The use of marijuana and hallucinogens reached an all-time high among young adults in 2021 according to the results of a new study released by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The latest results from the NIH’s Monitoring the Future (MTF) panel, which has been ongoing since 1975, found the rate of marijuana use among people aged between 18 and 30 had reached 43 percent in 2021.
This rate is the highest that has been observed since 1988 when the trend of marijuana was first monitored.
Although relatively small, eight percent of adults between the same age range reported using hallucinogens within the past year. This represented the highest rate of use ever recorded by the MTF.
The types of hallucinogens that young adults reported using included LSD, MDMA, PCP, peyote and “shrooms.” Among the substances that were reported, MDMA was the only one that decreased significantly in use.
Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse said, “As the drug landscape shifts over time, this data provides a window into the substances and patterns of use favored by young adults.”
“We need to know more about how young adults are using drugs like marijuana and hallucinogens, and the health effects that result from consuming different potencies and forms of these substances,” she added.
The study also observed a significant increase in the rate of nicotine vaping last year despite a dip in use in the earlier parts of the pandemic, rising to 16 percent, nearly triple the rate that was first observed in 2017. Marijuana vaping similarly rebounded in use following a dip in early 2020, sitting at 12 percent in 2021.
While use of marijuana and hallucinogens reached record highs, alcohol still remained the most popular substance among young adults, with rates of binge-drinking — having five or more consecutive drinks in the past two weeks — returning to 32 percent, on par with pre-pandemic levels recorded in 2019. High-intensity drinking — having 10 or more drinks in a row within the past two weeks — reached an all-time high in 2021 at 13 percent.