Marijuana Addiction Statistics: Usage & Abuse Rates (2023)

These Marijuana addiction and usage statistics will surprise you!

General Marijuana/Weed Statistics

  • Marijuana is the dry portions of the cannabis plants, such as the leaves, stems, seeds, and buds found on the Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Sativa. It has substances considered to be mind-altering, but the primary chemical responsible for intoxication and euphoria is THC. There are other compounds found within the plant that could cause intoxication as well. Today, there are around 78 million Americans, about half of the US population, that admit to having used marijuana at some time in their life.
  • In a nationwide survey, it was found that about 35 million Americans consume marijuana each month, or have done so in the last 30 days.
  • 55 million Americans report having used marijuana sometime in the last year. This number is higher that the number of people currently using tobacco products, which is around 36 million people.
  • There are 50% more marijuana smokers than tobacco smokers.
  • In a 2015 survey, researchers summarized that the popularity of cannabis has grown exponentially in the last 10 years.
  • In another study, 4.1% of US citizens admitted to increasing their use of drugs since the previous year. The same study summarized that the number of people with a marijuana disorder lowered from 35% to 30% between the years 2001 and 2013.
  • The most commonly consumed drug that’s on the DEA’s Drug Scheduling list is marijuana, with around 48 million people using it at least once a time in 2018. This number amounted to 18% of the American population at the time.
  • Studies done recently show that about three out of 10 people that consume marijuana have marijuana use disorder or marijuana abuse. People that started consuming cannabis before turning 18 have an even greater risk of getting marijuana use disorder.
  • The use of marijuana impacts the brain directly, especially the portions that are responsible for learning, memory, coordination, reaction time, and emotion.

Marijuana Use In The United States

  • The increasing popularity of cannabis is thought to be from its expanding acceptance within mainstream society. Marijuana is overwhelmingly accepted as a drug that’s less risky than alcohol, tobacco, and painkillers. Cannabis is thought to be a safer alternative since there have been close to no overdoses that ended in fatalities that are directly attributed to the plant. As a result, there are 72% of people in the US believe that regular consumption of alcohol is a greater risk to one’s health than the regular consumption of cannabis.
  • About 76% of people think that the ordinary use of marijuana is less dangerous than tobacco, such as cigarettes and cigars.
  • Around 67% of Americans think cannabis is less dangerous than prescription pain relievers, such as opioids.
  • Research indicates that over half of the US population, about 56% of Americans, think that consuming marijuana is now a socially acceptable thing to do. Still, users that go over the limit of regular use can develop a dependency on the drug, which is known as marijuana use disorder.
  • In an article sold in 2018, it was found that about 10% of routine marijuana users get a marijuana use disorder.

Marijuana Use Globally

  • Based on studies done by the United Nations, 158 million people worldwide consume marijuana, which is over 3.8% of the total.
  • Based on a 2007 study by health researchers, it was found that 2.1 million people in the United States abused cannabis for the first time in their lives that same year.
  • 6.7% of children between the ages of 12 and 17 were marijuana abusers in 2007.
  • Based on estimations done by the US government, locally produced cannabis has increased over 100% in the last 25 years from 2.2 million pounds in the early 1980s to 22 million pounds in 2006. About 58% of people between ages 12 and 17 claims that cannabis is easy for them to acquire. American users spent about $10 billion on marijuana in 2000.
  • In 2005, about 242,200 visits were taken to an emergency room which was primarily associated with taking too much marijuana.
  • Based on studies done by the DEA, a big portion of the people arrested for crimes test positive for cannabis. Countrywide, 40% of men that are 18 and older tested positive when they were booked by the police.
  • Out of the adults that are 26 and older that have taken marijuana before they turned 15, about 62% later consumed cocaine at some point down the line, with 9% going on to use heroin at some point later. 54% later went on to use prescription drugs classified as narcotics.
  • Aside from alcohol, marijuana is the most commonly found substance in the systems of motorists that get into a car accident where a fatality occurs.

How Many People Use Marijuana?

