Marijuana Statistics
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Marijuana Statistics

Marijuana StatisticsMarijuana statistics are alarming. A recent government survey tells us that marijuana is the most frequently used illegal drug in the United States. Nearly 69 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once. About 10 million had used the drug in the month before the survey.

The following are current marijuana statistics:

  • Marijuana is most commonly used by young adults between 18 and 25 years of age
  • Marijuana is one of the most popular drug among college students
  • More than 30 percent of college students have reported to have used marijuana within the last year
  • A 2005 study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated that 97.5 million American older than 12 tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime, meaning about 41 percent of the population has tried marijuana

Marijuana statistics points out that this drug has been used as a medicine, as a part of religious ceremonies, and even as a fiber for making clothing, rope, and paper for many thousands of years. It has also been used recreationally in many cultures, both ancient and modern. Still, its effects on the brain and body are not yet completely understood. Scientists differ on how to classify the drug: Is it a hallucinogen like LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a narcotic like opium, or does it belong in a class by itself? To further confuse matters, marijuana statistics show that some scientists call marijuana a stimulant, or a substance that makes the brain and body more active, and some call it a depressant, or a substance that slows down brain and body processes. Whatever its properties, organic or plant-derived marijuana is illegal to possess or sell as a recreational substance.

This survey also found that among teens 12 to 17, the average age of first trying marijuana was 14 years. A yearly survey of students in grades 8 through 12 shows that 23 percent of 8th-graders have tried marijuana at least once, and by 10th grade, 21 percent are "current" users (that is, used within the past month). Among 12th-graders, nearly 50 percent have tried marijuana/hash at least once, and about 24 percent were current users. Other researchers have found that use of marijuana and other drugs usually peaks in the late teens and early twenties, then declines in later years.

When it comes to marijuana statistics, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug. Another survey conducted in 2005 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) estimated 97.5 million Americans aged 12 or older tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, representing 40.1% of the U.S. population in that age group. The number of past year marijuana users in 2005 was approximately 25.4 million (10.4% of the population aged 12 or older) and the number of past month marijuana users was 14.6 million (6.0%).

According to the United Nation’s marijuana statistics, 141 million people around the world use marijuana. This represents about 2.5 percent of the world population. Source: United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, Global Illicit Drug Trends 1999 (New York, NY: UNODCCP, 1999), p. 91. 

Reaction time for motor skills, such as driving is reduced by 41% after smoking one joint and is reduced 63% after smoking two joints. There have been over 7,000 published scientific and medical studies documenting the damage that marijuana poses. Not one study has shown marijuana to be safe. Data has shown that people high on marijuana show the same lack of coordination on standard "drunk driver" tests as do people who have had too much to drink.

Another area of marijuana statistics is drug abuse violations and arrests. There were a total of 1,846,351 state and local arrests for drug abuse violations in the United States during 2005. Of the drug arrests, 4.9% were for marijuana sale/manufacturing and 37.7% were for marijuana possession.

In fiscal year 2003, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) made 5,679 arrests related to cannabis, accounting for 20.9% of all DEA arrests during the year. This is an increase from fiscal year 2002, when 5,576 cannabis-related arrests were made by the DEA, accounting for 18.5% of all DEA arrests.

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