As legalization of marijuana has become a political hot button, plenty of misinformation about the drug has begun to circulate. The idea that users do not become dependent on marijuana, a popular platform for those in favor of legalization, can be refuted by a new study that also shows marijuana use is on an alarming rise. For those struggling with marijuana abuse, or those treating people with marijuana dependency, this study is one more reason to raise concerns about the legalization trend.
Marijuana Use Doubles
According to the recent study, marijuana use has more than doubled since the beginning of the 21st century. At the same time, marijuana abuse has also doubled, indicating that the drug does indeed have the potential for dependency. While legalization may not be the only factor influencing the increase in marijuana use, the correlation between legalization and increased use is a compelling one that has been noted by scientists and addiction treatment specialists alike.
The study, which was published in the recent edition of JAMA Psychiatry, involved face-to-face interviews with more than 43,000 adults between 2001 and 2002 and over 36,000 between 2012 and 2013. Those interviewed were asked about their marijuana use, including questions about whether a marijuana use disorder was present. A marijuana use disorder, according to the study, was characterized by dependency on the drug, an inability to control consumption of the drug and continued use of the drug even when it was causing personal, professional, financial or legal problems.
During 2001-2002, four percent of the adults interviewed reported using marijuana within the past year. That number increased to 10 percent during 2012-2013. In addition, the number of adults with a marijuana use disorder rose from 1.5 percent in 2001-2002 to three percent in 2012-2013. Researchers found the largest increases in marijuana use among women, African-Americans and Hispanics. Numbers had also increased among southerners, adults in the middle years of life and seniors.
Legalization and the Increase
The numbers from this study are especially concerning, considering the widespread legalization of marijuana that is now occurring across the country. Currently, 23 states have legalized the drug for medicinal purposes and four have legalized it for recreational purposes. More states have legalization questions on upcoming ballots, suggesting this trend is likely to continue into the foreseeable future.
If you are struggling with marijuana dependency, help is available. The staff at Simple Recovery is ready to help you overcome your dependency and discover a healthy new life of long-term sobriety. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact Simple Recovery at 888-207-0965.