August 14, 2016

New survey on pot use

Washington Post

A massive study published this month in the Journal of Drug Issues found that the proportion of marijuana users who smoke daily has rapidly grown, and that many of those frequent users are poor and lack a high-school diploma.

Examining a decade of federal surveys of drug use conducted between 2002 and 2013, study authors Steven Davenport and Jonathan Caulkins paint one of the clearest pictures yet of the demographics of current marijuana use in the U.S. They found that the profile of marijuana users is much closer to cigarette smokers than alcohol drinkers, and that a handful of users consume much of the marijuana used in the U.S.

"In the early 1990s only one in nine past-month [marijuana] users reported using daily or near-daily," Davenport and Caulkins write. "Now it is fully one in three. Daily or near-daily users now account for over two-thirds of self-reported days of use (68%)."

These usage patterns are similar to what's seen among tobacco users. "What’s going on here is that over the last 20 years marijuana went from being used like alcohol to being used more like tobacco, in the sense of lots of people using it every day," Caulkins said in an email.

Adults with less than a high school education accounted for 19 percent of all marijuana use in 2012 and 2013 (compared to 13 percent of the total adult population), according to the survey. This is similar to their 20 percent share of all cigarette use, but considerably higher than their 8 percent share of all alcohol use.

Similarly, Americans of all ages with a household income of less than $20,000 accounted for 29 percent of all marijuana use and 27 percent of all cigarette use, compared to only 13 percent of all alcohol use and 19 percent of the total adult population.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In the abstract, they separate medicinal users from recreational users, which is a bias favoring higher income people who can afford to join expensive medical programs, verses lower income people who often use medicinally, but can't afford the costs of joining a medical program. This is just the tip of the iceberg on how this study has some classist biases that make it's conclusions dubious.

Cannabis is still a schedule one drug, and many people with professional jobs are still subjected to pee tests. This leaves people in higher income brackets with degrees or professional education, needing to maintain an image of not using cannabis, even in cannabis legal states. For many people this extends to even lying on surveys for fear of reprisals if their cannabis use gets discovered.

Take away fears of reprisals, license or degree damage, job loss, and social stigma, and offer free medical program access to lower income people in need, then we might actually find out who is using all that weed.