Making medical marijuana use legal was expected to increase the number of teens smoking it, as well as lead to other consequences, including drug abuse, car crashes, etc. However, contrary to what had been expected, teens did not rush to get the weed once it became legal to use it. The same is not true of recreational pot legalization, though, which means offering easy ways to buy marijuana is likely to increase the number of teen stoners.
A recent research carried out by a team from the Columbia University showed that no significant negative impact followed the legalization of medical weed use. The investigators used the data collected in the course of major ongoing surveys and several studies, which make up eleven sources in total.
Using this information, they were able to analyze the tendency to smoke marijuana in different states. The period from which the data was available was rather long: from the year of1991 to 2014 (no data for later years was included). The teen cannabis smoking rates were compared with regard to whether the medical weed use law was passed in a particular state, i.e. they compared the rates before legalization and after it in the states where such a law was passed, and looked at what results were seen in the states where this law was never supported.
Having analyzed the statistics, the investigators came to the conclusion that no increase in medical weed use resulted from the legalization.
However, they remain uncertain as to whether the social acceptance of such a practice can affect smoking habits in the general population. Besides, the team did not include the data for 2015 and later years, and that’s the period where significant increase in teen cannabis use can be revealed.
More adult stoners
When medical marijuana use is concerned, it is quite clear that children and teens have less opportunities to violate the law by getting fake permissions (in the states where a doctor’s recommendation is required) and obtain the weed “to use it for medical purposes” than adults. In several states, no recommendation issued by a doctor is required, and the national support is so strong that it is no wonder more adults started using marijuana after it was legalized.
Recreational use leads to more youngsters smoking
Recreational cannabis use is likely to result in much more teens smoking the weed, as a research which appeared in JAMA Pediatrics showed. The industry is flourishing, and there are plenty of sellers which would not mind earning more if young Americans decide there is nothing bad about using marijuana even for recreational purposes.
If marijuana is used for a long time, it can affect your health, and the earlier you start smoking, the more significant the consequences. Cannabis use, both in adults and teens, is associated with more car crashes, increased risk of cannabis use disorder, and the risk for withdrawal. The scientific evidence available is not enough to say that smoking weed for recreational purposes is harmless, and more research is needed to find out in what ways health is undermined as a result of cannabis use.
Despite the strong public support, marijuana use seems to have become less popular among teens in the recent years. The number of those smoking the weed in question regularly has decreased – the number reported in the new national survey is the lowest since 1994. According to the document, the cannabis use rate made up 6.5% among teens aged 12-17. It is the number of those who have used it at least once in the past thirty days. There are still a lot of things to do to help teens realize that smoking can be very dangerous, but the trend definitely looks promising.