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Studies: Fewer Teens Using Marijuana, Younger Adolescents More Likely To Voice Disapproval

Thursday, 08 October 2015

Studies: Fewer Teens Using Marijuana, Younger Adolescents More Likely To Voice Disapproval

Baltimore, MD: Self-reported use of marijuana by high-school students is significantly lower today than it was 15 years ago, according to an analysis of CDC data published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore assessed data compiled by the US Center for Disease Control's National Youth Risk Behavior Survey for the years 1999 to 2013. The Survey is a biennial school-based evaluation of more than 100,000 high-school students nationwide.

Investigators reported that lifetime use of cannabis fell during this period. The percentage of respondents reporting monthly marijuana consumption and/or any use of cannabis prior to age 13 also declined.

"People have been very quick to say that marijuana use is going up and up and up in this country, particularly now that marijuana has become more normalized," study leader Renee M. Johnson, PhD, MPH, an assistant professor in the Department of Mental Health at the Bloomberg School said in a press release. "What we are seeing is that ... the rates of marijuana use have actually fallen."

The result echoes those of previous studies concluding that changes in state marijuana policies are not associated with increased marijuana use by young people.

The results of a separate study conducted by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin further conclude that growing percentages of younger teens disapprove of the plant's use. Investigators reported "a significant increase in the proportion of youth (age 12 to 14) reporting 'strong disapproval' of marijuana use initiation over the last decade." Similar to the findings of prior studies, the paper also reports that teens' lifetime and past year use of marijuana has declined significantly over the past decade.

For more information, please contact Danielle Keane, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500. Full text of the study, "Past 15-year trends in adolescent marijuana use: Differences by race/ethnicity and sex," appears in Drug and Alcohol Dependence. Full text of the study, "Trends in the disapproval and use of marijuana among adolescents and young adults in the United States: 2002-2013," appears in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse.