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1998 National Household Survey on Drug Abuse

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In 1998, an estimated 11.0 million Americans were current (past month) marijuana/hashish users. This represents 5.0 percent of the population age 12 and older. There was no change in the number of users or rate of marijuana use between 1997 and 1998.

Marijuana is by far the most commonly used illicit drug. In 1998, approximately 81 percent of current illicit drug users were marijuana/hashish users. Because of the dominance of marijuana, trends and demographic differences are generally similar for any illicit use and marijuana/hashish use.

About 1 in 12 youths age 12-17 (8.3 percent) were current marijuana users in 1998. Consistent with the trend for any illicit use, the 1998 estimate was lower than the 1997 estimate (9.4 percent), but this was not a statistically significant change in marijuana use.

The prevalence of current marijuana use among youth more than doubled from 1992 to 1995, from 3.4 percent to 8.2 percent. Since 1995, the rate has fluctuated, but was about the same in 1998 as it was in 1995. In addition, similar trends are evident among major demographic subgroups of youth, including boys and girls, whites, blacks, and Hispanics, in all four geographic regions, and in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas (Figure 8).

In 1998 there were an estimated 6.8 million frequent marijuana users, defined as use on at least 51 days during the past year. This represents a rate of 3.1 percent of the population age 12 and older, and is not different from the rate of 3.0 percent estimated for 1997 (6.4 million users). However, it is significantly greater than the estimate for 1995 (5.3 million users, or 2.5 percent).

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This page was last updated on June 01, 2008.