NIH: Teen Marijuana Use Not Increasing Despite Legalization

MARYLAND: Self-reported marijuana use by adolescents has failed to increase in recent years despite the majority of states legalizing it for either medical or adult use, according to the latest data compiled by the University of Michigan’s Monitoring the Future survey, which is commissioned by the US National Institutes on Drug Abuse. NIDA is a part of the US National Institutes of Health.

Summarizing the findings in a press release, the agency acknowledged: “Rates of marijuana use by teens have been of great interest to researchers over the past decade, given major social and legislative shifts around the drug; it is now legal for adult recreational use in 10 states plus the District of Columbia, and it is available medicinally in many more. Fortunately, even as teens’ attitudes toward marijuana’s harms continue to relax, they are not showing corresponding increases in marijuana use.”

Marijuana use prevalence by young people did not change significantly between 2017 and 2018, the survey reported. Between the years 2012 and 2018, both rates of lifetime marijuana use and rates of annual marijuana use by 8th, 10th, and 12th graders have declined. Ten states have enacted laws regulating adult marijuana use during this same period of time, and several others have legalized medical cannabis access.


For more information, contact Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: paul@norml.org. Further data is available from NORML’s fact-sheet, “Marijuana Regulation and Teen Use Rates.”

 

Report: Teen Marijuana Use, Treatment Admissions Fall In Washington State Post-Legalization

WASHINGTON: The regulation of adult cannabis use in Washington is not associated with any increase in teens’ marijuana consumption or abuse rates, according to a report to the state legislature compiled by researchers at the Washington State Institute for Public Policy.

Authors reported that rates of current marijuana use and lifetime marijuana use have fallen among young people since lawmakers enacted legalization in 2012. These declines were most pronounced among 8th and 10th graders.

Among adults, rates of cannabis use have increased. However, there has been no corresponding rise in adults’ use of alcohol or tobacco, or in the number of adults seeking treatment for marijuana abuse during this time period.

Researchers concluded: “We found no evidence that I-502 enactment, on the whole, affected cannabis abuse treatment admissions. … [and] we found no evidence that the amount of legal cannabis sales affected youth substance use or attitudes about cannabis or drug-related criminal convictions.”

Separate studies from Colorado and Oregon similarly report that the enactment of adult use marijuana regulations has not adversely impacted youth use patterns in those states.

Boulder To Give Grants For Marijuana Education

COLORADO: Surveys of Boulder County teenagers show that a substantial majority view binge-drinking as a harmful behavior. A much smaller majority sees regular marijuana use in the same light.

Public health officials fear that the recent legalization of marijuana gives too many teenagers and parents the impression that it is safe.

Boulder plans to make up to $250,000 available next year for education efforts aimed at changing perceptions and reducing marijuana use among young people.

“There could be a perception that because it’s legal, it’s not harmful,” Karen Rahn, Boulder’s director of Human Services, told the City Council last week. “That perception is there with alcohol too, but because marijuana has recently been legalized, there is a window of opportunity to influence public perception.”

However, at the urging of the Boulder City Council, those grants will focus on comprehensive substance abuse education rather than more directly on marijuana.

Marijuana Study Reveals Teens’ ‘Surprising’ Views Of The Drug

Marijuana use continues to become legal in more places, but that doesn’t mean the drug’s popularity among adolescents is growing, a new study finds.

Although disapproval of marijuana use has decreased dramatically among young adults — suggesting that this age group is viewing the drug less negatively — that’s not the case for younger adolescents, according to the study.

The researchers found that disapproval of marijuana use has actually increased among adolescents ages 12 to 14. In 2013, 79 percent of kids in this age group said they strongly disapproved of people using marijuana, up from 74 percent who said the same in 2002.

The finding “was surprising,” given the growing legalization of the drug, said Christopher Salas-Wright, an assistant professor of social work at the University of Texas at Austin and the lead researcher on the study, published Sept. 16 in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.