Marijuana is one of the most commonly used illegal drugs in the world. Even though this substance has been illegal since the 1930s, approximately 40 percent of the United States population (over the age of twelve years) has been reported as trying this drug at least once in their lives. With TV shows and movies, some of the scenes glorify the use of marijuana as a rite of passage. Therefore, people are sometimes encouraged to experiment with it instead of staying away from the substance.
According to Marijuana's statistics, it has been used throughout history for thousands of years and for a variety of different purposes including religious ceremonies, fiber for making clothes, paper, ropes and as a medicine. In some cultures, it has been used for recreational purposes (in ancient as well as in modern times). Even though this is true, many medical professionals do not always agree on the effects that it has on both the brain and body. In fact, many scientists are divided on how this substance should be classified. For example, some scientists says the drug should be classified as a hallucinogen, which is the same as LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide). Other scientists believe it should be classed as a narcotic because they say it has all of the characteristics of an opium. The is third group of scientists, however, who do not want to classify the drug as an opium or a narcotic because they believe that a new class should be established because it is a group that is by itself.
This topic is also further complicated by additional matters, since marijuana statistics will show some scientists calling it a substance that helps with making the brain and the body more active or a stimulant. In some situations, some people call the drug a depressant or substances that will slow the brain and body down. Whatever the case, marijuana is illegal in any form (organic and plant-derived). People who possess this substance cannot use it if for recreation marijuana or sell it to someone else because it is illegal to possess.
Due to all of the diverse opinions surrounding this substance, the statistics also show all of the controversy that has been made over the drug's role in medicine. Some medical professionals want to use this drug as a medicine for certain illnesses. Therefore, there is a small group of Americans who want marijuana to be legal as well as sold to others under controlled circumstances. This means, marijuana will be sold under the same rules and guidelines as alcohol. The United States government has made not backed this move nor have they made any efforts toward legalizing its possession. However, the government has tightened the laws more against its possession since the year 1980. Based on the present laws, anyone who buys, sells, or uses marijuana for any type of purposes (including recreational purposes), can face many penalties if they are caught. If caught, the person will have a permanent criminal record on file throughout their life.
Based on information from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, there is a distinction between trying the substance and the age group. The survey states that the age group that is least likely to try this illegal substance is over the age of seventy. On the other hand, the group that is more likely to try marijuana is in the age group of 18 to 25. When conducting a Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System survey (conducted in 2001), the results indicated 23.9 percent of people who used marijuana. This figures include approximately 2 out of 10 people who are between the ages of 10 and 24.
These statistics can also change substantially based on the year that the survey is taken. The demographics can change based on the type of questions that the survey is asking. For example, in the year 2001, more men were reported as smoking marijuana. Two years later the demographics changed from men to women (the 2003 NSDUH report reflected 53 percent of the first-time users were reported as women.
The demographics for smoking marijuana changes amongst races. While Native Americans, Hispanic Americans and Caucasians are equal in numbers when identifying those who have tried this substance, Asian Americans has the lower numbers in these reports.