SAM Friday Fact 05/31/2024: Daily or Near-Daily (DND) Marijuana Use Surpasses Daily or Near-Daily (DND) Alcohol Use in the U.S.

A recent study “Changes in self-reported cannabis use in the United States from 1979 to 2022,” published in Addiction by Jonathan Caulkins, a professor at Carnegie Mellon University focuses on changes in the consumption patterns of marijuana. He compared these trends for marijuana to consumption patterns for alcohol. Caulkins found that daily or near-daily use of marijuana surpassed daily or near-daily alcohol use.

It’s important to note that both DND marijuana use and DND alcohol use saw sharp increases. This alarming trend reiterates that users do not use marijuana instead of alcohol, often they use the two substances together. In the 30 years between 1992 and 2022, the number of DND marijuana users increased from 900,000 to 17,700,000, representing an 1867% increase.

Caulkins defined daily or near daily (DND) use as “reporting use on 21 or more days in the past month.” In 1992, there were 10 times as many DND alcohol users as there were DND marijuana users, with 8.9 million DND alcohol users and 0.9 million DND marijuana users. Thirty years later, in 2022, the number of DND marijuana users surpassed DND drinkers for the first time ever, with 17.7 million DND marijuana users compared to 14.7 million DND alcohol users.

Caulkins concluded, “cannabis use now appears to be on a fundamentally different scale than it was before legalization.”