Trends in Self-Reporting of Marijuana Consumption in the United States
To adjust for underreporting of marijuana use, researchers multiply the proportion of individuals who reported using marijuana by a constant factor, such as the US Office of National Drug Control Policy’s 1.3. Although the current adjustments are simple, they do not account for changes in reporting over time. This article presents a novel way to explore relative changes in reporting from one survey to another simply by using data already available in a self-reported survey, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Using domain estimation to examine the stability in reported marijuana use by age 25 in individuals older than 25, this analysis provides estimates of the trends in marijuana reporting and standard errors, as long as the survey weights properly account for sampling variability. There was no significant evidence of an upward or downward trend in reporting changes from 1979 to 2016 for all birth cohorts, although there were significant differences in reporting between years and a slight downward trend in later years. These results suggest that individuals have become increasingly less willing to report their drug use in recent years, and thus the ONDCP likely underestimated the already drastic increase in use from 1992 to 2016.