The Oregonian recently published an article about how marijuana use in Oregon is the highest in the country. Stats show that the number of Oregon residents ages 26 and older who use marijuana has doubled since 2006. At the same time, the rest of the country’s marijuana use has only slightly increased.
Altogether, 1 in 10 adults in Oregon said they use the drug, which continues to be heavily favored by men. Oregon has surpassed the craze of the nation for the last ten years when it comes to adults using marijuana.
This month the Oregon Health Authority circulated a report that overviews the specific marijuana trends and attitudes among Oregonians. This is the state’s first expansive analysis of the most current government public health surveys focusing on who is consuming marijuana in Oregon and how often, as well as general attitudes about cannabis, which is now legal for recreational use.
Here are some of the findings:
Virtually a ten percent (1 in 10) eighth-graders and about five percent (1 in 5) 11th graders evaluated last year said they use marijuana, figures that have been consistent since 2012 and parallel to national trends.
Sixty-two percent of 11th graders say they have “easy access” to cannabis. They say weed is easier to get than cigarettes but is still more difficult to get than alcohol..
Smoking is without a doubt the most common way Oregonians consume marijuana. About 29 percent of consumers said they indulge daily. On average, consumers said they use pot every other day.
Roughly half of Oregon adults have been exposed to a marijuana product or advertisement in the last month. Another estimated 29 percent said they’d seen or read information regarding the drug’s potential health risks.
About 61 percent of adults are aware that marijuana is legal for anyone 21 and older to consume and the majority are aware that consuming in public is still illegal.
Three in four adults said that they know that driving under the influence of marijuana increases the risk of a potential crash, but surprisingly approximately two-thirds said they don’t know how long after consuming marijuana it’s fine to drive.
With it becoming legal to possess and grow marijuana starting last July, there have been some changes in a few areas: Marijuana-related calls to the Oregon Poison Center, maintained stability from 2013 through mid-2015, increased in the second half of last year, and marijuana-related arrests w from 2012 to 2015.
Out of the adults that said they consume, it was found that the average age of their first experience was 16.
The statistics did reveal higher medical and recreational marijuana use among gay and lesbians, disabled people and the poor and lower rates among veterans. However, the data didn’t show any clear-cut difference in marijuana consumption based on education.
Dr. Katrina Hedberg, state epidemiologist and health officer, said the results weren’t a surprise but rather reaffirmed most of what public health officials already knew about marijuana use. Unfortunately, it does imply probable public health concerns, specifically related to driving under the influence, she said.
While a greater number of Oregon adults know that driving under the influence of marijuana increases the risk of a crash, “people aren’t quite as aware of how long they need to wait and that probably varies as to whether you have smoked it or eaten it,” she said.
A basic need for consumers to be educated on the subject of marijuana is something that the poison center data is taking into account, especially when it comes to consumers who have no prior experience.
“It’s ironic,” said Hedberg, “because certainly marijuana in some people helps reduce anxiety, but it’s clear that in some people at high doses it can cause anxiety and paranoia and adverse health affects people might not expect.”