Marijuana statistics show that marijuana is the most widely used illegal substance in the world. Although the drug has been illegal in the United States since the 1930s, an estimated 40.6 percent of the U.S. population over twelve years of age (forty out of every one hundred people) have tried it at least once. As recently as 2003, marijuana statistics show that 25.2 million people, basically one in ten Americans reported using the drug at least once that year, as reported by the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Marijuana statistics point out that this drug has been used as a medicine, as a part of religious ceremonies, and even as a fiber for making clothing, rope, and paper for many thousands of years. It has also been used RECREATIONALLY in many cultures, both ancient and modern marijuana statistics note. Still, its effects on the brain and body are not yet completely understood. Scientists differ on how to classify the drug: Is it a hallucinogen like LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), a narcotic like opium, or does it belong in a class by itself? To further confuse matters, marijuana statistics show that some scientists call marijuana a stimulant, or a substance that makes the brain and body more active, and some call it a depressant, or a substance that slows down brain and body processes. Whatever its properties, organic or plant-derived marijuana is illegal to possess or sell as a recreational substance.
Marijuana statistics also notice the controversy over the drug's role as a medicine for certain illnesses highlights the drug's strange history in American society. A small minority of Americans wants the drug to be made legal and sold under controlled circumstances, similar to the sale of alcohol. The U.S. government has made no move to legalize marijuana possession and, in fact, has tightened laws against it since the 1980s. People who buy, sell, or use marijuana for recreational purposes face many penalties if caught, including a permanent criminal record.
Marijuana statistics state that four in ten Americans have used marijuana at least once in their lifetimes. One in ten Americans reports using the drug at least once in the past year, and six in every one hundred Americans report using the drug at least once in the past month. These marijuana statistics come from the "2003 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)." According to the NSDUH report, 96.6 million Americans have tried marijuana at least once.
The 1999 marijuana statistics and the "National Household Survey on Drug Abuse" reported that the age group least likely to have tried marijuana is people over seventy. The group most likely to have tried it is eighteen- to twenty-five-year-olds. A Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey conducted in 2001 indicated that 23.9 percent, or just over two in ten people between the ages of ten and twenty-four, had used marijuana in the month before the survey took place. The 2001 survey on marijuana statistics reported that males were more likely to smoke marijuana than females, but the 2003 NSDUH report said that 53 percent of first-time marijuana users were female. The only large group showing less first-time use of marijuana was Asian Americans. Otherwise the drug is equally popular among African Americans, Caucasians, Native Americans, and Hispanic Americans.
Marijuana statistics from the 2004 from Monitoring the Future study, 16.3 percent of eighth graders, 35.1 percent of tenth graders, and 45.7 percent of twelfth graders reported using marijuana at least once. And despite major efforts to find and punish dealers, 73.3 percent of tenth graders and 85.8 percent of twelfth graders noted that marijuana is "fairly easy" or "very easy" to obtain. Clearly, it is nearly impossible to pass through high school without meeting at least one person who uses or sells marijuana.