Data and Statistics
A variety of information sources are available to monitor the prevalence and trends of marijuana use in the United States. The resources below cover a variety of marijuana-related issues, including data around usage, emergency department data, substance use and misuse data, policy measures, and other related tools.
- Marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States; 48.2 million people, or about 18% of Americans, used it at least once in 2019.1
- Recent research estimated that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder.2 For people who begin using marijuana before age 18, the risk of developing marijuana use disorder is even greater.3
- Marijuana use directly affects the brain, specifically the parts of the brain responsible for memory, learning, attention, decision-making, coordination, emotion, and reaction time. Infants, children, and teens (who still have developing brains) are especially susceptible to the adverse effects of marijuana.4,5
- Long-term or frequent marijuana use has been linked to increased risk of psychosis or schizophrenia in some users.6,7
- Using marijuana during pregnancy may increase the person’s risk for pregnancy complications. Pregnant and breastfeeding persons should avoid marijuana.8
- Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) [PDF – 535KB]pdf icon World’s largest, continuously conducted telephone survey that tracks health behaviors, chronic diseases, and preventive health practices among noninstitutionalized adults in the United States.
- Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) Monitors six categories of priority health risk behaviors, including marijuana use, among high school youth at the national, state, and local levels.
- Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System (PRAMS) Collects state-specific, population-based data on marijuana use before, during, and shortly after pregnancy.
- National Health And Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) Assesses the health and nutritional status of adults and children, aged 12 years and older, in the united states. The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations. Voluntary drug use questions ask about ever use of marijuana, age of first use, age when starting to use marijuana regularly, amount used, frequency of use, and time since last use. These data are available from the 2005-2007 survey period onward.
OTHER NATIONAL SURVEYS
- National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) external iconOngoing and long-term system, sponsored by The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’sexternal icon (SAMHSA) NSDUH is the primary source of information on the prevalence, patterns, and consequences of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drug use and abuse in the general U.S. civilian noninstitutionalized population, ages 12 and older.
- Monitoring the Future Surveyexternal icon Ongoing and long-term system, sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)external icon that collects data on the behaviors, attitudes, and values regarding substance use of American teens, college students, and adults. Each year a total of approximately 50,000 students in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades are surveyed about substance use, including marijuana, and a subset are sent follow-up questionnaires through age 45 years.
- National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS)external icon NDEWS monitors drug use trends in 12 sentinel communities across the United States. Sentinel Site profiles describing drug abuse trends and emerging issues are available on the NDEWS websiteexternal icon.
- Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS)external icon A policy monitoring system sponsored by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)external icon that provides detailed information on a wide variety of alcohol-related policies in the United States at both state and federal levels. The system was expanded in 2016 to include policies related to legalizing the cultivation, sale, or use of cannabis for other than medical purposes, together with policies imposing various prohibitions and restrictions on such practices.
- Monitoring the Future Survey: High School and Youth Trendsexternal icon Describes high school and youth trends for drug use and addiction, as presented in the annual Monitoring the Future survey. Includes emphasis on marijuana, cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription drugs.
- Nationwide Trendsexternal icon Describes nationwide trends in drug abuse and addiction, focusing on past-month use for illicit drugs (including marijuana and prescription drugs), alcohol, and tobacco.
- Treatment Statisticsexternal icon Reports data on the number of people in need of drug abuse treatment and characteristics of admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities.
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, “Key substance use and mental health indicators in the United States: Results from the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health,” Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD, 2020.
- S. Hasin et al., “Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001–2002 and 2012–2013,” JAMA Psychiatry, vol. 72, no. 12, pp. 1235–1242, 2015.
- Lopez-Quintero et al., “Probability and predictors of transition from first use to dependence on nicotine, alcohol, cannabis, and cocaine: results of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC),” Drug Alcohol Depend, vol. 115, no. 1–2, pp. 120–130, 2011.
- M. Filbey et al., “Long-term effects of marijuana use on the brain,” in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 111, Center for BrainHealth, University of Texas, Dallas, TX 75235 The Mind Research Network, Albuquerque, NM 87106 and, 2014, pp. 16913–16918.
- H. Meier et al., “Persistent cannabis users show neuropsychological decline from childhood to midlife,” Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A, vol. 109, no. 40, pp. E2657-64, 2012.
- Di Forti et al., “Proportion of patients in south London with first-episode psychosis attributable to use of high potency cannabis: a case-control study,” Lancet Psychiatry, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 233–238, 2015.
- Di Forti et al., “High-potency cannabis and the risk of psychosis,” Br J Psychiatry, vol. 195, no. 6, pp. 488–491, 2009.M. Di Forti et al., “Daily use, especially of high-potency cannabis, drives the earlier onset of psychosis in cannabis users,” Schizophr Bull, vol. 40, no. 6, pp. 1509–1517, 2014
- National Academies of Sciences Engineering and Medicine, “The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: Current state of evidence and recommendations for research,” Washington, DC, 2017.