Marijuana use among young adults reached an all-time high last year, reports The Washington Post. In 2021, nearly 43 percent of 19- to 30-year-olds said they had used Canabis in the past 12 months. The research was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). It was conducted by the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research.
The Monitoring the Future report found a steady increase in marijuana usage in the age group over the past decade. The numbers rose from 29 percent in 2011 to 34 percent in 2016.
Researchers also reported that use of psychedelics such as LSD and mushrooms — which alter a person’s perception of reality — wasn’t as common as Cannabis. But that, too, is increasing, up from 3 percent a decade ago to 8 percent in 2021. The only hallucinogen to decline in usage was MDMA (“Ecstasy”). MDMA usage declined from 5 percent in 2020 to 3 percent in 2021.
Monitoring the Future research has tracked substance use in the United States for more than three decades.
Alcohol Is Young Adults’ Most Commonly Used Substance
The latest report found that young adults’ most commonly used substance is alcohol. But its use (whether daily, in the past month or past year) has been decreasing for about 10 years.
Binge drinking, however (consuming five or more drinks in a row) and high-intensity drinking (10 or more drinks) have been on the rise.
Thirty-two percent of young adults said they binged on alcohol in the prior two weeks, and13 percent reported high-intensity drinking in that time frame.
Vaping Nicotine Doubled From 2017 To 2021
Since 2017, the study has also tracked vaping. It has identified a continuing upward trend.
Researchers found that 6 percent of young adults said they had engaged in nicotine vaping in the past month in 2017. But that number had increased to 16 percent by last year.
Prevalence of marijuana vaping in that time frame doubled from 6% of young adults in 2017 to 12% in 2021. A separate study, published in the journal Addiction, found marijuana use overall was about 20% greater in states that have legalized Cannabis.
Daily Cannabis Use Reaches 11% Among Young Adults
The survey ran from April 2021 through October of that year. It found that 29% of young adults reported using marijuana in the past month. That figure is up from 21% in 2016 and 17% in 2011, reports WOOD-TV.
Daily Cannabis use is also up. Eleven percent of young adults said they use the herb every day. That’s an increase from 8% in 2016 and 6% in 2011.
Marijuana decriminalization reformers have had a winning streak over the past decade. Voters in Colorado were the first to approve recreational Cannabis, passing a ballot initiative in 2012. Since then, 18 other states have passed similar measures. Organizations in several other states are continuing their efforts to get legalization measures passed.
“One Of The Best Ways We Can Learn More About Drug Use”
Researchers said it is important to track drug trends to better understand communities.
Health authorities use that information to shape public policy and when deciding where to invest in public health resources.
“One of the best ways we can learn more about drug use and its impact on people is to observe which drugs are appearing, in which populations, for how long and under which contexts,” said Megan Patrick, a principal investigator in the MTF study, said in a University of Michigan blog post.