As Cannabis Consumption Goes up, Addiction Rates Go Down

Josh Mur
October 23, 2015

(ANTIMEDIA) For the last few years, we have seen a very significant shift in Americans’ perception of the cannabis plant: they increasingly want it legalized. With a continuously growing number of reports documenting the near-miraculous things that cannabis and cannabis extracts have done for the disabled and the ill, this shouldn’t come as a surprise. Currently, 23 states have legalized medicinal marijuana use, while four states – along with the District of Columbia – have legalized recreational use.

Of course, one must wonder if, as public acceptance has become more apparent, the number of marijuana users increased, as well. According to a new study published by JAMA Psychiatry, it most certainly has. In fact, in the last decade, the number of bud lovers has just about doubled.

From 2001-2002,  4.1% of adults reported using cannabis within the past year. However, by 2012-2013, data showed that among the 36,000 subjects, around 9.5% of them had lit one up in recent months.

Some may find themselves concerned with these growing numbers, as it is easy to imagine that abuse of cannabis has become more widespread. However, in addition to revealing the growing number of cannabis users, the same statistics reveal that abuse and dependency have decreased significantly. Using a structured interview called AUDADIS-5 (Alcohol Use Disorder and Associated Disabilities Interview Schedule-5, developed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism), researchers found that marijuana abuse and dependency (addiction) rates dropped from 35.6% in 2001-2002 to 30.6% in 2012-2013.

If this data is accurate, could it mean that as a country we are finally stepping out of the paranoid bubble that middle-school propaganda once shrouded us in? If so, the transition is long overdue. With hundreds of thousands of people arrested each year for possession of a harmless plant and violent drug cartels turning massive profits through a market that thrives on outdated and absurd drug policies, most of us can agree that it’s about time.

This article (As Cannabis Consumption Goes up, Addiction Rates Go Down) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Josh Mur and Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Chuck Grimmett. If you spot a typo, email

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