CDC: Young People Say Marijuana Is Becoming Less Available

no_marijuanaProhibitionists often claim that legalizing and regulating marijuana will increase youth access to the plant. But newly released federal data says just the opposite.

Fewer young people are reporting that marijuana is ‘easy’ to obtain, according to an analysis released this week by the US Centers for Disease Control.

Investigators from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the CDC evaluated annual data compiled by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health for the years 2002 to 2014. Researchers reported that the percentage of respondents aged 12 to 17 years who perceived marijuana to be “fairly easy or very easy to obtain” fell by 13 percent during this time period. Among those ages 18 to 25, marijuana’s perceived availability decreased by three percent.

Researchers further reported that “since 2002, the prevalence of marijuana use and initiation among U.S. youth has declined” – a finding that is consistent with numerous prior studies.

By contrast, authors reported an uptick in use among adults. However, they acknowledged that this increase in adult marijuana consumption has not been associated with a parallel increase in problematic use. There has been “steady decreases in the prevalence of marijuana dependence and abuse among adult marijuana users since 2002,” the study found. Those adults experiencing the greatest percentage increase in marijuana use during the study period were respondents over the age of 55.

A separate analysis of the data published in the journal Lancet Psychiatry similarly acknowledged no observed increase in marijuana use disorders. A previous assessment of marijuana use patterns since 2002, published earlier this year in JAMA Psychiatry, also reported a decline in the percentage of adults reporting problems related to their marijuana use.

Full text of the CDC study, “National estimates of marijuana use and related indicators – National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 2002-2014,” appears online here.

23 thoughts

  1. Tempest in a teapot. Teenagers smoke pot — yeah, so what’s new? I was sixteen when I started; that wasn’t too young for me. It wasn’t easy to get, but I still got it. How old were you when you started?

    At least those prohibitionists who were terrified of this particular boogeyman (teenagers smoking pot! Boo!) can breathe a big sigh of relief now… and shut the fuck up about it.

      1. Who said anything about “children?” I said “teenagers.” Not the same thing at all.

        I started using cannabis at 16, Miles and Gene W. started at 15 and 13, respectively (see their comments below), and we’re just fine for it. Furthermore, I would argue that the teenage years are a perfectly natural and appropriate time to start. (Miles and Gene W., thank you for answering my survey. Your answers tend to support my theory that most (not all) stoners started smoking weed during their teenage years.)

        But, since you bring up “children”, it’s reassuring to know that cannabis is non-toxic, and that when children do manage to find it and eat it or smoke it, it’s not going to do any actual damage to their health. You can’t say that about anything else in your medicine cabinet!

      2. I started when I was 18, but that was because I believed Morgan Freeman in the movie “Lean on Me,” when he slapped that joint out of that fat kid’s mouth and said, “It kills yo brain cells son! It kills yo brain cells!!”

        I always grew up around weed but never partook.

        I had always suspected, for some reason, that the boy’s joint was laced with crack, and my fears were realized when my first joint I smoked on the east side of DC, wouldn’t you know it? Laced moth@fu€in primo! Had me eatin a whole box of Captain Crunch and singing with my friends with no music in no time!

        6 months Later I would discover better, pure herb, cured my depression with one toke, and 6 months after that I started smoking more regularly. No addictive rush, many interruptions uncharacteristic of addiction. Much happier lifestyle and Im greatful every time I get some weed from Colorado when we know what were smokin!!

      3. And now Morgan Freeman says weedhelps his fibromyalgia!! How do you like THAT $#!+? Of all the second hand propaganda I ever smoked…

      4. And marijuana, as it turns out, doesn’t kill brain cells, it crrates neurogenesis! I got gyped! Shoulda smoked a joint when I was 13 years old!

      5. I find I’m still picking bits of propaganda “shrapnel” from my brain. All those institutionalized lies I grew up with — like your Morgan Freeman story. (Funny, yet tragic.)

        Like, for example, if I make an ordinary mistake or error of some kind, I sometimes hear that internal voice that says sarcastically, “Way to go, Stoner!”

        But I think that’s internal hostile propaganda, still lodged in my cranium. Because it’s a kind of judgemental self-loathing; and also, it fails to take into account all the good that cannabis has done for my mind, my emotions, and my overall health and wellbeing. It fails to take into account the wreck my life would have been had I not determined to make cannabis a part of my life. And, being human, I would STILL be making ordinary mistakes from time to time!

        All this to say, to America: Don’t ever lie to kids, teenagers, OR adults about the danger of drugs, because DANGER is NEVER something to lie about.

