Over time, attitudes and laws in the United States when it comes to marijuana have become much more lenient. The amount of adults both using and abusing the drug has more than doubled from 2001 to 2013 according to a recent study. There have been more cases of abuse of marijuana over the years as well, but that is not too much of a concern because it was only statistically correct that this would happen as the number of smokers grew.

At the same time, existing marijuana smokers has seen a 15% decline of disorders related to marijuana. Just 4% of adults between 2001 and 2002 admit to having smoked marijuana in the past year compared to approximately ten percent between 2012 and 2013. At the same time, 1.5% had reported marijuana dependency in 2002 compared to 3% in 2013.

“What was quite clear is the prevalence of use among adults had more than doubled,” Dr. Deborah Hasin, the lead author of the study from Columbia University in New York, stated.

As of right now, 23 states have allowed for the use of medical marijuana and four have allowed recreational use according to researchers’ article in JAMA Psychiatry. In addition, more Americans are in favor of marijuana than ever before, seeing fewer risks associated with the drug. However, there was not much “known about how the prevalence of marijuana use and disorders changed during the first decade of the century,” they add.

For the new study, data from 2001 and 2002 of 43,000 interviewed Americans and compared it with data from 36,000 Americans between 2012 and 2013. The researchers found that data of people that have used marijuana in the last year doubled between the two times tested with the largest increase being among women, blacks, Hispanics, southerners, middle-aged people, and older people.

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