Teen odds of using marijuana dip with recreational use laws

CHICAGO — New research suggests legalizing recreational marijuana for U.S. adults in some states may have slightly reduced teens’ odds of using pot.

One reason may be that it’s harder and costlier for teens to buy marijuana from licensed dispensaries than from dealers, said lead author Mark Anderson, a health economist at Montana State University.

The researchers analyzed national youth health and behaviour surveys from 1993 through 2017 that included questions about marijuana use. Responses from 1.4 million high school students were included.

Thirty-three states have passed medical marijuana laws and 11 have legalized recreational use — generally for ages 21 and up, many during the study years. The researchers looked at overall changes nationwide, but not at individual states.

There was no change linked with medical marijuana legislation but odds of teen use declined almost 10% after recreational marijuana laws were enacted.

The study was published Monday in JAMA Pediatrics.

Previous research has found no effect on teen use from medical marijuana laws, and conflicting results from recreational marijuana laws. The new results echo a study showing a decline in teen use after sales of recreational pot began in 2014 in Washington state.

The results “should help to quell some concerns that use among teens will actually go up. This is an important piece when weighing the costs and benefits of legalization,” Anderson said.

About 20% of U.S. high school students use marijuana, unchanged since 2015 after an earlier decline, according to the 2017 version of the surveys used in the study. Rates ranged from 13% of 9th graders to 26% of high school seniors, according to the survey data from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Repeated marijuana use during adolescence may lead to long-lasting changes in brain function,” authors of the new study wrote. In the short-term, it can cause impaired memory and attention problems lasting weeks. Frequent use starting in the early teens may lower IQ scores; some kids may be more vulnerable to pots’ effects because of genetics or other factors.

Just Posted

Maskwacis RCMP investigate deaths of toddlers found in body of water

MASKWACIS, Alta. — Alberta RCMP are investigating the deaths of a young… Continue reading

Premier kicks off Westerner Days with optimistic message

Premier Jason Kenney spoke at Westerner Days President’s Lunch after participating in parade

Six central Alberta companies nominated for building awards

BILD Awards ceremony takes place on Sept. 13

Gypsy horses have it all — beauty and a good personality

Gypsy Vanner horse owners competing at Westerner through Thursday

Syphilis cases jump in central Alberta

Province looking at testing and public awareness

Devers hits solo shot, drives in 4; Red Sox beat Jays 5-4

Red Sox 5 Blue Jays 4 BOSTON — Rafael Devers hit a… Continue reading

Argonauts still looking for first win as they face Stampeders on road

CALGARY — Dave Dickenson warned that the Calgary Stampeders can’t take a… Continue reading

Natural gas producers demand government action in open letter to Kenney

CALGARY — The CEOs of nine Alberta natural gas producers have released… Continue reading

Fundraiser helps combat stigma of addiction

A fundraiser for the Safe Harbour Society to educate about opioid addiction was held on July 13

High school a top priority for Blackfalds

Revised capital plan also comes from extensive, collaborative dialogue with the Town of Blackfalds

Seamus O’Regan faces calls to visit Attawapiskat during state of emergency

OTTAWA — Indigenous Services Minister Seamus O’Regan faced calls Wednesday from the… Continue reading

Trudeau to push trade pact in EU leaders’ summit as France moves ahead on CETA

MONTREAL — Lawmakers in France begin their ratification of the comprehensive trade… Continue reading

Most Read