Daily marijuana use outpacing alcohol for the first time, 4 decades of research shows

Overall use of alcohol is still higher in the U.S., but daily use is decreasing compared to marijuana.
Marijuana Daily Use
Posted at 8:19 PM, May 22, 2024

Analysis of more than four decades of national survey data found that for the first time, in 2022, the amount of daily cannabis users outpaced the amount of people who drink alcohol at the same frequency.

Rates of alcohol use still far outpace overall cannabis use, but the research shows high-frequency drinking has become less common, unlike high-frequency cannabis usage.

This suggests trends in cannabis usage are shifting in line with changes in cannabis policy, "with declines during periods of greater restriction and growth during periods of policy liberalization," the study's author, Jonathan Caulkins, wrote.

The research is a result of data from the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, which has been run annually since 1990 and four times before then: in 1979, 1982, 1985 and 1988.

Cannabis clones are displayed for customers at Home Grown Apothecary in Portland, Ore.

U.S. News

Justice Department formally moves to reclassify marijuana as a less dangerous drug in historic shift

AP via Scripps News
1:16 PM, May 16, 2024

From 1992 to 2022, there was a more than 15-fold increase in reported daily or near-daily cannabis use per capita, from 0.9 million to 17.7 million users. That's compared to 14.7 million daily or near-daily alcohol drinkers in 2022.

Plus, the 1992 survey recorded 10 times as many daily or near-daily alcohol users compared to cannabis, and now the 2022 data shows the median drinker drinking four to five days in the past month, compared to 15 to 16 days for the median cannabis user.

Part of this jump may be attributed to a higher willingness to self-report cannabis use as it's become more normalized, the study says. But it also points to the amount of cannabis product variety that boomed after legalization such as vapes, dabs, edibles and other hemp-driven products.

Medical and/or recreational marijuana, the more common name for cannabis, is legal in 40 states and Washington, D.C., though it is still illegal federally.

Last week, the Justice Department formally moved to reclassify marijuana as a Schedule III drug — like ketamine and some anabolic steroids — instead of Schedule I, where it's listed alongside heroin and LSD. President Joe Biden also moved to pardon thousands of people who have been federally convicted of cannabis charges and urged state leaders to follow suit.