Summary: Recent government data from the U.S. National Institutes of Health indicates that teen cannabis use is at historic lows, with just over 11% of kids aged 12 to 17 admitting to cannabis consumption in the past year. This figure is slightly up from 2020 and 2021 but still below pre-pandemic levels.
Historic Lows in Teen Cannabis Use Despite Legalization Trends
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health provides insightful data on cannabis use among teens. In 2022, approximately 11% of adolescents between 12 and 17 years old reported using cannabis, a slight increase from the historic lows of 2020 and 2021 but still lower than pre-pandemic figures in 2019.
In contrast, 23% of Americans aged 18 and over used cannabis in 2022, with over half admitting to having tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. These statistics align with various studies indicating that statewide adult-use cannabis legalization has not led to increased rates of youth marijuana use. For instance, Illinois data suggests that proximity to medical dispensaries does not increase cannabis use among teens.
A May 2023 report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) highlighted a significant decline in cannabis consumption among high school students, with a 30% drop from 2011 to 2021. This period coincides with the legalization of cannabis in nearly half of all U.S. states. The report also noted a decrease in the number of students who consider themselves current cannabis users.
NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano commented that these findings should reassure lawmakers and the public about the safety and effectiveness of legally regulated adult cannabis access without significantly impacting youth consumption habits.
During the pandemic, cannabis use reportedly spiked due to lockdowns and stress. However, the return to pre-pandemic levels suggests a normalization of public attitudes towards cannabis. Nonetheless, concerns remain regarding racial disparities in cannabis-related arrests, particularly among Black teens in California and Virginia.
Why It Matters: This data is crucial in understanding the impact of cannabis legalization on youth consumption. It challenges the notion that legalization leads to increased use among teenagers and highlights the need for continued monitoring and responsible regulation.
Potential Implications: The findings could influence future cannabis policies, emphasizing the importance of targeted education and prevention strategies for youth while addressing racial disparities in cannabis-related law enforcement.
And we would likle to know how does the decline in teen cannabis use impact the debate on cannabis legalization?
Source: High Times
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