Is America’s weed habit dangerous?

FEW RICH countries have taken to legal weed quite like America. Although federal regulation remains tight, the drug is legal for recreational use in 24 states and for medical use in 38. One in six American adults now uses marijuana at least monthly, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH); nearly one in 20—about 11m people—gets high every day. A recent paper by Jonathan Caulkins of Carnegie Mellon University estimates that the number of “daily or near-daily” marijuana users—defined as those who report getting high on at least 21 of the past 30 days—surpassed the number of daily alcohol users in 2022.

That finding grabbed headlines. It does not mean that weed is a bigger health risk than alcohol, but it does have some worrying implications.