(Associated Press)

‘Daily and near-daily marijuana use is now more common than similar levels of drinking in the U.S., according to an analysis of national survey data over four decades.

Alcohol is still more widely used, but 2022 was the first time this intensive level of marijuana use overtook high-frequency drinking, said the study’s author, Jonathan Caulkins, a cannabis policy researcher at Carnegie Mellon University.

“A good 40% of current cannabis users are using it daily or near daily, a pattern that is more associated with tobacco use than typical alcohol use,” Caulkins said.

The research, based on data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, was published Wednesday in the journal Addiction. The survey is a highly regarded source of estimates of tobacco, alcohol and drug use in the United States.

In 2022, an estimated 17.7 million people used marijuana daily or near-daily compared to 14.7 million daily or near-daily drinkers, according to the study. From 1992 to 2022, the per capita rate of reporting daily or near-daily marijuana use increased 15-fold.’

The Above Associated Press Report Sparked the Story Below

Missoula, MT (KGVO-AM News) - After reading this AP story, I reached out to Jaqueline Kline, Healthy Missoula Youth Facilitator and Outreach Committee Co-Chairperson and the Substance Use Disorder Prevention Coordinator, Missoula Public Health about this article, and she confirmed that the same is happening in Missoula.

“I'm looking at data that comes from the Montana Prevention Needs Assessment,” began Kline. “That's a survey that looks at 8th, 10th, and 12th grade students both for Missoula County specifically as well as across the state of Montana. A lot of what that data is indicating throughout the past couple of years is that while alcohol use is going down, cannabis or marijuana use is on the rise for our young kids."

Kline said Alcohol use in Missoula is also Falling while Pot Use is Rising

As has been reported on this website before, cannabis use by youth can bring extremely negative health results.

“Kids brains aren't fully developed until around age 25 or age 26, and recent studies have indicated that when kids start using cannabis at a young age, they have a higher likelihood of developing anxiety, diagnosable Social Anxiety Disorder, Major Depressive Disorder, and it's been associated with more severe symptoms if you have bipolar disorder or you're predisposed towards schizophrenia,” she added.

Right here in Missoula, Kline said youth cannabis use is taking its toll.

READ MORE: New Missoula Program Helps Parents Keep Kids Off Drugs

Youth Cannabis Use Means Increasing Emergency Room Visits

“We have seen an increased number of hospitalizations and ER (Emergency Room) visits for kids under the age of 17,” she said. “In Missoula County as well as across the state of Montana as a whole from 2016 to 2022, we've seen almost a 43 percent increase in ER visits as a result of cannabis-related issues.”

Kline plainly stated that cannabis use by Missoula’s youth is a ‘public health issue’.

“This is a public health issue,” she said. “There are very negative health outcomes that can result in things like cannabis-induced psychosis, or there's something called CHS, which is cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome that's associated with use, and what that means is basically, you have consumed, whether intentionally or accidentally, an excessive amount of THC, which is the psychoactive component of cannabis. The part that produces the higher the euphoria and it makes you throw up.”

Listen to the entire conversation with Kline below.

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