Marijuana Use Has Declined Among Youth In States Where It Is Legal, Says New Study


1 in 6 people start using cannabis in their adolescence. This can have several harmful effects on their mental health. Though beneficial and safe for adults, the same cannot be said about teen use of marijuana. Fortunately, following legalization in some states, cannabis use has dropped among teenagers there.

Study – Use Of Cannabis Among Youth Has Went Down

A latest report says that marijuana use among youth has decreased in states that legalized marijuana for adult use. The JAMA Pediatrics journal has published this research work led by economists from the Montana State University, University of Colorado, and University of Oregon. This study is based on data of the past 25 years from the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys.

The federal Centers for Disease Control survey high school students every two years in the United States as part of YRBS. This survey tracks the diet, exercise, sexual activity, and use of drugs of participants. The survey includes 4.4 million high school students since 1991.

Findings Of The Study

Researchers compared medical marijuana states, prohibition states, and adult use states. They noted that the legalization of marijuana didn’t have any effect on youth cannabis use. However, in adult use states, a decrease of 8% in youth cannabis use was noticed. Economists also found that there was a 9% decline in frequent use of marijauna among the youth.

In this regard, regular use was counted as using marijuana once in 30 days. Whereas, frequent use was defined as 10 times in 30 days. Therefore, the study concluded that marijuana legalization didn’t increase its use among the youth.

Authors of the research work added, “Moreover, the estimates reported [by the Youth Risk Behavior Surveys] showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes.” This can be explained with the argument that with legal dispensaries in place, finding drug dealers has become difficult for teens.

And in the case of legal dispensaries, they have to show proof of their age. This opinion and the results of this study go hand in hand with what previous researchers have found. Past reports also show that legalization of marijuana has not increased its use among teenagers.

Marijuana Use Among Teenagers

Pot use among youngsters in the age group of 12 to 18 can be harmful. Weed use can increase risk of depression and even suicidality among teens. Another study published in the Neuropharmacology journal found another negative effect. It revealed that marijuana exposure in teenage can lead to anxiety disorders.

This is because during teenage, the brain is still in the development stage. This is also why for teens, marijuana use is more harmful than alcohol. Even though for adults, marijuana use is less harmful than both alcohol and smoking.

Key Takeaway

A new study reveals that marijuana use has decreased among youth in states where marijuana is legal. This shows that legalization doesn’t increase marijuana use among teens. Rather legalization makes it difficult for underage users to get their hands on weed.


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