Marijuana Addiction Statistics

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Information about marijuana and marijuana addiction is commonly mixed with myth and rumor, and it’s hard to know what is true about the drug. Too often, marijuana has been wrongly referred to as a gateway drug—the implication is that if you use marijuana regularly, you will eventually begin to use drugs considered to be more harmful and damaging. Unfortunately, this idea insinuates that marijuana is not a dangerous drug on its own, when the reality is that marijuana can be extremely dangerous and harmful, independent of other substances. That’s just one of many reasons it’s important to be properly educated about marijuana.

Fact: Marijuana Abuse Is Everywhere

Marijuana is the most abused illicit drug in the United States, according to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).1

The legality of marijuana varies from state to state:

  • In 20 states, there have been no laws legalizing marijuana
  • In the majority of states, it is legal for limited medical use
  • In eight states, marijuana has been legalized for adult recreational use2

No matter how the state laws vary, illegal use of cannabis is extremely prevalent all over the country.

Marijuana Addiction Statistics and Teens

Nearly every two out of five high school students have tried marijuana before. This is particularly scary because marijuana use at a young age is likely to permanently affect the brain’s ability to develop properly throughout the rest of young adulthood.2

Though many teens and families of teens downplay the use of alcohol and marijuana during the teen years, statistics further show that the earlier the first time use, the more likely that teen will become an adult who struggles with alcohol and drug addiction. Although marijuana use has actually leveled off in recent years, more and more teens believe that marijuana is neither dangerous or addictive.

Myth: Marijuana Is Not Dangerous

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Our culture has deeply rooted stereotypes about people who use marijuana, primarily centering around the protests and outdoor festivals of the hippie culture, prominent in the 1970s. However, that stereotype is overly narrow and does not accurately portray the reality of how prevalent marijuana use is— among all demographics.

People tend to believe the idea that marijuana abuse is nonthreatening and that the drug itself is non-addictive. They may suppose that nothing bad happens to those who smoke marijuana and cite the numerous DUIs associated with alcohol abuse and addiction, a legal drug, as if the comparison justifies marijuana use.

However, marijuana produces detrimental short-term and long-term effects on the brain and greater body. Studies repeatedly indicate that long-term marijuana abuse is connected to decreased intelligence and functioning. It can also cause respiratory and circulatory problems long-term as well as impaired thinking and judgment in the short-term.1

Marijuana Addiction Treatment at Michael’s House

Michael’s House provides inpatient marijuana addiction treatment and extended sober-living care for those who are ready to learn how to live without marijuana addiction. If you would like more information about our Southern California marijuana rehab program, contact us today at our 24-hour, toll-free helpline.

Marijuana addiction, like any addiction to drugs and alcohol, is a deadly disease if it goes untreated. It is impossible to remain healthy and realize your dreams while constantly in the haze of addiction. If you or your loved one would like to break free from marijuana abuse and addiction, we want to help you begin your new life. Please call 760.548.4032 now.

Start the Journey Today!



1"Marijuana." National Institute on Drug Abuse, February 2018.

2“State Marijuana Laws in 2018 Map.” Governing. 30 March 2018.

3"What You Need to Know About Marijuana Use in Teens." US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 13 April 2017.