How do you know where the line is between casual and problematic marijuana use?

The percentage of American adults who say they smoke weed has practically doubled in the last three years, according to a new Gallup poll. The poll shows that one in eight adults, or 13%, say they currently smoke weed, up from 7% in 2013. Of the 1,000 randomly chosen, adult survey respondents, 43% said they have tried pot, an increase from 38% in 2013.

According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States. A 2015 report by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that the rate of current marijuana use rose from 4.1% in 2001-02 to 9.5% in 2012-13. About one-third of the respondents reported symptoms of problematic use, formally diagnosed as Cannabis Use Disorder.

So, given that cannabis is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, you might be wondering how one tells the difference between casual and problematic use. Often this is determined by assessing the relationship between you and the substance; as well as your use behaviors and the consequences of those behaviors.

If this is something you would like to explore, the following 12 questions from Marijuana Anonymous might be helpful for you.

  1. Has smoking pot stopped being fun? 
  2. Do you ever get high alone? 
  3. Is it hard for you to imagine a life without marijuana? 
  4. Do you find that your friends are determined by your marijuana use? 
  5. Do you use marijuana to avoid dealing with your problems? 
  6. Do you smoke pot to cope with your feelings? 
  7. Does your marijuana use let you live in a privately defined world? 
  8. Have you ever failed to keep promises you made about cutting down or controlling your use of marijuana? 
  9. Has your use of marijuana caused problems with memory, concentration, or motivation? 
  10. When your stash is nearly empty, do you feel anxious or worried about how to get more? 
  11. Do you plan your life around your marijuana use? 
  12. Have friends or relatives ever complained that your using is damaging your relationship with them? 

 If you found that you answered “Yes” to any of these questions; and are concerned about this, help is available to you. Please check out our list of campus and local resources; or if you are an MSU employee, spouse, or benefits eligible family member of an MSU employee contact the MSU Employee Assistance Program to schedule a discussion with a licensed professional today.  

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