The annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health released Thursday by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that teen marijuana use rates decreased nationally in 2016.
The federal data show that adult marijuana use, on the other hand, is rising. Moreover, those aged 18 to 25 are most likely to have used pot recently, as one-fifth of Americans in this age group reported using marijuana last month.
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"Critics of legalization worry about the message being sent to youth by marijuana policy reform efforts, but the real message is that marijuana should only be used by responsible adults, and it seems to be sinking in". Colorado and Washington were the first states to make marijuana legal and regulated for adults. Similarly, the monthly use of adults ages 26 to 34 rose to 14.5 percent - also the highest since 1985. Roughly 20.8 percent of adults between 18 and 25 and roughly 14.5 percent of adults between 26 and 34 used marijuana a year ago.
Medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and Washington, D.C., where it is also legal for recreational use. The survey didn't provide trend data for older age groups, but other studies have shown that marijuana use is growing the fastest among middle-aged and older adults. Past year 55 percent of adults ages 18 and older drank alcohol at least monthly, compared with 56 percent in 2015. While small, that drop was statistically significant, lending some credence to the notion that some adults may be substituting marijuana for alcohol. Thirteen percent of those, or more than a million Americans, said they abused opioids specifically to get high, and more than half of abusers said they got their drugs from a friend or relative.