Teens’ attitude towards Marijuana is changing quickly in Washington

Posted by Sagar Satapathy on January 01, 2017.

A study published in JAMA Pediatrics found that teenagers in Washington viewed marijuana as increasingly less harmful over time. In addition, teenagers in the state began trying pot at higher rates after marijuana was legalized for recreational use by adults.

"There has been a decreased perception of risk and an increase in marijuana use among adolescents in the country," said lead author Magdalena Cerda, of the University of California, Davis School of Medicine in Sacramento.

The authors examined data from nearly 254,000 students in the 8th, 10th and 12th grades who took part in a national survey of students. The survey, conducted between 2010 and 2015, included questions about how harmful adolescents perceived marijuana to be , whether they had used it within the past month, and related attitudes among adolescent students nationwide.

The researchers compared changes prior to recreational marijuana legalization (2010-2012) with post-legalization (2013-2015) and with trends in other states that did not legalize recreational marijuana.

In Washington, among eighth- and 10th-graders, perceived harmfulness declined 14.2 percent and 16.1 percent, respectively, while marijuana use increased 2.0 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively. Among states that did not legalize recreational marijuana use, perceived harmfulness decreased 4.9 percent and 7.2 percent among eighth- and 10th-graders, respectively, and marijuana use decreased by 1.3 percent and 0.9 percent, respectively, according to the study.

However, there were no significant changes in perceived marijuana harmfulness or use among 12th graders in the state. The researchers speculate that older students may already have a fully formed opinion of marijuana.

Notably, Washington and Colorado became the first two states to legalize recreational use of marijuana for adults in 2012, followed by handful of other states since then. The potential effect of legalizing marijuana for recreational use has been a topic of considerable debate in the U.S.

comments powered by Disqus