In four states, Marijuana use for the recreational purpose has been legalized. This trend is gradually infiltrating to other states or other countries. Recently, a national research proved that the prevalence rate of Marijuana use in the US reached 9.5% in 2012-2013, doubled from a decade ago.
International Business Times: US marijuana use has doubled with women and middle-aged leading the surge
JAMA Psychiatry: Prevalence of Marijuana Use Disorders in the United States Between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013
On the contrary, the smoke rate was halved from 43.4% to 19.5% in these some decades. Now, the number of Marijuana users is a half of that of smokers in the US.
My past entry: Tobacco problem in China
Some people insist that Marijuana is less harmful to the human body than tobacco. I partially agree with this opinion. Tobacco has been proven to be significant causes of several type of diseases. It does not mean, however, that Marijuana is harmless.
Marijuana brings you strong dependence, and sometimes psychosis. According to the researchers, approximately a third of users become Marijuana-related mental disorders. Interestingly, the proportion of the patients among total Marijuana users was decreased in this decade. More people could try to use Marijuana thanks to the legalization of Marijuana use. Perhaps, most of them remained occasional users, not so much addicted. Under the strict regulation, users might be limited to the persons severely dependent on Marijuana.
Thus, Marijuana exposure does not always make you dependent on this addictive drug. Supporters of relaxation of the regulation emphasize this fact. I heard a hypothesis that the power of inflicting dependence was stronger in alcohol than in Marijuana. On the other hand, a considerable amount of people will onset drug dependence or more serious illnesses such as psychosis due to Marijuana use. As a psychiatrist, I am concern about the agony of the patients.
In Japan, methamphetamine has been representative of addictive drugs. Methamphetamine has extremely strong dependency, and frequently cause psychosis. It is fortunate for Japanese that this terrible drug became infamous in the society. Recently, many kinds of addictive drugs are illegally imported to Japan. But most people are conscious to the risk of there drugs. We should continue to educate people who have high risk of exposing them.