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Teen Marijuana Use Has Fallen Off a Cliff and the Government Wants to Know Why?

Cannabis prohibitionists love to argue ridiculous claims about how horrific and damaging the legalization of cannabis will be to society.

One of their claims is that legalizing cannabis and making it available to the public will lead to addiction above all among adolescents. However, now we have more evidence that it does the opposite, with the widespread legalization of marijuana in fact causing the opposite – leading to a drop in teen use.

Last month, the University of Michigan released its annual report Watch the future survey that shows a dramatic year-over-year decline in adolescent cannabis use – along with other controlled substances. They found a 33% reduction in reported cannabis use for 8th grade students, 38% reduction for 10th grade students, and 13% reduction for 12th grade students. “The percentage of students who reported using marijuana (in all its forms, including smoking and vaping) in the past grade declined significantly for grade 8, 10 and 12,” write the authors.

“We have never seen such dramatic declines in adolescent drug use in just one year,” said Nora Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which funded the study. “This data is unprecedented and highlights an unintended potential consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused seismic changes in the daily lives of adolescents,” she said.

Dr Volkow joined a podcast in September 2021 with Ethan Nadelmann, who was once the director of the Drug Policy Alliance, who then said that legalizing recreational cannabis across the country had not caused an increase in drug use. number of young people using drugs. Then in December, she said in an interview that there was no evidence smoking cannabis caused any harm.

“The Biden-Harris administration is committed to using data and evidence to guide our prevention efforts. It is therefore important to identify all the factors that may have led to this decrease in substance use in order to better inform prevention strategies in the future, ”explains Dr Rahul. Gupta, director of national drug control policy at the White House. “The administration invests historic funding levels in evidence-based prevention programs because delaying substance use after adolescence significantly reduces the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder. “

The results of Monitoring the Future also revealed a significant drop in cannabis use among adolescents aged 12 to 17. “The latest findings add to the growing body of scientific literature showing that marijuana regulatory policies can be implemented in a way that allows access for adults while simultaneously limiting access and abuse by young people.” , explains Paul Armetano, deputy director of NORML. He adds that the results are consistent with many other studies that prove that statewide legalization of cannabis has not caused an increase in adolescent cannabis use or made it easier for them to access it. .

“In addition to looking at these significant yearlong drops in youth substance use, the real benefit of the Monitoring the Future survey is our unique ability to track changes over time and over time. history, ”said the newspaper’s manager. author, Richard A. Miech, Ph.D., who is also the survey team leader at the University of Michigan. “We knew this year’s data would shed light on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on youth substance use, and in the years to come, we will find out if those impacts are sustainable as we continue to track drug use patterns of these unique cohorts of adolescents.

Legalization is the key to preventing adolescent cannabis use

While cannabis use naturally has a wide range of benefits for adults as well as sick children, adolescents are not advised to use it recreationally due to their developing brains.

And that is why legalization is monumental in ensuring that young adults don’t start using drugs until they are of legal age.

In September 2021, a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which studied federal data from the 1993-2019 Youth Risk Behavior Survey taken in 10 states with recreational or medical use laws, adds to the evidence that the Cannabis reform has a positive impact on underage consumption. The authors did not speculate on why underage children do not consume as much cannabis in states with legal laws, although the trends come as no surprise to those who argue that legal access to the sale of cannabis, as long as it is in a regulated environment, would hamper the black market and reduce access for adolescents.

The researchers say the adult use law “was not associated with current marijuana or frequent use of marijuana.”

“Consistent with estimates from previous studies, there was little evidence that RML (Recreational Marijuana Law) or MML (Medical Marijuana Law) encouraged use by young people,” the researchers say. “As more post-legalization data becomes available, researchers will be able to draw stronger conclusions about the relationship between RML and adolescent marijuana use. “

“This study provides further evidence that legalizing and regulating cannabis is not leading to increased rates of use among adolescents,” Marijuana Policy Project deputy director Matthew Schweich told Moment Marijuana. “In fact, it suggests that cannabis legalization laws may reduce adolescent use.”

“This makes sense because legal cannabis companies are required to strictly check their customers’ IDs,” he adds. “The unregulated market, which prohibitionists are effectively trying to maintain, lacks such protections. “

Claims to safeguard older studies

The evidence only strengthens the basis for these claims.

In 2019 itself, a report which was published in JAMA Pediatrics found that legal recreational marijuana laws were linked to an 8% drop in high school students who used cannabis in the past 30 days, as well as a 9% decrease in those who admitted to consuming it at least 10 times in the past 30 days.

“Just to be clear, we found no effect on use in adolescents after medical legalization, but evidence of a possible reduction in use after recreational legalization,” explains Mark Anderson, associate professor at Montana State University and first author of the article.

“Because our study is based on more political variation than proper work, we consider our estimates to be the most credible to date in the literature,” he says.


As cannabis legalization is expected to become even more prevalent this year, we expect rates of underage cannabis use to continue to decline. After all, legalization and regulation are key to eliminating the black market and ensuring that cannabis gets into safe hands.







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