Marijuana (cont.)

What treatment options exist?

Behavioral interventions, including cognitive behavioral therapy and motivational incentives (i.e., providing vouchers for goods or services to patients who remain abstinent) have shown efficacy in treating marijuana dependence. Although no medications are currently available, recent discoveries about the workings of the cannabinoid system offer promise for the development of medications to ease withdrawal, block the intoxicating effects of marijuana, and prevent relapse.

The latest treatment data indicate that in 2006 marijuana was the most common illicit drug of abuse and was responsible for about 16 percent (289,988) of all admissions to treatment facilities in the United States. Marijuana admissions were primarily male (73.8%), White (51.5%), and young (36.1% were in the 15 to 19 age range). Those in treatment for primary marijuana abuse had begun use at an early age: 56.2% had abused it by age 14 and 92.5% had abused it by age 18.**

How widespread is marijuana abuse?

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, in 2006, 14.8 million Americans age 12 or older used marijuana at least once in the month prior to being surveyed, which is similar to the 2005 rate. About 6,000 people a day in 2006 used marijuana for the first time  --  2.2 million Americans. Of these, 63.3% were under age 18.***

Monitoring the future survey

According to the 2007 Monitoring the Future survey  --  a national survey of 8th, 10th, and 12th graders, marijuana use has been declining since the late 1990s. Between 2000 and 2007, past-year use decreased more than 20% in all three grades combined. Nevertheless, marijuana use remains at unacceptably high levels, with more than 40% of high school seniors reporting use at least once in their lifetimes. ****

Percentage of 8th-graders who have used marijuana:
Monitoring the Future Study, 2007

  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Lifetime 16.7% 19.9% 23.1% 22.6% 22.2% 22.0% 20.3%
Past Year 13.0 15.8 18.3 17.7 16.9 16.5 15.6
Past Month  7.8 9.1 11.3 10.2 9.7 9.7 9.1
Daily 0.7 0.8 1.5 1.1 1.1 1.4 1.3

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Lifetime 20.4% 19.2% 17.5% 16.3% 16.5% 15.7% 14.2 %
Past Year 15.4 14.6 12.8 11.8 12.2 11.7 10.3
Past Month 9.2 8.3 7.5 6.4 6.6 6.5 5.7
Daily 1.3 1.2 1.0 0.8 1.0 1.0 0.8

Percentage of 10th-graders who have used marijuana:
Monitoring the Future Study, 2007

  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Lifetime 30.4% 34.1% 39.8% 42.3% 39.6% 40.9% 40.3%
Past Year 25.2 28.7 33.6 34.8 31.1 32.1 32.2
Past Month 15.8 17.2 20.4 20.5 18.7 19.4 19.7
Daily 2.2 2.8 3.5 3.7 3.6 3.8 3.8

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Lifetime 40.1% 38.7% 36.4% 35.1% 34.1% 31.8% 31.0%
Past Year 32.7 30.3 28.2 27.5 26.6 25.2 24.6
Past Month 19.8 17.8 17.0 15.9 15.2 14.2 14.2
Daily 4.5 3.9 3.6 3.2 3.1 2.8 2.8

Percentage of 12th-graders who have used marijuana:
Monitoring the Future Study, 2007

  1994 1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000
Lifetime 38.2% 41.7% 44.9% 49.6% 49.1% 49.7% 48.8%
Past Year 30.7 34.7 35.8 38.5 37.5 37.8 36.5
Past Month 19.0 21.2 21.9 23.7 22.8 23.1 21.6
Daily 3.6 4.6 4.9 5.8 5.6 6.0 6.0

  2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007
Lifetime 49.0% 47.8% 46.1% 45.7% 44.8% 42.3% 41.8%
Past Year 37.0 36.2 34.9 34.3 33.6 31.5 31.7
Past Month 22.4 21.5 21.2 19.9 19.8 18.3 18.8
Daily 5.8 6.0 6.0 5.6 5.0 5.0 5.1

"Lifetime" refers to use at least once during a respondent's lifetime. "Past year" refers to use at least once during the year preceding an individual's response to the survey. "Past month" refers to use at least once during the 30 days preceding an individual's response to the survey.

* For street terms searchable by drug name, street term, cost and quantities, drug trade, and drug use, visit www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/streetterms/default.asp.

** These data are from the Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS) Highlights – 2006: National Admissions to Substance Abuse Treatment Services (Office of Applied Studies, DASIS Series: S-40, DHHS Publication No. SMA 08-4313, Rockville, MD, 2008), funded by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The latest data are available at 800-729-6686 or online at www.samhsa.gov.

*** Results from the 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health: National Findings (Office of Applied Studies, NSDUH Series H–32, DHHS Publication No. SMA 07-4293 Rockville, MD, 2007). NSDUH is an annual survey conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Copies of the latest survey are available from the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information at 800-729-6686.

**** These data are from the 2007 Monitoring the Future survey, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Institutes of Health, DHHS, and conducted annually by the University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research. The survey has tracked 12th graders' illicit drug use and related attitudes since 1975; in 1991, 8th and 10th graders were added to the study. The latest data are online at www.drugabuse.gov.

References:

Budney AJ, Vandrey RG, Hughes JR, Thostenson JD, Bursac Z. Comparison of cannabis and tobacco withdrawal: Severity and contribution to relapse. J Subst Abuse Treat, e-publication ahead of print, March 12, 2008.

Diana M, Melis M, Muntoni AL, Gessa GL. Mesolimbic dopaminergic decline after cannabinoid withdrawal. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 95(17):10269–10273, 1998.

Gruber AJ, Pope HG, Hudson JI, Yurgelun-Todd D. Attributes of long-term heavy cannabis users: A case control study. Psychological Med 33(8):1415–1422, 2003.

Hashibe M, Morgenstern H, Cui Y, et al. Marijuana use and the risk of lung and upper aerodigestive tract cancers: Results of a population-based case-control study. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev 15(10):1829–1834, 2006.

Herkenham M, Lynn A, Little MD, et al. Cannabinoid receptor localization in the brain. Proc Natl Acad Sci, USA 87(5):1932–1936, 1990.

Mittleman MA, Lewis RA, Maclure M, Sherwood JB, Muller JE. Triggering myocardial infarction by marijuana. Circulation 103(23):2805–2809, 2001.

Moore TH, Zammit S, Lingford-Hughes A, et al. Cannabis use and risk of psychotic or affective mental health outcomes: A systematic review. Lancet 370 (9584):319–328, 2007.

Polen MR, Sidney S, Tekawa IS, Sadler M, Friedman GD. Health care use by frequent marijuana smokers who do not smoke tobacco. West J Med 158(6):596–601, 1993.

Pope HG, Gruber AJ, Hudson JI, Huestis MA, Yurgelun-Todd D. Neuropsychological performance in long-term cannabis users. Arch Gen Psychiatry 58(10):909–915, 2001.

Rodrguez de Fonseca F, Carrera MRA, Navarro M, Koob GF, Weiss F. Activation of corticotropin-releasing factor in the limbic system during cannabinoid withdrawal. Science 276(5321):2050–2054, 1997.

Tashkin DP. Smoked marijuana as a cause of lung injury. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 63(2):92–100, 2005.

Source: National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction


Last Editorial Review: 10/6/2008 8:23:42 PM