Updated on March 4, 2024

30+ shocking Marijuana statistics

Fact Checked

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a psychoactive plant that has been used for various purposes throughout history. The plant contains over 100 chemical compounds known as cannabinoids, with delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) being the primary psychoactive compound responsible for the plant's mind-altering effects.

Marijuana is consumed for both recreational and medicinal purposes. Its psychoactive properties can induce relaxation, euphoria, and altered sensory perception. Medically, marijuana is utilized to alleviate symptoms associated with certain medical conditions, such as chronic pain, nausea, and muscle spasms.

The plant has been a subject of ongoing debates regarding its legalization, with some regions allowing its use for medicinal and recreational purposes, while others maintain strict regulations or prohibit it entirely. The cultivation, distribution, and consumption of marijuana are influenced by a complex interplay of social, cultural, legal, and economic factors.

Marijuana vs. hemp: differences

Marijuana and hemp are both varieties of the Cannabis sativa plant, but they differ significantly in their chemical composition, uses, and cultivation practices. The primary distinction lies in their THC content, the psychoactive compound responsible for the "high" associated with marijuana.

Marijuana is cultivated for its high THC content, typically ranging from 15% to 40%. It is predominantly used for recreational and medicinal purposes due to its psychoactive effects. Medicinally, marijuana is prescribed for managing pain, nausea, and various medical conditions.

On the other hand, hemp is cultivated for industrial purposes and contains very low THC levels, typically below 0.3%. Instead, hemp is rich in CBD, a non-psychoactive compound known for its potential therapeutic benefits. Hemp is used in the production of textiles, paper, food products, and CBD extracts.

Legally, the distinction between marijuana and hemp often revolves around THC content, with hemp being more widely accepted and legalized in many regions. This regulatory framework reflects the diverse uses of these plants, with marijuana valued for its psychoactive properties and medicinal applications, while hemp serves as a versatile industrial resource with minimal psychoactive effects.

Marijuana use statistics

  1. According to a survey conducted in 2023, 17 percent of American adults smoke marijuana. Additionally, around half of adults in the United States declared to have tried marijuana at least once (statista).
  2. Marijuana is the most commonly used federally illegal drug in the United States; 48.2 million people, or about 18% of Americans, used it at least once in 2019 (CDC).
  3. Recent research estimated that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder (CDC).
  4. Cannabis is by far the most widely cultivated, trafficked and abused illicit drug (WHO)
  5. In 2021, 35.4% of young adults aged 18 to 25 (11.8 million people) reported using marijuana in the past year (National Institute on Drug Abuse). 
  6. In 2022, 30.7% of 12th graders reported using marijuana in the past year and 6.3% reported using marijuana daily (National Institute on Drug Abuse).
  7. A 2016 survey showed that the primary use of cannabis in the United States remains recreational (89.5 percent of adult cannabis users) (Schauer et al., 2016).
  8. The highest number of cannabis users can be found in the Americas, followed by Asia and then Africa (Statista).
  9. A projected 54 million American adults will use cannabis in 2023; which is expected to reach 69 million cannabis users by 2030 (GlobeNewswire).
  10. As at data gathered in 2021, there are currently around 219 million cannabis users worldwide ((Statista). 
  11. About 1 in 3 women over 21 consume cannabis (FlowHub).
  12. Eighteen to twenty-nine-year-olds were the largest group of current marijuana smokers in the United States in 2019 (Statista).
  13. Men are more likely to use cannabis recreationally, while women are more likely to use it for medicinal purposes (Canadian Institutes of Health Research).
  14. A July 2017 survey of U.S. adults found that approximately 13 percent of American men and seven percent of American women currently smoke marijuana (Statista).
  15. Among occupations, Food Preparation and Serving had the highest prevalence of current marijuana users (32.2%) (CDC).
  16. Nearly one billion kilograms of recreational cannabis was consumed in the United States in 2020. (Statista).
  17. About 76% of the U.S population believe marijuana is less harmful than tobacco (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics).

Marijuana addiction statistics

  1. A scientific article published in 2018 relays that approximately 10% of regular cannabis users develop a marijuana use disorder (National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics).
  2. Recent data suggest that 30% of those who use marijuana may have some degree of marijuana use disorder (National Institutes on Drug Abuse).
  3. People who begin using marijuana before the age of 18 are four to seven times more likely to develop a marijuana use disorder than adults (National Institutes on Drug Abuse)
  4. In 2015, about 4.0 million people in the United States met the diagnostic criteria for a marijuana use disorder (National Institutes on Drug Abuse)
  5. One study estimated that approximately 3 in 10 people who use marijuana have marijuana use disorder (CDC).
  6. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), about 9% of marijuana users become addicted (NIDA)
  7. The World Health Organization estimates that globally, about 13 million people suffer from cannabis dependence, representing about 6.7% of all drug dependence cases (WHO).
  8. According to a study published in Drug and Alcohol Dependence, men are nearly twice as likely as women to develop a marijuana use disorder, with 14.9% of male users experiencing addiction compared to 7.7% of female users (Drug and Alcohol Dependence).

Marijuana industry statistics

  1. The US cannabis industry is expected to reach almost $40 billion in 2024 (FlowHub)
  2. The Cannabis market worldwide is projected to reach a revenue of US$60.79bn in 2024 (Statista)
  3. The US cannabis industry supports almost half a million jobs (428,059) (Upmetrics)
  4. North America dominated legal cannabis sales in 2020, capturing almost the entire market share (Upmetrics).
  5. California stands as the world’s most significant cannabis market, surpassing the entire Canada in size (Statista)
  6. Despite the coronavirus outbreak, Flower continued to account for the largest portion of cannabis sales in California throughout the first half of 2020 (Statista)
  7. Cannabis sales reached $21.1 billion in 2022 in the United States only (statista).
The content on Nesa's Hemp blog is for educational purposes only. We meticulously research and cite our sources, but advise consulting a professional before making decisions based on our information. We derive our content from reputable studies and publications, but individual circumstances may vary. We cannot guarantee the accuracy or applicability of our content to every situation. Nesa's Hemp blog and its authors are not liable for any loss or inconvenience resulting from reliance on our information. By using our blog, you waive any claims against us regarding the accuracy or completeness of our content.

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