According to a team of researchers with the Columbia School of Public Health, only 10 percent of straight women claim to have smoked marijuana over the past year, compared to 26 percent of lesbians. Meanwhile, bisexual women reported the highest rates of marijuana use, with 40 percent claiming to have lit up within the past year.
While only 1.5 percent of straight women smoke pot daily or near-daily (i.e., at least 300 days a year), six percent of lesbians and 10 percent of bisexual women do.
One of the more dubious conclusions that researchers came to, however, is that the high rates of pot consumption among queer women correlates with Marijuana Use Disorder. They speculate that this is due to high levels of stigma bisexual women face. We already know that bi women face higher rates of depression and substance abuse than other women, so that factoid is unsurprising.
"Our results support existing literature by demonstrating that bisexual women have higher marijuana use disorder compared to heterosexual women," said Morgan Philbin, one of the study's four authors.
Higher rates of marijuana use by LGB women could also be at least partly due to the fact that we're just cooler and have more fun. The National Institute on Drug Abuse says that nine percent of marijuana users become dependent on the drug to the point of Cannabis Use Disorder. That number is about the same as the rate of daily smokers among bi women, and it's highly doubtful that every bi woman daily user is dependent on it.
According to the DSM-V, the manual mental health professionals use to make diagnoses, Marijuna Use Disorder, involves so much regular use that it impairs work, social life, or safety. Regular users must meet several of 12 benchmarks, and the more they meet, the higher the severity of MUD.
While some LGB people use marijuana as a coping mechanism to deal with queerphobia and biphobia and become dependent, most users simply don't meet these stringent criteria. There are studies that show higher rates of substance abuse in bisexual women, but it's unclear if this study fits into that pattern or if researchers are jumping to conclusions based on their data.
Researchers, nonetheless, called for further investigation into marijuana use rates.
"[R]esearch has explored how LGB discrimination policies may impact substance use," according to Philbin. She added that "less work has explored how substance use policies may impact LGB men and women differently than heterosexuals."
The study showed that LGB women in states with medical marijuana laws are more likely to use than in other states.