Toking, Vaping, and Eating for Health or Fun: Marijuana Use Patterns in Adults, U.S., 2014

Am J Prev Med. 2016 Jan;50(1):1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.amepre.2015.05.027. Epub 2015 Aug 12.


Introduction: Policies legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use have been increasing in the U.S. Considering the potential impact of these policies, important knowledge gaps exist, including information about the prevalence of various modes of marijuana use (e.g., smoked in joints, bowls, bongs; consumed in edibles or drinks) and about medical versus recreational use. Accordingly, this study assessed (1) prevalence and correlates of modes of current and ever marijuana use and (2) prevalence of medicinal and recreational marijuana use in U.S. adults.

Methods: Data came from Summer Styles (n=4,269), a nationally representative consumer panel survey of adults aged ≥18 years, collected in 2014. The survey asked about past 30-day (current) and ever mode of marijuana use and current reason for use (medicinal, recreational, both). Weighted prevalence estimates were computed and correlates were assessed in 2014 using logistic regression.

Results: Overall, 7.2% of respondents reported current marijuana use; 34.5% reported ever use. Among current users, 10.5% reported medicinal-only use, 53.4% reported recreational-only use, and 36.1% reported both. Use of bowl or pipe (49.5%) and joint (49.2%) predominated among current marijuana users, with lesser use of bong, water pipe, or hookah (21.7%); blunts (20.3%); edibles/drinks (16.1%); and vaporizers (7.6%); 92.1% of the sample reported combusted-only marijuana use.

Conclusion: Combusted modes of marijuana use are most prevalent among U.S. adults, with a majority using marijuana for recreation. In light of changing policies and patterns of use, improved marijuana surveillance is critical for public health planning.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Cannabis*
  • Eating*
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Marijuana Smoking / epidemiology*
  • Medical Marijuana* / administration & dosage
  • Middle Aged
  • Population Surveillance
  • Prevalence
  • Recreation / psychology*
  • Sex Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult


  • Medical Marijuana