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Risks and Benefits of Marijuana Use

Ann Intern Med; ePub 2018 Jul 24; Keyhani, et al

US adults view marijuana use as favorable overall, with approximately 80% of those surveyed indicating a belief that marijuana has at least 1 benefit. The probability-based online survey of 16,280 US adults in 2017 sought to understand the public’s views on the risks and benefits of marijuana use. Measured outcome was the proportion of participants who agreed with a statement. Among the findings:

  • Survey response rate was 55.3%.
  • Approximately 14.6% of US adults reported using marijuana in the past year.
  • About 81% believed marijuana has at least 1 benefit, whereas 17% believed it has no benefit.
  • The most commonly cited benefit was pain management (66%), followed by treatment of diseases (48%), and relief from anxiety, stress, and depression (47%).
  • About 91% of participants believe marijuana has at least 1 risk, the most common identified as legal problems (51.8%), followed by addiction (50%), and impaired memory (42%).
  • About 22.4% believe that marijuana is not at all addictive.


Keyhani S, Steigerwald S, Ishida J, et al. Risks and benefits of marijuana use: A national survey of U.S. adults. [Published online ahead of print July 24, 2018]. Ann Intern Med. doi:10.7326/M18-0810.

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