May 23, 2024

By Jane Brown

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We told you earlier this week about a spike in the number of older adults visiting hospital ERs in Ontario linked to cannabis legalization in 2018.

Now we’re learning, that for the first time, the number of Americans who use cannabis just about every day has surpassed the number who drink alcohol with that frequency.

In 1992, when daily pot use hit a low point, fewer than 1-million people said they used marijuana nearly every day.

In 2022, an estimated 17.7-million people reported using marijuana daily or near-daily compared to 14.7-million daily or near-daily drinkers, according an analysis of national survey data.

“Some of it is just a general new positioning of the substance in society so that it is less stigmatized, and also there’s fewer literal risks of using in the criminal justice sense,” explained cannabis policy researcher Jonathan Caulkins at Carnegie Mellon University.

Alcohol is still more widely used, but 2022 was the first time this intensive level of cannabis use overtook daily and near-daily drinking.

The shift was some 40 years in the making as recreational pot use became more mainstream and legal in nearly half of U.S. states.

The research, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, was published Wednesday in the journal Addiction. The survey is a highly regarded source of self-reported estimates of tobacco, alcohol and drug use in the United States.

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