Marijuana use and abuse among adolescents in the US declines: Study

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on May 27, 2016.

Marijuana use and abuse among adolescents in the Unites States is declining as more states legalize the drug, according to a new study published in the June issue of the “Journal of the American Academy of Child and adolescent Psychiatry.”

Researchers from the Washington University School of Medicine examined drug use data collected from more than 216,000 adolescents between the age of 12 and 17 across all 50 states. They found that the number of youth in the said age group, who had reported having marijuana-related problems such as dependency or trouble in school, had declined by 24 percent throughout 2002 to 2013.

In addition, the survey found the rate of marijuana use by teenagers has dropped by 10 percent despite the fact that more than a dozen of states legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized the drug during that period of time.

The study's first author, Dr Richard A. Grucza, pointed out that the reductions were linked to the diminution of behavioral problems such as fighting, vandalism, property crimes and selling drugs.

According to Grucza, “We don’t know how legalization is affecting young marijuana users, but it could be that many kids with behavioral problems are more likely to get treatment earlier in childhood, making them less likely to turn to pot during adolescence. But whatever is happening with these behavioral issues, it seems to be outweighing any effects of marijuana decriminalization.”

The Washington University survey is the first study to examine trends in teens with “marijuana use disorders”, such as becoming dependent on the drug or struggling in school or in relationships as a result of cannabis use.

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