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Study: Rates Of Problematic Cannabis Use Falling Among Teens

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 26, 2016

    no_marijuanaFewer adolescents are consuming cannabis; among those who do, fewer are engaging in problematic use of the plant, according to newly published data in the Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry.

    Investigators at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis evaluated government survey data on adolescents’ self-reported drug use during the years 2002 to 2013. Over 216,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 participated in the federally commissioned surveys.

    Researchers reported that the percentage of respondents who said that they had used cannabis over the past year fell by ten percent during the study period. The number of adolescents reporting problems related to marijuana, such as engaging in habitual use of the plant, declined by 24 percent from 2002 to 2013.

    The study’s lead author acknowledged that the declines in marijuana use and abuse were “substantial.”

    The study’s findings are consistent with previous evaluations reporting decreased marijuana use and abuse by young people over the past decade and a half — a period of time during which numerous states have liberalized their marijuana policies.

    An abstract of the new study, “Declining prevalence of marijuana use disorders among adolescents in the United States, 2002 to 2013,” appears online here.

    12 Responses to “Study: Rates Of Problematic Cannabis Use Falling Among Teens”

    1. Mark Mitcham says:

      The teenage years are when you transition into adulthood, in all kinds of ways. From work to sex, from choosing your own clothes to choosing your own food. In theory, as an adult, you make your own personal decisions.

      Marijuana is an adult choice, and a perfectly good one. Let’s not act like people are doing anything wrong by smoking it, including the youngest of adults!

      Let’s not blame a pot-smoking teenager for growing up! Especially when we as a society continue to treat repsonsible pot-smoking adults thenselves like disobedient children.

      The prohibitionists like to say they’re all about protecting little minor Johnny from the alleged dangers of marijuana. But that is only until he takes his first toke — then the objective becomes to CRUSH little Johnny, to punish him so severly his life will be ruined and he will never recover.

      Before we start judging pot-smoking teenagers, let me ask: when did you start? I was sixteen. I never felt that was too soon.

      Twenty-one is an arbitrary and wildly unrealistic age limit for marijuana. I see it as only a political concession to ease fears. But I’m not surprised to hear that teen use is falling: under marijuana prohibition, high schools ARE dispensaries!!!

      • mexweed says:

        Why fewer teens try using cannabis? You almost got it right, Mark– under present-day high-tech prohibition, high schools are “DRUG” TEST dispensaries. Most kids today know about the threat of a sneak test which can show whether you inhaled any THC in the last MONTH. In the United States of Incarceration and career blacklisting one “marijuana conviction” can take a million bucks off your lifetime earnings potential.

        • Mark Mitcham says:

          Teens are always getting the shit end of the stick — always the worst of both worlds, childhood and adulthood. Mandatory drug tests are a traumatic violation of their innocence and youth.

          And while they are adults mentally, they don’t have the experience to understand the exploitive and predatory nature of our corporate culture.

          Mandatory drug tests for teens will invariably push those very teens into taking more dangerous substances for recreation, like alcohol and/or pills, which are less likely to show up over time on a drug screen after being ingested. Why? Because they have only the more dangerous options available to them, to avoid failing the test.

    2. wounded says:

      This may actually be disturbing news. How many are now using a more harmful substance that can’t be easily detected.

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        Ain’t that a bitch? Try to get your get your kids to smoke a little weed instead of doing something certain to be more dangerous; but, noooo! They would rather be “tripping on E” or whatever (to borrow a phrase from Steve Martin.) Sheesh! Kids these days. Won’t even smoke pot with the family during family hour. (Just kidding.)

    3. Julian says:

      Saw this study published in the Guardian. This data really helps our movement as it justifies what marijuana activists knew all aling would happen while shitting the traps up for prohibitionists.
      Having less to rebel against I always knew about, but In starting to realize how much of the illegal black market was (and still is to a lesser extent in legalized states) pushed through high schools. On the border if Texas, high schoolers are still viciously recruited for drug operations since the charges for trafficking are less threatening than they are to adults, but mainly because prohibition allows the black market to be there. Legal regulated supplies of quality marijuana would all but wipe out the moldy pesticide ridden stuff on the street, and keep supplies out of school as adults would pose a greater risk distributing to a minor for relatively little gain.

      With that said, if my son decides to play high school football I’ll be damned if Im going to let anyone stop him from smoking some weed before or after the game. If the Department of Health and Human Services can patent marijuana as a “neuroprotectant” (USPat#6639507) then they have NO right to take custody of minors for treating the symptoms of entertaining the local community with concussions and broken bones.

    4. Julian says:

      “Shutting” the traps up… But we can shit on them as well…

    5. Don E says:

      It will be interesting to see how Project SAM and Kevin Sabet spin this positive news into a crisis.

    6. TheOracle says:

      Fewer minors might no longer be able to get their hands on marijuana because there are fewer street (illegal) dealers who do NOT card to see if their customers are old enough.

      Fewer minors might no longer be able to get it because their parents can get it legally now AND their kids can’t use it to blackmail them by threatening to turn them in. The perverse situation where kids get at their parents’ stash and their parents can’t really discipline them for underage use is gone under legalization.

      The even worse situation of parents actually introducing their kids to weed so that they get high too and therefore can’t say anything about it is gone under legalization. That just so that the kids won’t–can’t really–rat out their parents.

      It’s not so much of a case of forbidden fruit tastes sweeter once cannabis is legal.

      Legalization means the prohibitionists have got to stop taking away people’s kids when the parents are responsible cannabis users, medical or adult recreational. They don’t do it for responsible tobacco and alcohol users, and cannabis, while not being completely harmless, is much less harmless than alcohol or tobacco.

    7. Joel: the other Joel says:

      The federal government are conditioning the children to live in a more controlled environment with cameras and ID checkpoints, so that they can get use to it for the rest of their lives.

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