    1. There goes that misleading claim by the prohibitionists about the legalization of medical cannabis leading to increased use in the younger. You have to think some of these claims have to be made up to a point for their own political agenda. False claims about Medical Cannabis have been spread for decades, now is our time for the truth. Thank you NORML!

  2. Thank you for the update Paul. Just as we suspected; just as global and US consumption goes up US disorders and teenage access goes down. Thanks regulation.
    Lets go tell it to our Congressman;


  3. The ongrowing fear of hi-tech sneak “drug” testing casts an especial shadow over any young individual contemplating carrying, furnishing or supplying because unless you are free to use some of it yourself where is the interest– other than only for the money– in undergoing all that risk?

    1. True: we need to keep this new disastrous idea from Standford from taking student’s financial aid and jobs to get through school;

      Just when we think the AAA and THSA killed the “potalyzer” with the evidence that we can’t scientifically determine when someone metabolized the THC in their body to create “impairment” to operate a motor vehicle, the key words of propaganda like marijuana “intoxication” come back for another round. NIDA is an infection. Marijuana legalization is the cure.

  4. Perfectly good story, but the graphic illustrates something else entirely: the pictured girl doesn’t find marijuana to be less available, as the joint is directly in front of her face. Instead, although it is very available indeed, she is declining. Not the same thing!

  5. The CDC has been helping our movement by acknowledging studies like these, perhaps because they aren’t specifically muzzled like the Drug Czar out of the Communist NIDA or DEA through the CSAct.
    But we must approach the CDC with caution, as the Biotech-Food-Industrial-Complex encroaches every institution from the FDA, the USDA to the BBS (Bureau of Bull$#!+).
    There are several biotech-pharmaceutical propaganda threats hitting us simultaneously and a puff of some good Purple Kush or Trainwreck can dispell all of them.
    First and foremost is the refusal to deschedule marijuana despite a plethora of evidence that whole plant cannabis is panacea, without comparison to alcohol or tobacco.
    But then, runner up, is the immoral price hike and organized crime ring of patented medicines such as the Epipen. To add insult to injury, the company Mylan merged out of the U.S. for tax inversion and is owned by the daughter of a U.S. Senator responsible for creating the legislation that allows the price hikes in the first place. (Can we say “Expel” and “Censure”?)
    But no other conspiracy of beurocratic bull$hit has ever compared to the likes of marijuana prohibition than the exaggerated milking of Congressional funds to blame all the microcephaly in the world on the zika virus, and those of us in the cannabis legalization movement should take heed, because the CDC is involved:

    1. The same is happening with kratom. Any truly valuable, medicinal plant will be banned or highly related. Big pharm hadn’t had competition since it started and ours not going to start now. If cannabis and kratom were sold in every gas station I’m the country they would probably still be the safest thing in the store that one could consume. CHILDREN should NOT use cannabis but if there was accidental ingestion I’d take it over alcohol consumption by a cold any day of the week. No matter how much cannabis you eat it won’t hurt you. You will get full before you get hurt. Place alcohol in schedule 1. High potential for abuse with no approved medicinal use. And why don’t we throw tobacco in there with it. I think they both qualify. Or just let adults decide what they do with their bodies…..

  6. The problem we have in the U.S. is we need to fundamentally change the way we allow Congress to pay and award biopharmaceutical companies for the research of disorders and diseases. We let the winner take all, playing whack-a-mole with the latest illness that those same industries have every incentive to create either with pesticides or just to sell us some poison pills with more negative side effects than cures.
    But thats not how science works. As real researchers from NORML like Paul Armentano have taught us, science must be peer reviewed and scrutinized repeatedly, and we must diversify our resources from prevention to treatment, or we’re just playing whack-a-mole with our own bodies and our entire planet.
    Let’s make a conscious decision to citizen lobby our Congressman to make them accountable for real science, so we don’t end up in jail for nontoxic marijuana or get jacked for $600 a pop to save your kids life just because a drug company created some colonial mercantilism… or confuse a relatively innocuous virus from a tropical mosquito with a need to use neurotoxic pesticides that cause the microcephaly in the first place…
    This is the Congressional catch 22 between the DEA, FDA, HHS and USDA that keeps marijuana in schedule 1, and it needs to end.
    And that begins by doing our own research, preparing ourselves to visit our state representatives face to face, and donating to nonforprofits like NORML that devote themselves to real peer-reviewed science, and reject propaganda.
    Don’t be afraid of your Congressman. Much like a rattlesnake, they have far more to fear from us. (And some of them aren’t rattlesnakes, even if they’re selling snake oil… 😉 )

  7. I started using cannabis at age 15! Where I grew up it was practically required if you wanted to be one of the cool kids. At the time I was more interested in getting beer.

