Marijuana Use Doubles From 2002-2014 Interview with:

Dr. Wilson Compton MD, Deputy Director National Institute on Drug Abuse

Dr. Wilson Compton

Dr. Wilson Compton MD, Deputy Director
National Institute on Drug Abuse What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: The study found that overall past year marijuana use by adults in the U.S. increased by more than 30% in the past dozen years, and 10 million more people were using marijuana in 2014 than in 2002. Use of marijuana on a daily (or near daily) basis increased even more markedly. In 2002, 3.9 million adults in the U.S. reported using marijuana daily or nearly every day, and the number more than doubled to 8.4 million by 2014. Along with this increase in use, we found that U.S. adults perceptions of the potential harms from using marijuana greatly decreased. Despite scientific evidence of potential harms, adults are much less convinced about dangers associated with using marijuana. These reductions in perceived harm were strongly associated with the increases in use. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Marijuana use is becoming increasingly common among adults in the U.S., and physicians need to be aware of this trend to guide healthcare. Physicians have gotten better at routinely asking patients about their tobacco and alcohol use, but now we need to make headway in routinely asking about marijuana use. From a clinician’s standpoint, it’s extremely important to be aware of marijuana use to know if it could interact with medical treatments or be the cause for symptoms that patients inform their doctors of.
Additionally, given the increase of use and decrease in perception of harmfulness, we need to start thinking about effective prevention approaches to inform the public about the risks associated with marijuana use. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: More research needs to be done on the impact of the increase in marijuana use. 10 million more people are using marijuana currently than were 12 years ago, and we need to study the consequences – both acute and long-term – that may be associated with frequent, heavy use. Research should be conducted around how daily use affects a user’s ability to think clearly or function at work, or how it might impair hand/eye coordination which in turn will affect the ability to operate cars or machinery. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Marijuana use and use disorders in adults in the USA, 2002–14: analysis of annual cross-sectional surveys
Compton, Wilson M et al.
The Lancet Psychiatry , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on September 6, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD