CDC: More People Are Using Marijuana, But Fewer Are Abusing It

Article by Christopher Ingraham, The Washington Post

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Marijuana abuse and dependency are becoming less common, even as states roll back restrictions on the use of the drug, according to a new federal report.

In 2014, the number of Americans aged 12 and over meeting diagnostic criteria for marijuana abuse or dependency stood at 1.6 percent, a decline from 1.8 percent in 2002, according to the report released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Declines in marijuana abuse and dependency were greatest among teens (37 percent decrease) and young adults (18 percent decrease) over that period. The change in marijuana abuse and dependency among adults age 26 and older was not statistically meaningful, according to the CDC.

These figures come from nearly 900,000 responses to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), a massive annual federal survey of American substance use. Dependence and abuse were measured by common criteria set by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) used by the American Psychiatric Association.

Respondents were considered dependent on marijuana if they reported “health and emotional problems associated with [marijuana] use, unsuccessful attempts to reduce use, tolerance, withdrawal, reducing other activities to use [marijuana], spending a lot of time engaging in activities related to [marijuana] use, or using [marijuana] in greater quantities or for a longer time than intended,” according to the CDC.

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