    Now, at age 60, I do not believe that after 45 years of use that using cannabis has hurt me in any way, shape, or form. In fact I honestly believe it has helped me in many ways.

    As a youngster I never had the slightest trouble getting cannabis but it was really difficult to get alcohol; which was/is regulated and controlled. Further, as a young man I never had the slightest idea about the strain or quality I was getting and remember worrying at one point whether my pot was contaminated with paraquat thanks to our Govts efforts.


    Question 4 on November’s election ballot will decide if Marijuana should be legalized for recreational use in Massachusetts. Here is a summary of the key issues.

    Hipocracy: While Marijuana use is still illegal, far more dangerous drugs are not only legal but actively supported. This includes Tobacco, Alcohol, and Opium based prescription drugs. These drugs are killing people by the millions but because powerful people are getting rich from their use, they remain legal. In addition, many Massachusetts politicians have admitted that they have smoked marijuana while opposing its legalization. This is reminiscent of when the U.S. president, during alcohol prohibition, regularly drank alcohol with his staff.

    Racist: The original reason for making marijuana illegal in 1937 was to allow the arrest and exportation of Hispanic people living and working in the USA. Jobs were scarce during the great depression and this was thought to be an effective way to remove Hispanics from the job market.

  9. PART 2 Please post!!

    Lies: Opponents have stated that marijuana is bad for you and addictive. There is NO Scientific basis for these claims. MANY recent studies, one printed in the July 22, 2016 Lowell Sun, have found just the opposite: that many legal drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco, are far more harmful to persons and society.

    Gateway Drug: cigarettes and alcohol have been proven to be addictive and often lead to the use of hard drugs. In contrast, NO Scientific evidence has shown a link between the use of pot and hard drugs.

    Disrespect for Law Enforcement: The banning of marijuana has caused widespread isolation between otherwise law abiding citizens and the police. The police NEED the public’s support but marijuana discrimination makes them fearful and far less likely to support them.

    Anti Legalization Groups PROFIT from legal and illegal pot sales. Large amounts of money have been passed around to defeat question 4, by people who are in the Medical Marijuana business, as well as those who profit from its illegal sales.

    Unfair Debate: Anti-marijuana groups, with their money, have received wide press coverage. Pro-pot individuals get essentially NO PRESS, as they fear political and police reprisals.

    Safety: Legal sales will help prevent toxic additives from being mixed with street marijuana, especially with edible products.

    Recreation: Although not Scientific, the moderate use of Marijuana does seem to greatly increase art and music appreciation!

  10. How can a cartel profit from competing against legal high quality marijuana. It is financially impossible unless they open a front dispensary and sale exported low quality marijuana. The thinking that a cartel will be avail to complete in a legal market is a slogan for the DEA. The cost of production alone will not let them profit add to that having to pay taxes on exported marijuana. OK so you argue they will no pay taxes and bring it illegally. Well, NO! they will not be avail to complete, because the US marijuana industry have to count each plant from germination to processing. How can this be done, when regulation is monitor by multiple means. That is why pot is been difficult to fine now. Imagine if it was legal in all states.

  11. What’s up there fellas? Good discussion. As far as teenagers no one can tell them anything. I have done quite a bit of research on the cannabis and so happened that the documentaries on it dictate that it’s been around for quite a lot longer than people care to know. in any case another focal point here is that we’re the only species on the planet that has the identical molecule as the plant. Our body creates the same molecule. Why wasn’t the Medical Society of the day not invited to the hearing before it was legislated as a dangerous substance especially on the same list as narcotics a schedule 1 drug.I look at it it’s more of a criminal offense that they made it a law and then turned around and started to incriminate people under that law with felony convictions. Think how many families lives were destroyed under a the schedule 1 drug status.that is totally totally unconstitutional and totally not ethical What they should do is look at every case and dispose of those convictions because I think it was then utilized to strip people of their rights by charging them with that felony charge. It’s much deeper then anyone can imagine.

  12. Things rapidly changed in the last 2 years or they surveyed hermits. You can buy Cannabis and all Cannabis related products like flower, hemp & CBD Oil online now. Local dispensaries also sell it without checking medical cards. Expect the access and availability to continue to grow and I look forward to helping educate and teach more about the medical benefits.

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