  • 24 million people are reported to have used marijuana currently. This totals about 9% of the American population.
  • Of the current users of cannabis, approximately 14.7 million are males and 9.3 million are female.
  • Adults that are 26 and older have the highest rates of marijuana use where one has consumed the plant within the last month.
  • The number of active cannabis users in 2016 was greater than the percentages listed between 2002 and 2015.

What Percentage of Marijuana Users Get Addicted?

  • A cannabis addiction happens when people can’t stop consuming the plant, even when it begins interfering with their life, work, school, and relationships. This is a compulsive need for the drug, regardless of their health or legal risks. Based on a 2016 survey, there were 4 million individuals with a cannabis use disorder in 2016.
  • The number of people with a marijuana use disorder went down since the year 2012.
  • About 5% of people between the ages of 18 and 25 had a cannabis use disorder in 2016.
  • The number of people with a cannabis use disorder was highest for people between 18 and 25 years of age.
  • Studies show that about 9% of cannabis users become dependent on the drug. People that begin consuming cannabis before they turn 18 have nearly four to seven times greater risk of developing a marijuana use disorder later on in their adult life.

What City Has The Most Marijuana Users?

  • In the United States, San Francisco has one of the highest populations of cannabis users. In a city with a population of about 805,000 people, around 124,500 of them are frequent users of marijuana. This accounts for those that are only in the city limits and not people living in the greater Bay Area.
  • New York has one of the highest consumption rates of marijuana in the world, with Karachi, Pakistan, and New Delhi coming in second and third.
  • The state of Colorado has one of the highest percentages of cannabis users when based on states. However, California has the highest rate of cannabis users in the US. Currently, an estimated 4.6 million people in California are active marijuana consumers. It also has some of the most varied regions where marijuana is regularly used.

How Much Does The Average Marijuana User Spend?

The average marijuana user spends between $25 to $50 when visiting a marijuana store and a $33 average that’s spent for every trip to a dispensary.

34.7% of dispensary customers will spend less than $10, typically buying only one item that’s less than a gram, a pre-rolled joint, or a beverage containing THC. About 8% spend over $1000 on a single trip.

How Many Weed-Related Deaths Happen Each Year?

Death from cannabis use on its own is very rare, with less than 0 deaths happening on average during any given year.

However, about 7% of deaths were reported between 1998 and 2011 where a cannabinoid was detected in the body of the deceased person. Still, this figure doesn’t factor in whether other substances were found in the body, such as alcohol, prescriptions, and other illicit drugs.

What Is Considered Heavy Marijuana Use?

Heavy use of marijuana typically refers to when the drug is consumed daily in amounts that can lead to intoxication throughout most of the day.

When someone uses marijuana regularly for weeks, months, and years, it’s described as a condition that’s chronic or prolonged enough to warrant being classified as a marijuana use disorder. In such cases, numerous grams could be smoked or consumed during the days and weeks.

What Percent Of High Schoolers Have Done Marijuana?

  • About 40% of high school students have admitted to trying cannabis at some point, based on research conducted by the CDC.
  • Anyone that uses cannabis before they turn 12 is two times more at risk of developing a mental illness when compared to people that initially try it when they turn 18 or older.
  • About 53% of cannabis users that are 18 and older initially used it when they were between 12 and 17 years old.
  • About 2% of the people that used marijuana have done so before they turned 12 years old.
  • Cannabis use has lowered with children in the eighth grade in the last five years by less than 1%.
  • As for seniors in high school, about 6% report using marijuana every day, which is about 1 out of every 16 total seniors in high school.
  • A smaller number of eighth-graders and sophomores believe that regular consumption of cannabis is bad for one’s health, with a smaller portion of sophomores and seniors disapproving of routine use of the drug.
  • About 29% of seniors claim that routine use of cannabis poses a risk to one’s health.
  • 14% of seniors in high school believe that cannabis is dangerous to use on some occasions.
  • Disapproval of cannabis among high school seniors is 64%, which represents the number that doesn’t agree with adults smoking cannabis daily.

