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Legal Cannabis And Adolescent Use



The Biden administration has finally asked for cannabis to be considering for rescheduling.  The industry has been a boon for states, veterans, patients, and everyday citizens who just want to relax.  But the old argument of if you legalize it, youth use will skyrocket is being paraded out.  But what are the facts about legal cannabis and adolescent use?

RELATED: Science Says Medical Marijuana Improves Quality Of Life

No one in the industry promotes youth use.  Product companies, dispensaries and farms are very focused on the adult market. There are no cartoon camels shilling joints to the under 18 crowd. The industry recognizes until the age of 21, the brain is still developing and use of alcohol, tobacco and marijuana can have an impact.  Also, cannabis has clear medical benefits including help with chronic pain, seizures, cancer and more. Alcohol, which is clearly available, has no medical benefits and is much more harmful.

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States have been watching how this works and have enacted marketing regulations and regionalized data information.. While more work needs to be done, there are studies who say if you have legal weed and adolescent use usually. declines it is on par with data collected.

In addition, Gen Z is drifting away from alcohol to a more California lifestyle. This does not mean they do not use alcohol or marijuana at all, rather it means it isn’t increasing. A study from UC Davis says 16-18 year old use is about 30% compared to alcohol at 32%.

In fact  the Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report found the percentage of high-schoolers who report having used cannabis over the past 30 days fell from 23 percent in 2011 to 16 percent in 2021. The decline was more pronounced among males than females.

One study, published in the journal Substance Abuse, researchers from Harvard University, John Hopkins and the Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission reviewed data from 46 states collected over a 24-year period.

The study found that there is no evidence that suggests medical marijuana programs resulted in more cannabis consumption in teens. Overall, states with legal medical marijuana had fewer instances of teens consuming cannabis.

RELATED: Washington Teens Used Less Marijuana Following Legalization

“This study found no evidence between 1991 and 2015 of increases in adolescents reporting past 30-day marijuana use or heavy marijuana use associated with state MML [medical marijuana law] enactment or operational MML dispensaries,” cited researchers.

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Study Reveals Is THC or Nicotine Risker





WIth marijuana use on the upswing and nicotine looking more like yesterday, a study reveals is THC or nicotine risker for youth.  Conducted by the University of Michigan and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, the study examined the association between respiratory symptoms in adolescents who were users of cigarettes and vapes using THC and/or nicotine oil.

Using survey results, researchers found that when vaping cannabis, adolescents between the ages of 12 and 17 had a greater chance of sustaining lung injury through dry coughs, wheezing and other symptoms that had an effect in their speech, sleep, and exercise. The extent and duration of these symptoms are unknown.

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“We found, and it was something that surprised us a bit, that it was the lifetime vaping cannabis that was associated with a far greater number of symptoms and a higher likelihood of having each of these symptoms than using either e-cigarettes or cigarettes,” lead author Carol Boyd told U.S. News.

RELATED: Teenagers Ditch Alcohol And Cigarettes For Weed And Vaping

Results from the survey were compiled from December 2016 to January 2018, before the appearance of EVALI — the vaping illness that affected a large percentage of consumers. Boyd explained that some of the symptoms that were reported in the survey were likely associated with EVALI, which effected mainly THC vape users.

E-cigarettes and vapes are relatively new technologies that, while eliminating lung irritants such as smoke and paper, add in a variety of elements and chemicals that are harmful and aren’t all that understood. As for this survey, the concluding data contradicts the common perception that vaping and smoking nicotine is worse for your lungs than vaping and smoking THC.

RELATED: As Teen Use Rises, Study Finds Vaping Damages Lungs

“In short, it is all bad but if you also vape cannabis you have a greater number of unhealthy respiratory symptoms than if you just smoke cigarettes or marijuana, or vape e-cigarettes,” Boyd said. “Without a doubt, cigarettes and e-cigarettes are unhealthy and not good for lungs. However, vaping marijuana appears even worse.”

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What About Increased Use In Adolescents In Legal Weed State




With 23 recreational legal states and 40 medical, more parents are now worried their kids will be able to acquire weed easier than ever before. It is a perfectly natural reaction. After all, no mother or father wants to think that progressive drug policies might harm their children and put them on the path to addiction.  But there was no change in the prevalence use among teens. 

Despite what some law enforcement agencies, local health officials and politicians might have to say on the matter, there really isn’t any evidence of increased use in adolescents in legal states. And in a surprise, In the first quarter of 2023, an impressive 72% of Wellness Seekers reported consuming less alcohol, a significant increase from 67% in mid-2021. However, it’s the rise of cannabis as a preferred substitute for alcohol that marks a meaningful trend

Federal health agencies have collected data over the years that show this to be true. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health say that marijuana legalization has not caused an uptick in youth consumption rates. At least that is what the agencies found in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon, which were the first states to legalize for recreational use. In some cases, legalization actually lowered consumption rates among teens.

But marijuana legalization isn’t guaranteed to keep young people from experimenting with weed. We know this is true by examining how teens have taken to alcohol despite it being legal for decades.

Although both alcohol and marijuana laws require a person to be at least 21-years-old to purchase legal products, that doesn’t stop highly motivated minors from scoring them when they want to.

RELATED: Study: You’re More Likely To Use Marijuana If Your Parents Did

National statistics show that nearly 60% of teens have had at least one drink at some point. Meanwhile, around 7 million of them under the age of 21 have imbibed in a “few sips” of alcohol within the past month. When it comes to marijuana, somewhere around 13% of the adolescent population uses it — legal or not. This is down a few points from 2002, before statewide legalization began to take hold. 

So does legalization really cause a decrease in youth consumption? 

how rising levels of anxiety in teens might support the rise of cbd
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Many additional studies published over the years argue that it might. One body of research, in particular, a 2019 study published in the Journal of Studies of Alcohol and Drugs, finds that marijuana legalization doesn’t seem to be making it easier for children to get weed. 

RELATED: Another Survey Shows Teen Marijuana Use Declines After Legalization

“Between 2002 and 2015, we observed a 27% overall reduction in the relative proportion of adolescents ages 12-17-and a 42% reduction among those ages 12-14-reporting that it would be ‘very easy’ to obtain marijuana. This pattern was uniformly observed among youth in all sociodemographic subgroups. … Despite the legalization of recreational and medical marijuana in some states, our findings suggest that … perceptions that marijuana would be very easy to obtain are on the decline among American youth.” 

These findings have been relatively consistent too. 

Last year, a report from the National Institutes of Health found that youth consumption rates have not spiked in Colorado since its retail cannabis market launched in 2014. In fact, the state is slightly under the national average. It means that states like South Dakota and Montana, which just legalized in the November election, shouldn’t have to worry about teens going wild for weed.

Of course, just because national drug data shows promising results, parents shouldn’t take their hands off the wheel and hope for the best. Legal or not, proper education is the best method for preventing youngsters from experimenting with drugs and ending up with substance abuse issues later in life. But rest easy knowing that legalization isn’t going to make prevention any more difficult.

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