Cannabis Use Among American High School Students High School Students in the United States, 1993-2019
A new study published this week in the JAMA from the American Medical Association revealed that changes in legislation allowing adult cannabis use in many states in the United States in recent years have not resulted in an increase in adolescent use, on the contrary, there has been a decrease of up to 'at about 15%.
Contrary to the fears of those who oppose the relaxation of cannabis laws, a study published this week in the prestigious journal JAMA, reported by the cannabis magazine, found a 15% drop in cannabis use among high school students in countries where legalization has been approved and a 7% drop in countries that have accepted medical cannabis.
The study (PDF), funded in part by the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH), examined data on cannabis use among high school students in the United States between 1993 and 2019 based on official data from the government.
The data was obtained as part of the Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a survey conducted by the Federal Agency for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC) once a year in the American education system to assess, among other things, the rate of drug and alcohol use among the country's youth.
The YRBS questionnaire contains two questions about cannabis, one asking if they do not use cannabis at all and the other if they use it often. These questions are presented separately in order to assess both the proportion of adolescents who use cannabis occasionally and the rate of adolescents who use it regularly.
The researchers analyzed data from the government survey and tried to see if changes in the legal status of cannabis in some states in the United States resulted in a change in the proportion of teenagers using it in that state.
The researchers separately examined the impact of two legislative changes in the United States: the legalization of medical cannabis, which has so far been approved in 36 US states, and the legalization of recreational cannabis, which has so far been approved for use in 18 US states. 'has now been approved in XNUMX US states.
The results of the study show that in countries that allow the use of medical cannabis, the rate of adolescents using cannabis in general has fallen by an average of 6% and the rate of adolescents using cannabis has often fallen by average of 7%.
When it comes to states in the United States that have fully legalized recreational use, the study shows that the rate of teens using cannabis did not change in the year after legalization was approved, but when 'it was tested again two years after legalization and over the following years it fell an average of 15%.
It should be noted that a previous study by the same team of researchers published in 2019 in the Journal of the American Medical Association had previously found that legalizing recreational cannabis resulted in an 8% decrease in its use among adolescents, but that the study was criticized based on data from 3 countries for legalization only, as data from other legalization countries was not yet available to researchers at the time.
The current study is published in response to that criticism, and it manages to replicate the results of the previous study, but this time with data from 10 US states that have fully legalized for recreational purposes. The measured decrease in the consumption rate among adolescents in the present study (15%) is as indicated even greater than that observed in the previous study (8%).
Even more significant results have been published last year (2020) using data from the Government of Canada's Central Bureau of Statistics, which reported a 47% drop in the rate of adolescents using cannabis in the country about a year and a half after it was approved for use. legalization in October 2018.
To date, no significant reason has been established for this decrease in cannabis use among adolescents in countries that have approved legalization, but it can be estimated that in countries where cannabis is illegal, use itself. even becomes a kind of protest. That is, once cannabis is legal and there is no reason to protest, consumption decreases. Additional assumptions relate to the “stolen water will soften” theory.