According to a recent research, marijuana use in the U.S. more than doubled in 12 years, and so did problems tied to it. Researchers found that while in 2001 only 4.1 percent of adults used the drug, in 2013 that figure jumped to 9.5 percent.
And the use of pot is now more popular among Americans than ever. According to a recent survey, 58 percent of U.S. residents think that legalizing marijuana may be a good thing.
The recent study was conducted by a team from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse (NIAA). Scientists based their research on two major surveys that involved about 80,000 Americans.
Study authors wrote in their paper that marijuana use in the U.S. more than doubled in 12 years, but so did cannabis-related disorders including addiction and mental illnesses.
“Young adults were at highest risk for marijuana use disorder,”
researchers also noted.
According to the paper, 30 percent of marijuana users reported a marijuana use disorder in 2013. This means that three in 10 pot users or about 6.8 million Americans are affected by such disorders.
Researchers also found that African-Americans are now more likely to take up pot smoking than their white peers. The research team believes that marijuana proliferation and acceptance at a societal level is due to major shifts in legislation. Four U.S. states made recreational marijuana legal, and 23 state approved use of medical cannabis. But people aren’t always aware of the consequences of marijuana use.
Other reports showed that Americans often see marijuana as safe, despite a plethora of studies that associated marijuana use in young people with cognitive decline, psychiatric diseases, social impairment, ER visits, car crashes, use of illegal drugs and addictions.
A recent research suggests marijuana users’ brain do not properly develop and they tend to be smaller than those of non-users. Additionally, marijuana use in young people can alter brain structure and boost risk of schizophrenia later on.
Teens that use marijuana tend to have a poor memory and other brain dysfunctions in their adulthood. On the other hand, because marijuana is often combined with alcohol, researchers noted that more studies are required to understand the health risks.
So far, studies revealed that mixing marijuana with alcohol can lead to car crashes more than alcohol or cannabis alone can.
Study authors cautioned that despite the growing number of marijuana-triggered disorders, very few individuals have the chance of receiving proper treatment, which is the case for alcoholics as well.
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