survey is a highly regarded source of self-reported estimates of tobacco, alcohol and drug use in the United States.

In 2022, an estimated 17.7 million people reported using marijuana daily or near-daily compared to 14.7 million daily or near-daily drinkers, according to the study.

From 1992 to 2022, the per capita rate of reporting daily or near-daily marijuana use increased 15-fold. Caulkins acknowledged in the study that people may be more willing to report marijuana use as public acceptance grows, which could boost the increase.

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