America is a much mellower nation than it was in 2002, or so suggests a new study on marijuana usage published in the Lancet. One of the most unexpected findings according to study author Dr. Wilson Compton is how many American adults take a puff daily or almost daily: Between 2002 and 2014 the number leaped from 3.9 million to 8.4 million, the latter representing 3.5% of the population. It's one of many figures that are up, reports the Guardian, which explains the conclusions are based on the responses of 596,500 adults participating in the US National Survey on Drug Use and Health. CBS News points out the surveying occurred before recreational pot use was legalized in any US state.
Some 13.3% of Americans in 2014 reported smoking pot at least once in the last year; that's a roughly 2.9% rise in a decade (figure was 10.4% in 2002) and represents 10 million Americans joining that category. First-time tokers also rose from 0.7% to 1.1%. But the study emphasizes that "the study of marijuana use disorders [ie, those who abuse the drug] is urgently needed" in the face of an increasing number of legalization initiatives in other states, and on that front, there was no rise: a flat 1.5% reported having a use disorder. And while "I still don’t know why 2007," Compton tells the Guardian that something happened that year that caused the general sentiment on risk to shift: In 2002, half of those surveyed said smoking twice a week was a "great health" risk; that number fell to a third in 2007. (Read more marijuana stories.)