Marijuana Abuse: True Facts and Statistics About the Most Popular Illegal Drug

Marijuana Abuse: True Facts and Statistics About the Most Popular Illegal Drug


Written By: Fiona Stockard

Marijuana Abuse Facts and Statistics

marijuana abuse facts

Marijuana’s the most popular illegal drug around. This is true today and has been true for decades.

Marijuana’s popularity, among other reasons, has lead to A LOT of false information. Case in point is the old movie Reefer Madness. So, what’s the truth? What are real marijuana abuse facts? What are accurate marijuana abuse statistics?

Discover true marijuana abuse facts and statistics today!

Marijuana Abuse Facts

Find eight marijuana abuse facts below:

• Marijuana is the most popular illegal drug in the world. More people use and abuse marijuana than any other illegal substance.

• There are three main types of marijuana: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis sativa forma indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

•Marijuana belongs to the Cannabaceae family of flowering plants. This is the same family as hops and hackberries. So, beer and marijuana are actually brothers or, at least, second-cousins.

• The main psychoactive chemical in marijuana is THC or tetrahydrocannabinol. However, there are over sixty other psychoactive chemicals in marijuana. These are called cannabinoids and include cannabidiol (CBD), tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), cannabinol (CBN), and cannabigerol (CBG).

•Cannabinoids are incredibly lipid soluble. This means it’s rapidly absorbed into fat tissue and accounts for the long period of time marijuana can be detected in the body.

• Marijuana is classified as a Schedule I substance by U.S. drug laws. This means it has no medical use and a high potential for abuse. However, twenty-four states have legalized medical marijuana. Additionally, Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, Washington, and Washington DC have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

• There are eight medical conditions for which patients are commonly prescribed medical marijuana. These are: cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, muscle spasms, seizures, severe pain (usually due to cancer or AIDS), sever nausea (usually due to chemotherapy), and wasting syndrome (dramatic weight loss and muscle atrophy, usually due to late stage cancer and AIDS).

• Medical marijuana is sometimes prescribed in pill form. There are two THC containing pills currently approved by the FDA. These are Marinol and Cesamet.

Marijuana Abuse Statistics

Find eleven marijuana abuse statistics below:

• NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse) identified marijuana as the most commonly abuse drug in the world. In 2008, between 120 and 190 million people used marijuana at least once. This breaks down to between 2.9% and 3.4% of the entire world’s population.

• In 2007, a study reported that upwards of fourteen million Americans engaged in marijuana abuse during the past month.

• It’s estimated that 1% of American adults abuse marijuana. This breaks down to roughly thirty-five million adults.

• According to a 2014 PEW research study, 52% of Americans think marijuana should be legal.

• Approximately 9% of those who abuse marijuana become addicted, or mentally dependent, on it.

• In 2008, marijuana accounted for over 320,000 treatment center admissions. This breaks down to about 17% of all drug rehab admissions.

• Also in 2008, marijuana abuse sent upwards of 370,000 people to the ER.

• In 2012, the average concentration of THC in marijuana was about 15%. This is a dramatic increase from the 4% THC concentration of the 80’s.

• THC oil extracts (either hash oil or the new trend of dabbing) are approximately four times stronger than traditional marijuana. This means the average concentration of THC in oil extracts is around 60%.

• In 2012, over 745,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana related offenses.

•Approximately 22 million pounds of marijuana are grown each year in the United States.

Is marijuana really the “new heroin?”

What Do These Marijuana Abuse Facts and Statistics Mean For You?

These statistics and facts about marijuana abuse show a few trends. First, marijuana abuse is popular as ever! Marijuana’s the most abused drug in the world. It has been for a long time and will, most likely, continue to be for years to come.

marijuana abuse statistics

There’s also, in the U.S., a growing push towards legalization. These marijuana abuse facts tell us that twenty-four states have legal medical marijuana, four have legal recreational marijuana, and over 50% of American’s favor legalization. This may be a good thing. Because of marijuana’s popularity, regulations could help many users avoid dangerous situations (while purchasing and ingesting the drug).

These facts about marijuana abuse show that cannabis is becoming stronger. Compare a 4% THC concentration in the 1980’s to a 15% THC concentration today. That’s a dramatic increase. That’s just in traditional marijuana, too. Extracts, edibles, and other forms of marijuana are much more potent.

While considering the increasing strength of marijuana, the push towards legalization could be beneficial. Again, regulations and uniform potency will allow users to know exactly what they’re eating, smoking, or vaporizing.

Finally, these statistics and facts about marijuana abuse show that cannabis isn’t as dangerous as it’s made out to be. Yes, drug abuse of any kind is dangerous. However, with a slim 9% of those who use and abuse marijuana becoming addicted to it, marijuana addiction simply isn’t the major public health concern media outlets portray it as.

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