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

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 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-schoolers nationwide.

Investigators reported that lifetime use of cannabis fell during this period. The percentage of respondents reporting monthly marijuana consumption and/or use 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 study is the latest in a series of recent evaluations — including this one here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here — concluding that changes in state marijuana policies are not associated with increased marijuana use by young people.

Moreover, just-released results from a separate University of Texas study assessing trends in the disapproval of marijuana by young people also reports “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.

16 thoughts

  1. That’s because they listen to terrible, overproduced, modern, trendy music nowadays. Weed does not mix good with that garbage.

  2. See what happens? Make something mainstream, approved of by parents, good and healthy and teenagers want nothing to do with it… The rebels have nothing to rebel against. “What? I have to call my Congressman? Yeah, Dad, right after I clean my room.”

    Seriously, I think that marijuana doesn’t have to be used quite that often to get what most teens are looking for out of it. I just hope the message is getting out about opiates, heroin and prescription meds…

  3. Response to Julian:
    Sadly, i don’t think the general public wants to do anything about the opiate/heroin epidemic except sweep it under the rug. There was a story a few months back where people in Anne Arundel county “successfully” stopped a treatment center from being built. Their reasoning was that it was too close to their neighborhood and they “didn’t want that stuff in their neighborhood”. Trust me…it’s already there people.

  4. OK. Why should this suprise anyone. Marijuana is no longer the metaphorical hot stove eye that you are not supposed to touch.

    Now: What I whish is that this age group could be polled as to what they think about the unconstitutionall (dis-proportionate) drug law sentancing now taking place.

    Also, I would like to find out how many of this age group are being prescribed ADHD and behaviorl meds in school.

  5. because more youth would rather pop a pill than put smoke in there lungs but what the youth doesn’t understand is that these quick effect pills are ruining there kidneys, livers and stomachs way quicker than smoke does the lungs. American living is more backwards than any third world region but you wouldn’t know that because a doctor and an article is fact for you but everything in america is biased to benefit the producer not the consumer

  6. I just hope that the reason isn’t because they are using more destructive stuff like popping random prescription pills or using synthetic drugs. Hope good old marijuana never goes out of style!

  7. There’s nothing wrong with opiates. They’re good medications.

    Some people are prone to addiction, and they should be careful about them.

    Other people aren’t, and find opiates extremely useful for severe pain — specifically, for types of pain which cannabis does not help much with.

    Let’s not make the mistake which was made in the 1930s, when alcohol (which really is terrible) was legalized, and hysteria was whipped up to ban cannabis.

    We’re going to legalize and regulate cannabis. Opiates should be legal and regulated too.

    Tobacco is god-awful and alcohol is terrible. Anything which is generally safer than those two needs to be legal, and that includes opiates.

  8. Hardly mentioned probable number one cause of cannabis decline among youth: recent ongrowth of the DRUG TEST TERROR industry! Metabolites can be “discovered” weeks after use, dooming your admission to (A) high class university (B) awarding high class diploma (C) guaranteeing high-pay entry job and (D) fast career escalator.

    If youngster isn’t scared by that, his/her parents are, and easily persuaded to use any JFT justified family terror to prevent his/her Earnings during their remaining lifetime from being impacted (one green mark on your record could mean you make a million le$$ bucks in the first 20 years than Johnny down the street did).

    Another major factor: the in-loco-parentis professor/teacher (what percent of them?) who on knowledge or suspicion that some youngster uses cannabis, will give that youngster a LOWER GRADE… contributing to grade-point degradation amounting to a lower paycheck in first job after graduation, etc. etc., downward slope into shame and poverty. Be careful about loose talk, like admitting to anyone that you use, or approve… word might get around to Mr. H…..

  9. @Nathaniel,
    In a world of sensible drug policy regulated by the legislative branch, (NOT by the executive or judicial branches) in a government with adequate checks and balances… social moderation… perhaps. But we don’t live in that world. Here, today in America, scheduled drugs are treated as a criminal justice issue, not a health issue. Scheduled Drugs are regulated by the treasury or justice departments, NOT by a Department of Health and Human Services.. another corrupt department that instead of treating for addiction, educating and preventing abuse, they OWN the U.S.patent to cannabinoids 6630507 as neuroprotectants while taking custody of children whose parents consume marijuana after hours to treat their illness. Why not leave that patent open source? Because the D.H.H.S. SOLD rights to GW pharmaceuticals, that’s why. I would humbly agree that opiates COULD be less dangerous than alcohol and tobacco… but that is sadly NOT the world we live in.

    We live in a world where after more than 15 years in Afghanistan or 45+ years in Mexico there is more heroin, poppy and opium coming out of those countries than when both of those wars began, no thanks to the CSAct or opiate patenting by multi-national pharmaceutical companies (Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, etc.) that have no sovereignty or moral center whatsoever. THEY are our “Big Cartel” dealers on the “street.” The DOJ are just prostitutes for intelligence contracting and scare-mongering under the CSAct.
    Until the Controlled Substances Act is nullified or re-written entirely, a violence- free America without hustlers pushing heroin onto our children will remain a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained.

  10. A more open dialect and honesty with teens about marijuana allows for a better understanding by them. They know the “weed is the devils salad…evil, blah blah blah” dialog is bs, so once the taboo is gone, maybe real conversations can happen.

  11. I have a teen and we openly discuss all drugs and the dealers including prescription cartels. She actually asked me after studying the prohibition on alcohol in History class why the government is doing the same thing and expecting a different result after that fiasco. I still have not come up with a reasonable answer – I stress the word reasonable here…

  12. Melissa,
    The answer to your daughter’s question lies within the efficacy of the prohibition. Is it doing what the law intended? Yes it is because if you do your research, you’ll find that the intent was to suppress people of color thereby extending the Jim Crow laws that came into being after the civil war. This is an over-simplistic answer for there were other contributing issues as well. Mexican immigration was a primary reason. It was feared that they would be taking American’s jobs and this was exacerbated by the Great Depression that wreaked havoc on this country in the 1930s. Racists and cultural bigots so thoroughly duped the public that 78 years after the Marijuana Tax Act became law, we are still trying to reverse that damage. Enactment of that law and the Controlled Sustance Act were racially and politically motivated. It was never really about marijuana. What does the law have to show for it? It has a half century of aggressive arrest and prosecution of 25,000,000 Americans at a cost exceeding one trillion dollars. The law is responsible for the creation and evolution of the drug cartels and the associated violence. The law is responsible for the creation and evolution of the black market and those who sell on it. And most egregiously, the prohibition created by the law is responsible for putting marijuana into the hands of our children. It’s not legalization that does that for it’s not legal. In every respect the law is a failure unless you like and approve of the racist origins of prohibition.

  13. Hey…makes sense. Why else do they need to make pot brownies and candy?

    …but only to attract the increasingly non-interested young crowd. Legalizing pot is useless (to the folk who fought to do it) if people stop using it.

  14. The kids are alright. Ive often felt angry that young people end up as pawns in the prohibitions bullshit show, and tell. I just say ” High kids”, and go on my way. They get f$$cked with enough without me putting my nose into their lives.

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