Researchers announced on Wednesday that marijuana’s popularity in the United States is skyrocketing with one in 10 adults being pot smokers, a number that has more than doubled in the past decade.
The study by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Psychiatry who compiled data from 79,000 interviews also noted that there has been an increase of abuse and addiction along with the growing use, however.
“Based on the results of our surveys, marijuana use in the United States has risen rapidly over the past decade, with about three in 10 people who use marijuana meeting the criteria for addiction,” George Koob, director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism noted in the study.
In 2001-2002 only 4.1% of adults smoked marijuana compared to the 9.5% now.
Researchers also noted use by interesting demographics on the rise, such as those who are middle aged or older.
The increase was “particularly notable among women and individuals who were black, Hispanic, living in the South, middle-aged or older,” the study reported.
The surge in usage may be due to changing attitudes about the plant, with 23 states having legalized the use of medical marijuana and four legalizing recreational use.
A Gallup poll released on Wednesday also found that support for legalization is at an all time high, with 58% of people in the US wanting to see an end of the prohibition.
The survey did not specifically ask if those polled supported legalization for medical or recreational use, and simply asked the question in broad terms.
Gallup found that legalization is particularly popular among those 18-34, with nearly seven in 10 in the age bracket in support, but the change in attitude has grown across all demographics.
“In summary, while many in the United States think prohibition of recreational marijuana should be ended, this study and others suggest caution and the need for public education about the potential harms in marijuana use, including the risk for addiction,” the study concluded.
It is important to note however, that unlike other drugs or alcohol, withdrawal symptoms from marijuana addiction are not-life threatening.