More US adults using marijuana as concerns about risk decline

marijuana is losing some of its taboo among US adults according to a new analysis data from the survey of government. In a report published in The Lancet Psychiatry Thursday federal investigators they concluded that marijuana use began to increase around 2007, coinciding with a decline in the number of Americans who view the drug as harmful.

The researchers studied data from nearly 600,000 adults 18 years or older who participated in the US National Survey on Drug Use annual and Health (NSDUH) from 2002 to 2014. In 2002, 10, 4 percent of the respondents had uses marijuana in the year before taking the survey. By 2014, that number rose to 13.3 percent -. An increase of 10 million people

In the same period, the number of users of marijuana for the first time and the prevalence of daily or almost daily also increased.

However, the proportion of American adults who believe smoking marijuana once or twice a week is harmful decreased from 50.4 percent to 33.3 percent, reported researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the Department of Health and Human Services of the United States.

“dults (a) have less perceived risk of harm from marijuana since 2006-07,” the researchers wrote. “And these declining risk perceptions were associated with increases in marijuana use and frequency of use.”

Researchers at Columbia University reported similar results in June among adolescents, and the authors of the new study noted that while changes in the perception of risk consumption marijuana have long been known to predict trends in marijuana use among adolescents, no previous research had examined the relationship between adults.

In a commentary accompanying the Lancet report Psychiatry at the University of London researchers addiction Michael Lynskey and Wayne Hall King were cautious about tying the reduced perceptions of harm to passing laws in many states legalization of medical marijuana .

“It is probably too early to draw conclusions about the effects of these legal changes on rates of cannabis use and related harm cannabis,” he wrote, “but it is likely that these policy changes will increase the prevalence and frequency of cannabis use and potentially cannabis use disorders in the long term. “

despite the increase in marijuana noted in study, researchers found surprisingly a decrease in marijuana abuse or dependence during the study period. However, they noted that the number may be skewed by the fact that the study did not include people living on the street and not living in shelters or in prison. These groups could increase the numbers for a messy drug use.

In any case, they wrote, “Future research on trends in marijuana use and dependence and its relationship with risk perception could help elucidate reasons for the discrepancy between patterns of use and marijuana use disorders. ”

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