Marijuana legalization may have led to an increase of use among adolescents

In the state of California, children are more likely to consume recreational marijuana following its legalization, new research has found.

In the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, researchers analyzed data of millions of children in K-12 school as part of the California Healthy Kids Survey.

Background information, such as gender, race, ethnicity, level of educational attainment, and substance use, was gathered among the young participants.

During the 2017-2018 and 2018-2019 school year, occurring after the legalization of marijuana, researchers noticed a substantial increase in its usage.

“I was somewhat surprised to see relatively greater increases in the prevalence of marijuana use among younger adolescents (7th graders) relative to 9th and 11th graders, among females versus males, among non-Hispanic versus Hispanic youth, and among Whites versus youth in other racial groups,” said Mallie Paschall, the study’s lead author, in a news report.

“In other words, there were greater increases in marijuana use prevalence after recreational marijuana legalization among youth in ‘low-risk’ groups, which is concerning.”

Among the participants, a 23 percent increase was evident for past-30-day uses and an 18 percent for the likelihood of lifetime use.

“Recreational marijuana legalization may be contributing to an increase in marijuana use among adolescents in California, but we need to do further research to confirm this,” Paschall affirmed in the report.

“I’m interested in whether recreational marijuana legalization for adult use may affect use among adolescents, possibly by changing norms regarding the acceptability of marijuana use, perceived harms of marijuana use, or availability or marijuana to youth.”

Image courtesy of timeslifestyle
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