Daily Cannabis Use Surpasses Alcohol in the U.S.

The TDR Three Key Takeaways regarding Cannabis Consumption:

  1. Daily cannabis use in the U.S. surpasses alcohol for the first time
  2. Cannabis use is seen as therapeutic, driving industry growth 
  3. Health experts warn of addiction risks with high-frequency cannabis use. 

National survey has shown a significant change in American substance use patterns: daily cannabis consumption now surpasses daily alcohol drinking. This statistic is both surprising and significant, attracting attention from cannabis enthusiasts and researchers. It indicates a shift in how Americans perceive and use these substances, with important implications for public health, industry growth, and regulatory policies.

Millions of people in the U.S. report using marijuana daily or nearly every day, according to an analysis of national survey data, and those people now outnumber those who say they are daily or nearly-daily drinkers of alcohol. While alcohol remains more widely used overall, 2022 marked the first time that this intensive level of marijuana use overtook daily and near-daily drinking. Jonathan Caulkins, a cannabis policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, stated that “a good 40% of current cannabis users are using it daily or near daily, a pattern that is more associated with tobacco use than typical alcohol use.”

This trend reflects a consumer behavior regarding cannabis use. Cannabis, once stigmatized and restricted, is increasingly viewed as a therapeutic substance rather than merely a recreational drug. Anthony Varrell, the co-host of “Trade to Black” podcast, noted, “I use cannabis every day. I wouldn’t in my wildest dreams use alcohol every day. Even when I was younger, I might drink once a week.” This behavior is followed  by many who see cannabis as a safer, more beneficial alternative to alcohol.

The rise in daily cannabis use is a positive development for the cannabis industry. The growing acceptance and normalization of cannabis consumption is well for business growth and investment opportunities. Anthony observed, “It’s a great thing for the businesses. I don’t know if it’s a great thing for people. I think that there needs to be more research and there needs to be more data on the matter.” Indeed, the economic implications are substantial, with the industry poised for expansion as more states consider legalization. For instance, Florida voters will decide on a constitutional amendment allowing recreational cannabis in November, and the federal government is considering reclassifying marijuana as a less dangerous drug.

However, this shift in cannabis consumption also raises important health and social concerns. High-frequency cannabis use is linked to a higher risk of addiction and other adverse effects. Dr. David A. Gorelick, a psychiatry professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine, warns that “high-frequency users are more likely to become addicted to marijuana.” He also notes that “high frequency use also increases the risk of developing cannabis-associated psychosis,” a severe condition where a person loses touch with reality.

The need for a balanced approach to cannabis use was emphasized by Anthony and added,  “I’m still a high-functioning human being and I use cannabis once a day, but I use it to chill out at night and go to sleep. I feel like that’s what most people do. I mean, a lot of other people also use it instead of prescription medication for certain things.” This perspective highlights the therapeutic benefits that many users seek, yet it also underscores the necessity for comprehensive research to fully understand the long-term effects of cannabis consumption.

Most states now allow medical or recreational marijuana, though it remains illegal at the federal level. As it advances toward legalization and reclassification of marijuana at the federal level reflects a broader acceptance and an understanding of its potential benefits, yet it also necessitates careful consideration of the associated risks. The media’s role in shaping public perception of marijuana use is crucial. Anthony critiqued an Associated Press article for its fragmented approach, stating, “It just randomly mentioned Florida adult use. And then the footer was psychosis. A quote from some doctor and it was just more, it was, it was more bizarre than it was.” Clear, factual, and balanced reporting is essential to inform public opinion and guide policy decisions.

The rise of daily cannabis consumption over daily drinking marks a shift in American substance use. While this trend presents significant opportunities for the cannabis industry, and medical research. Want to be updated on all things Psychedelic, Cannabis, AI, and Crypto? Subscribe to our Daily Baked in Newsletter!

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