More Legal Pot, More Teens Are Lighting Up

TUESDAY, Feb. 16, 2021 (HealthDay News) – As pot gains acceptance among adults, teens seem more tempted to try it, according to a new study from California.

After the state legalized the use of marijuana for adults in 2016, the use of the drug by adolescents has also increased after years of steady decline.

Researchers analyzed survey data from more than 3 million students in Grades 7, 9 and 11, who answered questions about their marijuana use from the 2010-11 to 2018-19 school year.

In the last two surveys, the question on marijuana use has been changed to include the words “smoke, vape, eat or drink” to reflect the growing variety of marijuana products.

Between the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school years, after pot was legalized for adults, marijuana use increased by 23% in the last 30 days and the likelihood of lifelong use among adolescents increased by 18% .

Vaping may have contributed to increased use of the drug, researchers say. They also noted that there were larger increases among groups of adolescents with historically lower rates of use, as well as in the past 30 days of use among older adolescents, men, blacks and young people. Asians who were regular users.

The results were published on February 15 in the Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studies.

“I was somewhat surprised to see relatively larger increases in the prevalence of marijuana use among young adolescents. [seventh-graders] compared to 9 and 11 students, women compared to men, non-Hispanic youth versus Hispanic youth, and whites versus youth of other racial groups, ”said senior researcher Mallie Paschall, senior researcher at the Prevention Research Center of the Pacific Research and Evaluation Institute in Berkeley, California.

“In other words,” he added in a press release, “there has been a greater increase in the prevalence of marijuana use after the legalization of recreational marijuana among young people. of “low risk” groups, which is of concern.

One possible reason is that legalization has normalized marijuana use, Paschall suggested.

“We also need to take a closer look at what’s going on at the local level, as there is a lot of variation in marijuana policies in communities in California and the United States,” he said.

Paschall added that researchers need to know more about how young people obtain cannabis and what forms they use, as there is currently such a variety of cannabis products.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on teens and marijuana.

SOURCE: Journal of Alcohol and Drug Studies, press release, February 15, 2021

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