HealthDay News — The prevalence of marijuana use increased among women from 2002 to 2014, and less than 10% of adult marijuana users report use for medical purposes, according to two research letters published online December 19 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Qiana L. Brown, PhD, MPH, from Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues obtained data from the annual National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) from 2002 through 2014 to examine trends in marijuana use. Data were included for 200,510 women ages 18 to 44 years. The researchers found that the adjusted prevalence of past-month marijuana use increased from 2.37 to 3.85% among all pregnant women (prevalence ratio, 1.62). Past-year use reached 11.63% in 2014, with similar trends over time. The prevalences of past-month and past-year use were higher overall among nonpregnant women (2014: 9.27 and 15.93%, respectively). 

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Wilson Compton, MD, from the National Institute on Drug Abuse in Bethesda, Maryland, and colleagues used data from the NSDUH for 2013 to 2014 to estimate the 12-month prevalence of medical marijuana use only, nonmedical marijuana use, and combined medical and nonmedical use. Data were included for 96,100 respondents. The researchers found that 12.9% of U.S. adults had past-year marijuana use (nonmedical use only, medical use only, combined use: 11.6, 0.8, and 0.5%, respectively). Among past-year adult marijuana users, 90.2, 6.2, and 3.6% used nonmedically only, used medically only, and used medically and nonmedically, respectively.

“Using nationally representative data, 9.8% of adult marijuana users in the United States reported use for medical purposes,” Compton and colleagues write.

One author from the Compton study disclosed financial ties to the technology and pharmaceutical industries.

Full Text – Brown
Full Text – Compton