Effects Of Marijuana On Teenagers

  • About 19% of teenage drivers admit to driving while under the influence of cannabis.
  • Cannabis is the most commonly found illegal drug in motorists that die in vehicular accidents, representing about 14% of drivers. However, this is oftentimes in combination with other drugs, such as alcohol.
  • Cannabis use that starts when a child is young can place them at greater risk of mental illness as they become older.
  • Studies show that girls between the ages of 14 and 15 that consume cannabis every day are five times more at risk to develop depression by the time they turn 21.
  • Regular use of cannabis by young girls is linked with an extreme rise in the risk of them having depression and anxiety at some point in their lifetime.
  • 13% of young cannabis users will become dependent on the plant at some point.
  • Cannabis can negatively impact cognitive functions, especially with routine use. It can also lower one’s IQ by an average of 8 points.

Legalization Of Marijuana

  • Legal cannabis has been economically advantageous to people at increasing rates. In 2016, the legal cannabis industry brought in between $4 billion to $4.5 billion that year.
  • The cannabis industry made $10 billion in 2017, which is a 30% boost within one year alone.
  • Marijuana is one of the fastest-growing businesses, with a 26% in compound growth rate annually.
  • Economists predict that the legal cannabis industry might be worth $50 billion by the year 2026.
  • Research shows that over half of all people in the US, about 56%, think that consuming cannabis is okay for people to do recreationally.
  • About 60% of Americans support marijuana being made legal.
  • In a 2017 survey, questions were asked about cannabis use, whereby they later found out that 83% of people in the US fully support the legalization of medical marijuana.
  • About 70% of individuals that have tried marijuana support it being used as a recreational drug.
  • 26% of people that haven’t tried cannabis oppose it being legalized.


  • Regardless of the widespread usage and greater social acceptance of marijuana, along with legalization in most of the United States, there are still a large number of arrests for the plant. Based on the findings of the ACLU, cannabis arrests account for about 50% of all drug arrests in the United States.
  • One newspaper publication showed that in 2016, there were more people arrested for marijuana possession than for all other crimes that the FBI deems violent.
  • In the last several years, about 85 to 90% of drug arrests were related to someone possessing drugs.
  • Marijuana possession for personal use accounts for about 40% of all arrests.
  • Out of 1.5 million drug arrests made in the last year, about 1.3 million were connected to cannabis.
  • The number of people that have been sentenced to federal prison for marijuana possession in 2017 was 92.
  • In 2012, there were 1% of people in federal penitentiaries doing time for drug possession.
  • There have been 600,000 people arrested for cannabis possession in 2016.
  • In 2012. 59% of the people in federal prison for charges related to marijuana possession were Hispanic.

Marijuana Use Demographics

By Age

  • In a 2016 report, about 9% of people in the United State aged 18 and older used cannabis at least one time in the last month, with 14% using the drug once in the last 12 months.
  • About 80% of people 55 years old have tried marijuana at some time during their life.
  • Young people aged between 18 and 25 are three times more at risk of becoming marijuana users in comparison to older adults.

By Gender

  • Males that are between the ages of 18 and 25 are nearly three times more likely to try cannabis once every month than women. Men that are 26 and older are two times more likely than women to try the drug.
  • Around 17% of males and 11% of women that are 18 and older claim to have consumed cannabis in the last 12 months, with 54% of males and 43% of women having tried marijuana at some time in their life.

By Race

  • Black Americans 18 years and older are slightly more likely than white Americans to have tried cannabis at some point in the last four weeks, with Hispanics being less likely to have consumed the drug, based on a 2016 report.
  • About 17% of Black Americans, 14% of whites, and 13% of Hispanic Americans that are 18 and older claim to have used cannabis in the last 12 months.
  • White people are more likely to have consumed cannabis than anyone else. 535 of whites, 45% of black Americans, and 345 of Hispanic Americans 18 and above admitted to trying cannabis.

By Education Level

  • Americans that have gone to college or university but don’t have a Bachelor’s degree use marijuana at higher rates than anyone else, regardless of education level.
  • People that have dropped out of high school are less likely to have consumed marijuana.

By Employment Status

Between 19% and 21% of employees use cannabis, which includes people working jobs that conduct drug tests before employment and if injuries occur.

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