By Roland Sebestyén
A new study has found that rates of cannabis use are growing in the US, and it is growing fast. The number of people who frequently smoke cannabis is also at an all-time high.
According to Gallup‘s annual Consumption Habits poll, 49% of adult Americans report that they have tried cannabis – the highest the organisation ever measured. It is an astonishing figure, considering that 50 years ago, only 4% of respondents admitted past cannabis use.
The report states: “Comparing the most recent generational figures with data from the 1980s and 1990s finds little change in the rate of cannabis experimentation among baby boomers and Gen X.
“Combined data from the 1985 and 1999 Gallup polls show that 44% of members of Gen X and 50% of baby boomers had tried cannabis as of then.
“During those years, a lower proportion of traditionalists (those born before 1945) than today had tried cannabis (10%). The increase in that group today compared with the 1980s and 1990s probably reflects the dying off of many of the oldest members of that generation, who were much less likely than younger traditionalists to have tried cannabis.”
However, the results from the poll show that more of the younger generations are smoking cannabis regularly. In fact, researchers identified a clear pattern in the data.
The combined 2015-2021 data, Gallup claims, shows that every one in five millennials smokes cannabis, compared with 11% of Gen Xers, 9% of baby boomers and 1% of traditionalists (those born between 1928 and 1946).
These age differences, which have been consistent in Gallup’s polling, indicate that, at least historically, people tend to try cannabis at a younger age, but as they get older, most consumers cease cannabis use.
The significant rise also correlates with the increasing legalisation and availability of recreational cannabis in the US. California became the first state to legalise the sale, cultivation, and supply of recreational cannabis in 2012. Since then, a further 17 states have opted to allow the recreational adult use of cannabis.