New research published by JAMA Pediatrics suggests youth cannabis usage rates have steadily declined in states with regulated adult-use markets.
Led by Mark Anderson, a health economist at Montana State University, a group of researchers analyzed federal data on trends relating to cannabis and youth (grades 9-12) consumption and behavior, studying surveys from 1993 through 2017, involving more than 1.4 million US high school students. Survey questions polled students on their usage of cannabis, and the frequency of it -allowing researchers to compare the same students results post-legalization in states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and California.
No significant decrease was found within states limited to a medical program, but meta-analysis revealed no examples of a spike in usage across any demographics, and found more than a 8% decline in reported youth usage in states with an adult-use market.
Consistent with the results of previous researchers,there was no evidence that the legalization of medical marijuana encourages marijuana use among youth. Moreover, the estimates reported in the Table showed that marijuana use among youth may actually decline after legalization for recreational purposes,” wrote D. Mark Anderson, PhD
The recent report from Anderson and JAMA Pediatrics aligns with other states individual reports – which all indicate no rise in self-reported cannabis use by adolescents.
What was once used as a prominent argument against cannabis reform has been turned on its head, proving regulating cannabis for adult use to have potential public policy benefits.