Cannabis and psychedelic drug use among young American adults has reached an all-time high, according to a federal survey. The data was collected by the National Institute of Health (NIH) and shows a strong comeback after a year of low use of all substances by young adults in 2020 due to the pandemic.
The survey was conducted among people aged 19-60 from April to October 2021 and found that 43% of young adults (aged 19-30) said they had used cannabis 20 or more times in the past the previous month, an increase of 34% compared to the results of previous surveys. These increases were also present in people aged 54 to 50, but to a lesser extent.
The researchers who conducted the survey are surprised by these results, which show that young adults are not only more interested in cannabis and psychedelics than previous generations, but also in vaping nicotine and alcohol.
According to the NIH, reports of binge drinking by young adults (defined as having had five or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks) have returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 after dropping significantly in 2020.
“High-intensity drinking, defined as having had 10 or more drinks in a row in the past two weeks, was at its highest level since it was first measured. in 2005, reported by 13% of young adults in 2021, compared to 11% in 2005. However, alcohol consumption in recent months and years, as well as daily alcohol consumption, are decreasing among young adults for 10 years. »
Many factors contribute to this result according to the study. In addition to a more lax attitude towards cannabis and, to some extent, psychedelics, these figures also reflect the mental health of young adults in the United States, which has probably collapsed as a result of the pandemic.
Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the NIH, called the results “very concerning”.
“What they tell us is that the problem of drug use among young people has worsened in this country and that the pandemic, with all its mental stressors and upheavals, has probably contributed to this. increase,” she said.
In a separate poll conducted by Gallup last week, more Americans (16%) said they had smoked cannabis than tobacco (11%) in the past week.
The personal experience of cannabis is also strongly linked to the opinion that Americans have of it:
- A large majority of adults who say they have tried cannabis – almost half of Americans – think its effects on users (70%) and society in general (66%) are positive
- Conversely, the majority of those who have never tried cannabis believe that its effects are negative: 72% say so about its effects on society and 62% about its effects on consumers.